The Best Compact For The Money - Olympus Infinity Jr.(AF-10) Review


Of the many cameras I've had the pleasure of using, I have been most impressed with this little guy, the Olympus Infinity Jr, AKA the AF-10. While it isn't the most glamorous point-and-shoot ever made, this very affordable camera blew me away in terms of usability and image quality. I might even go so far as to say that I like it more than my current everyday carry, the newer Olympus Infinity Stylus. While this camera certainly has its annoyances, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a very simple compact film camera.

When you pick up this camera for the first time, you will likely notice the somewhat odd styling. Its very 80's esque - one of those cameras who's age you instantly know when you see it. To some people it is downright ugly though, and one person even said it looked like a small gray brick. But despite the shape and design, I found this camera to be a phenomenally comfortable one to use. The blocky shape makes it great for larger hands, and gives the camera a more natural feel to me.

The controls are as minimal as it gets. It has a shutter button, a self timer button, and a flash mode switch under the lens. To me, thats the biggest downside of the camera. It honestly boggled my mind a bit that Olympus took the time to design a physical mode switch, and then made it so that it resets when the sliding lens cover is closed. Its similar to the Olympus XA2 in a way, as that camera's main control was the focus, and that too reset when the clamshell cover was closed. But while I found the flash switch deeply frustrating to use at first, it is not a dealbreaker. It is still a very usable camera, and other features like the flash position and very crisp viewfinder redeemed the camera in my eyes. The only other downside is that its so damn loud. Not joking whatsoever; it reminded me of those cheap toy machine guns I used to play with as a kid.

More importantly though, the lens on this thing had a look that I found very appealing. While it was not quite as detailed as other Olympus compact lenses, it produced surprisingly crisp images, without too much of the "fuzziness" that is common with some lower resolution lenses. Although it vignettes at all apertures, the light falloff is quite mild throughout its aperture range. What I like most about it though, is that it is virtually distortion free, which makes a picture that I found quite different from most 35mm point-and-shoots. 

Despite the lack of features and quirks, I this camera was really fun to use, and makes really nice images for a camera in the sub $30 price range. If you can find one at a garage sale or thrift store, don't hesitate to pick it up and give it a go!