I bought the Olympus Mju II for my wife to carry in her handbag. It is truly tiny - about the size of a cigarette packet – and lightweight, being of all plastic construction. Weight is 135gm without battery. It takes full-size 35mm films, which my wife and I prefer to APS. The camera runs off one 3-volt lithium CR123A battery, which is easy to find in the shops. The battery seems to need changing after about 8 months but that obviously depends on usage, including and how often you use the flash. The Olympus Mju II is provided with a snug-fitting zipped black soft leather pouch and a carrying lanyard that can be attached to the camera body help prevent its being dropped. On this lanyard is a plastic spike that can be inserted in a tiny hole on the base of the camera if you want to rewind the film before the end has been reached. The camera itself has a sliding “clamshell” plastic cover that helps protect it when not in use. Sliding the cover open exposes the lens and activates the electronics. The camera is weatherproofed and can withstand being caught in a shower but should be wiped dry as soon as possible. Don’t try to use it underwater! The camera is comfortable and easy to use but read the instructions first, to get the most benefit. The various operating modes are selectable with small buttons located at the rear. The viewfinder is necessarily small in such a tiny camera but is not too squinty. It has an auto-focus mark, close-up correction marks, an auto-focus indicator and flash indicator. As with all small cameras, you must be careful to avoid gripping the camera such that your fingers intrude into the viewfinder or obscure the lens or sensors. If you should touch the lens with your finger, clean off the marks immediately by wiping it with a lens tissue or a soft cotton handkerchief. Finger prints can etch the coating of the lens and spoil your pictures. Do NOT use cloths or solvents that are sold f
or cleaning eyeglasses, because they are usually impregnated with chemicals that can damage the coating of your camera’s lens. Considering its small size, the Mju II is very well endowed with functions. It is a fully automatic, point-and-shoot camera. The film advance and rewind are motor driven. Film loading is very easy and the film advances automatically to the first frame when you close the camera back, providing you get the length of the leader right: it should extend to the red mark inside the camera body. Rewind occurs automatically at the end of the film and is slightly noisy but is not too obtrusive. Focusing is automatic and is quite accurate but you have to be careful if your prime subject is not in the center of the frame. For example, if you’re taking a picture of two people side by side, there is a risk that the camera will focus on the background in between them and their faces will be blurred. Luckily, you can overcome this by pointing the camera at the main subject, pressing the shutter release part way to lock the focus, then recomposing before you shoot. When I used this camera, I found the shutter lag distracting. This is inevitable with an auto-focus camera and can result in missing the “decisive moment”. Exposure metering is quite sensitive, operating from 1 EV (100 ISO at f/2.8 and 4 seconds). The only exposure mode is automatic program, so the user cannot select either shutter speed or aperture. This is a snap-shot camera only and does not lend itself to creative picture making. However, it does what it does very well. Default exposure measurement is of the full-field average type, which is suitable for 90% of situations, but there is a spot metering alternative with optional exposure lock by partial depression of the shutter release. Most owners will probably not bother with the spot metering option, I suspect. The film speed is read automatically from the DX coding on
the film cassette and this cannot be overridden. Film speeds can be accommodated in the range 50 ISO to 3200 ISO, which allows more than enough latitude for most people. A 12 second delay self-timer can be set, e.g. for including the photographer in the scene or for taking a long exposure shot on a tripod. The base of the camera has a standard 1/4'” tripod thread. The 35mm f/2.8 lens consists of four elements in four groups and it’s a cracker! The quality is truly amazing for such a tiny camera and is easily the equal of many “professional” SLR camera lenses. It’s not a zoom lens on this particular model but the 35mm focal length is very useful for most general photography and being of fixed focal length enables it to have a wider aperture and to give better contrast and resolution than a zoom lens. Closest focus is 35cm. There is a built-in flashgun, which is surprisingly effective considering its small size. Flash modes include: * Automatic – the default flash mode; flash is lit when ambient light is insufficient or if there is strong back light. * Anti-red-eye – a burst of pre-flash precedes the main flash, to cause the subject’s eye pupil to close down so as to minimize red reflection from the retina (necessary because the flash is very close to the lens); this pre-flash is annoying and goes on for too long, in my opinion. * Fill-in – flash will be lit, even though ambient light is sufficient; useful for eliminating strong shadows in a subject’s face under bright sun. * Night scene – enables the shutter to stay open for up to 4 seconds with flash, to avoid having totally black background with an over-exposed subject (the “deer in the headlights syndrome). * Night scene with ant-red-eye – combination of these two modes. * Off - flash is inhibited, e.g. when taking a shot inside an art gallery or museum
where flash is prohibited. Selecting different operating modes is always fiddly with compact cameras, requiring stabbing away at little buttons multiple times and watching the LCD display until your required mode pops up. However, the modes in the Mju II are useful. There is a data back, which can print the date or time on the film in a variety of selectable formats. It can also be suppressed if required. Setting this device is quite fiddly and requires a long fingernail or the point of a pencil, because of the tiny buttons. My wife is a good photographer with a natural eye for composition. Her results with this camera have been excellent, both with and without flash, even when enlarged to 14” x 11”. The Olympus Mju II is a bargain at approx. 50 GBP and makes my Minox 35GT camera look like a dinosaur!
I bought this camera because I wanted a small camera which I could carry around with ease, but also gives good quality pictures. I considered an APS camera because they generally tend to be small and compact. However, APS films + developing are more expensive than your ordinary 35mm films. APS films may be widely available here, but not necessarily in other parts of the world. So, in the end I settled for this beauty. Don't let its small size fool you. The pictures this baby takes are very good. Film loading and unloading is easy and it is weather proof as well. It does not have a zoom lens but I always find picture quality using zoom on compact cameras to be lacking. So, if you want a compact camera that takes good pictures and you are also thinking of APS, forget APS and get this insted.
This has got to be the smallest non-APS camera that I have ever seen! However, the small size doesn?t sacrifice high quality, and the mju-II takes pics that you?ll be proud to show the relatives! The camera also features several modes, including a red eye reduction mode and a night shot mode (which is good for taking pictures of people and light, for example). My only slight complaint is that the photo is not instant, with a split second gap between the button press and the shutter release. However, this does not really worry me, as I have still managed to take some great photos with it!
When I first bought this, I was in a bit of a dilema: APS or 35mm? After consulting loads of web sites and asking friends, I decided that 35mm was best for me! Right, with that dilema out of the way, I was faced with another one - which one to buy?! Thankfully, this was a bit easier as I had done my homework. What I wanted was an easy to use, automatic "point and shoot" camera that was a bit more capable than most. I also wanted it to fit in my shirt pocket!! This mju-II is superb. Firstly, the lens quality is second-to-none, and is very fast for a camera of this size (this is good because it means less camera shake etc). There are the usual array of options, such as flash on/off, night mode etc., but the real reason why this "simple" camera is £100 is because of the lenses, and lets face it, good lenses mean better pictures. Apart from that it's your usual point-and-shoot camera, but with bells and whistles. Are the extra things worth paying for? Hell yes! This is all you will ever need in a point-and-shoot camera. The picture quality with this is, on the whole, superb, and as good as you can expect with a point-and-shoot. If you want, you can pay a bit extra and get a date-back function to print the dates on your film, but if you aren't bothered, then save yourself the money. The normal myu-II is black, and the date-back one is silver (as shown) - I got the black one. On the whole this is a great camera, and if you are on the lookout for a small point-and-shoot camera that won't let you down, then look no further!!