Is a Olympus Stylus Epic as good as a manual SLR?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Markok765, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What advantages does the Manual SLR have over the Olympus? Why is the olympus better? What would you carry when you are taking photos?
     
  2. thuggins

    thuggins Member

    Messages:
    438
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That's a pretty open ended question, Marko! Olympus has a long history of making rangefinders, viewfinders and P&S cameras that rival the image quality of the best SLRs. The Stylus is certainly among these. It is also very compact, light and easy to carry.

    But the whole point of a P&S is to let the camera make all the decisions for you. So you have no manual control over the shutter speed, aperture or exposure compensation. You can't change lenses with the Stylus (although various models have zooms). You can't do macro photography with the Stylus.

    To ask which one is "better" is a meaningless question. They are designed for completely different purposes. Use the one that fits your needs.
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

    Messages:
    9,323
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like my Stylus but it always leans toward a wide aperture so just keep that in mind..
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Which are you willing to carry? I have an Olympus XA in my pocket all the time. The lens is sharp enough and it can be handheld at a really low shutter speed. The Stylus is much the same. It is much harder to get the focus you expect, exposure is a little more hit or miss, and the viewfinder is not great. So, Oly for portability, SLR when you can.
     
  5. mabman

    mabman Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Picture-quality-wise, it's really quite good for its size, but for me the biggest trade-off is Standard P&S Syndrome (TM, Patent Pending): in standard focussing mode, it has a tendency to assume a wall behind a subject is the main focal point, not the subject itself. This isn't unique to the Stylus Epic from what I've seen, it's a relatively standard P&S quirk.

    It can be somewhat overcome by using the spot mode, but on the Stylus Epic that's a bit of a pain as you have to press 2 tiny buttons together on the back of it (changed, thankfully, in the Stylus zoom models - at least in my Stylus 120 it's now a separate button).

    Obviously, with an SLR, you have the option of focussing on whatever you want.

    However, there's the old adage, "You take pictures with the camera you've got" - eg, if you have no camera because you don't want to carry around an SLR, you won't get the shot - if you have a more portable camera, such as the Stylus Epic, you'll at least get a pic - even if it isn't quite as nice as with the SLR.
     
  6. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So, bring a SLR if you can? What about for street photos?
     
  7. Palantiri7

    Palantiri7 Member

    Messages:
    131
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Well, in between pressing the shutter and having the camera actually take the picture many eons elapse. The spot meter only works with the point you've actually focused on, so you'd better hope what you focused on is a mid-tone.
     
  8. mabman

    mabman Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well, this is all subjective - if you're happy with the Stylus Epic, great. If you want more control, an SLR is good.

    Also, you might want to add rangefinders to your consideration, not just SLRs - some of the great street photographers of the past used them (HCB, Garry Winogrand), and although Leica is the granddaddy of rangefinders, some of the fixed-lens rangefinders of the 1960's and 70's go for well under $100 and are perfectly fine. It's a different experience than an SLR, though - you have to try one to see what I mean.

    But again, it's really a personal thing.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,049
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Or, you could pick up a really inexpensive scale focusing camera (e.g. the Retinette in my avatar), learn how to estimate distances, and exposures, and experience a wholly different learning experience.

    Matt
     
  10. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Or something like Contax T3, which is an expensive P&S camera but has enough manual functions that help in certain situations. I used to have a Stylus and I was happy with it. But for several years now, I have had a T3, and I'Ve been happier.

    And I always carry a compact SLR (Nikon FM) with a small lens (Ai 50mm F1.8 S pancake) with it, and that's my shooting style for street photography.
     
  11. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

    Messages:
    697
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Not having to turn the flash off every time I open up the lens is enough to make me not use the Stylus for stealth street work. I use my Canonet for that. The exposure program is also kinda wonky and opens up the lens a lot which has its ups and downs. You really need to be shooting fast film and have good light to get it to stop down.

    Having said all that, I like the little thing. A lot. It's the camera I have with me all the time because it's tiny, the lens is nice, the auto focus is an active IR so it focuses well in near-dark, it's fairly quiet, and I like the 35mm focal length a lot. Plus it autoloads, reads DX and though I wish you could set ISO in the absence of DX instead of defaulting to ISO 100, it gave me the "opportunity" to learn to work with Delta 100. And the spotmeter is just tasty.

    If wishes were fishes I'd hack the firmware and change a few things, but back to the original question of slr vs stylus. The main advantage of an SLR is that you see what you're going to shoot. The viewfinder of the stylus isn't very accurate, you get no DOF preview whatsoever (keep that f2.8 lens in mind), and you never really know where it's focusing until you see the negs. With a manual SLR, you do get to see what you're shooting, you see the focus, and on some slrs you get DOF preview.

    I got my stylus for $40 refurbed from Olympus on eBay and I'll be sad the day it dies. I paid about 10 times that much for my F5 and I expect it to outlive me.

    Also keep in mind the "horses for courses" idea that some cameras are better suited for some tasks than others. What do you intend to shoot with the Stylus?