I carry my DSLR as my main camera but I always carry my Olympus Mju-2 along in my camera bag. Its nice and small and I like to load it with Black & White film or some slidefilm to cross-process later. Its has a very sharp lens and I am always impressed with the quality of images it takes. I have shot quite a bit with a film SLR and a 50mm 1.8 lens and after comparing the images, I did not see many differences besides the extreme shallow depth of field my film SLR manages to shoot. So for a similar quality of picture I would rather carry around the smaller and fully automatic Mju-2.
I like the fact the Mju-2 is fully manual with exposure and focusing and it is a fixed lens ( so no zooming) this allows me to focus a 100% on composition. If I want more control over the situation I will shoot with my DSLR.
Why it may be right for you.
It is incredibly compact and fits in my pocket (may not fit in yours, I have big pockets). The 2.8 lens is awesome and fast, allowing you to take pictures some other cameras can’t and provides a depth of field shallower than most point and shoots film cameras. It recognizes film up to 3200 ISO.
I like to stick in some grainy black and white film ( like 400 Tri-X) or some expired slide film (Kodak EXB) and cross process it. Because you are unable to get the immediate gratification of seeing the image you will be surprised at the images you get because our brains doesn’t typically visualize in black and white or funky cross-processed colors.
Since this is a pretty modern film camera it is no problem finding its lithium battery (CR2) in most camera shops which is not always the case dealing with some older film camera’s.
Why it may not be right for you
The Mju 2 shoots wide open, meaning it will automatically choose the highest f-stop which leads to a shallow depth of field. Personally I prefer this and I like the look of these images, but some people perhaps shooting landscapes may not be happy. Although I know people who shoot with 800 or 1600 film in daylight in order to force the camera to stop down.
The Mju 2 is a fully automatic exposure and focus camera so if you are looking for play around more with something more manual, this is probably not the right camera. It is a fixed lens camera so people loving to zoom can have a look at its cousin the Stylus Epic Zoom. Which is found really cheap on Ebay but I personally don’t like since the lens is slower and the camera is bulkier.
One annoying feature is that when you turn on the camera the automatic flash also turns on. It only takes two button presses to turn the flash off, but it’s still a minor annoyance.
How to get one
I bought my first Mju-2 for 250 guilders ( Dutch currency pre-Euro, yeah I’m old) and its been one of my favorite camera’s since. Depending where you are in the world it may not be the cheapest. If you leave near any thrift stores you may be able to find one lying around since it was successful camera and many were sold. If you have a look at Ebay they usually go US$60 for the champagne colored ones and $80 for the black versions without looking at shipping charges. Remember to search for both “MJU 2” and “Epic Stylus” since it was marketed under different names in US and in the rest of the world. The second Mju-2 I bought has lightleaks and no matter how much I taped it up, they somehow always showed up on my pictures. Some people like the charm of it, I am not sure about it.
And even though it is just a tool, I love this small camera.