True story: Six years ago a Big-Time Photo Magazine Editor (BTPME) told you about a camera with these juicy specs:
• 35mm f/2.8 aspheric lens that, at moderate apertures, could resolve to just under 90 lines/mm;
• highly accurate wide-area and spot autofocus that worked in total darkness;
• 4-1/1000 sec shutter with flash sync at all speeds;
• evaluative metering that read color as well as light level, plus spotmeter;
• autofill flash with both flashmatic and sensor automation;
Did he tell you it also fit into a very small shirt pocket? You bet he did. When you found out it cost about $179, you broke down the doors to the camera store.
Another true story: Same BTPME tells people today the same camera is available for $79, and they yawn.
You people are so fickle.
So we thought we'd revisit this little camera that, ounce for ounce and dollar for dollar, delivers more sheer picture-taking ability than any film camera we can think of.
You need only look at the baseplate of a current Epic to notice one predictable change: the camera is now assembled in China (from parts made in Japan) rather than entirely in Japan. The fit and finish of the camera seems not to have suffered; the back still needs that firm squeeeeze to compress it reassuringly tight against the weatherproofing gasket.
In many ways the camera remains just as gee-whiz as it was at introduction. F'rinstance: Olympus designed a special stainless-steel shaft drive for the camera, instead of the usual bunch of plastic gear wheels, so that the camera could fit the larger 123A lithium battery instead of the dinkier and wimpier CR-2.