Makes Cents: $79 in basic black; champagne $10 extra.
Then there's the trick meter. By incorporating a color-sensing system in the meter cell, the Olympus wizards enabled the camera to detect fluorescent light. The Epic will pump out some fill flash to counteract the green, even if there is enough light for an available-light exposure. Not a perfect fix, but it has improved many an office picture.
We thought we'd test the lens on the latest version, and resolution of the four-element lens proved outstanding, center and edge. We got 83 lines/mm center, and 60 lines/mm at the edge. Very low flare was seen, with a small ghost, and only slight corner falloff-both excellent. Distortion was nearly undetectable pincushion. Flash was more than powerful enough at its rated maximum (13.5 feet for ISO 100) and coverage was quite even.
So why don't cameras like these sell? The major reason is zoom envy. Even people who don't really know what a zoom lens is want a camera with a zoom lens. So they will forego a convenient camera with a really sharp lens for...what? To save walking five big steps closer to your subject?
Digital point-and-shoots, of course, are now also seriously cutting into the sales of film cameras, zoom or no zoom.
You may wonder why, six years later, we're tilting at this particular windmill. Well, the Epic is essentially the last of a dying breed, and we think people should know about it before it goes bye-bye. It remains a super camera for serious photographers looking for a pocket pal, and is nice choice for the older kid who's getting into photography but who doesn't quite want to tackle an SLR yet. With today's 800- and 1600-speed color-print films, it's perfect for available-light snapshooting.
And it costs $79. That's the current tithe at reputable stores for the basic black model, U.S. warranty, battery extra. Add 10 bucks for the girlie version with the pretty champagne-finish and the date/time back. Add 10 bucks to either for a kit with case and battery.
And don't say we didn't tell you.