Recipe For Cheap, Good Photography.
Some Epic Discoveries:
Fast flash: At reasonably close distances (three feet) and ISO 400 or faster film, you can fire off a properly exposed flash shot as fast as you can repress the shutter-nearly once a second.
Speedy shots: The exposure program is biased toward higher shutter speeds. With slower films (ISO 100), you can limit depth of field pretty effectively, especially when shooting close.
Low parallax error: The Epic takes pretty accurate closeups at its minimum focus distance, 14 inches. The trick is a reflex finder that bends the light path to view through a window very close to the lens.
Still Annoying After All These Years
Disco-flash! 16-count 'em-16 stroboscopic bursts as a redeye preventive (and blink producer). We've always turned the dang thing off and used a redeye pen (or Photoshop) later.
The world's most inconvenient spotmeter switch: You have to press two tiny recessed buttons simultaneously. It's every bit as difficult as it looks. We know some Epic owners who don't even know it has a spotmeter.
Invisible warning lights: Not beside, but inside the finder. Particularly troublesome for eyeglass wearers, who have to shift their eye around to see them.
Late, Lamented, and Sharp
Other than premium-priced "posh" point-and-shoots, the last f/2.8 pocketable other than the Oly Epic was the oxymoronically named Big Mini F by Konica (about $180). Descendent of the original autofocus pocket 35 (the Konica A4), the Big Mini F was a solidly made, sharp-lensed camera with some nice features, including basic exposure compensation. Konica never aggressively marketed the camera, and buyers were, typically, indifferent to a non-zoom: the BM-F bit the dust in 2000. Hard to find, even on eBay. Anybody comes by new old stock, give a cyber-holler at www.POPPHOTO.com.