WE'VE been testing the Olympus Infinity Jr. for the past several months. It's another of the super high-tech point and shoot cameras we've all learned to love. I say we, because a group of us, all with different levels of photographic skill and experience, tested the camera.
That range began with a novice, progressed to an interested amateur who is primarily a vacation photographer; a writer who loves to illustrate his own stories and does so with great skill; and me.
We all agreed that it's a magic little camera that you hate to give up.
The novice used it primarily for people pictures. He made party pictures and shots of folks posing and having fun. He was going to just shoot one roll, then give it back. He shot three and I wondered when I'd ever get it back.
My advanced amateur and his wife liked the camera so much that they are seriously considering buying one for a European vacation. Here are three of their comments:
1.The camera is light, compact and very easy to carry compared to other 35mm cameras.
2. The wide-angle lens was hard to get used to and it felt necessary to "climb on top" of subjects at first. Once we were used to it, it was fine and not hard to handle.
3. The quality of the pictures was excellent. We were particularly impressed with the good depth of field and the lack of shadows cast by the flash.
My writer friend still swears by his Nikon SLR, but the Infinity Jr. convinced him that there is plenty of room in his bag for a small automatic camera. He had avoided having one, since he felt they gave inferior results.
He says the Infinity Jr. "is a gem. It fits nicely in your hand and it's perfect for catching a baby's split-second smile, grandma in her kitchen or for making fun photos of office mates."
He also voiced some complaints -- he worried that the automatic focus pictures weren't as sharp as those made with his SLR and that the automatic flash was washing out many subjects.
Also, a different loading system than that on his Nikon took some getting used to.
I gave him some operating tips that helped him overcome these problems very quickly.
The camera is truly compact and easy to use. It has a simple three- element lens that is very sharp. Everything is automatic, including focus, exposure, flash as needed, advance and rewind. I especially like the rewind since it stops with a section of the film leader out of the can. I frequently write on that leader to remind myself of what's on the roll.
The camera is not as sophisticated as the Infinity. It's not weather-, sand- and waterproof and it does not have the fancy ambient-light metering system.
But what it lacks in these departments it makes up in price. You can buy one for about $115.
Club News: Congratulations to the members of the North Bethesda Camera Club for winning the Eastern "Show Us Your Hometown" contest sponsored by Fuji Film U.S.A. They won a weekend photographic excursion by rail to Boston for 50 members, a Fuji GS-645 camera andlots of film.
The club's October programs include a new-member orientation meeting on October 14. If you live in the Bethesda/Rockville area, this is a super club to become involved with. Call 762-0888.
Write to Carl Kramer c/o Weekend, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington DC 20071.