PHOTOGRAPHY   © mike connealy
Olympus Infinity Stylus (mju)
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Designer: Yoshihisa Maitani
Much of the appeal for me of the little Olympus Infinity Stylus lies in its polished black form. I think it is a good example of the design genius of Maitani who was so good at synthesizing combinations of innovation and tradition. The Infinity Stylus packs fully automated 35mm photography into a container that will slip effortlessly into a pocket. At the same time, the sculpted black case suggests the beautifully crafted small boxes from Japanese tradition known as Inro and their sash cord toggles, the Netsuke.

I picked up this example for two dollars at a thrift store. It even had a new lithium battery in it, a 3-volt DL123A. My only complaint about the camera is a small light leak in the vicinity of the cutout for the film advance gear. I thought that might be a deteriorated light seal, but on closer inspection it looks like the problem is a slightly sprung back corner, with the light entering there or through the film cartridge view window. A bit of black tape took care of that.

The Stylus' small size, light weight, and automatic exposure and focus controls make it a good carry-everywhere camera. Also contributing to the camera's versatility are the built-in flash, and a lens that focuses automatically as close as 1.1 feet. So, there are few situations confronting the user which can't be handled by the Stylus. One does have to exercise some care in making sure the central focus spot is locked on the desired location in the scene. I have also found it useful to use 400-speed or faster film to ensure that the camera doesn't select too low a shutter speed in low light conditions. Of course, one can employ a tripod with slower film, but that deflates the purpose of a pocketable point-and-shoot.

A user manual for the Olympus Infinity Stylus is available on line.

Below are some sample images from the camera:

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