Review: Olympus mju ii

If there's one thing I struggle to do whenever I travel, it's that I just cannot seem to leave my gear behind. The last time I went to Gold Coast, I ended up lugging along all my lenses (my gear profile then: nifty fifty, kit lens, 55-250 telephoto) on an 8 hour plane trip and only logged about 5 minutes in total usage of my kit for the whole trip lol. 

This time round, Wilson and I decided that we would probably only bring one (or two maximum) primes each. However, this time we had the problem of film to think about. Both of us love film too much to really leave it behind for travel, but I just cannot go through dragging three full-sized DSLRs across the globe on a 24 hour plane trip (48 hours in total including return!!) so we had to decide which of our cameras wouldn't make the cut. It was either giving up film altogether, or giving up one digital which both of us were not prepared to do. 

Enter the world of film point and shoots, which we had never considered before but then again, why didn't we? They were small, had fixed and reasonably wide aperture lenses (which won't allow fickle people like me to change lenses every 5 seconds) and let us shoot in a pretty brainless sort of way. Then Milo recommended us the Olympus mju ii which solved all our problems. 

The mju ii is smaller than an iPhone!

The mju ii is smaller than an iPhone!

The Olympus mju ii comes with a fixed 35mm lens with an aperture of f/2.8, and a flash and timer button at the back. There aren't any details to go into because there are no details. I know I've probably said this a million times, but the beauty of film cameras are that there really aren't that many specs worth dwelling over. There's a little indicator inside the viewfinder which tells you whether your focus is locked and that's it. None of this my-sensor-is-better-than-yours arguments that we get with digital cameras. Your film sensor costs less than RM1 and you can carry as many spares as you like in your pocket.

Granted, since the mju is auto you won't be able to fully control the look of your image but sometimes I don't really think that's a bad thing. Often times we get too hung up on getting the perfect settings, or spamming the shutter button so that we miss nothing, and end up missing the actual experience and when we travel, it's so important to be able to relax and just enjoy the new sights and smells.

The mju's 35mm fixed focal lens is versatile enough for everyday use and is definitely good enough for me since the 35mm focal length is the one I end up carrying around with me 90% of the time. We actually took the mju out for a test run on our trip to Sekinchan some time in June (post coming soon!) but these photos are dedicated to how we feel about the little trooper.

All photos taken with Olympus mju ii with Fuji Superia 200

We brought the mju out with us for a weekend and came back with the frames you just scrolled through. I loved being able to fit the tiny mju into my bag with barely any worry about weight. The photos ended up slightly underexposed than usual, due to the fact that you couldn't manually overexpose as you could with an SLR. Also, I found that we had been having some problems with the focus - perhaps I didn't understand the minimum focusing distance on the mju and ended up getting too close, but some of the time the camera didn't focus on what I meant it to focus on. Anyone reading this who has any tips for focusing with the mju, please leave a comment and tell us what we're doing wrong!

Although, when the mju gets it right it really gets it right. The wide shots we snapped were tack sharp, which makes me feel like the mju is an ideal camera for landscapes and street photography. I'm definitely looking forward to bringing this little guy along with me and loading some black and white film (I've been saving those!) for those pre-war buildings in NYC.