Over the past few years, I’ve shot with, tested and cleaned up hundreds of Olympus MJU I cameras and over that time I’ve really got to know this compact little camera.
The Olympus MJU I (Or Infinity Stylus in the US) is a brilliant point-and-shoot camera with a 35mm 3.5 lens. With a weatherproof body, compact design and reliable image quality, this camera is perfect for travel, nightlife and documenting life in general. It’s a perfect all-rounder and it’s more affordable than the MJU II!
If you want to find out everything you need to know about the Olympus MJU I then read on!
Olympus MJU I Specs
Shutter speeds – 1/15 – 1/500s
Format – 35mm
ISO – 50-3200
Battery – CR123(A)
Exposure System – Automatic Exposure Control
Focusing Steps – 100
Rewinding – Automatic and manual
Lens – 35mm F 3.5 – F 16
Focusing – Autofocus
Focusing Distance – 0.35m – Infinity
Is The Olympus MJU I Really That Good?
Yes, the Olympus MJU I is really that good, it’s not perfect but it’s great for the price these days. For £100-160 you can pick up a MJU I, whereas for £230-300 you can get a MJU II, so at nearly half the price I think it’s a really good option.
I think people think that there’s a really big difference between a 3.5 lens and a 2.8 lens but really, the Yashica T4 has a 3.5 lens and it’s criminally good. The MJU I has a nice clear 35mm lens, it’s sharp all around, I’ve seen that people say it loses a bit of detail towards the edges but I don’t think this is anything substantial.
With over a hundred focus steps it doesn’t quite compare to the MJU II which has over 400, but let’s put it into perspective, the Olympus AF-10 has about 4 focus steps and it’s in a similar price range as the MJU I.
The Mju I can take care of itself, it’s really durable, weatherproof and it’s also super small and compact, it’s a top-notch option if you’re on a bit of a budget.
It tends to have issues about as regularly as the MJU II too which is just how it is with old point-and-shoot electrical cameras.
How Good Is The Olympus MJU I Lens?
Just like it says on the tin, this is a 35mm focal length which I find to be pretty much ideal when using a point-and-shoot, not too wide, not too tight. Just wider than the typical human eye focal length (50mm), so you’ll be able to get more in the shot.
At 3.5, I think this is a pretty ideal aperture, as I mentioned before, the Yashica T4 has a 3.5 lens and that’s brilliant. I don’t think that you get to shoot the MJU II at 2.8 that often and you don’t really have any control over that, so the MJU I at 3.5 seems just fine.
People say that there’s a bit of drop off in sharpness on the outer edges of the lens but I don’t really see it. The centre is really sharp and clear.
The MJU I has also got over 100 focusing steps which would have been a massive thing when the camera first came out. Yeah, that’s nothing on the MJU II but in the scheme of things, it’s still brilliant. For context, cameras like the Canon Sureshot Supreme which had a 2.8 lens actually had awful focusing, so I’d always take a 3.5 lens that can actually focus.
Overall Shooting Experience
The MJU I is pretty much a joy to use, it fits the hand quite nicely, with a bit of a ridge on the back for your thumb. As with all of the MJU/Stylus series, you use the sliding door on the front of the camera in order to turn the camera on.
The buttons are all pretty obvious, you really can’t miss the big silver shooting button on the top of the camera. The viewfinder is pretty small but that’s part and parcel of having a MJU camera, it’s small.
I never really feel like I have any issues when shooting with the MJU I, it really does what it says on the tin. It’s not too noisy when you shoot with it, it makes a pretty standard film camera noise. It’s pretty much ready to go when you need it.
The LCD screen is small and just gives you a basic understanding of what’s going on, for instance, E for empty, or a number to show how many shots you’ve taken. It also shows you what settings you’re using currently. Basically like all point-and-shoot cameras.
You just need to half-press the shutter button to lock focus, the little green light in the viewfinder will show you that you’ve locked focus. The green light will flash if it can’t find focus. The orange light will show you that it’s low light and it’ll usually automatically use flash when that happens.
How Much Should You Be Paying For The MJU I In 2023?
The MJU I is worth about £100-160 at the moment, perhaps $130-210. It seems like the price has come down moderately in the last year or so and I’d say that’s probably down to the rise in camera film.
You can always get cameras for less by getting lucky when you’re in thrift stores or by being savvy on eBay but it’s often worth just paying that little bit more to avoid getting a dud.
If you’re wondering where to buy your camera from then I’d always suggest eBay, yes in the past eBay has been like the wild west but now there’s so much security for the buyer that nothing can really go wrong. If you’re good and take your time on eBay then you may well find what you’re looking for for a considerably better price.
Otherwise, you can buy from a well-known website or local camera shop, at the very least with a local shop you’ll be able to go back if something has gone wrong. Finally, you can use Etsy or another buying platform like it, I sell on Depop but I would say for a buyer it doesn’t give you nearly as much security.
Is It Worth It?
Well, old heads will say “You used to be able to pick these up for $30” and all that, but it’s just nonsense, the market has changed because the demand has increased a lot.
In today’s market I’d say the MJU I is worth it if you can get it around the £120 mark, it’ll hold its value if you take care of it and it’ll take great shots. When you compare the MJU I to other point-and-shoot film cameras of a similar value then it’s up there as one of the most ‘worth it’ ones.
What Kind Of Photography Is The Olympus MJU I Good For?
The Olympus MJU I is best for travel photography, day-to-day life, nightlife and maybe even street photography. Its small, compact size and ease of use just makes it the ideal day-to-day companion.
Because of the MJU I’s quality lens, it’ll take great pictures while you’re on your holidays or taking nice pictures of your mates. But it’ll also potentially serve as a great, intuitive street photography camera. It wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice for street photography but you could find it works for you!
Of course, you can decide to do any kind of photography with any kind of camera if you want to but I’d say this camera isn’t ideal for portraiture, documentary photography or anything professional.
What Kind Of Film Is Best For The Olympus MJU I?
The best film for the Olympus MJU I is probably Kodak Portra 400 because it’s the best film in general, however, Kodak Gold 200 is a great option for travel and day-to-day life and something like Cinestill 400D. Alternatively, Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5 are great options for black-and-white photography.
Ultimately, it depends on what kind of photography you’re doing and what you’re hoping to achieve.
How To Use The Olympus MJU I
The Olympus MJU I is pretty easy to use because it’s a point-and-shoot camera, but of course, we all get a bit confused from time to time.
First of all, you’ll need to pop a CR123a battery into the MJU I, the battery door is located on the side of the camera and you just need to flip it open.
To turn the camera on, you just have to slide the front across, the lens should then extend slightly and the camera will make a noise. You’ll also notice that the LCD screen on the top of the camera will be displaying.
To take pictures, you simply press the large silver button on the top of the camera. If you half press the button and look through the viewfinder then you’ll see a green light if the camera has found focus, the light will be flashing if not or it’ll be orange if it’s low light.
To load film, you need to open the back of the camera and put your film into the film port, then you need to pull the film across to the spool, usually, there’s a red tab that shows you how far to pull the film to, as long as it’s around there it should load just fine.
To know that you’ve loaded it properly, you’ll see on the top of the camera it should say ‘1’, if it says ‘E’ (Empty) then it hasn’t loaded properly.
To unload film, you can wait until you get to the end of the roll and it will unwind automatically, otherwise, you can press the small rewind button which is just below the lens. Once it has rewound all the way back then you can open the back of your camera and remove the film canister.
Common Faults With The Olympus MJU I
The MJU I has a few common issues that it’s worth knowing about. I’d say, on the whole, it’s a really reliable camera for an old point-and-shoot.
Not loading film
I’ve noticed quite a common fault with the MJU I is that they sometimes won’t load film. I don’t know what the fix is for this or whether there is one so you’d have to send it off to a repair shop. It may be completely Kaput which sucks but they’re old cameras and you can’t save them all.
Lens not engaging properly
Similar to the Olympus MJU II this can also have an issue where the lens sort of pops in and out and clearly isn’t working properly. Again this is probably an electrical fault that needs sorting by sending it off to a proper repair shop.
Flash not working
Common with all old film cameras is a problem with the flash, again this would need sending off as it’s difficult and dangerous to fix a flash.
LCD Screen Not Working
If the LCD screen isn’t working it doesn’t mean that your camera is broken, it’s more of an annoyance than anything. It just shows you how many pictures you’ve taken and what settings you’re using. I think every time you open the camera it resets the settings to auto anyway.
Lens Dust Or Fungus
Dust and fungus in the lens can be fairly common. I would always say a small amount of dust isn’t a problem but a lot of fungus would be a no-go. To clean it or replace it would be a complete and utter nightmare, maybe even not possible these days.
I really like the Olympus MJU I, I’m routing for it. As the less expensive older brother to the MJU II, it’s still got all that kick and all the same reasons to love it.
Yeah, it’s not as good but it’s most of the way there. Give the MJU I the love it so deserves.