Date written – 28/08/2023
I’ve been shooting film for 7 years now and over that time I’ve had a lot of experience with Olympus Superzooms.
The Olympus Superzoom G series is comprised of zoom point-and-shoot cameras with 38mm to 70-105mm F 3.7 to F 9.5 lenses. They’re reliable, compact and easy to use, making them an ideal daily carry.
If you want to find out the differences between these cameras, if they’re worth it, how to use them and more then carry on reading!
A Brief History
There’s very little information about the Olympus Superzoom G series which is why you’ve probably ended up here.
Named the Infinity Zoom in the USA and the Olympus Superzoom in all of the sane countries, the Superzoom seems to have been the more affordable version of the Mju Zoom.
It seems like all of the Olympus Superzoom G series were all banged out in 2002 and Olympus just decided that they may as well make 5 different focal lengths in one go.
The G series aren’t the only Superzooms though, Olympus made a bunch of different versions of Superzoom from 1993 to 2005 but to be honest, I think the G series are probably the best in terms of their aesthetics, compactness and overall quality.
|Focus Distance||0.8m – Infinity||0.8m – Infinity||0.8m – Infinity||0.8m – Infinity||0.8m – Infinity|
As you can see, all the specs are really similar because the G series cameras are basically exactly the same, it’s just the difference in focal lengths and a slight difference in aperture.
There may be some very small differences but I was unable to find any other information that confirms that.
Are They Any Good?
Okay, so there isn’t really any point in writing about each camera individually because they’re all pretty much exactly the same apart from the fact that each one has a different level of zoom.
It seems like the Superzoom G series were effectively produced as a cheap alternative to the brilliant MJU Zoom series. They look really similar, they have similar attributes and they shoot really well but there are some small things that make a big difference.
In my opinion, the Superzoom looks pretty good and the fact that the flash is attached to the body rather than popping up like the MJU is actually a good bit of design that means it’s less likely to be faulty.
But the question is, is the Superzoom actually good to use? Personally, I think it’s a really good budget film camera. The fact that the 105G has 525 focus steps (I guess this could be the same or very similar for the rest of them), is pretty outrageous when you compare that to something like the MJU II with 300+.
The aperture of the Superzoom isn’t too bad, it’s 4.5-8.5 for most of them or 3.7-9.5 for the longer focal lengths. This isn’t unusual with point-and-shoot cameras with zoom and while you won’t get super-sharp pictures with shallow depth of field, it won’t be bad by any stretch.
As you can see, cameras like the Olympus MJU Zoom, it has Multi AF, whereas Superzooms just have normal AF. These are small differences but they show where the costs are cut with the Superzoom.
One thing I really like is the Superzoom has a variable flash which means the camera knows how close the subject is so it changes the power of the flash depending on the distance.
How Good Is The Lens?
One thing to mention, in case you don’t know, zoom lenses are never as good as prime lenses. When it comes to whether you should have a camera with a zoom lens then it’s a question of whether you need a camera that can zoom in or not.
Let’s start with the focal length, at 38-70/76/80/100/105, It’s a kind of semi-wide to quite zoomed-in focal length, which is just fine.
The apertures of 4.5-8.5 are pretty alright too, nothing to write home about.
It’s the 525 focusing steps that stand out to me, this pretty much means that you should nail your focus every time and although it’s not going to be the sharpest ever, that’s still a great attribute.
It also has two aspherical lens elements, which isn’t bad either, but again, it wouldn’t expect super high-quality images, but for a consumer camera, they’ll be good enough!
Overall Shooting Experience
The Superzoom G cameras are really easy to use. You just pop some film in and take pictures. There are some settings that are mainly based on using different kinds of flash.
Turning the camera on by sliding the clamshell door is a great aspect, it keeps your camera safe from the weather when it’s shut but it also means it’s not easy to leave the camera on by accident.
Once you’re actually shooting this it’s super easy and two things really stand out to me, 1) The flash loads really quickly and 2) The camera focuses really quickly.
These two things are great aspects of the Superzoom G series that not all point-and-shoot cameras possess.
It’s really noticeable that the Superzoom is fairly cheap and plastic but that does come with a positive, it’s really light.
I buy a lot of Superzooms and I rarely notice damage to the body despite its cheap design.
At 225g, the Superzoom is a pretty ideal daily carry which is still pretty strong despite its cheap build.
How Much Should You Be Paying For These?
Generally, you can pick these up for around £40-80. Of course, you can always find cameras for less in second-hand shops but online you’d expect around the £40-80 mark.
Are They Worth It?
It depends on what you want the camera for. People will say “Well, you can buy this camera for this much” but in fairness, I think the Superzoom G series is a good option for people who want a nice, easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera.
So when you compare the Superzoom to modern-day film cameras which are around £50, it’s a lot better.
It’s reliable, compact and easy to use so yeah, I think it’s worth it. Yes, you could buy an SLR for £80 but, potayto, potahto.
Strangely, there’s a bit of a jump between what ISO each camera can read. For Instance, the 76G can read from 100-800 ISO and only in certain increments (so 160 film would probably be shot at 200). Whereas, the 105G goes from 50 to 3200 ISO.
I’m not really sure why there’s such a difference between them, since otherwise, the only difference is the focal length. So it does make me wonder if there are any other differences that I just haven’t been able to find.
What Kind Of Photography Are They Best For?
The Superzoom G series are best for travel and day-to-day photography, it’s that simple. They wouldn’t be good for street photography, editorial photography or portrait photography, they just aren’t that good.
The Superzoom G series don’t have any great capabilities so you can’t expect anything high-quality or inspiring.
Their lightweight and reliable nature just makes them an ideal daily carry.
What Kind Of Film Is Best For Them?
Personally, I’d suggest something like Kodak Gold 200 or Kodak Ultramax 400 for the Superzoom G series. Both film stocks are affordable and ideal for the kind of photography that the Superzoom is best suited for.
I wouldn’t really suggest any of the professional film stocks or anything like that because the camera itself just isn’t really up to standards.
How To Use Them
Luckily for you, all of these cameras work exactly the same and they’re all really easy to use.
First of all, you’ll probably have to stick a CR123a battery in the battery compartment.
To switch it on you just need to slide the front cover to the side. The lens should protrude and the LCD screen should turn on.
To take pictures you simply have to press the big silver button on top.
To load film just pop the back open and put your film into the compartment. Once it’s in there you need to pull your film along to the take-on spool then close the door. If the LCD screen goes from ‘E’ to ‘1’, then you’ll know the film has wound on properly.
To unload film you can either wait until you’ve shot the whole roll and it should automatically rewind or you can manually rewind it by pressing the small rewind button on top of the camera.
To use different settings is quite simple. There’s a self-timer button on top of the camera as well as a button to switch between different kinds of flash. Finally, you can zoom in and out by using the W or T on the top of the camera.
Personally, I think the Superzoom is a great option for someone who wants a reliable daily carry! No, it’s nothing special but it’ll take care of you if you take care of it.
I like it and it’s the kind of camera that I’d suggest to a friend who just wanted to take nice pictures.