I’ve been on an ongoing quest for the perfect riding camera. Unlike the original Stylus models which have attained cult status, this zoom version can be had for dirt cheap. It was worth a shot.
For this first roll I pulled Tri-X one stop for a classic look from a not-so-classic point-and-shoot. I couldn’t manually set the film speed, so I hacked the DX encoding using a blade and some vinyl tape. Developed in Xtol. The photos turned out punchy even when I exposed for the shadows.
- While it’s bulky for an ultra-compact, its girth provides ample grip even when gloved.
- Its contoured form slips easily in and out of jersey pockets despite its size.
- The sliding lens cover and weather-resistance allows for quick, care-free use.
- Powers up to a useful, slightly wide 28mm focal length.
- A breeze to shoot thanks to modern conveniences like autofocus, autoexposure, and built-in flash.
- Heavy for an ultra-compact; there’s no upside to this on the bike.
- The tiny viewfinder and vague markings make framing a challenge even without eyewear.
- Its tired, erratic motor whine does not inspire confidence.
- Disabling the flash—which is on by default—requires awkward fiddling.
- The champagne-colored plastic body doesn’t exactly embody the spirit of analog photography.
Imagine stopping on the side of the road to catch a fleeting scene on film while your riding buddies patiently humor you or—worse—ride off into the distance. While I normally prefer to have more control over my exposures, in this situation the Stylus wins hands down. It’s quick on the draw and simple to shoot. I do wish it was slimmer and lighter, but for twelve bucks I can’t complain.