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Olympus SuperZoom 160 Film Compact Review

Olympus SuperZoom 160 Film Compact Review - Olympus SuperZoom 160 mini test

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Category : Film Compacts
Product : Olympus SuperZoom 160
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While this camera has a 4.2x zoom lens covering 38mm to 160mm, that would only be part of the optical story. In its construction it makes use of aspherics for low distortion and reduced weight, plus Extra Low dispersion glass to maintain image sharpness at the telephoto settings. It is also, the smallest zoom compact from Olympus to date, and even at maximum length the zoom only grows to just under 8cm keeping the camera very compact.

The body sits comfortably for both a one or two handed operation, but the design of the focal length control is unconvincing, using as it does a small raised lip on a control button that is pushed, then moved towards either end of the zoom range. This is fine in normal use, but with a slippery, very cold or a gloved hand, it can be difficult to operate instinctively. The battery chamber for a CR2 cell, tripod bush and film chamber access are placed around the body, but it is the top plate and around the eye piece that users will find most of what they need, but things are certainly straightforward. One button controls the flash mode menu; off, on, auto red eye, night scene (slow sync) or a combination of the last two, plus infinity focus, while another the self timer option. many people will prefer this simplicity compared to say the Pentax that has more controls to operate.

The information LCD is small and can not be illuminated either manually or automatically in low light and this did give some operating difficulties. A nice touch is a diopter correction dial but unfortunately this was knocked off of position with general use  carrying around and removing in and out of the case  so it should have a lock on it. Inside the viewfinder are parallax correction lines with closest focus at 70cm (wide) and 1.2m (telephoto). There is a unique cross which acts as the positioning target, but in actuality the autofocus system uses a five zone multi sensor which is a little confusing. The bad news is that the finder image jumps noticeably when the system catches up with the setting on the zoom control when moving to shorter focal lengths.

Verdict
In use this camera had the sharpest lens, but the viewfinder is small compared to some and also very dark, therefore a real disadvantage in low light and would not be our choice accordingly. Small with a very good lens, but not the best handling, the superzoom 160 is supplied with case, battery and strap.

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