Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom

Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom

Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom

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Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom

Ever since 35mm film ascended in the 1980s to become the primary film format people used, camera makers worked to create high-quality cameras that didn’t require the shooter to navigate an SLR’s complexities. Some of those cameras were themselves SLRs, albeit extremely simple ones. The rest were well-featured point-and-shoots, such as this Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom (AZ-1 Zoom in some markets) from 1988.

Most of us in the film-camera hobby equate Olympus with cameras like the svelte OM-1 and the sleek XA. Olympus was the master of miniaturization. Yet here is this large, lumpy, chonky ol’ thang that weighs about a pound with battery (223 or CR-P2) and film inside.

Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom

The Quick Shooter Zoom features a 35-70mm f/3.5-6.7 Olympus lens, of 7 elements in 6 groups. It’s not a Zuiko, but as you’ll see shortly, it’s no slouch. It’s set in an electronic shutter that operates from 1/45 to 1/250 seconds. The camera exposes in aperture/shutter speed pairs, biasing toward as much depth of field as it can manage. It starts at f/3.5 at 1/45 sec. at 35mm and goes to f/22 at 1/250 sec. at 70mm.

Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom

Like most cameras of this type, it loads, winds, and rewinds the film for you. Unlike most cameras of this type, upon rewinding it leaves the film’s tail sticking out of the canister. There’s also a rewind button on the bottom of the camera in case you want to rewind mid-roll.

The Quick Shooter Zoom’s buttons and switches control camera functions directly. It’s refreshing. The on-off switch enables single and continuous shooting modes. The flash switch, which delightfully lets you turn the flash fully off, enables automatic mode, fill flash, and slow sync for those times when you want to illuminate your subject and a dim space behind it. The flash adapts to how much you’ve zoomed, too.

There’s a switch that activates a close-up mode — the camera labels it macro mode, but given that it lets you focus to just two feet, it’s really more a close-up mode. You’ll also find a multiple exposure button atop the camera – press it while pressing the shutter button to make an exposure without winding. A self-timer button gives you 12 seconds after you press the shutter button. Finally, a backlight button atop the camera reduces exposure by 1½ EV for when the background is brighter than the subject.

The camera reads the DX code to set ISO, from 25 to 1600. It’s not clear what happens when you use film with no DX coding.

The Quick Shooter Zoom takes 35.5mm screw-in filters. Olympus made a set just for this camera, but you can buy new filters in this size yet today. This camera also came with and without a date back. As you can see, this one came with. But it doesn’t work.

This was an expensive camera in its day at $420. You could get an Olympus OM-2n with a 50mm prime lens for less.

I’ve reviewed several other 1980s 35mm point-and-shoots, as well. Check out the Canon AF35 ML (here), the Canon Snappy 50 (here), the Kodak VR35 K12 (here), the Kodak VR35 K40 (here), the Minolta Talker (here), and the Yashica T2 (here). Or check out all of my camera reviews here.

I first shot a roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 in the Quick Shooter Zoom. The first thing I noticed about the camera is how big and bright the viewfinder is. It includes frame marks, including for parallax correction when your subject is at 3.3 feet or closer.

Flowering tree up close

The camera uses infrared autofocus with focus lock. It focuses from 3.3 feet, or from 2 feet in macro mode. Press and hold the shutter button partway to lock on focus and exposure. The rectangle in the center of the viewfinder is the focus patch. The camera isn’t supposed to be able to fire if it can’t focus. A green LED next to viewfinder glows steady when it locks focus, and blinks otherwise. It’s not perfect. A time or two when in macro mode, it glowed steady when I was too close to focus on anything.

Tulips

To enable macro mode, you move a switch atop the camera. The camera immediately zooms to 70mm and disables zooming.

Greenway

You zoom with the knurled wheel on the back of the camera. It looks like an inexpensive camera’s winder! Push it right to zoom in and left to zoom out. It works very well and feels good to use.

Water

Unfortunately, all was not well with my Quick Shooter Zoom. Several photos had these faint areas in them. It’s probably a light leak from deteriorated seals.

F-150

I kept going with a roll of Ilford Delta 100 which I developed in Rodinal 1+25.

Climb on

One quirk I didn’t love about the camera was the way you open the battery door – insert a coin in the slot and push open. I also didn’t love how noisy zooming and winding were, but I’ve used cameras from the same period that were far louder.

GLI in front of the church

The viewfinder isn’t perfectly accurate; this ornamental dragonfly was horizontally centered as I looked through it to make the photo.

Zizzy

Straight off the scanner, these images were underexposed and flat. I had to do extra work in Photoshop to breathe life into them. I’m confident I developed and scanned them properly. The film was fresh. I’m not sure what went wrong.

Windswept Farms

To see more from this camera, check out my Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom gallery.

I really enjoyed using the Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom, even though it felt so un-Olympus-like. I liked that flash was off by default and that every control was physical. The camera was good to carry and hold. Except for the light leak, it made good photographs. The great thing about this camera is that you can find them for $20 to $30.

Check out these good reviews of the Olympus Quick Shooter Zoom by Peggy Marsh, Eric Norris, and Oliver Clarke.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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