35mm · Film photography · Photography


When using compact zoom cameras, I rarely shoot them at anything other than their wide end. I’ve found that the zoom either leaves something to be desired in terms of sharpness, and also tends to be severely limited by small minimum aperatures. While shooting the Olympus Superzoom 160 though, I decided to see how it would fare with the final shot on the roll.

It always pays to be careful when using the zoom as, depending on the light available, the camera will fire the flash if you don’t manually disable it using the fiddly little button. Some zoom compacts have a mechanical switch to do this that can be left in the off position unless flash is needed, but most tend to flash automatically with the various flash modes being switched via a small button. It can be easy to forget this and end up with an underexposed shot if you’re not paying attention.

So, being careful to make sure there was enough light, I made the following landscape photo with the camera zoomed in. I can’t remember if it was at the full 160mm setting, but a good way towards it if not. The results are kinda what I expected with a definite softness apparent when compared with photographs made with the camera at it’s wide-angle setting, so I guess my rule of thumb will remain mostly in place.

Don’t zoom in too far
Disapointment may arise
From your photograph


Olympus Superzoom 160 & Agfa APX 100. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 12.5mins @ 20°.

Taken on 7 August 2021

3 thoughts on “Superzoom

  1. Huh. Ironically enough, I just got a Superzoom 160 and shot a test roll. The “wide open” (38mm) shots were fine. I tried one at the 160 end and it was more blurry than fuzzy, the problem with trying to do a superzoom shot hand-held.

    I feel that these types of cameras get a bad rap, as everyone goes for those overpriced prime-lens “premium compacts” from that era. But as long as you are not trying to do low-light or superzoom shots, they are fine cameras. And they are cheap! I’m wondering when people will realize that. Maybe when either people are just not willing to pay the high prices for the Contax T3s of the world (and the electronics are probably similar to the zooms) or the supply is exhausted…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I agree. While I’m sure that some high-end compacts do have great lenses and features, I’m not sure that the difference in price is worth paying. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the results that can be had with the “run-of-the mill” compact cameras, many of which can be picked up for next to nothing.

      Liked by 2 people

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