First Olympus XA Shots

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by craigd, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. In the comments to my recent post about my OM-2N, Patrick Dempsey remarked, "Now you just need a couple of Pen compacts, a Pen F precision SLR and an XA to round out your Maitani obsession...." At the time, I chuckled; I didn't think I'd be buying any non-OM Olympus cameras. But a couple of week later, I started thinking that I'd like to have a smaller, one-piece camera to take with me when jogging. The XA seemed like just the thing, and Collectible Cameras had one that looked good and had an attractive price (if not quite as attractive as the $4.99 that Tim Witt paid for his!). Here it is:
    1. Olympus XA
    Typical of Yoshihisa Maitani's designs, the XA is a clever, somewhat unorthodox camera for its time. The combination of features is very appealing: a pocketable 35mm camera with a high-quality 35mm f/2.8 lens, a coupled rangefinder, aperture-priority auto-exposure, and a 1.5-stop exposure boost switch, plus support for an add-on flash unit. The sliding lens cover doubles as the power switch, an innovation that became quite influential. Despite the XA's obvious limitations (most significantly, no manual exposure control), it is quite capable of serious photography. The lens is very good, and the meter chose good exposures under a variety of conditions.
    I find the XA a very pleasant camera to shoot, though the rangefinder spot is quite small and can be hard to see at times. It wouldn't be my first preference for general photography, but it's an excellent choice when circumstances call for a compact single-lens camera.
    Here are a few shots from the first roll of Tri-X I shot with the XA. These were shot at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, California one evening before my daughter and I had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.
    2. Geometry
    3. Model and Mannequin in the window of Bébé
    4. Sweet Factory
    I still don't have a classic Pen F, but the thought is percolating in the back of my mind... It could be really cool...
  2. Nice to see the XA working. Do all of your classic film camera lovers own a (negative) scanner nowadays or can you order high resolution scans with the development of the film? BW as well?
  3. Nice work with the XA Craig, I just sold my XA an decided to keep the XA2 instead just for the simplicity of it but, have not yet finished a roll thru it. The XA's are just great pocket cameras, I'm afraid it is going to make my Konica C35 another dust collector.
    Markus, I think most of us own scanners. You can get high res scans from some places but they are usually quite expensive. Most places that offer 1 hour film processing only offer low resolution scans, I think 70dpi is about the norm. This is fine for posting on the web but not too great for making prints, at least as I understand it.
  4. Markus, I actually don't own a negative scanner. My B&W scans are made with a cheap flatbed scanner from 5x7" or larger prints. It's not a very good scanner, really, but it's okay for web posts. Sooner or later I'll have to buy an Epson V700 or something of that sort...
  5. I was kindly gifted an XA by fellow Photonetter A. T. Burke. It takes tack sharp pictures, much sharper than yours shown above. Could you have a focus problem?
  6. My XA took a foot-long tumble from an coffee-table to a shag carpet and now releasing the shutter actuates the self-timer. Oh, well. I bought a 20 dollar XA2 to console myself and decided I preferred over the XA.
    Re scanning: if it is silver b&w film, at least develop it yourself. Given the choice between someone else scanning my film and buying a film scanner, I bought the scanner, a Nikon V. For color film, both Vuescan and the Nikon sw will produce a "premium" quality scan at the default settings. High quality scans of silver b&w, though, is not easy...putting it mildly.
  7. Thanks Tom and Craig, I did my own negative and flatbed scanning as well and agree that the XA can do better sharpness wise.
  8. The first shot is a little soft, I agree. The second is focused on the mannequin on the right and looks fine to me in the original print. The third is focused on the column of rock-crystal-like candies a bit to the left of center. I think I need to invest in a better scanner.
  9. Now you've done it. I hadn't known about Collectible Cameras before. Great, another sinkhole for my cash.
    Thanks for posting - nice and contrasty shots.
  10. Indeed Kayam, bought an "8"condition Kowa Six 150mm lens from them for $59, it goes for 3x as much on the bay. They are good people to deal with, and can take the time to describe items as their inventory is more limited than KEH-s. Their website address used to be called, but they seem to have changed it recently.
  11. Craig, you might want to check into the Canon scanners. They do a pretty good job for a lot better price than most other name brands. My only problem is that I got the Canoscan 8800F and if won't do large format negatives. Works great on 35mm and 120 film though (will handle anything I am capable of anyway). I think I paid $179.00 with free shipping thru
  12. Craig, did you copy and paste these images into your posting? (To have just one entry post for continuous pictures)
    If it isn't the scanning; Maybe the individual "Browse" and grab of the image from your computer file might yield better results.
    XA cameras, though typically soft at the edges, should give better centers.
    Hard to tell at these pixel "posting" restrictions, but the grain in the overall image does look off.
    Also, the "Sweet Factory" image would have been sweeter in color...

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