Once more, with feeling, in living color, the Olympus XA

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by craigd, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Today I got back the first roll of slide film I put through my XA. I have to say I'm impressed with the quality of the camera's aperture-priority auto-exposure. I'm not at all sure that my DSLR would have done better. I used the +1.5 stop exposure compensation switch a few times when I thought the light might cause the camera to underexpose. Each time I did this, I also took the same shot without compensation in order to compare the two. The uncompensated shot was consistently better. Smart little camera!

    The XA's lens can at times produce ghost artifacts opposite bright lights, as can be seen near the lower-right corner of #2 and the lower-left corner of #4. It is also not immune to veiling flare when the sun is in the image circle, and there is noticeable vignetting even when stopped down (these shots were all taken between f/5.6 and f/16). However, for a lens on a pocketable camera, it's still quite remarkable.
    I did very little post-processing on these images. For the first four images, I adjusted my white balance and exposure level to match what I see looking at the slides on my light box, and left it at that. On #5, I applied additional color correction because the shot was made through a tinted window.
    The film was Provia 100F.
    1. Sunset light
    2. Belmont Villa
    3. Park path
    4. Jagged building
    5. Waiting
  2. Very Impressive, even with the artifacts. I've always wanted to get an original rangefinder XA but the prices they go for on eBay tend to be on the high side, for me at least to think twice before buying...If nothing else you've inspired me to shoot more Provia!
  3. Lovely images indeed. How wonderfully blue the sky turns out in some of the pictures.
  4. Great little camera's. If your willing to peruse thrift shops they can be had for a few dollars. Condition varies from very good to poor but the amazing thing is after finding four( two XA's and two XA2's) in the last year they all work after a fresh set of batteries. Two of the camera's cosmetically were real beaters but with some cleaning and some new light seals they will work fine.
  5. One of the truly great compact rangefinders. Given the lighting situations you confronted it with, I'd consider the lens performed very well! I like the "Jagged Building" pic immensely. Thanks for posting, Craig.
  6. I also like "jagged building" a lot, great framing! I'd return there on different times of day and see what colors/reflections/shadows turn up.
  7. Nice, Craig....off topic: can anyone recommend a qualified repair person for Oly XA's? I just got mine back and something isn't quite right.
  8. E, XAs, being reasonable to replace are not usually economically repairable, but two places that will treat you right and are honest and qualified are John Hermanson of Camtech (www.zuiko.com) and Essesx Camera Service (www.essexcamera.com) John also stops in here on the forums, so if you ask a question here, you may get a response from him.
  9. I sure like my XA too, but your slides show the limits of the small camera. Heavy vigneting! It's not really a good choice for slide film IMO.
  10. Thanks, George.
  11. I remember when I first saw the Olympus XA when I was 12 years old, I knew I had to have one. I was ready to buy my first 35mm camera when I was 16 (I had used my parents 35mm cameras until then) and all I could afford was the similar but cheaper Chinon Bellami, which I bought in 1985 for $75 on a closeout sale (they had been discontinued right around the same time the Olympus XA had been). I used the Chinon for a few years and never really enjoyed it much as it only had scale focusing (no rangefinder) and no manual control over the aperture. It was, however, a nice small 35mm camera and apart from when the rewind knob came off while I was in Japan (fortunately I had a Canon GIII QL17 with me as well that took over) it was a good camera. Sold it on ebay in 1998 after having sat in a box for years unused.
    I just received my second Olympus XA in the mail today, having won it in an auction a couple days ago. Mint condition in the original box, with the manual and flash, the strap still in the original bag. I will buy some batteries for it in the next few days and shoot a roll through it. It feels very nice in the hand and I remember the one I had in 1997 and sold a short time later. I am hoping this new XA will perform well.
  12. Nice work. I especially like the "jagged building". When my family had a camera shop we sold the XA and XA-2. I still have an XA, several XA-2's, an XA-3, and and XA-1.

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