Olympus XA (the first)

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by swede, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. swede

    swede Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I just won a bid on a XA with a11 flash. Original box and documents included. Price 65 usd.
    Seller says its like new and working great. I didnt acctually knew about the XA or any Olympus film camera for that matter new to the brand as i am. But the rangefinder style, fixed lens and size really drew my attention.

    I didnt find so much information on the net but it seems its a likeable camera if one has the time to learn. I look forward to give it a go but will only use it occationaly.

    Would love to get any input about it from you people here that has it.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. AdamSF

    AdamSF Shutterbugger

    Oct 13, 2013
    San Francisco, CA
    I was watching that sale! I've been wanting one for a while now. I had the XA2 in the 1980s. These are great little cameras.
  3. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
  4. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I still have one of them, with flash, that I bought new in the 80's! It was revolutionary in its day for the lens design that made it so flat.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    +1 I believe mine is the XA3, with flash and original suede Olympus case. The next smallest thing to a Minox, and I love the clamshell design.
  6. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    I've had several of these - currently one too many :)  - I bought one for memory's sake, and then had one returned from an old friend who took it abroad and abused it. It was my go-to leisure camera for cycling and people-watching in pre-digital days, with a super compact and rugged design and a great little 35mm f2.8 Zuiko "full frame" lens. I recall my cycling buddy once left one on a fence-post in Vermont after shooting a selfie!
  7. qppoiz

    qppoiz Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 24, 2013
    Love mine!!


    I carry the little thing in my coat pocket all the time.

    There is definitely a lot of info about the camera online. Start here: http://www.diaxa.com/xa.htm, and then check out the XA group on Flickr.

    I keep my camera at f8 and focused to infinity, just in case I don't have enough time to focus. Also be very very careful when composing your shots after winding the film: the shutter button is very very sensitive.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. AdamSF

    AdamSF Shutterbugger

    Oct 13, 2013
    San Francisco, CA
    If anyone wants to part with an XA, let me know! (not an XA2 or 3 or 4, though.)
  9. edwardconde

    edwardconde Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I had a little G.A.S when i heard and found the XAs… I now own the XA, XA2 & XA4… I use them a lot! They are great little cameras…
  10. atnbirdie

    atnbirdie Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2013
    I have an XA with flash that I no longer use. PM me if you're interested. Still have original manuals for both.
  11. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro

  12. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I carried one with me for well over 20 years, during my stint in the military and all. Bouight it in '79, when it was brans new and almost as expensive as a Canon AE program (650 dutch guilders, an AE could be had for 750).

    Great little camera. Lens is not bad at all, the 30x40 cm prints were good enough for exhibition, with sharpness buried under 400 asa grain.
    The -1.5 back-lit compensation was usually enough for black and white, and with the full aperture range and a very usable range-finder, it was a serious tool. I glued a dof scale to the back, and it all worked like a charm.

    Mine survived several drops to the ground, a plunge into water and me standing on it. It only died with boredom while doing nothing on a shelve for the last 15 years...

    • Like Like x 4
  13. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    It is a wonderful, take anywhere camera that makes you just want to pick it up and shoot with it. If the rangefinder is too dim, as they often are now, either put a tiny piece of black tape in the center front of the viewfinder window, or use a sharpie to make a dot. You might have to experiment with placement a bit, but it really can make a remarkable difference in the usability of the range-finder focus. Congratulations. It's a wonderful and fun little camera. Here are a couple of shots I made with mine. Negatives scanned on a Coolscan 9000:


    The second one was developed in HC110, dilution H, which produces a distinct grain that I sometimes like. I actually don't remember what the first was developed in and I'm not where I can access the information. Fun camera, though: stick it in a pocket and it is ready anywhere, anytime. Good Luck! You may find that you use it more than occasionally. I go through spurts using mine, largely depending on my film budget. Also, developing your own B&W film can be fun and it is not that hard to do basic processing.

    • Like Like x 3
  14. swede

    swede Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    Thanks for the answers all!

    Viewfinder window is in perfect condition acording to the seller.

    im really looking forward to this, and will have to set up somekind of workflow for film.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    swede: Get a good scanner :)  Seriously, for starters, a lab that does good scans and offers CDs along with the negatives should be sufficient, but if you want the same experience as processing from RAW, a scanner is the way to go.

    On the XA: When I was younger, I preferred my Minox (GT, later GT-E) to my father's XA for its image quality (it delivers better colour and very contrasty images). But the XA is an engineering marvel, and the fact that it's a rangefinder makes it considerably more versatile than the Minox. Nowadays, I actually like the XA better than the Minox because of the rangefinder - the results are much more predictable, and the number of keepers is higher. And yes, the XA is mine now since my father gave up on film!

    • Like Like x 1
    • Like Like x 3
  16. edwardconde

    edwardconde Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA

    Pushing Ektar with the XA!!! Dig this little beasts!!!
    • Like Like x 2
  17. AdamSF

    AdamSF Shutterbugger

    Oct 13, 2013
    San Francisco, CA

    I'm excited now!
  18. AdamSF

    AdamSF Shutterbugger

    Oct 13, 2013
    San Francisco, CA

    That's a great photo!
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Thanks Adam! That's from the NRAO in Green Bank, WV, where digital photography is not allowed so as not to interfere with the delicate measurements being made by radio astronomers. I intended to shoot the site with my old Canon AE-1 but the battery died, luckily I had the XA as a backup.
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