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Olympus XA1
Old 05-13-2012   #1
Harlee
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Olympus XA1

Lately I've seen several messages regarding the Olympus XA1's capabilities. I've been shooting the Olympus XA series for probably 20+ years and I presently own 2 XAs, two XA2s, and a XA3. All of them are in excellent condition and fine picture takers. I'm seeing several posts lately lauding the XA1 as a excellent carry anywhere street shooter. This puzzles me - why would someone prefer a fixed focus camera with two film speeds, not sure what the shutter speeds are but I know they're lacking, rather than a XA2 or XA3 as an all around pocketable street shooter. The XA is a bit more complicated but it would certainly fit the bill just as well. I've noticed the XA1 prices are going higher and higher while a good pocketable XA2 can be had for a much lower price, assuming it's working. Perhaps a collecter would want the XA1 for his collection, but I personally can't see it as my traveling companion. What do some of you think about this?
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Old 05-13-2012   #2
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i have XA, XA2 and XA1.

XA is definitely the best because it has the rangefinder.
i am not good at guessing distance
and the scale focus control of the XA2 is odd --to me (position-wise).

i bought the XA1 when my baby was born months ago
because i am responsible to carry her when going out
i though a fixed focus would a nice (secondary) carry-around snapper
--i sometimes feel that i don't have enough hands to play with all the controls of the camera

apart from this blahblahblah it was just obsession.
and ultra wide and slim is actually a even-better (secondary) carry-around snapper--no iso setting at all.
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Old 05-15-2012   #3
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Well, I must admit I hadn't thought about that previously. Good response!
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Old 05-25-2012   #4
Noll
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I used one for a week in the boundary waters. Put 2 rolls through it and wasn't impressed. Under ideal conditions and steady hand, the lens does just fine. Under anything else, well, I had lots of out of focus shots due to the short DoF at f4, so lower-light landscapes are out. It's also tough to hold steady while pressing the shutter and with the slower shutter speed this often leads to blur. It should really only be used with 400 iso film. Sure these things can be worked around, but I haven't gone back.

It's at least better than a disposable camera.
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Old 05-25-2012   #5
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My first XA was an XA1. Because I was still new to the series and I wanted the original XA with the rangefinder. "So, don't get the XA2 then," sez my friend. And so I see an XA1. Sweet! Not the XA2! So I bought it for a few bucks. Didn't realize til I tried to use it that there was a difference between XA1 and XA. Curses, naming scheme!

So thats why *I* bought an XA1 -- because I didn't know the difference! I ran some rolls through it and then got a proper XA. Never felt a desire to use the XA1 again.
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Old 05-25-2012   #6
Stanton
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I have representatives of the entire series. I bought the XA1 just to complete -- paid next to nothing some time ago. Never have used it. For me, the best street shooter is is XA2, but the XA3 would be as good since the lens and focusing are the same. I just have several XA2's and only one XA3 and I sometimes load my own 35mm and don't want the camera to read the ISO on a recycled cassette. Dave
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Old 05-27-2012   #7
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I like the idea of battery independence and the retro look of the XA1 selenium cell.
In the right situations I'm sure it is quite capable of excellent results.

I bought an Olympus XA in its first year of production. Recently I gave it away.
I had grown tired of its hard to see rangefinder and tiny hard to use controls.

I have never owned an XA4, nor have I ever wanted one.
It's rather overpriced and I'm not real fond of the 28mm look.

I rediscovered the XA2 when my XA was being serviced about ten years ago.
I owned one, a gift purchased brand new for a girlfriend years earlier, but returned.
She said the XA2 was too hard to load. I gave her a Kodak Disc camera instead!

IMO it's the best of the bunch. I now own one XA3 and two XA2 cameras.
They're all in my rotation of pocket cameras, one of which I carry daily.
Of the various XA series models I recommend these for everyday use.
Once you accept zone focus they're wonderful cameras.

Chris
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Old 05-29-2012   #8
David Hughes
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Hi,

I had my XA from new and thought it rather nice but fragile (it went back to Olympus twice with RF alignment problems). Using the XA nowadays I think it a bit fiddly with a hard to find RF unless the light is just right.

So when the XA2 appeared I bought one and added a few more later on as they became unfashionable and then a few more as they hit rock bottom and started to appear in charity shops for a couple of pounds. Once you get to know them, they work very well and are very fast as the zone focusing is carefully thought out and - best of all - is always in the mid position when the cover is slide back.

The XA3 was added later on (again a charity shop purchase) and is an improvement on the XA2 because of the +1.5 EV switch for shooting against the light. Although you can fiddle this with the ISO/ASA lever setting on the XA2: just remember to unfiddle it afterwards! And the XA3 is DX fitted with 6 DX contacts; better than a lot of more serious cameras, imo.

Naturally, when I saw the XA1 going cheaply I bought it out of curiosity; it turned out to be a very pleasant camera to use and the simplicity takes a lot of beating, plus "no batteries required". The problem is that it isn't a substitute for the XA but another class of camera in its own right. Accept that and you'll get on well with it and get some nice surprises now and then.

There's a lot of threads in RFF showing samples form them all.

And all of them have the advantage of a removable flash. So you can leave it at home if you don't like or use flash much. Plus there's a nice case made by Olympus but it works best with the flash on the camera.

Regards, David
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Old 05-29-2012   #9
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[quote=David Hughes;1891729]...the advantage of a removable flash.../quote]

i almost always left the flash (never like flash much) home so the XA(whichever) could just slide in the back pocket on my jean and here i go.
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Old 05-29-2012   #10
David Hughes
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[quote=pinkarmy;1891836]
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
...the advantage of a removable flash.../quote]

i almost always left the flash (never like flash much) home so the XA(whichever) could just slide in the back pocket on my jean and here i go.
Wow, that's two of us. Perhaps we should form a club.

BTW, it's the case that works best with the flash on the camera. A pity a smaller one wasn't made for them.

Regards, David
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Old 05-29-2012   #11
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[quote=David Hughes;1891902]
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkarmy View Post

...the case that works best with the flash on the camera...
i have to admit the flash gives you better gripping.
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Lint trap
Old 05-29-2012   #12
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Lint trap

Count me in. IMO a case is a worthwhile investment for a camera one carries in a pocket at all times.
Some soft cases designed for tiny digicams are the perfect size to fit an XA-series camera without flash.

Chris
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Old 05-30-2012   #13
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Lint Trap is what I'd say. The perfect accessory for a lot of cameras is one of those little fat brushes that screws back into a tube like a lipstick. Often I've had to use a bit of Blu Tak and rolled it over the body to get the muck off. Especially the flea market ones.

Regards, David
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Old 05-30-2012   #14
pinkarmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Lint Trap....
...?

...you are losing me enlignten me please
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Old 05-30-2012   #15
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I think I got an XA1, and for sure an XA2 looking for parts to repair a thrift shop find a friend of mine bought. The clamshell wouldn't stay open and I was looking for parts. Be aware that not all parts are compatible. But at least one allowed me to see what I needed and I got one of our machine shop guys to give me what I needed so my friend could use his.

BTW, not only is it an inconvenience when the clamshell door won't stay open, it won't engage the RF activation lever.

But I like my XA as a small but effective camera for many occassions. No interchangeable lenses, but a good lens, small to carry, and an RF. For me, it did take some getting used to as to how to hold it and still use the RF. Once I figured out how to do that to my personal satisfaction, I liked it, and still do.
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Old 05-30-2012   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkarmy View Post
...?

...you are losing me enlignten me please
Pockets tend to accumulate lint.
IMO a case affords some protection against lint and dust
getting into your pocket camera and fouling up the works.

Chris
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Old 05-30-2012   #17
pinkarmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Pockets tend to accumulate lint.
IMO a case affords some protection against lint and dust
getting into your pocket camera and fouling up the works.

Chris
...wow...never thought of this
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Old 12-06-2012   #18
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I don't know. I just came home from a thrift store where I got an xa-1 in apparently working order (not much to go wrong) for $2.

I love the little XA rangefinder so much, I thought it would be fun to play with this one. I'll post some shots once I've put a roll through it. As a street shooter with "in focus" from 5 ft. to infinity (that's what it claims), and nothing to mess with, it might be very useful.
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Old 12-12-2012   #19
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Yes, they are good little cameras aren't they. I have only run one roll through on mine but I was blown away with the sharpness and quality of the little fixed focus camera. My camera doesn't really like low light - it allows shots in too low an EV. In good light it's just fabulous. Sure, being fixed focus it doesn't allow the flexibility of a rangefinder or even zone focus - but if you just need to take a shot ...
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Old 12-12-2012   #20
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Here's a "Me too" on all three cameras, and as several have mentioned, I love the XA, but find that I used the XA2 the most. So used to pre-focusing both RF and slrs that the zone focus is a natural fit for me.

PS - Did anyone laud the brightline finder?
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Old 09-18-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Pockets tend to accumulate lint.
IMO a case affords some protection against lint and dust
getting into your pocket camera and fouling up the works.

Chris
I am 90% sure that carrying my xa in a pocket is what made the RF patch go away.
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