View Full Version : Olympus 35SP or XA

01-04-2007, 05:50
I'm looking for a camera that will fit into my ski jacket. I was wondering if an SP might. Also is it worth it to spend twice as much as an XA?

01-04-2007, 05:53
Hmmm, I've never used an XA with gloves on. Otherwise I'd recommend the XA for this type of activity.

01-04-2007, 06:26
i need an image of your ski jacket

01-04-2007, 06:30
Thanks Andrew. The gloves probably need to come off. However, you do get used to them. Just like alligator skin boots!

01-04-2007, 06:37
Ruben, I can probably put a 35mm point and shoot in it with ease.

01-04-2007, 06:51
I've carried an XA in my ski jacket on several occassions, and it's always served well- but I can say it was a pain to always have to stop, deal with my poles, take off my gloves, and then compse, focus, and shoot. I might prefer something full auto while skiing- but then again, I haven't picked anything else up, and will keep using the XA this season.

01-04-2007, 07:24
drewbarb, P&S cameras are certainly a good alternative. However, I was reading up on T4s and Stylus Epics last night. Some of threads online referred to a DOF loss on the Epics and what not. It struck me then as to how much control you sacrifice with P&S cameras. I'm not surprised that you stuck with your XA.

01-04-2007, 07:36
Shutter- that's about the size of it, yeah. The other thing is that if the XA is fiddley and hard to handle with gloves, just about any P&S out there is even worse in this regard.

01-04-2007, 07:42
I'm not a skier, but I would think the SP would be too large for most pockets. Would it be just as easy to keep a camera under the jacket? If so, then the SP might be the better choice. Controls are easier to manipulate, although any real manipulation would depend on the gloves. Can you get mittens which have a "cap" at the finger end, such that you can pull the cap off and have your fingers free?

The SP has a good focusing tab, and in auto mode you won't need to set aperture/shutter speed.

The biggest plus for the SP, though, is the spot metering. You will have lots of snow around, and while you can compensate with the XA's backlight function, the spot meter on the SP is easier to operate and is more versatile.


01-04-2007, 08:25
The internet is a fascinating place or perhaps I've had a sheltered life. Here's an amazing resource for affordable pocket cameras (I guess most members know about this already):


01-04-2007, 08:41
Thanks Trius, I know you own both (been stalking!)

The gloves have to come off. I was only kidding about the gloves and the boots (NE vs. Texas) I hope Andrew didn't mind.

I'm also concerned about carrying anything bulky in case I take a tumble. I can always compensate for snow with ASA settings. The SP is very tempting though. Skiing or otherwise.

01-04-2007, 09:32
The Stylus Epic (Mju II) is great to use for skiiing -- it has a tapered body shape which enables you to slide it in and out of a pocket easily, and a rather large shutter button that's usable even with gloves on. If you need to keep gloves on, I'd think focusing the XA would be almost impossible to do.

01-04-2007, 09:49
Nick, those are real good points. The Epic is a real good P&S too. But, the XA is half the price! That's where it turns into an internal struggle.

01-04-2007, 09:53
Hey, Shutterfiend, I happen to have a Stylus Epic that I would be willing to sell if you're interested. I certainly understand your earlier posting about losing control of DOF with a P&S, but as KoNickon said, it is shaped well for your purpose. Shoot me a PM if you have any interest.


P.S. In further comment after seeing your later posting, Shutterfiend, the Stylus Epic should be less than an XA, unless we're talking about different cameras or I misread your posting.

01-04-2007, 10:02
Not to quash a potential sale, but the Epic (disclosure: I've never owned won) has programmed auto exposure only. It favours shutter speed, so even though the lens is sharp, you get limited DOF under low-light conditions. Some folks have reported that the autofocus sometimes seems off, so the result of either (or both?) is that you sometimes don't get the full sharpness of the lens.

I know GeneW has had an Epic/mJu, and eventually went back to the XA.

While your at it, another one to consider is the Trip 35. Zone focus and even less exposure control, but it really fits the bill for much of what you want to do, and is not battery dependent at all. It's a bit larger than the XA, smaller than the XA, all metal construction.... get one of each. This is a GAS site!

01-04-2007, 10:04
vrgard, I think I can pickup a used XA for about $30. Am I incorrect?

01-04-2007, 10:28
vrgard, I think I can pickup a used XA for about $30. Am I incorrect?

I would be surprised if you could. Not to try and force my sale to you (particularly since you're free to ignore my offer entirely), but the XA typically sells for something like twice your $30 estimate. Heck, if you can get an XA for $30, then I would say by all means go for it!


01-04-2007, 10:35
Trius, I read somewhere that selenium meters go bad with age.

I agree with this being a GAS site. The "Confessions..." post has left me feeling strangely emasculated. However, I have to stick to my agenda. I'm here to prove to absolutely nobody that it's possible to rival the quality and reliability of my wife's 20D, Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and MacBook Pro (she does weddings/events as second camera/PJ) with my Hi-matic 7s, a few other "classics" and one-hour photolabs.

I just noticed the orange line that lists your equipment. So all the research last night was a complete waste of time.

01-04-2007, 10:36
Trius makes some good points above. However, let's keep in mind that the XA and the Stylus Epic are really two very different cameras in that the XA has manual controls beyond what the Stylus Epic offers. Those very controls are an advantage when you want them and may be a disadvantage when you don't. For example, I can't imagine trying to focus the XA while wearing ski gloves. And it has no auto focus ability (unlike the XA2). Conversely, the Stylus Epic does have autofocus and, as someone else stated earlier in this thread, has a larger shutter release button. So, one may prefer to use a Stylus Epic while skiing. As for limited DOF in low light conditions, isn't that basically always the case due to having to use larger apertures? Also, shooting on the ski slope is not typically a "low light" condition anyway. Please understand that I'm not trying to debate these things merely to close a sale. Rather, I'm responding to what Shutterfiend has told us are his needs and whether the Stylus Epic is appropriate to fulfill them.


01-04-2007, 10:49
Randy: I don't disagree with anything you've said. (I think the DOF issue with the Stylus is a bit more than simple DOF, though; I seem to recall that its auto-focus function sometimes compounds the issue. But that's a different story, and subject to the vagaries of my memory.)

But the first post said nothing about an agenda other than a "camera to use while skiing" ... and now it's (also) about showing how inexpensive RFs can equal a 20D/Tamron combination in terms of image quality. That certainly livens things up! :D

Given this "new" information, I'd say go for the SP if at all possible, then the XA, then the Stylus.

Shutterfiend: Yes, the selenium cells have a finite life. The life is extended by keeping the selenium cell out of light (dark storage) when not in use. So if you get a Trip with a working selenium cell, you're good to go ... for as long as the cell is "alive". My thinking was simply with regard to the temperatures you might encouter. When the batteries on other cameras poop out because of low temps, the Trip will shoot away. With the XA, low batteries mean it's not operable at all; it is totally battery dependent. With the SP, you miss the metering but can shoot on manual. With the Trip, you still have metering AND shooting.

Oh hell, just buy an OM-1 and the 40mm pancake. :D Hardly larger than the SP...

01-04-2007, 11:06
All excellent points and comments, Trius! And yes, if picture taking ability trumps size/ease of use with ski gloves, then the game starts to get much more interesting. Particularly if one is concerned about battery dependency in cold climates. If so, then another camera to consider would be the Canonet QL17 GIII which can be run in full manual mode, has a large enough shutter release button, has a nice focusing lever hanging off the lens, includes a faster 1.7 lens, is still relatively small, etc., etc. As you said, things have livened up considerably when some of the constraints are eliminated.


01-04-2007, 11:14
Trius, that "was" my original agenda. However, I'll have to confess that GAS has been occluding my reasoning. In the last month or so, I might have had a few momentary lapses of reason. I might or might not have bid on and won the following items:

Yashica Electro 35 cc (too big for ski jacket)
Yashica GSN with auxiliary lenses
Yashica Lynx 14E
Olympus OM-2n with Zuiko 50/1.4 and 24/2.8

I might or might not have received these equipment at the office to avoid suspicion. I plead temporary insanity for my action. I was under the influence of a strong evil force at the time. I'm still under. Marriage counseling seems eminent.

01-04-2007, 11:18
Shutterfiend, you have truly become a member of this little asylum we call the rangefinderforum. Welcome to the madness and enjoy the GAS that you might, or might not, have experienced!


01-04-2007, 11:19
I'll have to confess that GAS has been occluding my reasoning.

joe: Is there anyway we can get this posted in the RFF banner as the official slogan?

ROTFLMAO .... yes, I confess I too have had stuff delivered to a different address...


01-04-2007, 11:37
Thanks for understanding. I feel strangely liberated. "Hi, my name is Kal, I'm a ..."

I'm sorry if this post took a different turn but it helped me a lot. Thanks again.

01-04-2007, 12:13
Just another stupid question about the Stylus Epic. Is it possible to lock focus by half depressing the shutter? I like the narrow DOF feature. I'm thinking candid action shots of cartwheels.

01-04-2007, 12:15
My name is Noel & I have not bought a camera today, yesterday 10x 58m rolls of APX400, 100x 10x8" chlorobromides, ... hic.

But if you are a downhill person please keep the camera in a jacket hip pocket rather than a rib job, coughing with broken ribs is hard, a flatter XA only costs $, same with a hoss, hence the cowboys slow draw rigs.


01-04-2007, 12:18
Just another stupid question about the Stylus Epic. Is it possible to lock focus by half depressing the shutter? I like the narrow DOF feature. I'm thinking candid action shots of cartwheels.

Yep, it sure is. Here's a scan of the page from the Stylus manual explaining this feature:

01-04-2007, 12:30
Noel, I'm not really sure what those things are (at least one of them is film, I think) but they all sound desirable!

Yet another Texan reference! I think I might have to find pants with pockets on the sides.