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View Full Version : What are known issues with the XA?


Matthew Allen
04-29-2008, 11:11
I've just bought a probably non-working XA on the bay for £9 shipped from the US:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280222571504

I figured that for that price I wouldn't be too out of pocket if all I got was a box of parts. In preparation for receiving it, I was wondering what known issues there are with XAs that might be repairable.

I seem to remember that on my Dad's XA the shutter interlock could be tempermental meaning that the camera wouldn't fire because it thought the clamshell was still closed. Is there anything else like that worth knowing?

Cheers,
Matthew

Teus
04-29-2008, 11:13
mediocre/halfempty batteries might make the fire not shutter. as you said, watch out with the clamshell.

chikne
04-29-2008, 11:16
It's a bit small =)

Matthew Allen
04-29-2008, 11:22
mediocre/halfempty batteries might make the fire not shutter. as you said, watch out with the clamshell.

Thanks Teus. I'm hoping that I'll get lucky and it'll work right off the bat. We shall see...

It's a bit small =)

Uh, yeah. I knew that.:D It's kind of why I want one. Admittedly the XA's ergonomics aren't as nice as the later Stylus but OTOH it has manual controls which are far more important to me.

Matthew

BillP
04-29-2008, 11:23
I had an XA2 that jammed. Nothing would shift it. I left it in a drawer for a year, then was going to throw it out one day and decided to take it apart first. I removed the baseplate and had a prod around. There were some cogs there, a couple of which had jammed together. I poked with a screwdriver, and it worked perfectly thereafter, although I was always careful to make sure that I wound on gently.

Regards,

Bill

kuzano
04-29-2008, 11:34
I've had a couple where the meter needle did not register a shutter speed, but the exposures were on the money, and I could verify by sound that it was choosing different shutter speeds, when I would change the aperture, or shoot in different lighting situations.

CK Dexter Haven
04-29-2008, 11:39
I bought one about a year ago. Tests showed it was too soft for my needs/wants at 2.8 and f4 at close range. I wanted it to take pictures of people, in casual social situations. I returned the camera because i thought the RF perhaps wasn't accurate. I've seen images from the XA that were significantly sharper than my results, and some that were similar. I have a feeling many people accept that, because it's a very small, convenient camera. Maybe there is also sample variation or alignment(?) issues?

Matthew Allen
04-29-2008, 11:53
Thanks for the replies guys, all duly noted.

Matthew

SteveM(PA)
04-29-2008, 11:54
Another known issue is that it's TOTALLY AWESOME :)

But the seller says he doesn't have a battery, and it sure won't fire without one of those! If that's all it is, you got a great deal (but I guess there's customs and stuff). When you start shooting, be mindful of your fingers near the lens...my shots are mostly of my right middle one.

Matthew Allen
04-29-2008, 12:00
Another known issue is that it's TOTALLY AWESOME :)

But the seller says he doesn't have a battery, and it sure won't fire without one of those! If that's all it is, you got a great deal (but I guess there's customs and stuff). When you start shooting, be mindful of your fingers near the lens...my shots are mostly of my right middle one.

I've handled my Dad's XA (which he refused to relinquish) and I can see that fingers on the lens might be an issue. It's a funny little camera - such a shame that no one makes anything quite like it now.

By the way, did you know that your posts are lent an interesting kind of authority by the reproachful gaze of your daughter in your avatar?:D

Matthew

sahe69
04-29-2008, 12:20
Mine suddenly became permanently fixed on self timer, regardless on whether the camera is set to it or not. Apparently a problem with the electronics, to fix it you need another spare camera, which is functional in this respect.

Damn.... I hear the GAS knocking on the door again....

D.O'K.
04-29-2008, 12:31
Mine has a similar problem to that mentioned by Kuzano--shutter speed needle doesn't show the correct speed (typically 3-4 stops too slow), although the speeds actually fired seem fine.

The rangefinder patch is also fading away to the point of invisibility.

But a great camera nevertheless--

D.O'K.

shadowfox
04-29-2008, 12:32
One more thing, be careful not to put it in your jeans pocket... it may reside there for good :D

Seriously, apart from common checks (clean battery contacts, deteriorating light seal on the back, clean film pressure plate), just stick in two SR44, test the battery (that little flip lever on the bottom right), check the rangefinder, and off you go to find a cheap film to test it.

Have fun and post pictures here.

Gradskater
04-29-2008, 12:39
Mine suddenly became permanently fixed on self timer, regardless on whether the camera is set to it or not. Apparently a problem with the electronics, to fix it you need another spare camera, which is functional in this respect.

Damn.... I hear the GAS knocking on the door again....

I had the exact same thing happen to my XA! But I DID like the camera.

BJ Bignell
04-29-2008, 13:14
On mine, the aperture blades usually won't close down past f8 without a little help. This is corrected by moving the focus from current position to infinity and then to near-focus. Sometimes, a rough shake is also necessary.

andrealed
04-29-2008, 14:06
The shutter release button is not responsive...I lose too much shots..
the rangefinder patch is too dim and little (but the finder is very good for its size)...the clamshell is a good idea, but often won't stick on "open", you have to check or the shutter won't fire..

(ok, it seems we are talking of a FSU camera and the usual blaming on soviet quality control...:o

In a word: a camera not to buy on ebay, but to check in your hands...I know it...I bought two from ebay...:bang:

TheHub
04-29-2008, 14:21
I've had a couple where the meter needle did not register a shutter speed, but the exposures were on the money, and I could verify by sound that it was choosing different shutter speeds, when I would change the aperture, or shoot in different lighting situations.


From what I've found out, the XA has two meters. One just for show in the viewfinder, the other regulates the shutter/apterture. Mine has the same problem; the needle in the viewfinder is broken, but the one controlling the s/a is fine.

I have an XA2 that has been working perfectly fine up until now.

Both are great cameras. I guess I would recommend being nice to them (they're supposed to be able to take a beating, but parts are no longer available so I'm extra careful.)

Matthew Allen
05-20-2008, 06:38
I thought you guys might be interested to know how this turned out. I got the camera today and having put batteries in it, there appear to be only 2 things wrong with it:

1. The seals are in poor shape - I've just ordered one of those Interslice kits to replace them.

2. As others mentioned above, the shutter speed needle in the VF appears not to work. The main meter must be working as I can hear the shutter firing at different speeds with different apertures. Fingers crossed that it's accurate, I'm optimistic...

Otherwise this XA is in very nice condition. The glass is immaculate and overall it shows very little wear, with the only noticeable physical damage being the small dent in the back that you can see in the auction photos.

Now I just have to decide if I'm patient enough to wait for the seal kit, or whether I should just try it as is. It's the sort of design that looks fairly light tight even without seals. I could tape it, but that's so déclassé.:rolleyes:

Matthew

EDIT: Just thought to ask - has anyone ever succeeded in fixing a dead VF meter? I wonder why they fail - is it possible that the needle uses a selenium cell (which would tend to die) while the exposure meter uses a Cds cell or something?

kuzano
05-20-2008, 09:38
If the gummy stuff isn't on the film tracks or plate, I'd go ahead and shoot a cheap roll of something.

I've seen them with tacky seals, but still be light tight. Actually the camera is quite well equipped with light traps without the foam.

zuikologist
05-20-2008, 10:03
I thought you guys might be interested to know how this turned out. I got the camera today and having put batteries in it, there appear to be only 2 things wrong with it:

1. The seals are in poor shape - I've just ordered one of those Interslice kits to replace them.

2. As others mentioned above, the shutter speed needle in the VF appears not to work. The main meter must be working as I can hear the shutter firing at different speeds with different apertures. Fingers crossed that it's accurate, I'm optimistic...

Otherwise this XA is in very nice condition. The glass is immaculate and overall it shows very little wear, with the only noticeable physical damage being the small dent in the back that you can see in the auction photos.

Now I just have to decide if I'm patient enough to wait for the seal kit, or whether I should just try it as is. It's the sort of design that looks fairly light tight even without seals. I could tape it, but that's so déclassé.:rolleyes:

Matthew

EDIT: Just thought to ask - has anyone ever succeeded in fixing a dead VF meter? I wonder why they fail - is it possible that the needle uses a selenium cell (which would tend to die) while the exposure meter uses a Cds cell or something?

Go ahead and shoot a test rol. I have 2 XA, both with almost non-existent seals. They still seem to work. Good luck.

Matthew Allen
05-22-2008, 14:48
I ran a roll of expired T-Max 400 (the old version) through the XA and souped it in ID-11. This is only the second film I've ever developed. It looks like the XA is working well. I'm rather pleased with my £9 purchase.

At f8:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2066/2514910444_41a85487e6.jpg

At f5.6:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2237/2514123733_a3563ca216.jpg

At f4 (probably):

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2171/2514953602_794440c30c.jpg

Not sure, but somewhere between f4 and f8 probably:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3165/2514956444_20b2d7a4da.jpg

At f5.6:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2411/2514164863_139a385287.jpg

Matthew

Matthew Allen
05-22-2008, 14:50
By the way, I'd still be interested to know if anyone's fixed an XA shutter speed indicator. It's not a big deal but I like the comfort of knowing what the camera is doing.

Matthew

Alex Kinnan
05-22-2008, 15:39
...be mindful of your fingers near the lens...my shots are mostly of my right middle one.

Weird... many of my shots with the camera, with most of my cameras, include other peoples' middle fingers...:D

Judging from the pix, that was a steal for £9! I paid around $80 for mine around seven years ago, on eBay, though it did have brand new light seals.

The main issues I have with it nowadays are that the RF patch is pretty dim and sometimes the shutter release gets finicky.

Alex

Matthew Allen
05-22-2008, 15:51
The main issues I have with it nowadays are that the RF patch is pretty dim and sometimes the shutter release gets finicky.

Yes, the RF patch isn't great. Luckily you have plenty of DOF at your disposal with the 35/2.8 and the incredibly short focus throw means you're usually close.

I like the XA shutter release. It's nice and sensitive on my example so I feel I'm getting less camera shake because I don't have to mash it down like with some cameras. In fact it's so sensitive that I accidentally took a close up of my face whilst fiddling. I was using the ISO setting as a more accurate exposure compensation and my thumb slipped.

Matthew

aad
05-22-2008, 16:00
I never knew anyone to bother with the display meter when it fails. For a cheap camera that works as well as yours, I'd shoot it and have fun.

Never had a soft picture with mine, BTW.

mackigator
05-22-2008, 16:30
known issue: deep user satisfaction

known issue: loves 400x, and that stuff is pricey

Matthew Allen
05-23-2008, 08:28
I never knew anyone to bother with the display meter when it fails. For a cheap camera that works as well as yours, I'd shoot it and have fun.

That's just what I'm going to do, the XA is to be my carry-everywhere camera. I certainly wouldn't risk dismantling it unless I knew exactly what the problem is, just thought it was worth asking as it seems to be a common failure.

known issue: deep user satisfaction

known issue: loves 400x, and that stuff is pricey

Hmmm, you know, I've never shot a slide in my life. I'd like to, but the cost is rather prohibitive, especially given the comparison with my digital stuff which is pretty darned good for colour. I can justify shooting b/w film because I can process it myself but not really slides. One of these days...

Matthew