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JeremyLangford
05-19-2008, 12:25
I am trying to decide on whether I like the focusing of an Olympus XA or an Olympus XA2 better. The XA has a 35mm f/2.8 lens with rangefinder focusing and the XA2 has a 35mm f/3.5 lens with a 3 setting zone focusing system.

I understand that zone focusing can be very good on the XA2 for street photography because you can focus before you look through the viewfinder or even not look through the viewfinder at all. But my main question comes from the fact that the two lenses are the same focal length, and the apertures are barely different (f/2.8 and f/3.5). Doesn't this mean that the depth of field has to be almost the same with both these cameras? Couldn't I just put three red lines next to my rangefinder dial on an XA and have each of those lines representing a certain zone so that I can use it exactly like an XA2 if I need to?

I hope I said this clearly enough so that you understand my question. I understand why an Olympus XA2 could be a quicker and easier camera to take candid pictures because of the focusing, but other than that the XA seems to be a much better camera. So if I could mimick the XA2 zone focusing on an XA, I would have the best of both worlds. Is this possible or does the XA2 have a different type of focusing all together?

Rey
05-19-2008, 12:37
The XA is a much better camera, both lens and internals. If you really like the idea of zone focusing, there are alot of better alternatives than the XA2. Specifically the Rollei 35. The XA2 is very inexpensive however, the rollei is not.

JeremyLangford
05-19-2008, 12:55
I like the idea of zone focusing but I want to know if I can mimic the zone focusing with an XA because their apertures are so similar.

delft
05-19-2008, 13:02
... Couldn't I just put three red lines next to my rangefinder dial on an XA and have each of those lines representing a certain zone so that I can use it exactly like an XA2 if I need to?

Yes, you could. Google-ing 'DOF' or 'depth of field' should give you a good indication about where you can put those red lines.

I hope I said this clearly enough ...

Cristal clear

Greetings,

Dirk

JeremyLangford
05-19-2008, 13:13
Yes, you could. Google-ing 'DOF' or 'depth of field' should give you a good indication about where you can put those red lines.



Cristal clear

Greetings,

Dirk

Thanx. I have a site that has an online DOF calculator. I was just making sure that the XA2 doesn't have a different type of focusing that is always to infinity or something wierd like that so that the zone focusing can be more accurate.

JeremyLangford
05-19-2008, 13:23
Ok. I have just found a site that says the XA2 zone focusing system is set like this.

(Portraits 1.2-1.8m; Groups 1.2-6.3m; Mountains 6.3-infinity)

I dont understand how the First and second zone settings can have the same minimum distance. Does anyone understand how that's possible without the aperture changing?

aad
05-19-2008, 13:28
Really, the zones will be the same and aren't all that fussy. The XA just gives you thst extra edge for up close and wide open.

kuzano
05-19-2008, 14:11
For ease of use... the XA2 scale focus is faster than the VERY tiny lever and precise control over that lever you must use to get the the patch lined up on the XA. The XA2 relieves you from that problem.

As I recall, the XA2 has a different number of elements in the lens, which may have something to do with the one big difference I notice between the two models. I've had a number of XA and XA2 models.

By and large, the XA2 models always produce vignetting in identical shooting situations. It's great that they are so small, since that makes it easy to carry one of each, which I have done in order to demonstrate my experience on the vignetting.

Frankly, I think they are marvelous cameras and one of the best things Olympus ever did for casual photography. I don't mind the vignetting... it's very mild and keeps the composition within the frame. As a consequence of that, the XA2 is the camera I grab most often because you don't really need a brain to use it... good eyes, but the brain can be left at home.

Also, hype has driven the prices up on the XA, while the XA2 is still often a "2 for $20" bargain. Right now, in our town, there's a craigslist posting for an XA for $75, and the only thing wrong is "occasionally the frames will overlap". He'll probably get it.

Gradskater
05-19-2008, 14:49
I have had an XA and a couple of XA2s. Once I got used to the zone system, and just made sure my subjects were 3 or 4 feet away and left the focus in the mid zone, my pictures were consistently better.

As far as the lens quality, my second XA2 seems to be very good (the first wasn't so great). I have done a comparison between my latest XA2 and a Minolta 7sII, and between those cameras taking the same pictures on a sunny day, I could not tell the difference.

Abbazz
05-19-2008, 14:49
If you really like the idea of zone focusing, there are alot of better alternatives than the XA2. Specifically the Rollei 35.

Or the XA4. The XA4, although a lot rarer than the XA and thus more expensive -- I bought mine for $150 -- is close to the perfect zone focusing camera. The 28mm lens really makes a difference.

Cheers!

Abbazz

ChrisPlatt
05-19-2008, 17:05
I have XA and XA2 cameras. I get almost as many keepers with the XA2, and it is far less fiddly.

Chris

JeremyLangford
05-19-2008, 17:13
Ok. I have just found a site that says the XA2 zone focusing system is set like this.

(Portraits 1.2-1.8m; Groups 1.2-6.3m; Mountains 6.3-infinity)

I dont understand how the First and second zone settings can have the same minimum distance. Does anyone understand how that's possible without the aperture changing?

nightfly
05-19-2008, 17:18
When you open the XA2, it's automatically set to zone 2. That alone will get you more photos. Of course the XA's little focus lever has a very short throw and you quickly learn where it's focused by feel, kinda like a leica with a tabbed lens.

The rangefinder in the XA is nearly useless so I always used mine as a zone focus camera anyway, albeit one with a lever rather than a little slip switch.

Really I think the lens in the XA is way over-rated and would buy an XA2 if I needed another one. I've had both the XA and XA4 and found them both to be great cameras for street shooting but both the lenses are not all that great and tend to have evil, ugly lens flare and vignette a good amount in practice.

For the money and availability the XA2 is probably the way to go.http://provoke.mediumstudios.com/images/20060421044452_kid.jpg

Great to always have a camera, shame about the lens flare- Olympus XA

sweathog
05-19-2008, 18:19
I have an XA2, and it is one of my favourites. Small, definitely pocketable (even with a flash on), fairly good all rounder. See pictures here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomswanboroughnilson/sets/72157604464432441/).

That being said, I do crazy lust for an XA. And the XA4... Hmmm, do I hear another GAS attack coming on?

manfromh
05-19-2008, 23:21
Whoopsie, I replied in the other thread, and didnt notice this one.

btgc
05-19-2008, 23:37
I think, it would be wise to get both and simply compare. People are different, so why rely on collective opinion, especially while we aren't talking about expensive cameras. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rejecting "forums thought" - I tend to believe in saying "one man's meal is other's poison". Who knows which model you will like more....finally, one can sell XA in couple of days, if disliking it at all.

There's great pleasure to discover nice camera being rated as "not highly regarded" or make conclusion "fine, very fine, but not my cup of tea". Recently I just got idea what Karen's site "photoetnography" means, well.

drewbarb
05-19-2008, 23:59
I am trying to decide on whether I like the focusing of an Olympus XA or an Olympus XA2 better. The XA has a 35mm f/2.8 lens with rangefinder focusing and the XA2 has a 35mm f/3.5 lens with a 3 setting zone focusing system.

I understand that zone focusing can be very good on the XA2 for street photography because you can focus before you look through the viewfinder or even not look through the viewfinder at all. But my main question comes from the fact that the two lenses are the same focal length, and the apertures are barely different (f/2.8 and f/3.5). Doesn't this mean that the depth of field has to be almost the same with both these cameras? Couldn't I just put three red lines next to my rangefinder dial on an XA and have each of those lines representing a certain zone so that I can use it exactly like an XA2 if I need to?

Yep. I use XA's employing zone focus as much as not- and the RF (though not the best) is there when you need it. I've never had a problem finding a working, affordable XA, so I've never been tempted by the later models.

gdi
05-20-2008, 01:49
I have several XA, XA2, XA3 and XA4. The XA4 really is a nice piece with the 28mm lens...
http://soundphotos.com/gallery/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=207&g2_serialNumber=2
http://www.tunachaser.com/modules/pnCPG/coppermine/albums/userpics/10001/_EPS1176-Edit.jpg

btgc
05-20-2008, 05:20
Objection! that color editions are made to inflate prices and make people nervous :) Well, in past I almost got red XA2, lost and later got similar concept, red C35 EF3. And Konica too made it in many colors! Pentax did best job - they made PC35AF (another sleeper) in military colors, weren't they smart?

Interesting thing is that people tend to pay more for "rare color" - if basic XA2 would be red or blue, black models would be sought after as black Electros and God save the Queen, Canonets are .

jesse1dog
05-20-2008, 12:37
Have you done a check on the specs of the XA3?
When you find one it could well be a 'younger' camera than an XA2. It was certainly introduced subsequently. Slightly more expensive but might be in better condition.
jesse