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View Full Version : Olympus XA or 35RC: Which should I get?


dimitriroleda
06-02-2008, 01:46
I'm deciding what to get between the two, but I can't choose 'coz they're both so good haha..

What do you guys think?

I'm buying either of these cameras for the purposes of street photography..So I want it small, quiet & unassuming in appearance..Which do you think would serve my needs best?

Thanks and I hope to hear from you guys soon!

ClaremontPhoto
06-02-2008, 02:19
They are both suitable.

gavinlg
06-02-2008, 02:19
The RC is more solid, but I like my XA as I find it easier to use. I also prefer lens.

oscroft
06-02-2008, 02:54
They're both great - I have one of each. My XA gets by far the most use because it's so small it will slip into any pocket or bag with ease (either the XA or my XA4 goes everywhere with me), and its lens is superb. (But then, the RC is also pretty small and has a great lens too).

If I had neither and was looking for one, I think I'd probably go for whichever came up first at a good price.

wallace
06-02-2008, 03:27
Having both cameras I always prefer the RC for far better build quality, better finder and independence from batteries. Since XA and RC are very cheap these days, I'd buy both for testing.

zuikologist
06-02-2008, 03:41
I agree - a good copy of each is probably a good idea.

The RC has the better viewfinder and rangefinder and is independent of batteries if used in manual mode. You also have shutter and aperture readout in the viewfinder.

The XA is tiny, self-contained (no case or lens cap required) and, for me, is easier to use if changing aperture.

Both have good lenses - the XA is 35mm focal length, which might be better for street photography.

sebastel
06-02-2008, 04:18
the XA i used to use long time ago suffered heavily from dust - to the point of no longer working.
so, i'd recommend to go with the RC instead, though i have no first hand experience with that one.

by the way: i found the trip 35 to be quite cheap and reliable, but a bit limited - still a charming little camera.

s.

dimitriroleda
06-02-2008, 07:29
I'd love to buy both and I would if I could, but the thing is I live in the Philippines and the shipping costs are overkill so I can only buy one..Besides I only have enough for one hahaha..

Hmmm deadlocked..What's more long-term between the two? (i.e. easier to maintain, reliability)

Oh, and I found out about the Vivitar 35ES, is that better than these two?

Sorry for the multiple questions..I'm really interested in getting my first rangefinder and I want to make sure I get the right one..And I have a limited budget and can't afford to make a wrong purchase hahaha..

wallace
06-02-2008, 08:37
I'd love to buy both and I would if I could, but the thing is I live in the Philippines and the shipping costs are overkill so I can only buy one..Besides I only have enough for one hahaha..

Hmmm deadlocked..What's more long-term between the two? (i.e. easier to maintain, reliability)

Oh, and I found out about the Vivitar 35ES, is that better than these two?

Sorry for the multiple questions..I'm really interested in getting my first rangefinder and I want to make sure I get the right one..And I have a limited budget and can't afford to make a wrong purchase hahaha..

If you are interested, I could send both cameras in near mint condition for a reasonable price, so shipping cost will be only half.
I have 2 XAs which I rarely use and lots of RCs which I love!

oscroft
06-02-2008, 08:41
Oh, and I found out about the Vivitar 35ES, is that better than these two?
I have one of those too, and in my opinion it's very nice but not as nice as the XA or the RC. I think the Olympus lenses are better. And it uses an obsolete mercury battery - I use an air cell which works fine but only lasts a couple of months (they run down even when not in use).

And that's a thought - I can't remember what battery the RC takes (it's a while since I last used mine). The XA takes an SR44 or LR44, which are easy to get.

dimitriroleda
06-02-2008, 17:43
They're both still deadlocked in my head! Argh..

I'm leaning towards the XA for its being all black, its compactness, as well as the fact that its batteries are easier to get (which lasts for about 1yr from what I've heard)..But still not sure..

What's easier to maintain/repair between the two?

P.S. Someone's offering me an Olympus 35RC for $45 (shipping included), but it's self-timer lever is missing..Is that a good price already?

wallace
06-02-2008, 22:39
The RC is far better built, easy to repair (look for Rick Oleson's and
M. Feuerbacher's sites. I have purchased about 20 RCs. Only one was not reparable for me. The shutter is very simple, never saw a RC with dead shutter. There is also an adaptor which allows to take normal silver batteries. It's called MR-9 from C.R.I.S. and costs $33.
$45 is a very good price if you can live without the self timer. Pick it up!

btgc
06-02-2008, 23:49
And that's a thought - I can't remember what battery the RC takes (it's a while since I last used mine). The XA takes an SR44 or LR44, which are easy to get.

35RC takes same kind of batteries as Viv does - hard-to-find mercury, just 625 instaed of 675 which Vivatar needs.

Battery itself isn't problem for both as solver-oxyde or zync-air substitutes will work, but RC has manual mode, not sure Vivitar will fire without battery, probable only wide open. Is this decision-making issue? It varies.

I'd go for 35RC because there's no such hype around it (it's recognized, though) and prices are realistic. Mechanically it also more rugged. RC takes filters (said hard-to-find, but step-down filters should be there). RC has Bulb mode, finally :)
XA is better to carry in small pocket, RC will fir normal pockets.

shadowfox
06-03-2008, 06:56
Listen, this is not a big issue. And you're going about it in the wrong way IMHO.

You have to try both to know which one you prefer.
Only getting one of them will make you go crazy wondering what you missed on the other one.

Both of these cameras are not hard to find, not that expensive, and easy to sell in good condition, so just find ones that are in fully working condition.

After you used both for a while, make up your mind, and let go of the one you like the least.

Good chances that you will keep both ;)

And don't forget that XA ownership eventually leads to ... XA-4

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2322/2226983454_7a051bb773.jpg

:D



They're both still deadlocked in my head! Argh..

I'm leaning towards the XA for its being all black, its compactness, as well as the fact that its batteries are easier to get (which lasts for about 1yr from what I've heard)..But still not sure..

What's easier to maintain/repair between the two?

P.S. Someone's offering me an Olympus 35RC for $45 (shipping included), but it's self-timer lever is missing..Is that a good price already?

dimitriroleda
06-03-2008, 08:07
@shadowfox
I'd love to get both, but I seriously don't have enough cash to purchase two..And I highly doubt I'd sell one of them, I'd probably use them on different occassions..XA for spontaneous, RC for planned ones hahaha!

@wallace
$33 for the adapter? That costs about 3/4 of the camera!

What other reliable batteries can I use with the Olympus 35RC?

wallace
06-03-2008, 08:19
@shadowfox
I'd love to get both, but I seriously don't have enough cash to purchase two..And I highly doubt I'd sell one of them, I'd probably use them on different occassions..XA for spontaneous, RC for planned ones hahaha!

@wallace
$33 for the adapter? That costs about 3/4 of the camera!

What other reliable batteries can I use with the Olympus 35RC?

The adapter is manufactured in small quantities, so the price seems fair. It is also possible to make your own adapter if you
can solder.
Well, you could also use simple hearing aid batteries. The only disadvantage is that they don't last very long, maybe 2 or 3 months, but they are cheap. It might also be possible to use silver batteries with 1,5V and compensate with ASA setting.
Never tried this out, still have some original quicksilver batteries
which sometimes appear on evilbay. These last for years (if you don't forget to switch off the lightmeter...)

wallace
06-03-2008, 08:35
Check this out:

http://www.buhla.de/Foto/eQuecksilber.html

dimitriroleda
06-04-2008, 00:04
Check this out:

http://www.buhla.de/Foto/eQuecksilber.html

Thanks for the link! I might get the $45 Olympus 35RC..

Do you guys know of a website which shows how to repaint a camera?

ClaremontPhoto
06-04-2008, 00:13
I think the battery in an Olympus 35RC is there only for the meter.

The camera works fine without a battery; just you don't have a light meter.

You can sunny f16, or use any other camera (with a meter) to get a light reading for the day and stick with it for a couple of hours.

Yes, I understand you about budget, I too am in a place where GAS is what I use for cooking not some hobby of buying and selling cameras and bragging about it.

oscroft
06-04-2008, 00:15
And don't forget that XA ownership eventually leads to ... XA-4
Yep, that's exactly what happened to me :D

wallace
06-04-2008, 03:55
Thanks for the link! I might get the $45 Olympus 35RC..

Do you guys know of a website which shows how to repaint a camera?

That's what you need:

http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-134.html

http://feuerbacher.net/photo/frame.html?repair/OlympusRC/OlympusRC.html~Main (http://feuerbacher.net/photo/frame.html?repair/OlympusRC/OlympusRC.html%7EMain)

dimitriroleda
06-04-2008, 05:03
Thanks for all your help guys!

shadowfox
06-04-2008, 09:23
$33 for the adapter? That costs about 3/4 of the camera!



You don't need to pay $33 for that kind of adapter.
John Goodman sells those for $10.

Email him at [email protected] and ask for it.

maggieo
06-04-2008, 09:34
I shot with an XA and an F3 for almost twenty trouble-free years. Then I switched to digital. The original XA is just a treasure.

dimitriroleda
06-05-2008, 04:26
You don't need to pay $33 for that kind of adapter.
John Goodman sells those for $10.

Email him at [email protected] and ask for it.

Thanks for the info..That'll save me a lot haha :D

Spider67
06-05-2008, 04:57
Hi i do not have an XA. I have two RC´s.
The RC is nice to handle and does work without batteries. Sometimes the RF patch can be a bit weak. When compared to a Nikon 50mm the lens is great.
On the other side the XA is newer.

btgc
06-05-2008, 19:42
Hi i do not have an XA. I have two RC´s.
The RC is nice to handle and does work without batteries. Sometimes the RF patch can be a bit weak. When compared to a Nikon 50mm the lens is great.
On the other side the XA is newer.


Hi i also do not have an XA. I have RC waiting to be little bit refreshed and loaded.
Weak RF patch, "electronics stopped working" and "stuck advance" syndromes kept me off XA, taking price into consideration.

RC is my kind of camera, so I feel after just keeping it in hand. To be fair, shutter release on XA-series is (were) innovative, cool and red (judging from XA2 I use) though I prefer conventional button better. Also size - XA2 is simple camera, but if I would have to deal with focusing on it, not sure if I want knitting lessons with tiny lever.

If RC would have low resistance button (read - no AE), I'd give it "five rolls" for ergonomics so I take off "half of roll". Wait, only "four rolls" remain - another "half of roll" goes away because aperture ring isn't designed for everyday's use, it's there for those who will run out of batteries in field or occasionally want to fool with manual settings - it's designed to be used mainly as AE camera with shutter priority. And I'm not saying it's wrong. RC seems to be perfect "four roll camera". Perfect. Except silly filter thread size, but for this I will not take rolls away, it's too cute otherwise.

wallace
06-06-2008, 01:27
As for the filter size: It took me long time to collect a set of matching filters but there's a 43.5 to 52mm adapter available. Check on evilbay..

btgc
06-06-2008, 02:36
As for the filter size: It took me long time to collect a set of matching filters but there's a 40.5 to 52mm adapter available. Check on evilbay..

Right, adapter/s is what I thought in fact.

Spider67
06-06-2008, 03:10
On the other hand I used 52mm Filters by holdig them to the lens which worked as the camera is small and light enough...

dimitriroleda
06-06-2008, 05:48
This if very informative..Thanks for all the inputs!

I'm definitely getting the Olympus 35RC...Seems to be the more robust among the two :D

I also read somewhere that the shutter button of the XA's would fail to work when it has been pressed heavily for some time..Is that true?

EDIT: By the way, according to this [link] (http://www.mattdentonphoto.com/cameras/olympus_35rc.html) the filter size of the 35RC is 43.5mm..So is it 40.5 or 43.5?

btgc
06-06-2008, 05:53
Yes, why not for occasionally used filter. If it's casual yellow/yellow-green/green or warming, then adapter or native 43.5mm filter seems better option.

In Mju period I almost bought Cokin adapter to use their sheet filters on cameras not having thread on lens. If one already has such legacy, it also could work for rare use.

UPD: I have seen complains about XA shutter, but can't comment on how often it goes wrong.
To be fair, I already mentioned I have XA2 which is nice camera with good metering and lens, but it costed me nothing compared to XA.

oscroft
06-06-2008, 06:11
I'm definitely getting the Olympus 35RC...Seems to be the more robust among the two
I don't think you'll be disappointed - it's a great camera. And yes, although I use my XA a lot more than the RC, the RC is more robust.

I also read somewhere that the shutter button of the XA's would fail to work when it has been pressed heavily for some time..Is that true?
Yes, I've heard of a few cases of that happening. But I've had an XA-2 since new (bought about 1989, I think), which I used around SE Asia for a few years and it has had some rough treatment, and I also have an XA and an XA-4 which I bought second hand over the past couple of years. And the shutter releases in all three are still working perfectly.

Anyway, when you get your RC please let us know what you think if it and post some photos (And maybe start saving for an XA too? :D)

dimitriroleda
06-06-2008, 08:21
I would DEFINITELY save up to buy an XA hahaha..:D

By the way, would you advise me to buy 43.5mm filters to protect the 35RC lens?

I read somewhere that it has a soft-coating, and I'm concerned about damaging it & having "spots" form..

btgc
06-06-2008, 09:19
As soon as you don't bump solid objects with lens, no need to protect - generally. Except you use camera in harmful conditions, and then think about protective case, too. And safety suite for you, in case if conditions are really bad :)

UPD: best move would be getting lens shade. Original are expensive and I can't suggest which from current to get. But it gives protection to image, and some say - to lens too. It really depends on type of accident - you drop it on concrete lens down, or gull hits front element or camera swims in sea. Best one can do for camera - use it, then it at least doesn't gum.

Don't overdo with lens cleaning, that's all. This is how I managed to scratch some on my first cameras. If you clean lens, do it properly. I promised myself not to touch lens in field if it gets little dirty.

dimitriroleda
06-06-2008, 19:03
As soon as you don't bump solid objects with lens, no need to protect - generally. Except you use camera in harmful conditions, and then think about protective case, too. And safety suite for you, in case if conditions are really bad :)

UPD: best move would be getting lens shade. Original are expensive and I can't suggest which from current to get. But it gives protection to image, and some say - to lens too. It really depends on type of accident - you drop it on concrete lens down, or gull hits front element or camera swims in sea. Best one can do for camera - use it, then it at least doesn't gum.

Don't overdo with lens cleaning, that's all. This is how I managed to scratch some on my first cameras. If you clean lens, do it properly. I promised myself not to touch lens in field if it gets little dirty.

Got it, thanks for the info!:D

Scribo
06-09-2008, 15:13
Dmitri,

The Philippines is a great place for street photography -- one of the last remaining places in the world where people do not freak when you whip out a camera. The only problem you will have is to keep them from posing and grinning.

You made the right choice IMO. I have two RCs and an XA, and the RCs get much more use. They certainly feel much more solid.

Before you buy an adapter, you might check to be sure that the original mercury batteries are not still available in the Philippines -- if not in Manila then some new old stock in some small shops sa Pobinsya.

sweathog
06-09-2008, 16:13
Having looked purely at the thread title and ignored all posts in this thread, my answer is simple: BOTH!

dimitriroleda
06-12-2008, 04:33
Dmitri,

The Philippines is a great place for street photography -- one of the last remaining places in the world where people do not freak when you whip out a camera. The only problem you will have is to keep them from posing and grinning.


Hahaha that's actually very true, although sometimes they do cover their faces..

Just don't shoot straight to their face, like that guy I saw on YouTube (forgot his name).

He shoots in-your-face and uses flash for "street" photography.

Btw, I might go for the Ricoh 500G simply because its minimum shutter speed is 1/8s, not 1/15s as the 35RC's :D

ully
07-30-2008, 18:40
I'm deciding what to get between the two, but I can't choose 'coz they're both so good haha..

What do you guys think?

I'm buying either of these cameras for the purposes of street photography..So I want it small, quiet & unassuming in appearance..Which do you think would serve my needs best?

Thanks and I hope to hear from you guys soon!



I would to with the RC, a quality product.

Bill58
07-30-2008, 19:11
I've got both. My 2 RCs have never been in the shop for repairs, but my 2 XAs have both been in twice for shutter release repair. The shutter release is the Achille's heel of the XA. The VF on the RC is also bigger/ better.

Michael Brandt
08-02-2008, 18:42
I have both and love them equally. My XA see's more action because of its size and its so easy to use, HOWEVER, the RC can become a fully manual camera giving you alot more creative control.
XA for a pocketable point and shoot with a fair amount of creative control
RC nearly pocketable with full creative control...and I believe a sharper lens.

You might want to check out the XA4 with Macro and 28mm lens. I love that one too

kuzano
08-02-2008, 20:49
Now.. different problem. I often forget I have my XA in my pocket. So, I got two XA2's for $20. The scale focus actually works better for me than the little lever on the XA..... in case I forget to focus the XA.

I also find I don't waste my time trying to see what shutter speed the camera is going to use.

Sonny Boy Havidson
08-03-2008, 09:51
Well... It depens on your own criterias:
- Shutter priority vs. aperture priority
- Need of AE lock or manual mode?
- 42 mm vs. 35 mm lens?
- Put in your jeans back pocket or hanged on your neck?
- Use of filters?

I own a 35 RC and have own a XA. As far as lens quality is concerned, the 35 RC is better. The XA finder is painfull to use with glasses and the rangefinder is not very contrasty. For me the two major interests of the XA were its pocketability and how quick you can take it out of your pocket, open the dust barrier, focus and shot. I never met another camero so quick to use. But I definitively prefer the 35 RC.

no6i
08-08-2008, 00:23
I own both including some other compact Oly like Trip 35 and Pen Series.
Really love them :)

IMHO, XA is stellar in sexiness, uniqueness, swiftness (in action).
But it is scratch-prone and hard to repair if any problems.

35RC is great too, I love its solidity and capability of manual exposure.
But I found I have a lot less fun while using it compare to XA.
Maybe, because it's hard to change aperture ring, maybe it's less sexy/cute and surely I love black body better haha

I'd recommend XA over RC mainly by the joy of using.
And it's still very cute and charming with Black OM-4T and M6 sit by its side!!

BTW, you may soon get both anyway :p

OlyMan
08-08-2008, 13:01
I know it's only been mentioned here in passing and it's not on your list, but I really can't recommend a Trip 35 highly enough for what you seem to want a camera for. Put a fast film in it and set the film-speed dial, leave the aperture on A, set the focus to the red "group" icon, and shoot away. Have a browse round the Trip 35 Group Pool on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/olympustrip35/): you may be surprised by just what it can do.

mh2000
08-21-2008, 11:59
if you are low on funds, look into the ECR... I had that and the RC and ended up giving the RC away. They both have the same lens, but the ECR is a nicer design IMO and with such a limited range of shutter speeds, being p-mode only is almost never a limitation. ECR's go for about $10.

Think about it, with 400 speed film (all I shoot), when you are outdoors you will be shooting at 1/500th anyway with the RC and in a available light work you are going to be shooting at or near wide open... and the little program in the ECR gives you the same thing. I don't miss my RC at all.

The XA is a great little camera... not as sharp as I'd really like, but the design and feature set make it a very unique camera... I've owned one since 1980 and am still shooting it today. If you want litte, it and the Minox are the two choices IMO (I think IQ is better from the Minox though).

Antony Compact
09-07-2008, 11:29
Get the RC, the lens filters are eassier to get, if assuming the XA accepts them. Then get an adapter for your SR44 siver oxide battery and the RC would be cheaper to run, without your over priced Wein Zinc Batteries

Sonny Boy Havidson
09-09-2008, 14:18
I have owned both. First criteria: do your wear glasses? If so go directly to the 35 RC because the XA viewfinder is painful to read with glasses. You talked about streel photography so I would vote for the XA as it is for me the quickest camera for shoting: almost 20 seconds between the time you take it in your jeans rear pocket and the time you put it here back.

Other criterias:
- Focal length: XA: 35 mm, 35RC: 42 mm
- Rangefinder: more contrast for the 35RC
- Weight: XA is the half of the 35RC
- Optical quality: 35RC is much better.