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mh2000
08-15-2008, 19:37
shooting my XA... wondering what others think of the RF

alien8
08-15-2008, 20:09
View finder or range finder? I like the view finder just fine. I wish the range finder spot was more defined and easier to see when focussing. Depending on high bright the background/scene is, it can become almost invisible. But I can live with it... it's such a nice pocketable camera, with manual focus, who could ask for more?

mh2000
08-16-2008, 01:59
yeah, I messed that up :)

I meant rangefinder... the viewfinder is nice, the rangefinder sucks IMO, but I like having it... just wish the lens was as sharp and contrasty as my Minox GL.

gavinlg
08-16-2008, 06:21
I voted "excellent" as my xa is in mint original condition with no viewfinder/RF deterioration and the patch is very bright and contrasty.

Bingley
08-16-2008, 07:54
I wish the range finder spot was more defined and easier to see when focussing. Depending on high bright the background/scene is, it can become almost invisible. But I can live with it... it's such a nice pocketable camera, with manual focus, who could ask for more?

My thoughts and experience, exactly. I've learned to cope with the now almost invisible rf patch. Otherwise, it's still going strong. I wouldn't give the camera up for anything.

Matthew Allen
08-16-2008, 08:11
I voted for 'ok' but that's based on a well used XA. It's highly subject-dependant. Sometimes I have no trouble at all focussing and at other times I simply can't see the RF patch. It's often easiest to scale focus since with the 35/2.8 you're rarely short of DoF.

Matthew

ferider
08-16-2008, 08:22
Hard to say if it could be better with such a small camera. Maybe "appropriate" would be the right word.

Best,

Roland.

Solinar
08-16-2008, 09:28
The VF on the XA is more than adequate when compared to some of my other squinty finders. The RF apparatus is sub-par.

Earlier today I compared the rangefinder apparatus on the XA with my Leica IIIf and a couple of Agfa folding cameras from the mid-1950's. The XA is in top nick, but using its RF to focus paled when compared to the old Agfas and it was absolutely spanked by the 1.5X RF on the IIIf. Therefore, I voted in the "pathetic" column with no apologies.

mh2000
08-16-2008, 14:20
mine seemed "near invisible" when I bought it brand new in 1980 (I think)... hasn't gotten any better or worse over the years. I think I voted "it's just ok"

richard_l
08-17-2008, 11:21
I bought mine new in 1980. The rangefinder patch eventually got so dim that it was useless, so I just estimated focus. Due to physical limitations, optical rangefinders cannot be very precise on cameras that small anyhow. After the tragic death of my XA (due to a collision with a concrete sidewalk), I tried a couple of AF point-and-shoot cameras, but eventually reverted to the venerable Rollei 35, which is quite easy to scale focus (most of the time).

gdi
08-17-2008, 14:10
I just shot a roll with mine today, and, oh, is that patch dim. I have had it since the early 80's and it seems much dimmer now. I'm going to put a square of tape on it as outlined by Rick Oleson - it can work wonders.. http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-165.html

Trius
08-18-2008, 18:30
I said very good. It's funny ... when you look through just to <i>look</i>, it doesn't seem impressive. But my shots are all sharp (unless my shutter speed is crazy low or I'm one malt over the line) and focus is spot on. So, it works ... mebbe I've just mind-melded to it over 20+ years. Mine is pretty clear, but not as new.

racoll
09-20-2008, 09:34
Mine has a pretty bright rf patch and it's easy to focus with, so I'd have to say that I like it. Earlier today I was looking through the ridiculously tiny vf of an Argus V-100 and trying to use the rf patch in that camera...it makes the XA seem like an slr vf by comparison.

Andy

kuvvy
09-20-2008, 10:22
I voted just okay. I remember when the XA was launched and one of the contributors to Amaateur Photographer, Victor Blackman, a news photographer tried one and raved about it. I dashed out and gopt one too, trading in my fairly new Oly 35RD. Pretty soon after both Victor and myself came to the conclusion that the rangefinder was poor and we both sold them.
Shame really as the XA is a very nice handling camera and the clamshell design protects all the glass including the viewfinder whereas most others protect only one side. That said I do own one again though this is rarely used. I think it's had maybe 3 rolls in this year.

BillP
11-03-2008, 12:08
If your rangefinder is dim, cut a small rectangle of black insulating tape, approximately 4mm by 3mm and stick it exactly in the centre of your viewfinder window on the front. You will find that this increases rangefinder contrast considerably.

Regards,

Bill

shadowfox
11-03-2008, 14:15
In low light, it sucks. With sufficient light, it's ok.

Kozhe
11-13-2008, 01:47
I voted it sucks and mine definately does! :)

It´s hardly usable unless you have some great contrast between objects at the focus distance. Most of the time I set before the distance and shoot with no real focusing. Kind of a bad idea since I mostly shoot with 2.8

Thanks for the trick BillP, I´m gonna test it right now!

John Lawrence
01-27-2009, 11:45
I think a lot depends on the condition. My XA was in beautiful condition and the patch was pretty clear to see - although I did find the travel (or lack of it!) on the focusing lever took some getting used to. However, I put this down to my previous experience with Leicas.

zuikologist
01-27-2009, 12:26
Mine works just fine. As others have said, try the tape over the rf patch trick, it does work.

John Hermanson
01-29-2009, 05:42
XAs (and rfs of this type) tend to gather a fine layer of dust on the rf elements, this makes everything dimmer when looking through the vf. John, www.zuiko.com

MarkoKovacevic
03-01-2009, 15:05
Black tape worked great for me.

gasfitter
06-11-2009, 17:53
I don't know bout you, but I found that if you put your eye too close it is invisible, or am I just discovered something new, but if you have your eye like 2inches away its much better..

bucks11
06-11-2009, 18:01
My RF patch was very contrasty on my XA I foolishly got rid of. Found another and the RF is nothing to brag about. Might have to try the black tape...

Tuolumne
06-11-2009, 22:56
I never knew the RF on the XA was so bad until I bought one. I used to have an XA2, zone focused. Much better than the XA. Unfortunately, the shutter stopped firing on the XA2.

/T

ethics_gradient
06-13-2009, 04:14
I've had two XA's at one time and they had pretty different RF windows. One was a bit purplish and nice and contrasty, the other was more yellowish and not as nice. They both eventually broke, and unfortunately the one with the inferior rangefinder was the one the tech couldn't get working again. RIP little buddy.

feenej
06-29-2009, 08:52
Mine is okay. I finally got an XA, exactly a year after my XA2 died in a rainstorm. I got a deal on it at a camera store where the guy commented to me, "Wow, you have to have good eyesight to use one of these things". Turns out that it was just coated with dirt. It improved dramatically once I cleaned the outside of the viewfinder and rangefinder windows.

watchyourbackgrounds
07-06-2009, 21:11
If a bigger camera had the tiny VF and RF of the XA, it would be howled off the block. But the XA remains a favorite. It's DINKY and SIMPLE, and FITS IN A SHIRT POCKET...and the lens is capable of great photos.

amhildreth
07-29-2009, 04:26
I voted for "just OK". Over time, my RF patch has become less patchy. It still works fine, but it's beginning to show its age.

wgerrard
11-22-2009, 14:42
If the XA's patch was my first exposure to rangefinders, I wouldn't use a rangefinder.

colt45
11-22-2009, 15:26
I voted excellent as I just bought a new in the box XA. It must have been in a time capsule or something. The patch in the rangefinder is very, very contrasty and easy to see under all lighting conditions and it is even easier to use than the rangefinder in my Leica IIIf (Heresy)So my opinion is based on what a rangefinder is like when it is in as new condition.

Robert

ZeissFan
12-08-2009, 02:56
I have no problem seeing mine, and I wonder if some (not all) of the dim viewfinders might be a different issue. Perhaps the rangefinder window needs to be cleaned. Or maybe there's some degradation of the semi-gilded mirror. Just a guess.

ElectroWNED
12-20-2009, 11:03
my XA (now with stuck shutter) had the worst VF of any RF I've owned.

The actual window would close if I bumped the camera, causing the shutter to not fire. I lost a few pictures in the few months I had the camera. the patch was also pretty small and not very contrasty.

piumach
01-13-2010, 00:49
I voted excellent as I just bought a new in the box XA. It must have been in a time capsule or something. The patch in the rangefinder is very, very contrasty and easy to see under all lighting conditions and it is even easier to use than the rangefinder in my Leica IIIf (Heresy)So my opinion is based on what a rangefinder is like when it is in as new condition.

Robert

Hi, it sems that at least two different version of the rangefinder are there on the existing population of XA cameras...
Some people has red patch, some others a yellow one like me, which one do you have?

Thanks,
Nicola

Jack Conrad
02-17-2010, 04:47
When are they gonna put "auto focus" on these puppies?

fotomeow
04-01-2010, 08:56
I know of a guy whose XA RF is so bad, the RF is unusable, and he simply uses the camera as a scale-focus camera!

maggieo
04-01-2010, 09:04
My XA, which my dad bought right when they came out, is still going strong. The RF patch got a bit dim, but a swab with some sensor cleaner (I know!) on the RF window completely rehabilitated it and it's as sharp and contrasty as ever. In much better shape than my Canonet's, for sure.

Juan Valdenebro
04-01-2010, 09:27
Mine is usable. but I don't enjoy using it... It's pale and only clear with contrasty edges on subjects...

Cheers,

Juan

not_in_good_order
04-02-2010, 07:25
My XA, which my dad bought right when they came out, is still going strong. The RF patch got a bit dim, but a swab with some sensor cleaner (I know!) on the RF window completely rehabilitated it and it's as sharp and contrasty as ever. In much better shape than my Canonet's, for sure.

Wow, I just cleaned my RF and VF windows with a little lens cleaner and I'm getting much more contrast with my rangefinder patch.

viridari
04-03-2010, 17:45
I just got my first XA in the mail today. The RF is the only part of it so far that I really dislike. It's yellowish & nearly invisible. I can use it outdoors in sunlight but indoors under incandescent light it is very difficult.

maggieo
04-03-2010, 17:51
Wow, I just cleaned my RF and VF windows with a little lens cleaner and I'm getting much more contrast with my rangefinder patch.

It works aces, doesn't it? :):):)

MV72
04-05-2010, 04:21
Dim, yellowish patch indeed, but the viewfinder is very clear and big enough to see the 35 mm frame even with glasses. I tend to use zone focusing (f/5,6 - 3m), otherwise look for distinguishable lines to put the RF patch on.

DNG
06-23-2010, 18:48
I'll have to add to this poll, after I get my XA this week I hope!

randomm
06-24-2010, 04:39
I voted "it sucks" as mine is so misaligned that it is unusable. I have been waiting for a good time slot to open it up to see if I can fix it! Does anyone have good instructions on doing it ... I found some instructions on flickr, which weren't as clear as I hoped...

DNG
06-25-2010, 10:19
I Voted VG
Only because, if I get my eye centered just right it is VG to EX
Bright and well defined....
Indoors, it is "Just OK", usable though.
Lack of good light I guess.

Juan Valdenebro
07-13-2010, 00:58
I Voted VG
Only because, if I get my eye centered just right it is VG to EX
Bright and well defined....
Indoors, it is "Just OK", usable though.
Lack of good light I guess.

Glad to hear you got a like new one... Those are not common... Mine has an 80% vanished patch... Yet it's usable in good light situations, but I have never used its patch and maybe I'll never use it: I reserved my XA for direct sun at f/8 with Tri-X and prefocused at 8 feet...

It's a great camera design. I just aim and shoot, and get great images.

Cheers,

Juan

whitecat
07-29-2010, 12:48
The XA has a "decent" rangefinder. When they came out they were 100 bucks. Not quite the Zeiss ZI but a good fun camera.

07-30-2010, 00:55
I used the yellow highlight marker on the whole RF window. It sort of shades the area around the patch.

abumac
09-19-2010, 04:31
Sensor-cleaner and a Q-tip work for me. The patch is yellow but contrasty. It's not a Leica, but it works ik.

lxmike
10-04-2010, 14:10
I wear glasses and when shooting into sunlight I find the viewfinder and rangefinder and meter information difficult to read and not so keen on the flare I sometimes experience in the viewfinder

olympusVFRF
10-09-2010, 15:07
I had one that sold a few weeks ago and the viewfinder was very clean & bright (like new), and the rangefinder was has good as many others i have, and i have quite a few...

tokengirl
10-10-2010, 03:52
The XA has a rangefinder patch? ;)


I don't mind, I love the camera anyways. It's not like it's difficult to zone focus at f16 anyways. :p

mackigator
10-10-2010, 06:33
I have four XA's at the moment, two broken, two working. Using the broken ones as test beds, I've been learning to clean the RF mechanism (and look for other obvious problems).

It is possible to clean the XA VF/RF windows and it does make for a significant improvement in operation. On my XA with the dimmest patch (basically nonexistent) cleaning all the surfaces in the light path brought the VF up in brightness and gave me a crisp, if slightly dim, focusing patch. It can now be focused in low light. This is significant improvement and makes me think that all dim XA's can be brought up to much better functionality.

I found these links helpful:
http://forum.manualfocus.org/viewtopic.php?id=16360
http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/forum/messages/6901/2122.html
http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/repairmanuals.html
http://brashear.phys.appstate.edu/lhawkins/photo/xa.faq.html

As is pointed out in those links, take special care not to lose the small metal cylinder that floats under the sliding cover - it is responsible for the "click" into place.

Having done it, I would try cleaning the VF/RF before deciding to apply the black tape trick, which can also help. Here's that hack for anyone who needs a quick "improvement."

http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-165.html

matthewm
06-30-2011, 03:27
I no longer have an XA. I had four of them at various times and at best, one was good enough to use indoors under normal tungsten lighting conditions. The others could only be used within 2 miles of the sun. I thought it was an XA thing that the RF patch was so faint, but apparently, mine were just old and faded.

Does anyone service the RF's in the little XAs anymore? Would be nice to get one and have it brightened up. It's a great little camera!

stupid leica
08-05-2011, 11:26
considering it fits in my pocket, has aperture priority, is deadly silent, and has a base length of only like 2mm, i think it is pretty darn good.
takes great shots too.

oftheherd
11-06-2011, 19:41
I don't know why this thread jumped up since its last entry seems to be 3 monthis ago, but I am glad. Thanks to makigator for his comments and links. I have one that now works well except for the metal pin mentioned that keeps the clam shell cover clicked open. I figured out something went there, but didn't know what. If the clam shell isn't engaged by the pin, it won't stay fully opened, and the lever that opens the RF patch and AE won't engage.

I may try the trick of the wooden toothpick mentioned above, or see the machine shop people where I work to see it they have something that might substitute.

Greyscale
11-11-2011, 18:17
I don't know why this thread jumped up since its last entry seems to be 3 monthis ago, but I am glad. Thanks to makigator for his comments and links. I have one that now works well except for the metal pin mentioned that keeps the clam shell cover clicked open. I figured out something went there, but didn't know what. If the clam shell isn't engaged by the pin, it won't stay fully opened, and the lever that opens the RF patch and AE won't engage.

I may try the trick of the wooden toothpick mentioned above, or see the machine shop people where I work to see it they have something that might substitute.I have one that is also missing the roller, but my clamshell seems to have no problem staying open. I guess that I better not try cleaning it any. ;)