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Matus
02-04-2009, 05:54
Hello,

I will be going to New Zealand for 3 weeks. I plane to take my 4x5 for those "100ft-from-the-car" shots, Rolleiflex T (I just can not leave it home) and I would like to add an Olympus XA as a pocket camera that will bea taken really EVERYWHERE - like kayaking (stored in a water tight box or so) as it is so small but still delivers very nice pictures (browsed here around and flickr).

I plan to keep it loaded with Ektar 100 (well, I have just received first roll to test). I may take a few 800 iso Kodak too.

I am looking for a nice one right now - what should I watch out for - weak places/parts? Is the flash good for anything or should I leave it home?

And of course - if anybody is have a nice one he /she would be willing to part with ... let me know :angel:

Steve Bellayr
02-04-2009, 05:59
Another camera that meets your requirements is the Olympus Stylus Epic or Mjui. The most desireable is the f2.8 lens but the earlier f3.5 would suffice. They run less.

John Lawrence
02-04-2009, 06:24
The things I'd look out for with the XA are:

Any deterioration of the foam light traps at the back, or has the seller replaced them?

The viewfinder is clear and there is good contrast with the rangefinder patch.

The electronics are all working and shutter speeds are accurate.

I never used the flash that came with mine, so can't comment on that.

Have a good trip.

p.s. Should have added that the above is in addition to the obvious things to check when buying a used camera - lens is clear of haze, fungus etc. etc.

Gradskater
02-04-2009, 06:57
I have had several XA's that have died random deaths. I like the camera, but I just don't trust them. I would second the olympus stylus epic with the f2.8 lens.

SimonK
02-04-2009, 09:23
Shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder doesn't read true on mine - which I understand is a fairly common fault, but the exposure is always spot on, so I guess it is not that important.
If the seals are shot, no big deal - just get a kit on e-bay and change them. It really is a piece of cake - if I can do it; anyone can.

John Lawrence
02-04-2009, 09:30
If the seals are shot, no big deal - just get a kit on e-bay and change them.

No, it's not a big deal but it's something to look out for - if only to use to bring the price down a bit.

Graham Line
02-04-2009, 10:10
I like my XA - bought it new when they first came out - but as it ages I've replaced light seals, had it cleaned, and my favorite tech hasn't been able to make the shutter release real predictable. They're getting old.
On the other hand, when it works, and within its limits, the pictures look better than a lot of newer cameras.

Matus
02-04-2009, 13:31
thank you. Frankly speaking - your experience does not sound too encouraging. But I do not want an AF P&S. And the XA is the smallest true rangefinder, so I guess I will give it a try ...

PS - does anybody know about some good place for a CLA in Germany for the XA?

John Lawrence
02-05-2009, 01:11
Maybe I'm just lucky but the only problem I've ever had with an XA is one of my own making - I sold it. Other than that, no trouble at all.

Don't know anywhere in Germany for a CLA, but these guys in Austria have an XA listed for sale on their website:

http://www.fotokor.com/

Maybe they or www.Leicashop.com (http://www.Leicashop.com) know someone in Germany who can service the XA?

Hope this helps.

gavinlg
02-05-2009, 02:08
Buy 2. They can be unreliable

oscroft
02-05-2009, 02:14
I've got an XA, XA2 and XA4, and they're all working solidly and reliably - haven't had a problem with any of them.

But I do like the idea of getting two, one as a spare, especially as this sounds like an important trip - they can often be found quite cheap.

gavinlg
02-05-2009, 06:28
I've got an XA, XA2 and XA4, and they're all working solidly and reliably - haven't had a problem with any of them.

But I do like the idea of getting two, one as a spare, especially as this sounds like an important trip - they can often be found quite cheap.

Yeah definitely. I've had 3 XA's, all in great cosmetic condition, and each one has locked up on me. Love them as cameras though.

John Hermanson
02-06-2009, 08:39
XAs are as reliable as any other camera. Ones to avoid are 1) those that are forever in self timer mode. 2) those that always give 10-12 second exposures no matter what you're set to. Both problems are brought about by a cracked ceramic circuit board (mounted on back of shutter plate). You can just see the edge of it if you take off the front trim plate. Close inspection with a good loupe will probably show a hairline crack. These defects are usually caused by impact damage that the ebay seller forgot to mention. Also forgot to mention how the camera doesn't work right, period. Ceramic plate often cracks right through the center of either a printed resistor or through the resistor area of the EE adjustment. Either are very hard if not impossible to jump. Stylus Epic is incredibly sharp AF camera, producing possinly the sharpest P&S pictures I've ever seen. John, www.zuiko.com

wallace
02-06-2009, 10:05
Olympus rocks! Personally, I'd always prefer The RC. It's heavier and bigger than the XA, but from dozens that past my hands, I had to give up on only one of them. Very simple and reliable shutter. ...check Mr. Gandy's article about the 35RC.
If you still want an XA, I could help you. Got 2 of them in very nice condition, together with A16 flash and box. But you better take my advice: take the 35RC !
If you need the 35mm lens and hate af (like me), than the XA is right for you. Here's some of my XA shots:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/302128948/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/303677482/sizes/o/in/set-72157594384674220/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/302952476/

Thomas

Matus
02-06-2009, 12:03
hm, it is not too nice to hear about reliability problems indeed.

But I have the impression that it is still easier to find a nice working XA than an RC. I could thing about Canonet QL 17 III as well then. Should I ... ?

- wallace -
I appreciate your comments on XA versus RC. I know the Stephens webpage s I know about other compact rangefinders, but to find an RC that does not need a proper cleaning seems impossible. And the XA is truly a pocket camera that delivers very nice pictures.
So - how are the XAs that you have mentioned? Any photos?

kuzano
02-06-2009, 15:11
Shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder doesn't read true on mine - which I understand is a fairly common fault, but the exposure is always spot on, so I guess it is not that important.
If the seals are shot, no big deal - just get a kit on e-bay and change them. It really is a piece of cake - if I can do it; anyone can.

I have two XA's that generate proper exposures, but one has a dead needle on the shutter speed, and the other is about two stops off on the needle reading of the shutter speeds.

Great little cameras, both, but I'm never sure what shutter speeds are being chosen. Pics are generally good however.

I have two XA2's which are scale focus and deliver excellent images. Frankly, I trust the 2's more. The XA2 images are quite often as good as the XA, much cheaper to buy in good condition. They do tend to vignette slightly.

My advice, find a good working XA with recent seals... You'll be looking at about a $100 camera. Then buy a working XA2 (or two) for about $25. I paid $20 for the two XA2 examples I have now (both working well)

st3ph3nm
02-06-2009, 15:28
There are seal kits for these things?
I made my own seals with black felt, glued in with contact adhesive - and the camera has been fine ever since (about 5 years ago, I think, is when I bought it.) All the photos I've posted here have been taken with it.

They're cheap enough, these days, that even if you do get a dud, you could just get another. Make sure you test it before leaving, I guess. I love the XA - it's not the perfect little camera, but it's the only manual camera I can think of that fits into the front pocket of my jeans! A lot of shots I would have missed just happened because of that - an XA in your hand will always take a better shot than a Leica (Bessa, Canonet, whatever) in a bag! ;)

Cheers,
Steve

Matus
02-09-2009, 13:44
I just got one over the evil bay (did quite some discussions with the seller beforehand). I will let you know once I have first test roll back.
Thanks for you help.

simonSE15
02-13-2009, 12:50
try to test the shutter speed somehow. compare the speed to your digital camera on the same settings if you have one. without any film in it put in on say 100 iso and f8 indoors. shutter speed should be long enough for you to get an idea if it's correct. e.g. less than 1 sec but not as long as 2 or 3 secs.

kramynot2000
02-13-2009, 13:14
I really like my XA and find it very reliable. I did change the seals after I got it just because they looked like they were getting old, but I've done that on some of my other cameras as well.

Only problem I had with mine was that I used to jog with it and my sweat got under the orange shutter button and corroded the contacts. I just pulled up the button, cleaned it, and put the button back on and its as good as new. I mention this because since you will be taking it kayaking, just be careful to keep saltwater away from the button.

Matus
02-13-2009, 13:24
I received the camera today and I am just wasting one Velvia 100 - goes off for development tomorrow. I shot form 1/125 dow to 4s as well as some flash stuff - so let's see.

As the seals now are just sticky black dirt - I will be replacing them as soon as the seal kit will arrive.

I will keep you posted how this little camera is doing in my hands.

Concerning the kayaking - I will definitely keep the XA in water-proof bag for most of the time.

Stanton
02-17-2009, 21:24
I have two XAs, several XA2s, an XA3 and an XA4. I've never had problems with any of them. Day to day, I use an XA2 because its relative simplicity to the XA seems to me to make it more bullet proof. Dave