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Oly XA RF patch contrast
Old 04-07-2014   #1
Robin Harrison
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Oly XA RF patch contrast

I still rate the XA up there as one of the best cameras ever designed. A wonderful (mini) beast. From time to time I come across mine in the camera drawer, think I should put a roll through it, but then look through the VF and am reminded about the RF patch. The copy I've got, indoors at least, does not 'snap' like a good RF should.

I'm wondering - should I pick up another copy to compare? I realise that the mirroring in a RF mechanism can degrade over time. Do XAs suffer from this? Are some XAs clearly superior to others in this regard? It so, it seems there is no objective way for a seller to relay this.
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Old 04-07-2014   #2
lxmike
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I owned three Xa over the last few years and in bright sunlight the veiwfinders were prone to flare and indoors the rangefinder patches were hard to see
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Old 04-07-2014   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lxmike View Post
I owned three Xa over the last few years and in bright sunlight the veiwfinders were prone to flare and indoors the rangefinder patches were hard to see
Fair enough. And you don't recall much variation between the three?
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XA rangefinder patch contrast
Old 04-07-2014   #4
mackigator
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XA rangefinder patch contrast

I own several XA's and the patch contrast does vary; all have faded considerably from what I assume was acceptable when new. Still, even with the worst of my lot, I am able to take good pictures. I've also learned:

1. These cameras can be cleaned. Top plate removal is not hard and can give you perhaps a 25% improvement in contrast, once you clean all the reflective and transparent surfaces in the RF path. Here's a set of instructions: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=137072

2. You can, either before or after cleaning, apply the tape/sharpie trick to get an increase in contrast. Here's the hack: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-165.html

Good luck with yours!
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Old 04-07-2014   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackigator View Post
I own several XA's and the patch contrast does vary; all have faded considerably from what I assume was acceptable when new. Still, even with the worst of my lot, I am able to take good pictures. I've also learned:

1. These cameras can be cleaned. Top plate removal is not hard and can give you perhaps a 25% improvement in contrast, once you clean all the reflective and transparent surfaces in the RF path. Here's a set of instructions: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=137072

2. You can, either before or after cleaning, apply the tape/sharpie trick to get an increase in contrast. Here's the hack: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-165.html

Good luck with yours!
Ah, super tips, thanks! Will try out the second one first (the top plate removal looks a bit dangerous for my fat fingers with those wires everywhere!)
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Old 04-07-2014   #6
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I have one I am trying to sell over on apug. I took a number of good photos over the years with it when my eyes were better. I resorted to the little square of tape on the window and that helped, but recently picked up a 35RC. What it gives up in portability, it makes up in RF contrast.
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Old 04-07-2014   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Harrison View Post
Fair enough. And you don't recall much variation between the three?
two were quite similar but my first XA owned in the early 1980s was slightly better
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Old 04-10-2014   #8
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Try zone focusing with the distance scale. It's easier that you might think. It's a little liberating too. You can also take candid shots this camera is so quiet.
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Old 04-10-2014   #9
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Mine's fine so there are good examples too.
And agreed, it's one of the finest cameras ever build.
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Old 04-10-2014   #10
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Zone focus is my solution too, works fine. I think I had mine open at some point and decided not to try to get into the finder block, it looked too involved at the time.
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Old 04-10-2014   #11
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Tape trick is a lifesaver, I've had mine like that for five years or so. It's awesome, I love this camera.
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Old 04-10-2014   #12
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I have my XA cleaned by myself, it improved RF double images from almost invisible to visible somehow

But even at f2.8 it isn't difficult for zone focusing.
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Old 04-10-2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I have my XA cleaned by myself, it improved RF double images from almost invisible to visible somehow

But even at f2.8 it isn't difficult for zone focusing.
Hi,
How easy or difficult is it to do a DIY clean-up of the viewfinder/rangefinder? I have two XA's which are useable but, on both, the RF patch probably could be brighter.
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Old 04-10-2014   #14
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The main thing to know is that opening it is different than the XA2, there's a screw under the red button, which is just a layer of red plastic glued to the button mechanism. You have to peel it off to get at the screw. It's not the screw on the little black piece, it's the other one. (None of this is true of the XA2 though.) And don't lose the cylindrical bearing for the sliding cover when you take it off.
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Old 04-11-2014   #15
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Hi,

My XA's RF was clearer when I bought it new years and years ago but my eyesight was better then, too.

Regards, David
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Old 04-11-2014   #16
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Mine has a a bit of sharpie tape on the VF as suggested here. I've seen better RF patches and worse .. it's usable although I prefer to use that thing in zone focusing (and lately it has not much use since the Contax T2 is my new pocket-able)
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Old 04-11-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchu View Post
The main thing to know is that opening it is different than the XA2, there's a screw under the red button, which is just a layer of red plastic glued to the button mechanism. You have to peel it off to get at the screw. It's not the screw on the little black piece, it's the other one. (None of this is true of the XA2 though.) And don't lose the cylindrical bearing for the sliding cover when you take it off.
Definitively need to be careful of that, but a piece of wire the same diameter can be cut and polished as a replacement. I once did that for a friend of mine.

Robin Harrison - Thanks for those links again. I had forgotten about them.
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Old 04-12-2014   #18
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Thanks for the links on getting the contrast up. I just bought a new (to me) XA this morning. It's in GREAT condition, but the VF is very dim (much dimmer than my other, broken, XA). It's only been used for one holiday by this lady and it has been sitting in a box for the last 25 years (and it looks its part).
Anyway, I can't imagine the innards of the camera are dirty. I've had quite some experience with XA's and have the confidence to clean it, but the link provided only shows how to open the XA (something I already knew), not how and what parts to clean or am I missing something?
I'll definitely try the tape-trick though!

EDIT: Don't know what I was thinking when I looked through the viewfinder earlier on, but the rangefinderpatch is actually very clear. Maybe I should've paid more attention. Oh well. Happy me! Immaculate XA for 20€
I tried the tape-trick, but it didn't noticably improve the RF patch contrast.
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Old 04-12-2014   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Harrison View Post
Ah, super tips, thanks! Will try out the second one first (the top plate removal looks a bit dangerous for my fat fingers with those wires everywhere!)
The XA is different to the XA2!

There's a screw UNDER the red shutter button which has to be pried off cautiously.

DO NOT USE ANY LIQUID GLUE (super glue) to stick it back on later as that will totally mess up the shutter. Been there, done that!
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Old 04-14-2014   #20
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Hi,

Thinking about it, I guess the RF will depend on semi silvered or surface silvered glass for the images and silver tarnishes and so do the other metals used. So no great surprises here. What it needs is replacement of the reflective coating surely? It's time and the polluted atmosphere to blame...

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