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XA newbie
Old 01-18-2007   #1
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XA newbie

I got a friend who is finally getting into range finders. He wants something small and sharp. An XA looks right up his alley...we think. Some questions for newbies...

How do you focus this camera? Neither of us can figure out from the photos online where the focus wheel/lever is.

What are things to watch out for when buying one?

What is a decent price to pay for one?

Anything else that we should know or anyone wants to share with us about the XA? We looked at a XA2 but as far as we could tell there is no manual focus and he wants that.

A trip over to photoethnography didnt answer any of the questions we were asking so im sure someone here can help!

Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2007   #2
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Focusing is done with the small lever below the lens. One of the better sites for the XA series is at: http://www.diaxa.com/xa/xastart.htm. There is a link on the XA page for the Olympus XA Manual.
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Old 01-18-2007   #3
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Hi,

Firstly, try this page for more info.

My answers to your questions:

1. focus is done with a small tab under the lens.

2. Cloudy lenses, foam seals, murky finder, just the usual old RF stuff. It doesn't work without a battery.

Other things:

The release can be very light, beware accidental exposures. The ISO dial only goes to 800. The only exposure compensation is via the ISO dial or a switch for +1.5EV for backlight compensation. The flash system may not work.

I'm not sure about price, noone wanted mine at 40.
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Old 01-18-2007   #4
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The XA seem to go from between $45-100 on Ebay depending on condition. The XA 2's and 3's are cheaper, probably around $15-50. The XA 4's with the 28mm lens and macro are more like $75 and up.

I've got an original XA with box and non-working A-11 flash in the classified for $50. Not sure how much it would be to ship it to China though. You're probably better off finding one there.
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Old 01-18-2007   #5
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One thing to get used to with the XA, at least for someone with bunch of cameras (like me), is that the shutter button is more of a pad -- I find myself checking to make sure my finger is actually on it. Again, this may be more of an issue for someone who's used to more traditional shutter buttons.
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Old 01-18-2007   #6
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The XA is a great little camera- it affords the user enough control, and has a pretty sharp lens. I like to engage the flash, and reset the aperture to drag the shutter, which gives me an available light picture with fill flash. But this camera is quirky enough that it might not be the best introduction to rangefinders. The finder is small, often murky, and the RF patches on the three I've had were all really dim- I almost always just scale focus. The shutter release is a small electromagnetic patch which is usually very sensitive. This is cool, but again, quirky.

I will always have an XA in my pocket, but I might look for a small older 1970's era fixed lens RF for camera to get introduced to rangefinders. Maybe a Canonet or a Yashica. Check out RRF's new owner Stephen Gandy's page- http://www.cameraquest.com/classics.htm

Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2007   #7
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He may want to get an xa2 first- it is manual focus, but has no rangefinder..
far cheaper and more common, the brightness of the finder more than makes up for not having a rangefinder.. loaded with one of the new 400 iso wonder-films, the 3.5 lens is plenty.. the focus on the xa2 is a little lever with three positions, close, sorta close, and far. Works great, but the XA can do the selective focus thing better, with it's faster lens and real rangefinder.. the only bad XA is the XA1.. sort of a fake xa..
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Old 01-18-2007   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clintock
He may want to get an xa2 first- it is manual focus, but has no rangefinder..
far cheaper and more common, the brightness of the finder more than makes up for not having a rangefinder.. loaded with one of the new 400 iso wonder-films, the 3.5 lens is plenty.. the focus on the xa2 is a little lever with three positions, close, sorta close, and far. Works great, but the XA can do the selective focus thing better, with it's faster lens and real rangefinder.. the only bad XA is the XA1.. sort of a fake xa..

yeah he said he wants the manual focus in the rangefinder. He started out with a gsn which is actually mine and im taking back so he needs something of his own. Plus he shoots 100 speed film so yeah, we already ruled out the xa2 as stated above.
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Old 01-19-2007   #9
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I second all the suggestions/comments here. A good XA that has had a top-notch CLA is hard to beat in the very compact category. If the patch is not contrast enough, the tape trick might help.
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Old 01-19-2007   #10
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One other point, always fit silver oxide batteries, not alkaline. The meter won't read accurately due to the different discharge curve.
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Old 01-19-2007   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius
If the patch is not contrast enough, the tape trick might help.
Trius, what is the tape trick?
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Old 01-30-2007   #12
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Hi,
Just got an XA on yabe for about 60 bucks with A16 flash and nice leather case.
It is very slightly soft at F2.8 but is very nice. You can search completed auctions to get a feel for the prices. Not a ton of money for a nice RF with good resolution.
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Old 01-30-2007   #13
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Love the XA. Bought one new and still use it. If it doesn't suit him, Kodak Retinas seem to have gotten a little cheaper. Trick is finding a good one. No meter, either.
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Old 01-30-2007   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steamer
Trius, what is the tape trick?
Not to step on Trius' toes or anything but I think the "tape trick" he's reffering to is at Rick Oleson's site:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-165.html
Rob
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Old 01-31-2007   #15
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a link to the manual of this wonderful little camera
http://www.diaxa.com/xa/manuals.htm
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Old 01-31-2007   #16
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Rob: Ouch! Thanks... somehow I missed the question.
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Old 01-31-2007   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius
Rob: Ouch! Thanks... somehow I missed the question.
Trius,
You were off line when it was posted and as I thought I knew what "trick" you were reffering to, I figured I'd post the link.
I have an opinion about most things and I have a little knowledge . And as I slowly mature, I'm beginning to be able to tell the difference between the two. And am happy to share the knowledge.
Rob
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Old 02-04-2007   #18
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I recently went through a roll of private-labeled Agfa Vista 200. Of the whole roll, this was the best shot, I think.

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Old 02-06-2007   #19
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Is this from your XA or XA2? love the wood grain on the table, the film has a soft grain. I like it.
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Old 02-06-2007   #20
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Shadow: from the XA. I haven't tested the XA-2 yet; it is new to me, but will be sold once I determine its condition and I get around to listing it. I'd love to keep it, but the balance between cameras (many) and scanners (zero) is out of whack.

BTW, I do realize the blossoms aren't sharp. I missed ultimate focus on this one ... but I love the colour!
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