Olympus XA and XA2
Olympus XA (1979 - )
Olympus XA2 (1980 - )
These came out in the 1980s. First there was the XA, complete with manual rangefinder focus, and then the less expensive XA2.
Much less common are the XA1, XA3 and XA4. The XA3 is an XA2 with DX reading for film speed. The XA4 has a wider 28mm lens. A really cheap version was called the XA1 - avoid it for photography since the other models aren't much more expensive.
I bought these and used them extensively in the 1990s. I carried one on my waist everywhere I went. I put a piece of black electrical tape over the Olympus logo for added concealment.
I sold them in August, 2006, and had no idea that I had collected six of them! I also had a seventh XA I sold a few months before. I loved them so much I wanted to be sure I always had one if parts got tight. Luckily all seven always worked perfectly.
These are a masterpiece of optical and industrial design. They make great photos, too.
Brilliant: Close the clamshell and all optics are protected. Open the clamshell and it's ready to shoot instantly.
Not only are the images wonderful, but the design and styling of these cameras are a joy to behold.
Great! I always shot Fuji Velvia 50 slide film in them.
I preferred the XA2. It's meter was more consistent and had a clearer center weighted pattern. I preferred the full program automation. The XA's meter had a weird sensitivity pattern which extended beyond the image.
The meters are traditional and non-evaluative. You must use use the Zone System and compensate for light and dark subjects. I set the ISO lower to increase exposure and higher to reduce it.
The XA adds a +1.5 stop backlight position.
Both lenses are sharp. The XA has a very complex lens design allowing it to fit in the camera without needing to retract or extend, and as a result of this design has some barrel distortion and light falloff at all apertures.
I prefer the XA2 again, which also has some light falloff.
Manual thumb wheel, like a disposable!
Manual rewind with a release button and crank.
The power switch is the sliding clamshell case.
I would get years, typically 10, from a set of two S76 cells. The camera turns off completely when shut.
Lens: 35mm f/2.8 internally focused lens. Does not retract: magic optical design makes it shorter than it's own focal length! It's ready to shoot the instant you slid it open.
Exposure: Aperture preferred automation.
ISO: 25 to 800.
Shutter: Automatic electronic analog, 1/500 - 10 seconds.
Aperture: two-bladed manual, f/2.8 - f/22.
Power: Two S76 cells.
Colors: Black; also red, silver or blue.
Weight: 7.800 oz (221.15g) with batteries (measured).
Size: 2.567" x 4.123" x 1.572" HWD (measured).
Lens: 35mm f/3.5, four element Tessar variant, front element focus.
Focus: three zone manual. Resets to mid-distance when clamshell is closed.
Metering: Center weighted, program auto.
ISO: 25 to 800.
Shutter: 1/500 - 2 seconds. Aperture integrated with the two shutter blades.
Power: 2 S76 cells.
Size: 2.598" x 4.102" x 1.605" HWD (measured).
Weight: 7.480 oz., (212.1g) with two S76 cells (measured).
Olympus XA4 (1985)
The XA4 was an XA2 with a 28mm lens that scale-focuses as close as 1 foot (0.3m). The wrist strap was this same length so you could tape-off your shots.
Closing the cover also reset the scale focus back to 10 feet (3m).
Olympus A11 Flash
GN: 33,' 10m , ASA 100 (rated)
Power: One AA cell, alkaline or Ni-Cd . Rated 150 shots, alkaline.
Recycle: 7 seconds.
Exposure Settings: ISO 100, IS0 400 and Manual full-power.
Exposure Technology: On-flash accumulation sensor, non-thyristor.
Size: 2.4 x 1.4 x 1.3" (60 x 36 x 33mm) HWD, specified.
Weight: 2.275 oz. (64.55g) (without AA cell, measured).
These are my favorite take-everywhere film cameras, especially the less expensive XA2.
More Information: Olympus.
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