Monday, November 9, 2015

Oympia XA 2 - Another Gem

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Qmee, what everyone is talking about

Over the years I acquired two Olympus XAs with Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 lens off ebay for under $30 a piece including shipping. The XA was reputed to be "the other" camera for Henri Cartier-Bresson and his peers and many famous photos were shot on the XA. It is very small, measures just 4" x 2.25" x 1", weighs a mere 10 oz with batteries despite having a stainless steel body. For those of you familiar with Minox GL, it is just a tad bigger fits easily in one's coat pocket or purse. A rather inconspicuous little camera, it is a true rangefinder camera with a fast Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 lens (XA2), with aperture priority and viewfinder shutter speed display and a switch at the bottom of the lens for ASA/ISO selection. Very quiet shutter, almost inaudible. The XA was designed by Yoshihita Maitani, the same man behind Olympus PEN and OM film cameras. One other plus point for the Olympus XA is that it uses the readily available SR44 batteries. I would like to land my hand on a XA 4 which has a macro setting but they are hard to come by and command a high price on ebay.

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Not my sports car, taken while standing on the lower deck of Kingston ferry in Seattle

Messed this one up real good... double exposure but surprise.....

Palm size XA - No more excuse for leaving my camera at home

Great info on the Olympus XA and many classic cameras at This is absolutely my favorite Go To site if I am looking for well documented and researched info on classic cameras.

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On a slightly off topic subject. If you have a dead meter needle (viewfinder) which happens in many of these well loved classics made at least 3 decades ago, try shaking the camera gently (an old trick), and point the lens at a bright light to nudge the needle back to life. Sometimes that jolts the needle back to life which in my case worked for the second XA in my possession. XA uses two cds cells, one for the viewfinder meter and the other for the lens shutter. The viewfinder meter/needle is the one that most commonly gives up from lack of use/age. This little trick reminds me of an old Weston light meter I had, which needed some help to start working again.

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