For a long while now, I’ve been looking for small, pocket friendly cameras that I can always have on hand. It’s just not practical for me to carry my digital SLR, or any of my film cameras all the time. There’s obvious issues of size and weight, the lens caps always get knocked off, or there’s no shutter release lock to prevent a photo from the inside of a pocket.
That’s when I stumbled onto the Olympus XA – a small, lightweight, protected 35mm camera that has the same capabilities as my larger cameras… and it comes with a removable flash!
This camera has many things going for it and was once touted as the camera pros use when on vacation. There is a clamshell that slides over the lens and control for protection and also acts as a power switch. It’s a full on rangefinder so focusing is super quick. The lens is incredibly sharp and opens up to f/2.8. It’s aperture priority exposure is what I prefer to shoot on other cameras.
Some things that I’m not a fan of on this camera include the hyper-sensitive shutter release button. Just look at the thing and it goes off… not joking. I already have several blank frames because of it. I find it a bit difficult to location the focus lever, but I’m sure that just takes getting used to. Depending on the lighting conditions, I find it very difficult to see the shutter speed marks through the viewfinder.
The good outweighs the bad with this camera and I would highly recommend picking one up if you can. There are several different versions of the Olympus XA out there (XA2, XA3, XA4, etc.), but only the original Olympus XA is a rangefinder while the others are all zone focusing. Anyways, the picture speak for themseleves. Below are some examples from the first 3 rolls I’ve shot through this camera. Also check out all my XA photos on my Flickr album.