That’s what I like to think about these cameras!
And what cameras are we talking about here? The Olympus XA.
You know, it never fails to amaze me every time I pick up an XA camera; it’s such a cleverly designed thing, just the feel of it in the palm of your hand is so comfortable. Just how the Olympus engineers were able to cram such a top class lens system into such a miniscule body is a wonder in itself. And a rangefinder at that!
The Olympus XA was the brainchild of that genius Yoshihisa Maitani, who incidentally passed away in 2009.
Obviously, the heart of any camera is always the lens, and that is what gives this little marvel it’s well-deserved iconic status.
A full 6 element, 35mm f2.8 lens is what we are talking about here. Apparently, in order to get those 6 elements correctly into such a small space was an Herculean effort which nobody thought could be achieved, but lo and behold, it was done.
There have been review upon review of the qualities of the lens, so I’m not going to bore the pants off you with all that technical stuff; suffice to say that a quick search on Mr Google should bring up a plethora of info for you!
Let me also point out that the XA is one camera that professionals still use as a back-up should their digicams fail during a shooting; that tells you something of the quality of results it is capable of.
And how is it in use? A quick slide action of the top cover and you’re all set to go, easy as that!
Well, let’s just say it can be as easy as that, unless you want to use the rangefinder, in which case you have to align the 2 images in the viewfinder, as per normal when using rangefinders. That may or may not take a little longer, depending upon how familiar you are with it. In my case, I use one all the time in street shots, and for that sort of shooting-on-the-fly, all you need do, like me, is to select f8 or f5.6 and a distance of around 3m, and fire away at your leisure! At those settings, all your shots will be correctly focussed and exposed.
The camera also has a compensation setting selectable on the bottom, which is very handy too. In actual use, this camera cannot be beaten, and I say that from many years experience using it. People go on about another favourite of mine, the Rollei 35, but although I agree the Rollei is a very, very solid piece of engineering, it is no match for the XA in size, plus the fact that the Rollei has no rangefinder, so taking shots at the correct settings can be critical.
One other thing about the XA is that 99% of people in the street think that it’s just a cheap, plastic point and shoot camera, so they equate that to the person using it, meaning they usually are not bothered to see you taking their photos, but little do they know!
Has that whetted your appetite yet? It has? Well, ok then, you can have one of mine! But before you decide, why not have a bit of a laugh at this video advert of the XA when it came out!
Fully tested, almost immaculate condition, just a few tiny bits of paint missing on the bottom through normal use, not misuse, lens crystal clear, rangefinder clear and fine, all other things working as they should be. Comes in it’s own zip-up case, with original instructions, FREE film and brand new batteries.
Price £124.99 plus £5.99 shipping UK
Rest of world price: US$198.99 plus $29 shipping
Payment: GoogleCheckout, NOCHEX, Paypal. If you are in the USA/Canada, you can pay direct via Bank America or CIBC into my account. I will accept cheques from UK buyers.