Olympus XA2 Out of Mothballs

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bobwysiwyg, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I've recently just returned to film photography after wandering down the digital path for too many years. I've broken out my old Pentax SV, two Nikons (FM and FE) and even started learning to use a new, to me, but used 4x5. My wife and I just returned from a week's vacation in Michigan's UP (we go every year, love it up there). I decided that this trip would be entirely B&W film, no color, no digital. In readying things I came across my old Olympus XA2 and thought, what the heck, why not take it as well.

    In all the cameras I shot either TMAX 100 or 400. I started to develop the 35mm rolls taken with the Olympus first and I must say, I was pleasently surprised. Though the only control one has is the zone focus, which has a great deal of flexibility it is still a capable and handy little camera. It was my "carry along" on the motorcycle 25 years ago, when load space was at a premium. Below are some of the shots taken around Lake Superior and Nordine's in Bergland (closest thing to a grocery store on the Lake).

    One other aside and not related, as I was filing the negatives I noticed something in the back cover pocket. It was material prepared by Howard Bond for a class of his I took many, many years ago. It included a flowchart for printing, a page on pre-exposure, two developer processing, water bath printing and how-to's on selenium toning. Neat find!
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2008
  2. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I'd say those are both great finds, the camera and the notes. It would be interesting to see how you relate to them both after all these years. The filter of age changes our appreciation of many things.

    BTW, technically, the XA2 has two controls. Unless I am mistaken, you can use the ISO setting as an exposure compensation adjustment.

    Cheers,
     
  3. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    True on the ISO setting. I did it once up north on one shot because of the lighting as an experiment. I haven't developed that roll yet.

    I'm still trying to decifer one part of the Howard Bond notes. One of the pages appears to be for recording information about each picture and clearly aimed at large format work. At the time, I was strictly interested in 35mm. One section (a table) of the data recording has me stumped so far, seems to have to do with lens focal length, f-stop and indicated time vs. inches of extension.
     
  4. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Not to be boring, but thought I would post just a few more pics taken with the Olympus XA2 in case someone has an opportunity to pick one up or does a search on the XA2.

    Nice little pocket-able camera to take when you can't take a 35mm, view cam. or any other more favored equipment. Not sure how plentiful they are, but can't believe they would go for too much $$ if you find one. I've had this one since '80 or '81. The exposure metering is quite good, provided you keep in mind the limitations of the sensor. Too much overall light (or lack of) in a landscape scene has to be taken into consideration. You may have to tweak the ISO setting accordingly to compensate. The scene of the clouds over the lake was an experiment. The camera front is so diminutive that I was able to cover both the sensor and the lens with one lens of my clip-on sunglasses (basically a light orange).
     

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  5. thuggins

    thuggins Member

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    The XA2 still enjoys a brisk trade and respectable prices on that auction site. Not bad considering it was widely viewed as the "poor relation" of the XA line. In mint condition the XA and XA4 can sell for as much as they were new. Oddly enough, one of the main criticisms of the XA2 is the lack of the 1.5 stop backlight compensation. Considering that the exposure can be compensated in 1/3 stop increments in both directions, this backlight setting has got to be one of the more useless features to be put on a camera. It's a great example of marketing department's dictates.

    The quality of the lens is first rate (of course, it's got the magic word on it - Zuiko!). My XA2 tends to expose a bit to the dark side, which gives VS unbelievable saturation and richness. It is very easy to see why the camera still has a popular following.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I gave away three XA2s which I wasn't using a couple of months ago. I wasn't using them because I also have an XA. The problem is I can't find it at the moment. Time for a tidy up!

    They are the perfect camera to take with you when you don't want to take a camera with you.


    Steve.
     
  7. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Yes indeed. I am one of the lucky recipients of one of Steve's XA2s, and am currently awaiting the arrival of an A-11 matching flash unit purchased on ebay. It is a very handy camera to have. Exposures are remarkably well balanced considering its size, and the zone focusing is amazingly forgiving even when I forget to reset the focus zone after having closed the clamshell. :rolleyes:

    Thanks again, Steve.

    Cheers,
     
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  8. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Just returned from hols in Kent, where I bought both an XA2 and XA3 for five of our English pounds the pair. The XA2 was supposedly working, but whatever the light conditions gives only about a 2 sec exposure. The XA3, which was supposedly jammed, only needed a fresh set of batteries and sprung into life. The XA3 has DX coding but also has a manual ASA setting, which seems a bit odd, but could be potentially useful as I usually load my own film in non-coded cassettes.
    Steve
     
  9. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Or, as noted above, you can use the ASA setting as an exposure compensation. Besides, we photographers always think we know best, rating film to our personal tastes. :smile:

    Cheers,
    Tom