Update to "Olympus XA: Too unprofessional?" with photos!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Markok765, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I did the photoshoot with the XA and a Gitzo tripod, and as many of you asked to post photos, here they are! I used the backlight comp switch a lot, and changed the ISO around to 100 many times. I find the XA lens had a distinctive look, which I'm not sure if I like. Anyhow, here are the photos, tell me what you all think/what can be improved/how a SLR or manual exposure+lightmeter body would have been better. http://www.flickr.com/photos/39324697@N03/sets/72157621340630964/
     
  2. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Looks like it was a success. There's some very nice shots there, worthy of an album cover or two. How did they react to the 'unprofessional' camera?
     
  3. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I think they were totally fine with it actually, though maybe a bit surprised. I was more worried about exposure problems as most of the good areas to shoot in the building had backlight, and was not sure how the exposure system was going to handle that. It seemed to be good though.
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    You asked:

    There is a large amount of flare - a problem with the XA's optical design - it is a rather bizzare telephoto design. Also the lack of lens protection/projection just asks for fingerprints, dust and general smutz on the lens giving even more flare. In the shots shown some of the flare is quite objectionable and some does good duty by doing a 'pseudo shadow fill-in' task. With B&W film the flair would have looked a lot better as there wouldn't have been the problem of reduced color saturation.

    Overexposed color negative film covers a multitude of exposure sins - it was definitely the best choice for the XA as metering is a bit of a hit-or-miss affair. I imagine the printer was 'digital' - Fuji or equivalent - as it seems to have done a good job of dynamic range compression.

    You might want to consider inside bounce lighting or reflectors to equalize inside-to-outside lighting ratios and also to add some light to the shadow side of the side lit shots.

    The framing seems a bit off, with a bias to cutting off the top of the subject.

    Selective focus - well it's just not possible with this camera. A good SLR with an f1.4/f2.0 lens and a high top shutter speed would allow it.

    The use of a tripod contributes a lot to the quality of the shots - OTOH, it limits the available view points. A table top tripod and a 'C' clamp with a ball head are useful things to have on hand, as is a step ladder - the sort found in kitchens with a bail on top is a good choice as you can clamp a ball head to the bail.

    As an exercise, try re-shooting with an SLR and see what you think. Good equipment doesn't guarantee good pictures, but poor equipment can always make the results worse. A good craftsman never blames his tools: it is because he doesn't use poor tools.
     
  5. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    The XA actually has really good metering - tested with slides, though backlighting is always tricky. Reflectors does sound like a good idea, I'll bring some next time! In addition, I'll try shooting with a SLR and 28mm and flash, or even just my Leica with 50mm and flash/spotmeter. I haven't used selective focus much in my photography, though it does sound like a nice new thing to try on the next shoot.
     
  6. alan doyle

    alan doyle Member

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    hello...
    i have seen some real digital crap,in uk music mags so your film shots are fine.
    i have seen images of Henri Cartier-Bresson with his contax t, Araki Nobuyoshi and his minolta tc1 and terry richardson and his Yashica T4.
    so small can be cool,if you are happy with this method have a second xa with some reversal in it or some grainy b&w.
    you will then have your secure colour neg and you can get loosen up and get a bit more experimental.
    or use your leica for neg colour and stick some astia or ilford hp5 in your xa.
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi marko

    it looks like your camera and you and the band worked well together.
    to be honest, if you used a slr and metered & everything else
    who knows, maybe they would have been a little bit better?
    they certainly could have been much worse if you metered wrong,
    and they wouldn't have been as spontaneous ...
    is there a way to see what your camera metered at,
    and use your little XA as your meter,
    and shoot with your fixed lens leica or whatever you have ?

    i hope the band is happy with the results!
    john
     
  8. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    john,

    yes, i do often use the XA as a light meter for the Leica camera. I also have a spotmeter, which had i been shooting with the leica, i would have brought. i didn't use the leica for two reasons, firstly, i felt that i didn't have enough room, and the 'look' of the photos would have been different, had i used a 50mm lens. secondly, the jupiter-8 lens that i have on it needs a CLA and focus adjustment. currently, i only use it outdoors at apertures over f5.6. i'll be giving them the photos in a day or two, and we'll see how it goes!
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Way to go, MarkoM. We all had faith in you. I know they will be very happy with the work.
     
  10. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Marko, considering your age, experience and your equipment, very well done.

    Yep, the back light lever is a brilliant addition.

    I like frame 12.

    Mick.
     
  11. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    Good job!

    Crow is best eaten with Katsup, folks.
     
  12. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I'm not sure what this quote means :D
     
  13. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    It means that you proved the naysayers wrong.
     
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  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    They look good Marko.

    Oh, in case you didn't know, in some parts of the world, they call "ketchup" catsup or katsup :smile:.

    Matt
     
  16. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Well done Marko. And remarkably well done by a "Non profesional camera" :smile:
    Best regards
     
  17. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    The photos have a very distinctive look, not one that is perhaps desirable for many situations/subjects but actually suits this one very well IMHO. Aspects of the XA that would be considered shortcomings in many situations (distortion, flare, exposure inaccuracies) haven't done any harm here. I have to say that the results are considerably better than I'd have expected (but keep hold of the Nikon!)

    My favourites were 2, 8 and (if the chap in the foreground is the front-man or leader) 15.

    The decor of the location rather reminded me of home!

    Best wishes,

    Steve
     
  18. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    I particularly like the broken glass shots - that "idea" would certainly have been worthy of some more exploration.

    As mentioned by someone else, reflectors would help - sometimes just to bounce some light into the shadows, sometimes also to warm things up a tad (with a gold reflector for example).

    BTW, did anyone ever make a lens hood / shade for the XAs?
     
  19. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Marko- JOB WELL DONE!!! I'm glad you took the XA for this shoot . Ithink if you had used the Nikon you would have been too encumbered. Your location dictated the use of lighter, more flexible gear. IMHO the stairwell shot gets the nod for best shot,it has a very etherial quality,very reminisent of some '60s album cover work. Keep up the good work, and gowith your gut instinct, you have raw talent, and and with practice, you will have a long career.
    Rick
     
  20. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Really nice images! I like the #8 also.
     
  21. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

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    Any camera is "professional" if it captures the right shot. EX-UPI photographer Jerry Soloway was waiting for a rescued New Jersey kidnap victim to come out of her house with her husband. She came out, everyone else got their pictures, they lowered their cameras and walked away. She then put her head down on her husbands shoulder and Jerry got the front page shot on Tri-x with his XA. John
     
  22. meisburger

    meisburger Member

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    All I can say it that the XA is the best (without doubt) 35mm camera ever made.

    A Fan
     
  23. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Great shots with that little camera !
    Very well done !

    Peter
     
  24. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I'm going to take a bit of a contrarian view. Despite the overall quality of the shoot (I agree with archphoto - great shots with that little camera), including my favorite shot - http://www.flickr.com/photos/39324697@N03/3712871083/in/set-72157621340630964/ , there are some shots that clearly demonstrate the limitations of the XA's metering (generally shots in front of a bright window). And we really can't fully evaluate based on a computer screen image.

    I'm not knocking the XA; I had one for many years. You clearly used the XA's capability to the max and deserve credit for that. You can be proud of the results. But I do think you would have been better served with a more capable metering system than the XA provides. Whether that would have added an unnecessary level of complexity and stifled creativity only you can answer.
     
  25. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I do believe I would have taken better photos with my Leica and Pentax Spotmeter, though my lens wasn't adjusted properly for focusing (Jupiter 8) so I did not trust it to give me perfect focus. I'll use the Leica on the next shoot I have (as soon as the lens comes back from a CLA) and compare the results!
     
  26. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    Not a bad one in the bunch!