XA2 Underexposing...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bvy, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I'm having a curious problem with my Olympus XA2. I've gotten two rolls back, and I'm noticing that shots where the sky figures prominently in the scene are dreadfully underexposed. Foreground objects are in complete shadow. Other shots (of low contrast scenes or scenes without a sky) are just fine. I'm using Superia 400 and the ISO is set properly. The batteries are fresh. Also, this is my "backup" XA2; my son took my other XA2 for a photography course he's taking this semester. Point is, I know this camera pretty well, and I'm pretty sure I'm not doing anything wrong.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Maybe small sensor above lens for light meter is dirty or foggy?
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Isn't this the sort of scene where you should move the lever on the bottom to +1.5 to get extra exposure?

    That would give over-exposure.


    Steve.
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    If it is consistently a problem, then lie to the camera about the speed of the film, after you have confirmed the batteries are fresh and their contact surfaces are clean.

    Set it to 50 if you are using 100 film. This is not a DX camera; the user provides the input on the base film speed.

    Then the old favourite x1.5 lever. So much of the XA got left out when the XA2 came out - at least this thing stayed.
     
  5. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    darkosaric: Perhaps I am wrong, but if the sensor were dirty wouldn't that OVERexpose by letting the sensor see less light and therefore force the camera to give more exposure?

    Of course, I never expose color negative film at box speed, always half that speed.

    The XA family had a problem that frequently shows up: shutters that don't click when they are supposed to. Pressing the shutter button can result in immediate exposure (as it should) or can result in nothing happening. After a few seconds, (with another pressing of the shutter button) it might work (as if suddenly 'booted up') but this has been a recurring problem with this camera and has been talked about on APUG. - David Lyga
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2012
  6. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Overexpose - true, true, my bad :smile:

    -Darko
     
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  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    How are you using the meter? If there were a problem with the camera, it would be evident on most of the negatives. Usually if the camera underexposes all the time, one would lower the ISO setting on the meter.
     
  8. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    "I'm having a curious problem with my Olympus XA2. I've gotten two rolls back, and I'm noticing that shots where the sky figures prominently in the scene are dreadfully underexposed."

    Thats pretty telling. Most cameras will underexpose if there are large amounts of sky, you should definately use the +1.5 for these shots. If all the shots are under-exposed, change the ISO.

    However, heres two things to check.. 1. Check the window just above the lens. Make sure it is clean. As you change the ISO you should see a slit change size behind it.
    2. Check the batteries. You should use Silver Oxide batteries. Alkaline batteries do not offer a consistent voltage.
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Also check the battery contacts. Sometimes when these are not quite clean enough, there is enough current flow to make you think everything is o.k. but the extra load of the shutter via the resistance of any build up on the contacts leads to a momentary reduction in voltage at the camera.

    I had this happen to an XA2.


    Steve.
     
  10. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    It definitely sounds like a situation where you'd use the exposure compensation dial. I used to get that all the time with slide film until I learned how to meter properly (I tend to point the camera at sunlit grass to get a reading, then compose and shoot. It works for me).
     
  11. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    You're not. As mentioned, the meter is simply reading the sky and that makes everything else dark. Even very, very expensive cameras can cock-up in this way occasionally. Set the ASA dial on the front to a lower speed e.g. if your shooting at 400 asa, set the speed on the camera to 200 or 160 ASA. This will increase the exposure for the darker foreground (although it will blow out the sky).
     
  12. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Unfortunately there is no 'exposure lock' function of the XA2. The only manual exposure control is adjusting the ISO, which is hard on the XA2 or the "+1.5" exposure switch.
     
  13. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone. Like I said, I shoot a different XA2 and the XA4 quite regularly, and I know the results I should be getting. I've never had to mess with the 1.5 option. Batteries are fresh, the contacts and sensor are clean. To David's point, there were a few frames where I had to fiddle with the shutter button a bit to get it to engage.

    In reviewing my shots, I'm noticing quite a few are underexposed -- not just scenes with a sky. These were all shot on fresh Superia 400, camera set to 400.
    00000011.JPG 00000012.JPG 00000013.JPG 00000025.JPG
     
  14. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have an XA, XA2 and XA4. My XA2 is currently grounded because I would get occasionally OVER exposed frames..I've heard this can be due to shutter sticking.

    I use the ISO setting as an exposure compensation on a large fraction of shots. I'm not afraid to crank it all the way over to 50 with 400 speed film. It's just the nature of auto-exposure cameras...the meter can easily be 3 stops off from what I want.
     
  15. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Thanks for following up. These definitely look underexposed. Even the sky in the shots with sky look underexposed.

    Have you used more than one roll in this camera? (just saying, it could be a problem with the film, the development, or even the ISo set wrong)

    -OK, since you have more than one XA, the final answer is to compare them. Open the film back and try a couple of shots in different lighting. You should see the aperture and shutter speed change.
    Compare that to one of your other cameras. My guess from the images is that you will see a noticeable difference.
    Darin
     
  16. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I did shoot a second roll. Same film (Superia 400), but I actually shot this roll at 800 and pushed it a stop. This is something I do fairly regularly when I wanted a fast shutter. The attachment show a random sampling of frames from that roll.
    xa2forapug.jpg
     
  17. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    I have one XA2 that always underexposes, except for flash shots - they come out perfectly.

    I learned 2 things about this XA2

    1) Use ONLY Silver-Oxide batteries. Cheap alkalines do not have the strength to hold the shutter open (electro-magnets)

    2) Always set the film speed to 1/2 box speed. Meaning set it to 200 for 400 film, 100 for 200 film.

    After this, my little XA2 works perfectly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2012
  18. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    yes your shots do look underexposure even taking into account that the meter is supposed to be fooled with lots of sky. So yes I agree with you that your XA2 is underexposing. But if it's like the XA there are 2 metering system in the XA. One is only for the meter needle and another for control the actual exposure. Does the XA2 has the meter needle in viewfinder like that of the XA? If it does, does the shutter speed indicated seems right as compared to another camera or just with your experience?
    My XA gives good exposures but the meter needle is wrong. If it were to expose like what the meter is saying then it's always overexposing.
     
  19. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    "Does the XA2 has the meter needle in viewfinder like that of the XA?"
    -no it has no exposure info.

    I have both a XA2 and XA in my hands right now. The XA2 gives about the same shutter speed as the XA when set on f4. (It seems the XA2 prefers wide-open unless in really bright light)

    It seems everyone agrees that your camera is under-exposing. Quite a bit from the look of it. Maybe 2 stops.