I've had an XA for a while now and quite frankly was expecting better. I don't mind the operation quirks and love the light shutter release, its the image quality that disappoints. My images seem soft and dull with weak colors, not at all what I was expecting from reviews I'd read. I need to play with it some more I guess and do some meter comparisons against my Gossen. I recently acquired a Rollie 35 and am currently working through my first roll with it. I'm quite curious to see how it compares to the XA.
The little XA is always a topic of lengthy discussions. Nice little camera, although there are times when I think it's too small and the body too smooth.
A nice lens, and the XA has enough heft. The exposure needle is a bit sluggish, however, it does have a top ASA of 800.
I'm not sure that this lens needs a coupled rangefinder, although it is nice because you have that mental security that your focus is dead on (or at least you hope).
Build quality is very good. Overall, I have no complaints about this camera.
I would be expecting something better than that too. Something is wrong. Heavens no, "soft and dull with weak colours" is not normal for the XA. It has a crisp and contrasty lens and exposure is well handled by the rudimentary Cds. Have you run through a roll of slide film to check exposure? Years ago (mid-1980s) I had a cycling friend who authored 6 books, all photographs made with his battered XA running Kodachrome 25 or 64. Brilliant stuff for its day.
Originally Posted by EdColorado
Those observations would be a lot more credible if you didn't repeat that ridiculous misnomer of "clamshell" design. Apparently you must have seen some pretty strange clams in your day. Perhaps you can post a picture of one of these mutant clams with a sliding shell.
The XA's innovative design feature was called a "sliding dust barrier". This was to distinguish it from all the various cameras that actually had clamshell designs, such as pretty much any MF folder (in Oly's case the Sixes and Chrome Sixes). If you feel the need to use "clamshell" to describe a compact 35mm, then you need to discuss the Minox 35.
One does have to admire those ingenious folks that run across "clamshell" and know it can't be right, so they have coined "camshell" and "clampshell". But it all seems a lot of wasted effort for a feature that already has a real, and accurate, name.
With the XA series (excepting the XA1, of course) it is imperative to use only high-quality Silver Oxide batteries. Any lesser batteries will result in under-exposed shots. This is why some feel their photos are dull and lifeless. Because they are underexposed.
The XA shutter works with electromagnets that hold the shutter open. The power requirements are high enough that alkaline batteries (especially those 10 for a dollar that are so appealing to buy) can't get the job done. The Silver Oxide batteries are the only ones with enough power to correctly work the shutter.
Get yourself some proper batteries and see if you aren't much happier with your XA photos.
Thanks for the battery tip, I'm pretty sure I have alkalines in the camera so I'll go get a sliver oxide and see how it works.
Originally Posted by wblynch