• Oh, grommi, the density in my head has suddenly subsided. Now I finally 'get' it.

OK, with many RFs the close focus is surprisingly 'off'. I use a tape measure, measured from almost the rear of the camera (i.e., film plane) and find that I often have to make an adjustment as to what the RF is telling me. (Remember, the film plane 'rules' here.) In the OP's immediate case it would be very interesting to find where infinity actually is on his camera's distance scale. In other words, with aperture wide open, take pictures (rigidly mounted camera) of detailed, very distant (at least 1/4 mile) stationary items (like skyscrapers) at these four settings: infinity, between infinity and 30 ft, 30 ft, between 30 ft and 15 ft. Then process these four negatives and put them into your enlarger, rack the enlargement distance to maximum, and, with a magnifying glass, take a critical look at both the center and far corner of each negative image in order to determine the optimum infinity focus.

If BOTH close focus and infinity are off, all you need do is ascertain that they are off in the SAME direction. Unfortunately, sometimes when the camera RF (which can be incorrect) focuses CLOSER than the film plane finally reveals (in the processed negative), infinity cannot be fully achieved because you cannot bring the lens close enough. (In other words, if the actual negative reveals a more distant actual focus than the shorter, apparent distance shown on the RF image, it will also reveal a more 'distant' actual focus on the negative when you set the RF to infinity. Of course, this is this situation is rare but has happened; however, depth of field usually comes to the rescue here. But, nevertheless, it is an interesting (and revealing) experiment. Remember, what the RF 'says' is not necessarily what the film plane (i.e., negative image) reveals.

There are other situations whereby the infinity setting is absolutely accurate BUT... the close focus is not. This is a dilemma and must sometimes force one to revert to scale focusing and, unfortunately again, a scale that you make based upon the ACTUAL close focusing distance that you find with the tape measure. For this I take a rigid acticle (I find an LP record jacket ideal here) and place it 45 degrees from the rigidly mounted camera. I focus upon the center text (measured precisely in either inches or CM) and slightly underexpose and overdevelop so that I will get a nice, contrasty negative. Then, the moment of truth comes when I put the negative in the enlarger (again, racked up to full enlargement). With a magnifying glass I carefully study the image and find that the ideal focus could well be either further from, or close than, the dead center focused upon. - David Lyga

NOTE: EASmithV: the 'sitcky' meter needle in an XA I have found NOT to be 'sticky' but, again, a malfunction of the internal circuitry. In other words, not a physical impairment but a hesitation with the circuitry. Try pressing again on the exposure button. In your case you COULD be correct but the XA has annoyances of this type and is the reason that I am cautious when using them. - David Lyga