After a searching high and low in Tokyo for this camera, I'm so excited to finally have an Olympus XA, and the first roll of Fuji Superia 400 is back from the lab. If you are confused why I would be so excited about a cheap looking 40 year old point & shoot camera, let me explain.
Unlike most compact film cameras the Olympus XA is a rangefinder, one of the smallest out there. It has quick f/2.8 lens with aperture priority control, a featherlight shutter button to reduce vibration, and a clamshell cover to keep it safe in my pocket or bag. Best of all, it's film! It's like having a full frame camera, with all the beautiful colors and dynamic range that come along with film. With digital, a point and shot means giving up on some image quality (especially latitude) so with this little film camera, you're getting so much more.
With any small amateur looking camera, it doesn't draw attention to itself. Up until now, we could only shoot film on our Elan 7, which is a full size SLR and can attract unwanted attention from subjects.
Summer has finally arrived in Calgary so we took full advantage of the sunshine and rode our bikes around town, shot some style photos for our friend Amber's upcoming blog (and to post on our Stocksy portfolio), and spent the night at Calgary's brand new Aloft hotel. Keep an eye on Ania's blog for the awesome underwater shots we took there.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, this was also the last roll I shot on the Olympus. While using it, I noticed the shutter would occasionally lock up and refuse to fire. I hoped it would be just a quirk of shooting with an old camera, but it was more than inconvenient. I couldn't trust that when I pulled the camera out if my bag, I would be able to capture anything at all.
When Olympus designed this camera back in 1979, they were more focused on creating a great consumer camera. For it's plastic construction to last beyond 2014 may be asking too much of it.
I will be sending it back to the eBay seller for a refund, and will start a search for my next film point and shoot. This time, something a little more rugged.
First impressions of the Olympus XA are pretty great. I love the feel of it and it small enough to fit in most pockets. Focusing takes a moment, but works well. I love the way the the lens gently vignettes at the edges, and the colour and contrast are fantastic. I do have two complaints so far, the shutter button occasionally locks up temporarily, and I wish I could override the slow shutter speed when using flash.
Overall, I love it. This is camera is going to come with us everywhere!