Film Camera 2019/2-Olympus XA2

Soon after I started collecting cameras in 2011 I bought an Olympus XA. I also read that the XA2 was a decent camera so I acquired on of those too. In a box, with flash included I recall that I paid less than $10 (this was of course before the vintage film cameras started to increase in price).

There’s not a lot to say about it and it’s all been said elsewhere. For example Mike Eckman has his usually extremely thorough review here.

It’s very simple and very small with a clamshell design that turns the camera on when you open it. It loads easily and feels good in the hands. It has something of a “plasticky” feel, especially the film advance, which feels like something on a disposable camera.

I’d never used a scale focus camera before and thought that I would have difficulties, but the Olympus implementation was quite easy to use. Just three icons (one for close up:portrait; one for middle distance:group; and one for far/infinity:landscape). It turns out that you’ll use the middle distance the most because, combined with the large depth of field from the 35mm lens this covers most possibilities. In fact when you turn the camera on it cleverly sets itself to the group setting.

The viewfinder is very basic and shows only an LED showing that flash is required and another one indicating that a slow shutter speed is being chosen. Other than that only the bright line is displayed i.e. no aperture, shutter speed or focus distance information.

ISO is set manually and exposure is fully automatic.

I rather liked the camera: its size, portability, ease of use. It’s a great carry around everywhere camera and the scale focus turned out to be much easier than I thought.

The only thing that I didn’t like is also shared with other cameras in this line (including the fabled XA): the extremely sensitive shutter release. It’s far to easy to trip the shutter by mistake. I must remember to keep the camera closed until I need it and to keep my finger away from the shutter release until I’m ready to take the shot.