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Nick's Classic Corner - No 42 - Olymous XA and XA1

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    There's no doubt that this is a very populer and totemic camera - genuinely pocketable, with a decent lens and respectable levels of control, all in a neat package.
    I used it for quite some years as my carry-everywhere camera, and it did a decent job.

    I suspect you can tell, though, that there's a however coming. And if you do, you'd be right.
    The camera is overrated. The lens is decent, but not stunning; it's a 35mm f2.8, with rangefinder ffocusing - that works really well. It has aperture priority autoexposure, but apart from a 1.5 stop backlight control, the only influence you have over the exposure is to adjust the film speed - a little fiddly. Not a problem if you're using print film, but not ideal for slide film - especially as the meter can underexpose.
    Finally, the clamshell really doesn't feel that solid, and the plastic feels cheap.

    As long as you don't expect it to be absolutely top quality, though, it's a lovely little camera. Aperture control is by a slider on the front, and stopped down, the lens is really not bad. Shutter speed is indiacted by a needle in the viewfinder. Windon is by a fairly nasty wheel. Flash is by means of a specific unit - the most usual one is the A11, but the more powerful A16 is more useful. I also have the A9M, which is for use with the XA1, the cheapest of the range - basically a Trip in XA clothing, with a simpler lens, and programmed exposure controlled by a round-lens selelnium meter. I used to keep my XA1 in my car with B&W film in, and it's OK, if nothing special.

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