The Olympus XA is the smallest rangefinder camera ever made. It features a superb 35mm f2.8 lens and the image quality for such a small camera is fantastic. It makes the Leica M look huge in comparison. I managed to find a used one in top condition just for 49 euros !!
The XA is the definition of a pocket camera since it actually fits in any pocket. Extremely small and light it’s a camera you can have all the time with you. It’s an aperture priority camera, so it cannot be operated fully manual, but throw in a 400 ISO film, set the aperture to f5.6, the distance to 5 meters and you are ready to shoot.
For a mini review of this camera you check the article I wrote some time ago that was published at Steve Huff’s site.
I mostly use two films with the XA, the Kodak TRI-X 400 and the c41 Ilford XP2 400 film. I mainly use this camera for documentary and street photography but I have also taken landscape images and the results are great.
The XA seems like a fragile camera but it has been under a great abuse from my part and so far it has performed flawlessly. For street images it’s a perfect camera since it combines great image quality with unparalleled discretion (no one really bothers to take a second look at a small, old film point and shoot camera). So in many cases, I choose the XA over the Leica M (you don’t need a bag to carry the XA and that’s a significant advantage).
Overall, a great little jem and one of my favorite cameras.
All images were shot with the Olympus XA loaded with Ilford XP2 film.
(c)2011 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.