Compact Camera Quest (Part 5)

Posted 2011.07.25 23.13 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

In the last installment, I mentioned that my search had led me into two different directions. Today it’s all about the other direction my quest has led me.

One of the cameras that kept popping up on lists of good compact film cameras was the Olympus XA. I had heard of these cameras before but hadn’t seen one in person and didn’t realize just how small they are.

They are one of the few cameras in this size that incorporate an actual coupled rangefinder, and even after 30 years they are still in demand – meaning they tend to still demand a high price. So I looked about and managed to get my hands on a cheap one – it had a flaw but I thought I could fix that. I thought wrong. It turns out that the XA series use an early IC and when these chips die, there is really no way to salvage the camera.

After that disappointment, I continued looking around, and instead of another XA, I came across a later model that I had to have – the Olympus XA-3.

The XA-3 is almost identical to the XA-2, in that both are zone focus and fully automatic AE. The XA-3 employs the DX system for reading film speed directly off the 35mm film can (for non-DX film you can still set the speed manually), and also has a +1.5EV switch for backlit subjects.

The real reason that I had to get this XA-3 though, was the colour…

Olympus XA-3

About two decades ago, a red Fuji DL-7 was my constant companion for many years, and since then I have had a soft spot for red cameras. 🙂

Read more »