5 frames with...

5 frames with an Olympus XA1 – By Howard Hurd

August 16, 2018

The Olympus XA1 is probably the simplest camera I own. Part of the iconic XA series, it has a fixed focus 35mm f4 lens and automatic battery-free exposure. There is only one setting to worry about – selecting with 100 or 400ISO for the film speed.

This pared-down approach results in a camera that “gets out of the way” when it comes to taking a photo. Look through the viewfinder to compose your shot, then press the shutter button. Nothing else to distract you or think about. And the results – well as long as you don’t get too close, the XA1’s lens produces crisp and contrasty results.

Shot with AgfaVista200 at 100ISO.

Vapour trail, Portsmouth, UK taken with Olympus XA1, photo (c) Howard Hurd

Fire station, Portsmouth, UK taken with Olympus XA1, photo (c) Howard Hurd

Concrete curve, Portsmouth, UK taken with Olympus XA1, photo (c) Howard Hurd

Sunset at South Parade Pier, Southsea, UK taken with Olympus XA1, photo (c) Howard Hurd

Sunset at Canoe Lake, Southsea, UK taken with Olympus XA1, photo (c) Howard Hurd

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Eric Manten
    August 16, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Very nice, crisp images and great colors!
    I have the XA: love the fact it is a rangefinder and that I can choose the aperture. But the XA1 is so much easier, and therefore possibly more used?
    Do I need to consider to add the XA1???? 😉

    • Reply
      HowardH
      August 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm

      If you can find one cheap it’s a no-brainer – the lens is surprisingly good and all you have to do is press the shutter. However I also love my XA2 – it’s useful to be able to control focus sometimes.

  • Reply
    Louis A. Sousa
    August 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    This little camera is a pocket wonder. I have the original XA with F2.8 lens. Its lens is razor sharp. The only niggles I have are: a) the rangefinder patch can be a bit dodgy and b) the hair trigger shutter, but one adapts to the shutter pretty easily. Black and white photos in particular render with wonderful character and quality….

    • Reply
      HowardH
      August 21, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      I don’t know what “special sauce” they used but the lenses on all the Olympus.compacts I own (from Trip and 35RC to XA/XA1/XA2 and mju-I/mju-ii) all render beautifully

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