5 frames with...

5 Frames with an Olympus XA2 – By Filipa Leite Rosa

April 17, 2019

About ten years ago my boyfriend offered me a very weird looking camera, an Olympus Xa2. At that time, I had been shooting digital for about three years and was a super-amateur photographer. I was still learning and after playing around with the camera a bit, the “point & shoot” method was just not doing it for me. My challenges in photography were still extremely technical and eventually I lost interest. The camera was forgotten.

Back to the present, and jumping to the conclusion, this camera is now one of my favorites. Now, my challenge with the Olympus is pretty simple and extremely fun and rewarding: for each trip/family gathering/special occasion/whatever I try to use at least one roll (I’m usually packing just one more roll, often none at all). And it’s like walking with a loaded weapon in my pocket. My camera has a very limited number of bullets so the targets must be carefully selected. And the metaphor continues because in order to kill the target, the moment must be right, the angle must be right and (let’s finally kill the metaphor) the light must be right. After that, I just point and shoot and I love it! The result is usually a surprise, we really never know what’s coming out and that’s part of the fun.

These photos were taken whit Kodak Portra 400 in a period of 3 days during a trip to New York.

Thanks for reading and if you like these, check out my personal instagram @filipaleiterosa or my work with @theframers.

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  • Reply
    Graham Coad
    April 17, 2019 at 10:40 am

    A nice set of images. I enjoy seeing photos of towns and cities in other countries (I’m in UK) to get a “feel” of what it might be like to live there or visit. Thanks.

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:52 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Graham!

      • Reply
        September 19, 2019 at 10:41 am

        Very nice cards. I own XA2. I won’t finish the first roll in any way for 6 years 🙂

  • Reply
    Calum Davey
    April 17, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Wow. These photos are great! I have one of these that my parents bought back in the day. I’ve not had results like this (yet, I hope)

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:51 pm

      Haha NYC has lots of great “targets”. I took some shots in London and i wasn’t as pleased. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it isn’t and that’s part of the fun for me. Thank you for your comment!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Just picked up an XA2 for almost nothing. Ten years with digital and now back to film. Just loaded a roll of no name 100 ASA and now of to see if I can get results even close to these great shots. Thank you Filipa

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:48 pm

      That’s great! Maybe you can share with us here your pictures with your xa2!

  • Reply
    Johan Lind
    April 17, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Amazing photos , I have an XA3 and it’s an amazing little camera

  • Reply
    Steve Ember
    April 17, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Filipa – A fine set of NYC winterscapes, with well-chosen “targets.” I particularly like the first one at the intersection and the night shot in the blowing snow. All very “filmic,” NYC-gritty, and nicely captured.
    All this recent attention to the XA series has resulted in my ordering an (original) XA – so as to have full rangefinder functionality and the slightly faster lens – and, while certainly not new to film, I’m looking forward to the experience of using this elegant little machine!
    Best regards,

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:47 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Steve and maybe we’ll all get to see some of your pictures with your new xa 🙂 hope you love it

  • Reply
    Brett Soul
    April 17, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    The XA2 is a capable and excellent camera, in use it’s superior to the XA, I’ve owned both and this is far more suited to street photography in my opinion, the rangefinder in the XA is faint and the easy zone focus system of the 2 kills it every time, so much talk of gear lenses, cameras etc, all that matters is you are happy with your photography and whatever you use to attain that satisfaction is the correct gear for you. Boom,

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:46 pm

      Totally agree with your conclusion: i love “wearing” the xa2, i love all the process of taking pictures with it, i love the small challenges i give my self with it and i love the results. Perfect! I was curious to use a xa someday but it’s good to have your opinion to reduce my expectations 🙂

  • Reply
    Cheyenne Morrison
    April 18, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Great shots, very sharp. Maitanisan did an amazing job designing the XA, there are very few cameras that will actually fit in a jeans pocket, and always having a camera with you enables you to capture shots you would ordinarily miss. I suppose if the XA were a boxer it would be a Bantam weight, a lot of punch in a little package.

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      Had to google bantam weight hahaha but it’s a really good analogy. Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply
    Peter Grey
    April 18, 2019 at 2:12 am

    Cool pictures! Very nice! This is the way I like city photo’s. Carefully composed and yet looking like they were instantly made.

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I’m really happy with how the pictures turned out, it’s a brilliant little camera.

  • Reply
    Michael Ricciuti
    April 18, 2019 at 2:18 am

    Nice work, Filipa–you’ll find that the XA2 (along with the XA) has a very contrasty lens. I love it. It’s especially nice with black and white film. I prefer my XA2 to the XA, simply because it’s just point-and-shoot. Great as a pocketable walking-around camera.

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:40 pm

      Exactly why i love it, it such a different experience from what i’m used. I’ve been to Cuba recently and had a black and white film already in the camera (i know, b&w in Cuba!!) Once i send them to the lab maybe i’ll get a chance to share the pictures here 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Pattison
    April 26, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Love the final frame. I can feel the chill!

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 10:37 pm

      Love it too actually 🙂 thank you for your comment!

  • Reply
    Nicole W
    July 19, 2019 at 5:52 am

    Wow I love that last shot. Great work!

  • Reply
    Clive W
    August 29, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    I like the last one too, but my favourite is no.4, with the taxis making little bursts of brightness in the bleak wintry light, against the drab buildings and the severe symmetry of the crossroads. Great use of colour by having so little of it!

    I haven’t tried Portra 400 (or an XA-anything) but I’m beginning to feel like I ought to. After all, winter is coming…

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