When I started shooting film in high school and started doing research on old film cameras, I was immediately captivated by the Olympus XA series for its diminutive size and lens quality. I shot the classic Olympus XA for several months before coming across the Olympus XA4—I loved the wide-angle lens and the option for close focusing. Zone focusing was also easier to use in a point-and-shoot fashion, since my XA rangefinder patch was fading with age. Since purchasing the camera, the XA4 has become my go-to camera for everyday carry and light travel.
A few weeks ago, I hiked to Kearsarge Pass in Inyo National Forest in California. It was an 11 mile hike, with about 2,600 ft of elevation gain. I wanted to keep my pack weight as low as possible but knew I would be encountering some spectacular sites throughout the Eastern Sierras. I loaded my trusty Olympus XA4 with Fuji C200 as the hike began.
Throughout the upward journey, I wasn’t sure if the camera would be able to handle a variety of high-contrast lighting conditions. I figured it was too late to worry about it much, and just shot away. I didn’t think an image could fully capture the beauty sprawled out before me, but the results really blew me away.
The slight vignetting and beautiful colors of the Olympus XA4 and Fuji C200 combination lent itself well to the ethereal landscape of California’s peaks and deep blue lakes. With comparable size and weight to a couple of granola bars, the Olympus XA4 is truly an indispensable daily companion for my shooting style.