5 frames with...

5 Frames with an Olympus XA4 – with Wen Zeng

October 23, 2019

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.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/weennnz/

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Ian Gillett
    October 23, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Your last image, of the snarled tree trunk, is fabulous. Great capture!

    I also have an XA4. After the first film I put through it I attached a reminder on the rear door stating “Remember to set focus!!” as I had forgotten that the camera reset itself to 3 metres each time you close the from cover!

  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    October 23, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Very nice photos! I enjoy my XA-4—I find that the wider angle lens works well for outdoor photography (I carry mine on my bike). It’s also very quick to use, which encourages me to take it out and shoot photos even when I’m tired. I love my rangefinders, but there are too many steps (meter, lens cap off, focus, compose, shoot) to make them a viable candidate for active situations.

  • Reply
    Lori
    October 23, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Awesome shots! I just got an XA4 last week, and I agree. It’s an amazing camera!

  • Reply
    steve phillips
    October 23, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Stunning scenery, captured in some fine shots.

  • Reply
    Tony Smith
    October 24, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Those shots are stunning, I have been impressed by my XA2 but often been tempted by the XA4 macro. You may have just fuelled my GAS!

  • Reply
    Harry
    October 24, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Wow, lovely colours and compositions, Wen! I have an XA, an XA1 (my favourite) and an XA2 – now, of course, this has made me want to look out for an XA4 🙂 Keep up the good work, and a great review of a weight to results ratio carry around camera. I think that’s why most people have a soft spot for the XA series

  • Reply
    IgalSc
    October 24, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Beautiful images, stunning colours. I love my XA and XA 2, now I’m starting to think about XA4

  • Reply
    eric
    October 25, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Great. Very very nice.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Scott Adams
    October 25, 2019 at 5:38 am

    Wei, great to see your work again. Very beautiful images. Hope u r doing well.
    Still haven’t graduated to color😉 and still fascinated with big cameras but fall back to a Rollei for snap shots.
    I recently acquired a AX And shot some TriX but haven’t developed it yet.

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