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View Poll Results: When do you think your XA's lens get sharp
it's always sharp! 90 30.93%
by f4 43 14.78%
by f5.6 90 30.93%
by f8 39 13.40%
by f11 0 0%
it never really gets that sharp 29 9.97%
Voters: 291. You may not vote on this poll

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XA Lens Quality?
Old 08-15-2008   #1
mh2000
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XA Lens Quality?

I bought my XA new in 1980... it's a love/hate affair for me.
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Old 08-15-2008   #2
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I've found it's always decently sharp... Only thing is I can never keep one working for more than about 5 rolls. I've gone through 3 and each one has stuffed up prematurely. I want so badly to have a decent working one because I really like them.
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Old 08-16-2008   #3
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Wasn't it Bailey who said in the famous tv ad (the George Cole / Arthur Daley one) "It's a Zuiko lens, so of course it's good."
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Old 08-16-2008   #4
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(OT mode on) I never heard a definition of "sharp"! This reminds me of the question whether photography is art or not. (OT mode off) The question for me is, whether I´m satisfied with the overall quality of a lens and for the XA-lens my answer is yes, at all apertures and in BW and color.
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Old 08-16-2008   #5
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Sharpness isn't somthing that I obsess over but the thing that turned me against my XA and XA4 was terrible lens flare. I can deal with the soft corners but the lens flare and especially when you get the full on hexagonal flare (I could live with it if it was at least round) ruined too many shots for me. I never get this with other cameras and I very rarely use a lens hood.

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Old 08-16-2008   #6
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That's funny, i haven't had much flare with the xa - no worse than other cameras. And the shot you posted looks to me like a classic flare inducing shot (sun hitting the front element directly). I doubt many compacts would hold up much better in such a situation.
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Old 08-16-2008   #7
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A good XA has more than 60 l/mm (f4 and up).



Gives original highlights though, with the square aperture.

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Old 08-16-2008   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaremontPhoto View Post
Wasn't it Bailey who said in the famous tv ad (the George Cole / Arthur Daley one) "It's a Zuiko lens, so of course it's good."
It was in the the ad for the Olympus Trip 35:

"-Its one of the best lenses in the world, they use it on the OM series."
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Old 08-16-2008   #9
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But on the Zuiko lenses, didn't Bailey say "I use it when I am not taking pictures"!!!
Didn't he do ads for the Trip, the XA and the OM10 only. Were there other models?

Lichfield also had a go, didn't he?

I am getting old.
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Old 08-16-2008   #10
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I'm the original owner of my XA. For about 10 years, it was my only camera. I've always found the lens to be a good performer. Here are some recent shots:

Stopped down, about f.11:



About f.4 (slight crop):



Wide open (slight crop):

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Old 08-16-2008   #11
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I'm the original with mine as well. I'm very happy with it, and have put hundreds of rolls through it with no problem.

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Old 08-16-2008   #12
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The XA is not meant to be used wide open all the time.
I use it at 5.6-11 most of the time.
If needed, I get nice looking images back at 2.8.
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Old 08-16-2008   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
The XA is not meant to be used wide open all the time.
I use it at 5.6-11 most of the time.
If needed, I get nice looking images back at 2.8.
Yeah, I think there's a reason f/5.6 is highlighted in orange... as if Olympus is trying to encourage people to use it when they can.
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Old 08-16-2008   #14
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The reason f/5.6 is highlighted in orange is to use the zone focusing mark at 8 feet for snap shots.
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Old 08-16-2008   #15
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yeah, but I also treated it as go beneath me with caution...

the reason I posted this was to get a gauge on how others (other than those posting fan sites for the camera etc.) found the sharpness of this lens since more often than I like the camera returned images that I thought were distractingly soft (and I don't think of myself as a "sharpness freak" by any stretch of the imagination since I shoot mainly cheap old stuff).

For a long time I've wondered if I got one of those "soft copies" or if others just don't mind the softness... anyway, thanks all, I'm shooting the camera currently and I'll see what the newest results come back like... have owned the camera since new and was always on the fence with it... but love love love the size and design.
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Old 08-16-2008   #16
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I find that holding the little camera steady is harder than a full sized camera. This could be one of the reasons why wide open images can appear rather soft with the XA. Test it wide open on a tripod.
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Old 08-16-2008   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solinar View Post
The reason f/5.6 is highlighted in orange is to use the zone focusing mark at 8 feet for snap shots.
Interesting. So, what zone is in focus when you set the focus tab to 8 ft (it's 3 metres on my version) and the aperture to f/5.6? Is it 8ft to infinity? I usually like to get closer than 8 ft, so I'm not sure how useful that would be for me.

Is there a pdf manual for this camera out there? Guess I should google it...
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Old 08-16-2008   #18
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My guess is that the subject need to be standing 6 to 12 feet from the camera to be in acceptable focus for a snap shot sized print when the lens is set to the highlighted 8 foot mark.

3 meters is 10 feet - so your mileage may very.

Raid gets the 64,000 dollar prize - camera shake can be a bugger with the XA - especially when it wanders into the slow shutter speed zone.
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Old 08-16-2008   #19
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I used a small tripod all the time so that isn't the problem... also, my Minox GL shots are way way sharper and the Minox holds much more awkwardly than the XA.

Yeah, there is a pdf manual somewhere and it has DOF table... but at 8' and f5.6 DOF is ~6.25-11" ... which is why I never shoot in that mode... I can guess better than that (hence I shoot the Minox more often... plus the Minox takes an actual bounce flash for when I need flash).

well... as I said, I love the design of the XA and am trying to be conscience of the lack of sharpness and shoot subjects that don't rely on a super sharp less...
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Old 08-16-2008   #20
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From a sharpness standpoint, my XA lens has performed every bit as well as my Minox GL and Rollei 35 (tessar models). And the option of the rangefinder - rather than just zone focus, is nice for when I don't feel like guessing...

Perhaps yours is in need of adjustment?
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Old 08-16-2008   #21
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Vignetting is a problem to me but XA & XA4 still my favourites.
What kind of film you use for color and B&W ?





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Old 08-16-2008   #22
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XA is one reason I still use film. Once in a while, the results from it make me scratch my head as to why I bother having other cameras...



Love the vignetting... most of the time
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Old 08-16-2008   #23
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I wondered if downsized pictures are showing sharpness at all? I hate dealing with crops, and don't engage with them at all.

For pure interest I downsized two pictures and yes, even at small web-suited size sharpness can be seen.

Color pic is from Konica's single speed POP (ISO200) - especially chose rather simple camera and b/w - from XA2 (ISO400).

I haven't before compared sharpness side by side, though there is difference from XA shots. So I can justify you XA owners for praising that little camera.
Till now I haven't run into adequately priced one, so I'm out of league and this days I'm kind of cooled down in regard of new gear. But I never say never
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Old 08-17-2008   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
I find that holding the little camera steady is harder than a full sized camera. This could be one of the reasons why wide open images can appear rather soft with the XA. Test it wide open on a tripod.
I agree, Raid, - but it's a great little pocket camera. Mine has largely been replaced by a .....gulp!....digicam, these days, so I'll be looking for a new home for it shortly

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Old 08-17-2008   #25
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My XA has almost been replaced by a Nikon P5100 as a go-everywhere pocket camera, but going slightly off topic,-I keep getting bouts of gas for the Nikon 35TI (considerably more expensive than XA!)..and wonder if image quallity is an improvement on the XA?
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Old 08-17-2008   #26
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And yes, XA reminds me very much Pentax PC35AF, in terms of picture.
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Old 08-17-2008   #27
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I often use the Minox GT and the Olympus XA side by side. Both cameras have sharp lenses, and I have not discovered a clear advantage of the GT over the XA.
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Duct Tape.....
Old 08-18-2008   #28
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Duct Tape.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
I find that holding the little camera steady is harder than a full sized camera. This could be one of the reasons why wide open images can appear rather soft with the XA. Test it wide open on a tripod.
Here in Beerfart NB, we use a lot of duct tape. In fact Beerfart uses more rolls per capita, per year than any other community in the USA.

It's not uncommon to find me in the crowd at the annual "Corn Shuckin and Hog Callin Festival" parade, taping my XA to sign posts along the parade route to get those memorable shots.

But once you anchor that lil sucker down, the lens delivers on the goods. Good as anything anybody else in Beerfart owns. And wide open that little bit of subject-containing vignette in the corners is JUST right!
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Old 08-21-2008   #29
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I've always found my XA to be acceptably sharp at f/2.8, in fact I find it hard to fault except for the slightly faint in broad daylight rangefinder patch.
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Old 08-24-2008   #30
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My XA has pretty much outlived its useful life of 20 plus years. I am beginning to get irritated by the difficult to see rangefinder patch and the hair trigger shutter. But if you need a small camera that takes film and can still pack a punch in the picture dept. then the XA can still come in handly. In particular if you are contemplating a long hike on the Great Wall of China. Your big rfdrs will become a real pain and you will wish you had your XA instead.
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Old 08-26-2008   #31
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BTGC.. Great photo! Whereabouts did you take this one?
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Old 08-26-2008   #32
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Thanks, caperunner! With kindergarten kids celebrated ancient fairy Ūsiņi - dedicated to Sun and Ūsiņš who manifested Sun in old times, also served as protector of horses. Also had some dancing and games supplemented by live music. Geographically this happens in Latvia.

Hope not obscuring original XA topic too much...
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Old 08-27-2008   #33
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Not obscuring XA topic at all. I play the GHB - great highland bagpipes and this pic caught my eye. What pipes are these?
Definitely a Celtic scene with fiddle, drums and pipes, or even medieval. This is why I liked your pic. Haven't I seen this scene on a woodcut before?
Back to XA good little camera...
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Old 08-28-2008   #34
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That could be Irish bagpipes. Truly speaking, I don't know much of them...Once I tried to play; this is good work for lung and relaxation for mind.
XA2 also is good palm-sized camera
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Old 08-28-2008   #35
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The XA has allowed me to shoot some pictures which I had never shot before mainly for two factors, its size (which I ended up carrying everywhere) and its discreet looks (which allowed me to take shots without drawing attention). As for the lens quality, its as good as any top notch camera of its time

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Old 08-30-2008   #36
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i find it acceptably sharp at all fstops, but i rarely open it wide though.

my only gripe about the XA is the RF patch. both of mine has faded quite a bit so i dont bother with focusing as much now. just use hyperfocal and enjoy.

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Old 08-30-2008   #37
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On mine the lens is a lot sharper than the focusing capacity of the dim rangefinder patch )

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Old 09-20-2008   #38
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Quote:
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And yes, XA reminds me very much Pentax PC35AF, in terms of picture.
I wish my PC35AF, either one of them, took pictures that looked as good as those from my XA, but they just don't quite get there. Close, but not quite. It's a great camera, the PC35AF, another great design that I like just as much as the XA, but I love the results from the XA a lot better. In response to the original question, mine is always sharp and I'm always impressed by the pictures I get from the XA. Once in a fit of stupidity, I sold my 3 XAs, my XA2, and my XA1. That's when I realized how much that camera means to me, so I had to get another and will never part with it again.

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Old 09-30-2008   #39
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Lightbulb

Oh the XA! It's been a long time since I had mine but to this day it was one of the best pocket size cameras I've ever used. I never had a problem with the quality of the lens and even wide open the photos were just magic.

All this XA talk is making me want to fire up eBay and have a look
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Old 09-30-2008   #40
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I have 5. Come over to my house and I'll give you one. They all seem to work quite nicely for me.
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