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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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Old 09-30-2008   #41
gnarayan
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I finally traded my XA this past weekend at PHSNE Photographica show for a motor winder for my OMs. One thing I rarely used for another thing I probably will rarely use. Cute little thing but never quite did it for me. Yes it was small but might I was always stopping it down since the VF and RF were useless and in that case might as well just use a digital compact.
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Old 09-30-2008   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rovnguy View Post
I have 5. Come over to my house and I'll give you one. They all seem to work quite nicely for me.
I might have to take you up on that At least that will give me an excuse to go back to San Diego, one of me all time favorite cities.
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I agree whole-heartedly.....
Old 09-30-2008   #43
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I agree whole-heartedly.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Wilkinson View Post
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 Mine has largely been replaced by a .....gulp!....digicam, these days, so I'll be looking for a new home for it shortly

Dave.
I too will be looking for a home for my digicam and starting to carry the XA again, or one of my XA2's. I wish the digicam could upstage either of them, but I guess it's a $500 lesson I just had to learn.

Welcome back when you sell your digicam. In my case the $ loss was harsh, but warranted by the image quality of my XA
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Old 10-09-2008   #44
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well... I started this thread because over the years I've only been so-so satisfied with this lens... but in preparing for a little exhibition I decided I wanted to put up one photo taken with the XA and even though the proofs and scans looked prety mediocre, my 8x12" print looks quite good... I doubt it would go much bigger, but at 8x12" the camera is quite decent stopped down... certainly capable of making quality images.
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Old 10-24-2008   #45
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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.
Is any lens "meant" to be used at *any* aperture "all the time"?
The best photo I ever took of my wife was with my XA fully open at a street cafe, with a really busy background. Her face is really clear. I only wish my scanner still worked so I could re do my gallery!

I'll agree with some here - I've never liked the shape of the lens flare (the square aperture doesn't do much for me) when it happens, and the vignetting you can get is sometimes more than I'd like, but at the end of the day, I shoot far more with my XA than I do with my SLR, and I love it. It can be difficult to focus accurately in low light with the XA's rangefinder, and combined with low depth of field, this can be another drawback. I don't think the XA is the perfect low light camera.

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Old 11-01-2008   #46
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And yes, XA reminds me very much Pentax PC35AF, in terms of picture.
I bought a brand new PC34AF-M (motor drive) in the box for 5 bucks a few years back and never use it (too busy with my oly's), I didn't know that it would be comparable with the XA., prob. put on a roll and test it next week.
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Old 11-01-2008   #47
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I bought a brand new PC34AF-M (motor drive) in the box for 5 bucks a few years back and never use it (too busy with my oly's)
I'd be happy had Pentax model aperture control and zone focus. Lens is really nice.
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Old 01-07-2009   #48
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Love my Xa, in terms of having a little manual focus rangefinder its just awesome.
Use it wide open alot, and it delivers, and I did that little trick when you marker pen in the rangefinder spot so its easier to focus. Some shots:


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Old 01-26-2009   #49
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Foolishly I sold my XA about a year ago, but in the years I had it I found the lens to be very sharp (for the time the camera was produced). Obviously it got better when stopped down a bit, but really I had no problems with it at all. Not for nothing was it christened, "the camera the Pros take on holiday with them"!
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Old 01-26-2009   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamxo View Post
Love my Xa, in terms of having a little manual focus rangefinder its just awesome.
Use it wide open alot, and it delivers, and I did that little trick when you marker pen in the rangefinder spot so its easier to focus. Some shots:


That second picture is amazing. Well done!
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Old 07-13-2009   #51
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Dave, Re the 35Ti, it's a nice camera and the lens has to be the sharpest I've ever used, at least on a compact. I never really liked the camera as much as my Contax T2 though. The aviator style dials on top of the camera give it a unique style. the viewfinder isn't as bright a the T2 though IMO. Sold mine after only a couple of months.

Nikon 35Ti


I've got an XA too, bu tsadly it doesn't see much use. I've got a roll of the new Ektar 100 in at the moment which I need to finiish. I find the lens acceptably sharp but nowhere near as good as the high-end compacts such as the 35Ti and the T2. What I've always liked is the clamshell design, as when it's closed it protects all the glass, both lens and vf. No case needed.

Oly XA
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Old 07-19-2009   #52
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I love it and find the lense very very good (not up with my TC-1 or Ricoh GR1s, but the payoff is the manual RF)... It does like to vignette at f2.8, but I think it adds to the charm - part of its signature.

I like it so much I've just ordered a second one (my present one has a problem with the shutter where it refuses to fire occasionally - just enough that I've missed quite a few shots)...

(@f2.8 on the day I moved out of my old apartment)

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Old 07-19-2009   #53
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I voted that it "never gets really that sharp" what might be a bit unfair, as my expectations were probably too high. I used it as my P&S camera (NOT the only camera) loaded with Ektar 100 for a 3 weeks trip in New Zealand. At f/2.8 this camera is VERY dreamy - suitable according to my opinion only to special stuff (portraits?), as one keeps stopping down the situation indeed improves and get reasonable by f/5.6 or so, but it never gets technically speaking really sharp. As I was doing mostly landscape stuff - it was not the best choice. But the tiny size had its advantages.

I did some 8x10" prints and had to do some clever sharpening before printing and the results are nice enough, but looking close - it could be better. But the way the camera "draws" is pleasant to me (actually surprising given the fact that the aperture is rectangular).

You can see some of photos HERE, though none of the photos were taken wide open, as I was trying avoid that setting. More photos to come in the next days - some wide open too.

Still - I am rather sure that the performance will vary among the XAs. These little guys are turning 30 in between (as I am ) so maybe a CLA can help to improve on the image quality side (have to ask my wife ).

A few more comments on the corners - there is quite some vignetting - especially wide open. Whlile this seem to vary from camera to camera, it is something that one should not forget about. I do some partial correction in PS afterwards, thos I do not attempt to remove all of it.

Last edited by Matus : 07-19-2009 at 13:58. Reason: the corners ...
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100% crops @ 2700dpi
Old 07-22-2009   #54
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100% crops @ 2700dpi

OK, so as promised, some 100% crops @ 2700 dpi can be found HERE These practically unadjusted (see comments under the pictures) and not sharpened.

I have also added quite some XA photos to my New Zealand set, though they still miss the description ...

-----
For some reason once I export the pictures to JPG (and also convert form Adobe1998 to sRGB) and open them with Safari (which is 'color profile aware') I get slight magenta or pink casts - especially visible in the clouds. My monitor (a quite good one) is calibrated, but I might need to check that. In the Photoshop tho photos do not have this cast - independently of the color profile they are converted into.

Last edited by Matus : 07-22-2009 at 01:24. Reason: on the color casts
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Old 07-22-2009   #55
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As counterintuitive as it may seem, an XA on a tripod, triggered by self-timer, is not a bad thing. Yeah, not the intended modality, but even the piezoelectric shutter actuator doesn't totally counteract vibrations in a tiny, plastic-bodied camera.
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Old 07-25-2009   #56
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I think there's a real knack to this camera, due to it diminutive size. The phoographs from my first roll of Ektar (just developed and scanned) starts out rather poorly, but seems to improve a little as I've got used to handling it.
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Old 07-25-2009   #57
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From my sweet little XA @ f/11 and whatever shutter speed the camera set (sounded like 1 - 2 seconds) on Ektachrome 100G. I just set the focus to infinity, set the self timer and set the camera on something steady.
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Old 07-25-2009   #58
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Very sharp in non-flare lighting conditions!
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Old 08-20-2009   #59
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Because it is small, it is easily carried and thus whether or not it is the right camera is moot because it is the camera you have with you when you see things.



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Old 08-20-2009   #60
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it is "sharp" enough for me



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Old 10-26-2009   #61
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Oly Xa, absolutely not bad quality lens, and very confortable to
use and to hide in street photography...















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Old 10-26-2009   #62
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Mauro - the first one and the sixth one are superb. Well done.
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Old 10-26-2009   #63
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And I like the 5th one as well. Well done!
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Old 10-26-2009   #64
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I know this thread is about sharpness, but the quiet shutter lets you take discreet street shots close up...

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Old 10-26-2009   #65
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Zone focusing at f.8:

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Old 10-27-2009   #66
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I was just preparing images for a show and one by the XA squeaked in. I had to do some photoshop work to get rid of the lens flare but it's definitely a keeper. Sold the camera long time ago and now use a GR1 to do the same type of shooting but the design of the XA is second to none and when I look back to when I had it, I seem to have shot a lot more. Lighter and more pocketable than anything else.

That said when reviewing a lot of images taken with different cameras, the XA's don't really stand up to the Leica, GR1 and T4 images but I could open it and set the aperture and focus with one hand in my pocket and always be ready to shoot.
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Old 10-27-2009   #67
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It's a very sharp lens.

Look at the American flag on the third mast:



Here is a detailed scan of that flag:

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Old 10-27-2009   #68
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The XA is a very nice camera, but like a lot of cameras, it's been hyped to the point where expectations are raised to an unreasonable level.

I think the lens is very good. Not legendary but very good.

It has plenty of features: Backlight compensation, somewhat decent ISO range, self-timer, battery check and a rangefinder. However, do keep in mind that it's a very narrow base rangefinder coupled to a wide angle lens. For those of us who think the Cosina Voigtlander Bessa cameras have a narrow base rangefinder, try half of that or less (I should measure later when I get home). Still, it's nice to have one.

The body is a bit too smooth, and I can easily see a photographer dropping it. Same goes for the Minox 35 series. The Rollei 35 has enough dials, protrusions and body leather to make it more difficult (although not impossible) to drop.

On my camera, the meter needle is sluggish and inaccurate, although it seems to expose correctly.
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Old 10-27-2009   #69
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Quote:
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On my camera, the meter needle is sluggish and inaccurate, although it seems to expose correctly.
I think you already knew that XA's VF needle is independent from meter deciding about exposure. Some XA's don't show exposure in VF and still expose just fine.
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Old 10-28-2009   #70
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Yes, I sort of figured as such. The meter is "ballpark" accurate, but I don't think is always representative of the actual exposure.
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Old 10-31-2009   #71
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f5.6 on Elite Chrome 100:



f11 on Kodak Portra 800:

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Old 11-08-2009   #72
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It's not pin sharp, but it's not bad either: f2.8 on Superia 800:

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Old 11-11-2009   #73
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I use the camera as a pocket camera at @800, and the meter is pretty good most of the time. I love the 1.5 backlight switch. My sharpness problems with this camera are always in the slow shutter speeds, most shots at 1/30 and below don't come out. I attribute this to the clunky shutter and the lightness of the camera (most of the time, I can see the needle jump when I tap the shutter).

The Yashica GSN doesn't have this problem, but than again it's a brick of camera.
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Old 11-28-2009   #74
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I love my current XA. I usually get nice, sharp, nicely exposed photos with it. I one took it and an equally old Nikon N2020 with me to Chicago over a year ago. The shots with the XA rivaled the Nikon shots.

My first XA had a a problem with the, I think, shutter. The camera immediately goes to self-timer mode (without the bottom lever sticking out) after tripping the shutter button.
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Old 12-01-2009   #75
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f4 on portra 800 (click the image for a larger view):

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Old 01-01-2010   #76
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I'm so glad this topic was brought up.. it's one of Mr. Maitani's masterpieces.
Mine needs a CLA. Can anyone recommend me a good technician? My local one doesn't want to work on analog cameras anymore
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Old 01-09-2010   #77
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Old 01-09-2010   #78
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It's lens is always sharper than the other camera's that I forgot to bring with me . . .
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Old 01-10-2010   #79
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Quote:
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I'm so glad this topic was brought up.. it's one of Mr. Maitani's masterpieces.
Mine needs a CLA. Can anyone recommend me a good technician? My local one doesn't want to work on analog cameras anymore
John Hermanson, Camtech.
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Old 01-20-2010   #80
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Best at f5.6 IMHO:

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