The Olympus XA series of cameras were a range of very compact cameras in a clam-shell case. They were designed for Olympus by Maitani Yoshihisa. The series was largely replaced by the Stylus/mju series in 1991.
The XA, introduced in 1979 was the benchmark of the series containing a true rangefinder focusing mechanism and an aperture priority exposure system within its tiny case. It had a six element Zuiko 35mm f:2.8 lens, a CdS exposure meter and a shutter to 1/500.
|XA2 with optional flash unit A11|
A detailed summary, technical specification, review and analysis of the XA can be found here.
The XA2, introduced in 1980, was a simplified version of the XA with zone focusing and a programmed exposure system. It had a four-elements-in-four-groups Zuiko 35mm f:3.5 lens. The exposure meter was a CdS exposure sensor above the lens. Shutter speed range was 2 secs. to 1/750. The minimum focusing distance was 3,3 feet or 1 meters. Its film speed range was ASA 25 -800. Limited supplies in white, red and blue were also produced, and extremely limited numbers (probably only a few hundred) in pink. Fake pink XA2s have been reported.
|XA1 with A9M flash by Skagman|
The XA1, introduced in 1982, was the cheapest and simplest of the series. It had a fixed focus four element 35mm f:4 lens, a shutter from 1/30 to 1/250 and a programmed exposure driven by a selenium meter. The only film speed settings were 100 and 400 ISO.
The XA3, from 1985, was basically an XA2 with DX film coding and manual ASA settings up to 1600 ASA. Also had the "backlight compensation" feature from the original XA, a feature lacking in the XA2. A limited edition in red was also produced.
The XA4, from 1985, was an XA2 with a five element Zuiko 28mm f:3.5 lens focusing to 0.3m. The special strap that came with the camera allowed easy measuring of 0.3m and 0.5m distances for close focussing. For the US-market, the XA4's distance scale was marked in feet.
|Olympus XA4 Macro, photo by skagman|
|flash unit A11|
Four different types of flash units were offered to use with the various XA models. All must be screwed to the left hand side of the body, and are very compact units. All auto flash models have settings for 100 or 400 ISO films.
- A9M, a purely manual flash intended for use with the XA1. Uses one AA battery.
- A11, an auto flash with settings for ASA 100 and ASA 400. Uses one AA battery. A11 User's Manual Courtesy: acolla
- A16, a more powerful auto flash than the A11. Has settings for ASA 100 and ASA 400. Uses two AA batteries.
- A1L, lithium batteries not replaceable by the user without dismantling the flash.
A macro attachment was available for the A-11 and A-1L to use with the XA-4 at close focusing range.
Cases were sold for both the body only, and for the body with a flash attached.
- ↑ The name is given in the Japanese order, with family name followed by the given name.
| Clam-shell front|
is typical for Olympus compacts
- Olympus XA3 Review by BKSPicture
- The definitive XA site (includes manuals)
- Classic Cameras overview
- Matt Denton's XA and XA2 pages
- Karen Nakamura's overview
- The Other Martin Taylor's overview
- Dante Stella's overview
- Chris Lee's history of the XA detailed in the XA Way
- XA, XA2, XA1, XA3 in the Olympus Global History.
- Maitani Yoshihisa and the cult of Olympus at Classic Cameras by RaúlM.
- XA2 Video Manual by Shawnee Union
- On www.collection-appareils.fr by Sylvain Halgand :
- Lionel's Olympus XA, XA-1, XA-2, XA-3, XA-4 pages at 35mm-compact.com
- XA and XA2 in G. Even's collection.
- Sample images at http://www.sample-image.com/
- Random XA photos at pbase.com
- Photos taken with the XA by the other Martin Taylor
- Photobooks by Edwin Mak. Travel photography and Psychogeographic ephemera shot entirely on Olympus XA4.
|Classic Compact Cameras|
|Canon IXUS | Minox 35 | Olympus XA | Penti|
|Olympus Classic Cameras|
|Semi | Semi II | Six | Chrome Six | Flex | Standard | 35 | Ace | Pen | Pen F | FTL | OM-1/2/3/4 | OM-10/20/30/40 | OM-707 | OM-101 | XA|