Olympus XA2

Solid, beautifully designed and super-small. The clamshell is a thing of beauty; slide back the cover and you are good to go. Close it and the camera is off and the lens protected. And it is such a pleasing shape and texture.

Nice that the Mju II inherited the idea; if only the beauty had followed through also.

On the down side; no built in flash (you can bolt one on, but the camera gets bigger…). Also very few controls; zone focus and… er… shutter release (the iso setting could be used for exposure compensation).

But a point and shoot should be point and … er… shoot; not adjust, set, reset, fiddle, adjust, point, adjust, tweak and shoot.

Actually the XA2 is point, remember to focus, point again and shoot. It resets itself to the middle of the 3 focus zones when you close the cover, so if you do forget to focus, just hope you are photographing something in the middle distance.

The electronic shutter button is a bit vague; but since there’s no focus lock/prefocus, there’s no half press to deal with.

Here’s an odd thing. The crux of this post was going to be how disappointed I have been by the XA2’s image quality. Yet when I looked at my album just now, the images look OK. I distinctly remember being disappointed… perhaps I couldn’t believe that a tiny zone focussing camera would produce anything worthwhile… apparently it can.

I think the focus thing is a deal breaker with this camera though. I need more reliability than zone focusing gives.

I got this particular camera for my 15th (or so) birthday so it didn’t cost me anything. I thought it was broken, but recently tried scraping the battery contacts, and joy, it works.

The XA2 can be had for around £30 on ebay, which is reasonable. Like me, you are always going to want the rangefinder XA though; one day…


XA2 manual: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/olympus/olympus_xa2/olympus_xa2.htm

JCH article: http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2013/10/olympus-xa-pocket-professional/

XA2 gallery


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