I’ve been on the search for the perfect companion camera over the past months. Something that fits into my bag and, when necessary, in my pocket. I’ve tried the Canonet QL17, but even though it’s a nice camera, it’s not exactly what I’m looking for. It’s supposed to be more like a point and shoot, but with the usual distinctiveness of a cute little film camera. Obviously that also meant warming up with 35mm again, because let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a compact medium format camera. Though I gotta say, the Plaubel Makina 67 is as close as it gets.
Anyway, enough of that blabber, you know what I mean. What I found was, among other things, the Olympus XA. It’s a very neat little camera, and if you consider the original XA (there’s also XA1-4) it has a true rangefinder and has aperture priority. It also has the best lens in the XA series. Awesome! Ebay to the rescue, not too long after I started lusting after one I actually held it in my hands. What’s unexpected compared to the other cameras I have that it uses batteries that are still available.
As with the Canonet I still have to get used to focusing and composing with a rangefinder, but either way, it’s pretty fun shooting with it. I’ve stuffed some Kodak Ektachrome 100GX (sweet slide film) in it and a roll of Lucky 200 color negative film, courtesy of Mr. J.R. Ball from Texas. Both came out pretty nice, but I still need to practice with it. But yeah, it’s a neat little camera. If you’re looking for something similar, the XA or the XA2 might just be for you. It’s no SLR and it definitely lacks real sharpness, but it just adds to the fun.
Unfortunately the light seals don’t work as they should anymore, but that’s a problem that can easily be fixed. Of course not too long after I got the XA I also found a Lomo LCA, so I guess these two will be my pocket companions from now on, each getting some photo action in turn.