You've seen Cartier Bresson and Robert Doisneau. You've marveled at the way they captured the essence of life - the decisive moment, the atmosphere of place.
You've spent too long with SLRs with a gadget bag full of lenses wondering why that perfect picture eluded you.
Welcome to Olympus XA. A camera others can only dream of whilst you can produce the photographs of your deepest imagination.
You need a small film camera - unobtrusive. Very easy to handle. Fits in the pocket or handbag. Quick to use. Capable of superb results - perfectly sharp and exposed. A camera that is so feng shui - and so Zen. The Olympus XA
This site, first set up in the year 2000, is dedicated to its magic. Enjoy
Now, something I need to say about digital. Because film is old hat isn't it? No, it is not. The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera - so said Dorothea Lange and she knew about such things.
Photography is about wanting to convey what you think about something, to other people. To do that you have to be at ease with yourself and one with your subject. Your camera has to be an extension of your soul and a very few cameras have the right qualities for this. Just watch old films of Cartier-Bresson with his Leica - it is absolutely a part of him. XAs do this and some Leicas. Some old battered Nikons too. A few others but not many. The camera has to be designed and built by people who care - only then does it have the right qualities. The more it sees in it's travels the more it is able to work with you. If you have read Robert Pirsig's Zen and the art of Motor Cycle Maintenance you will know what I mean. If not, read it as it will change you for the better, as it did me.
And that is the first problem with digital cameras. They have no soul. They have been designed and put together by technologists for whom mega-pixels mean everything. Batter them and they stop working. They do not mature or age gracefully. Olympus digital cameras seem to have none of the magic of the XA - they are ugly in their design, the controls fiddly. I have a little Canon IXUS30 that has been all round the former communist eastern Europe. It has even been with me in the gas chamber at Auschwitz. It has taken some very moving pictures there and I think as a result has developed some soul. The Fuji x100 series is probably the best digital camera at the moment. I have an x100s I bought secondhand so that it would already have some soul and I think it has. I like it a lot - it takes great pictures even in difficult conditions, but cannot love it as I had hoped. Why? Because it has a vast array of unnecessary settings which serve only to distract the photographer and it is so easy to change some wretched setting inadvertently. Difficult with an XA! I rarely use the electronic viewfinder as the optical finder allows me to compose. Bit like the difference between a theatre performance and watching the same play on the TV. I have just bought a used Canon IXUS 70 for £17 which has a simple optical viewfinder and more than enough mega-pixels. It is tiny and light with very simple sensible settings, fast auto-focus and it takes very good pictures if the light is reasonable. I may be falling in love with it.
|XA - the original & best|
|XA1 - least said|
|XA2 - don't leave home....|
|XA3 - XA2 and a bit more|
|XA4 - wide & wonderful|
|a little design history|
|films & processing|
|original picture gallery|
|your new XA pictures|
|a few links|
|tell a friend about XA|