The Olympus XA4, last but certainly not least in the XA family of cameras, is an all-around fantastic point-and-shoot camera with macro capabilities. How about them apples?
Okay, I know it’s a cheesy title but it’s the damn truth!! I thought I loved my Olympus XA2? Ha—I didn’t know what love was!! Let me explain in a round-a-bout sort of way.
My husband and I ran our first 5K race in September—a monumental occasion for a self-professed hater of running. Of course, I had to photograph the event but it was rainy and nasty. I didn’t want to bring a precious little digital camera with me that might get it’s panties in a bunch and decide to stop working because of a little precipitation, so I brought my Olympus XA2. I needed something with reliable results and, preferably, a flash since the weather was a bit dreary.
I’m happy to say we ran the ENTIRE race and finished without dying. Since this race was sponsored by our fantastic local brewery, Dogfish Head, we all got free food and beer at the end. It was great. I was happily documenting the day and was looking forward to getting the film developed.
Then, disaster struck as I attempted to rewind my film. It was really hard to do, I mean really hard. The film must’ve gotten damp from the weather and began sticking to itself because I ended up breaking the film rewind knob clean off the camera. I was distraught. I really loved this camera. I searched eBay for extra parts and got them but not before hitting pay dirt in my favorite local thrift shop.
I went in to poke around and what did I find? An Olympus XA4 for a mere DOLLAR!! Let me say it again…for A DOLLAR! I felt like I was stealing the thing as I handed over my little bill and skipped out of the store.
What makes the XA4 so special, you ask? Well my friend, it has MACRO capabilities. You can get as close to your subject as a foot. Not only that, but instead of the usual 3 zone focusing, there are 7 zones that range from one foot to infinity. The lens is different; a 28/3.5 five element lens instead of the XA’s 35/2.8. That lovely A11 flash unit that I got with my XA2? Totally compatible with the XA4. Brilliant (pun intended)! It is the most flexible point and shoot film camera I own. It’s wonderful to be able to get close to objects without holding a crazy diopter up to the lens.
According to the site cameraquest.com, the XA4 was made in 1985 and for only a year at that, making it pretty difficult to find (and making my thrift store find that much sweeter). It’s one of the first cameras to use DX film coding and has programmed exposure times from 2 seconds at f/3.5 to 1/750th of a second at f/14. You’ll even be warned by a little light if your shutter speed is below 1/30th so that you can set up a tripod or use flash.
If you’re a fan of the LC-A, or the XA family of cameras you’ll love the XA4. You’ll want to marry it and have it’s babies. So get to looking! Maybe you’ll score big like I did. Good luck!