Traveling with the Olympus XA2

I recently went on a two week trip with my wife to Washington State and California.

I haven't been to California in almost 8 years and was really excited to shoot a lot of pictures while I am there. It suddenly struck me that last time I went on a trip to India with my wife I spent too much time worrying about my camera and shooting pictures and she soon felt a little neglected. I knew I couldn't do that again this time. Furthermore, I was meeting up a good college friend for the first time in 8 years. I really didn't wanna make it look like my main purpose of the visit was to shoot California on film!

With that in mind I knew taking my Leica would not be a good idea as it would draw way too much attention. I wanted to take pictures but didn't want conversations to be interrupted or people giving me "wow that's a nice camera".  I knew that what I needed was a small, pocket sized camera that was easy to focus and operate. 

I then found an Olympus XA2 on Yahoo Japan's Auction site for 500 yen. This tiny camera is absolutely amazing. It has 3 focus settings, portrait, group, infinity. It rewinds like a disposable camera and is virtually silent.  I was first worried about getting LOMO or Holga like images from this camera, but to my surprise the photos where nothing like it. This camera's lens is razor sharp and reproduces colors nicely.

It does have a tiny pincushion distortion due to the small lens design. I never had an issue with this in any of my pictures. If you're a pixel peeper this might bother you.

Notice the distortion in the lines on the bottom here.

Notice the distortion in the lines on the bottom here.


I've shot B&W, color negatives and slide film on this camera. The meter is reliable and accurate. The only drawback I could find was that the ISO setting only goes to 800ISO. 

Here are a few sample shots taken on this tiny camera.

Dana Point, CA on Provia 100F with the Olympus XA2

Dana Point, CA on Provia 100F with the Olympus XA2

Bellevue, WA blooming. Portra 400 on Olympus XA2

Bellevue, WA blooming. Portra 400 on Olympus XA2

Glendale, CA from Glendale Memorial. Michael Jackson rests here. FP4 Plus shot on Olympus XA2

Glendale, CA from Glendale Memorial. Michael Jackson rests here.
FP4 Plus shot on Olympus XA2