Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/fiftyfootshadows.net/public_html/wp-content/themes/fiftyfootshadows/single.php on line 28

My Olympus XA

I recently bought a new film camera to ease my hunger for the two more expensive ones that I really would love to get my hands on, a Bessa R3M and an old Hasselblad medium format. The camera I bought is an original Olympus XA which were made between 1979 and 1985 I believe and I was lucky enough to find one on ebay that ended up being brand new in the original box that had never been used and I could not be happier with it.

A few months back I bought the XA’s successor the XA2 which was kind of a simplified version of the XA and I really enjoyed using it and was surprised with the quality of photos that I could get out of a camera so small. The thing that drew me to get this second, original, XA was the fact that it is essentially a fully equipped tiny rangefinder with manual focus and aperture priority shooting. The original also had a faster 2.8 lens which I love seeing as Im always shooting in dark places. I shot a quick test roll to test the mechanics of it and check for light leaks and whatnot and it worked flawlessly so I stuck a roll of Portra 400vc inside (which I later discovered was expired) and gave it a chance with some nice film.

The following photos are a handful of images from that roll that I thought i would share here. A lot of these, if not all, are either on my flickr stream or will be soon. Please pardon the scan quality of the images as the scanner I’ve been using is a bit archaic.. Also, the more I shoot film the more I’ve been thinking of writing up a short article on my approach to shooting, something that may be useful to others getting into photography or others interested in what I look for when I take a camera out to shoot something. Its just one of many ideas floating around in my mind.















  1. sunhead* - August 26, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    nice ones! eccentric housewares & love the gso dusk skyline & “eat well, live well” subliminal messaging…

  2. mandy - September 5, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Great Pictures!!! Love them!

    *nice olympus too*


  3. Ray - September 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I bought an XA on the strength of your writeup!
    I love it too…

  4. john - September 11, 2008 at 8:22 am

    mandy, thanks!

    ray, great! enjoy it!

  5. J K - October 31, 2008 at 1:10 am

    very nice, i love the vignetting. I am about to pull the trigger on one of these. after getting my first slr a couple of months ago i’ve started reading about lomo’s and lomography. they are so expensive so i am now going to opt for an xa. i’d be more than interested in a write up about how you shoot with it.

  6. john - October 31, 2008 at 8:46 am

    JK, yes, the lomo stuff IS expensive! and for really cheap cameras.. they just have the monopoly on it and through their extraordinary marketing have made somewhat of a large cultural impact on the amateur photography scene.

    I find that buying into older cameras is much more satisfying, they are usually made really well, its still amazing to me that today i will buy a product and only expect it to last 3-5 years but here i am also shooting with a couple of cameras 20-30 years old, its pretty amazing really.

    The XA is totally worth it and writing up something about my ilm cameras could be fun to do sometime and I think I will put that on my to do list for future posts as I have time to post them, thanks!

  7. Rodolfo - November 26, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I love this camera too!
    I have an XA and a XA2, but the XA2 is not the XA’s predecessor, it is the simplified version produced after the XA at a lower price.
    The original XA designed by Maitani is the XA, as the name itself confirm.


  8. john - November 26, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Haha, looks like I used the word predecessor wrong. I really should take more time to proof read eh? I’ll fix that right up.. I knew the XA2 came after the XA and then was also followed with other versions after that, just used the wrong word, kind of funny really. Well, that or embarrassing. Thanks for pointing that out!

  9. 绝 « 呆着 - October 31, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    […] My Olympus XA […]

Leave A Reply

To whom it may concern,



• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share fiftyfootshadows.net with friends.
• Send me a quick mail if you are interested in using an image for commercial or personal use other than wallpaper.


• Post desktops elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics. (send a quick email to ask, I’m pretty easy going about this with permission.)
• Use them in commercial work.

If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J


By downloading any content from fiftyfootshadows.net you agree to the following terms:

All of the images contained within this website, fiftyfootshadows.net, are property of, John Carey unless otherwise posted. The images are distributed as freeware but they are available for personal use only on your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone as your wallpaper image. Any use of these images for any purpose other than this is a violation of these terms and anyone found using said images will be asked to either compensate the creator for doing so or be asked to stop using them immediately.

I ask that you refrain from using any images found on fiftyfootshadows.net to create physically printed material of any kind. This includes posters, photographic prints, fliers, etc. Under no circumstances may you make a physical reproduction without written permission.

These rules also apply for any artwork or imagery submitted and shown within this site which was created by an artist aside from myself. Any images submitted and shared as wallpapers are the property of the artist who created them and in the same manner as my images, you are asked to receive permission before using them in any way aside from their intended use. Any use of these images outside of for your own personal use as a desktop wallpaper image is prohibited without permission from the author of the image. Commercial licensing is available upon request. Please write with any inquiries.

When sharing images via your personal blogs I kindly ask that you link back directly to either the post the image was taken from or the base of the website at www.fiftyfootshadows.net and give a credit to www.fiftyfootshadows.net. Do not re-post full resolution desktop images anywhere without permission. If you would like to use an image for your blog background or something of the sort simply write to ask first. Support the artwork you admire! Also, it is greatly appreciated if you do NOT link directly to the zip files. This is more or less the same as re-posting them as it circumvents the tiny bit of support I ask of you which is to simply link back to the original post for others to enjoy the site.

It’s not fair to artists if you do not credit their work and link back to the original content creator. It is theft plain and simple and blogs that attempt to somehow be mysterious by not giving credit to the creators are simply hurting the artistic community as a whole. If you love it so much then please, support it! The artistic community on the Internet is based on trust. Without trust then what do we have? are you going to be one of the responsible users out there or will you be among the bottom feeders, stealing content and passing it off as your own to make a quick buck in ad sales.

Use your best judgement and we will get along just fine.

Thank you for your understanding and support!

John Carey (curator, owner)