In these tough economic times it can be hard to part with your cash, even in support of your photography addiction. If you’re longing for an LC-A but just can’t scrape together the money, try an Olympus XA2, often called the ‘Poor Man’s LC-A”
An evolution of the Olympus XA, the XA2 has more auto controls and is less expensive. The original XA has a more complex lens compared to the XA2’s Zuiko F 3.5. But you’ll never notice the difference. It’s 3-zone focusing system (similar to Holga and Diana) allows you to get within a meter of your subject at close range for crisp shots with all the character of an analogue camera. There is a small degree of vignetting but for the most part this is a tough, reliable camera that will become a staple in your bag of tricks.
It’s clam shell design provides protection for the lens and camera controls. Open it up and the zone-focusing switch defaults to mid-range. A very nice feature. Set your film speed with a flick of the switch below the lens. The XA2 has quite a range, from ISO 25 to 800. I’ve run 100-400 speed fims through my camera with beautiful results. Black and white film also comes out quite nicely. A snazzy little flash is attached to the left side of the camera. The A11 flash unit is pretty weak and only effective at short ranges, but at least it’s an option. In addition to film you’ll need 2 SR44 batteries to get your XA2 rolling.
I’ve been quite pleased with the XA2 and am very content to play around with it for awhile until I can stash enough money away to get an LC-A. Purchased for just $11.00 on e-Bay, it was well worth the money. Thanks to www.diaxa.com for technical information.