Dedicated to Preserving the OM System
Tech Pages - XA
The Olympus XA was introduced in 1979. In the photo industry, it was the FIRST "clamshell" camera. Many manufacturers copied this concept later, to lesser success. XA series includes the XA2, XA3, XA4 and the budget XA-1.
Oldest XA have a metal rewind shaft and a tiny metal washer under every external body screw. I remember when the prototype came in
to Olympus (Woodbury, NY) just before PMA that year. The camera was not marked "XA" yet, I watched in awe as then National Service
Manager "Skippy" Uehara hand painted the moniker on the top of the clamshell.
XA has 2 - cds cells. One is for the meter needle display,
the other is for actual auto exposure. These are two completely independent readouts. Display can be off while actual exposure is
on, and vice-versa. The camera was designed around the 1.55v silver oxide battery as a power source. For best results only those batteries
should be used. The rangefinder can be said to be a little dim. Something that helps (and what I did years ago with my old Kodak retina
IIa) was to mount a small piece of yellow wratten filter over the small RF window.
* Used XAs to avoid: It is best to be able to handle used cameras before purchase. Any XA that is always in self-timer mode, or gives 10-15 second time exposures no matter what the f stop, has a either a cracked ceramic or bad IC in the main circuit board (not available). Damage often caused by dropping. I have a few circuits left, but that drives repair cost up beyond the price of a good used XA.
Battery Drain Characteristics: Negligible. As there is no off switch, very low battery drain relies on high resistance of cds cell
when it is covered by the sliding cover.
XA Best battery: (2) silver oxide 1.55V. 357, sr44-W. G-13, MS76, KS76, S76, 303. NO alkaline (A76, LR44) NO lithium (CR1/3N).