Yes, this is again about one of my three remaining cameras. About the smallest of them and the one I took most of my preferred photos with.
The glorious Olympus XA2
Of course I could go on about it’s great, sharp lens. About it’s very accurate exposure system.
But the XA2 is not about that. The Olympus XA2 is about one thing: It’s (for me) the perfect, invisible camera!
And it is invisible in two ways.
First, people hardly notice it. It’s small, unobtrusive, it’s nearly noiseless and it’s fast to take a snap. If you pre-set the focusing distance, that is.
For me it’s the ideal street photography camera. And more so as it’s incredibly tiny and fits in virtually any pocket… even my tight jeans in a pinch.
But as I said, it’s main advantage is that people do not notice it! Even at close quarters, they barely can hear the shutter click. Just don’t make hasty movements when lifting it to your eye and you’re good to go.
I usually carry it in my right hand, the strap wound around my wrist, at chest height, just under my chin. This allows me to get it up to working altitude in no time at all with a minimum of movements that could alert my ‘victims’. When I expect slow exposure times, I support the XA2 with my left hand but I try to avoid that.
The second way this camera is invisible is that it functions in an entirely transparent way to me. Setting the focus distance to one of the 3 settings is done by reflex. I tend to flip the slider well in advance, according to the shots I expect to take. A tight street, people moving about… set it to 3m. Open space, wide vistas, it clicks to the upper, infinity setting. One the rare occasions when I expect to be closer, down it goes to the 1,2m setting.
This happens well before I take a shot, so all I have to do is to raise the camera and touch the shutter button.
Of course it’s not a perfect camera. It’s got a maximum shutter speed of 1/750 second, it has this dismal close focusing distance of 1,2m…. But those are things I easily forgive it.
Because it just works for me. It’s a really trouble free experience to go out with this camera and just get in the mood. To enter that twilight zone where there’s just you, the camera and potential subjects….
And if you don’t have the time to raise the camera to your eye or if you don’t dare…. there’s always the shot from the hip.
The Olympus XA2, the small camera that can!
Thanks for reading!