The Olympus XA 4 – My Everyday Carry Camera!


The Olympus XA 4 is a wonderful merger of Zone / Scale Focus, sophisticated photographic creative control and an amazing 28mm macro lens… released in 1985! In a previous video blog I compared the Olympus XA to the LOMO LCA and LCA+  for the purposes of pointing out strengths and weaknesses to both systems- the Olympus XA 4 strikes the perfect balance between these two very different cameras and has now found itself as my everyday carry camera.




TEST EXPOSURE…Olympus XA 4 focused at 1′. Exposed on Kodak Ektar 100… exposure was hand held at under 1/30th of a second (interior light glows at exposures under 1/30th) at F5.6  (at the 1′ focus setting the minimum f stop is f 5.6. Note the nice crisp detail and beautiful  out of focus (OOF) rendering. Yes I know it is not “Leica Sharp” but damn it is really good for a Point and Shoot from 1985! One additional thought… I love the new Kodak Ektar 100!


Fantastic sites with lots of information on the XA line…

The XA Way

11 thoughts on “The Olympus XA 4 – My Everyday Carry Camera!

  1. funny, stumbled on your blog while searching the net for a xa4. it’s definitely hard to find one. so, anyone reading that and willing to sell… dont hesitate !

  2. Yes they are hard to find but I managed to find 2 mint condition XA 4 in two days…and yes I bought both. Keep looking as they are out there but the price is higher than any other XA line camera.

    One note… in the video I mention that the XA 4 has 1/3 stop inc on the ISO… I mis spoke and it is full stops from 25-1600 and of course with DX.


  3. Very nice video Steven. I share your enthusiasm for this great camera (and for its more common XA brother too).

    One very minor correction… when setting the focus to either of the two close-up settings (1 or 1.7 feet) the green warning light will glow if the shutter speed falls to below 1/90 second. For all other focus settings it glows when the speed is less than 1/30.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for this camera.

  4. hey man, i’ve recently gotten a mint condition xa 4, just wondering where can i try my luck to get the flash adaptor for the xa 4.

    i;ve tried ebay, no luck. haha


    1. The XA 4 will take the standard A11 and A16 flash… there may be a way to modify it to take other flashes but I am not aware of how… I almost always shoot that camera without a flash.


  5. I just got one from eBay – it arrived today.
    Seems in very good condition.

    Am excited but only have 200 ISO film and it’s a dull overcast evening.
    Will test it properly tomorrow.

    Wide angle and close-ups are two of my favourite things so having both in one camera is very cool indeed.

  6. great clip..

    i managed to get an xa4 for 5 dollars in a thrift store.
    i believe this camera is one of the greatest compacts ever a real masterpiece.
    the lomos are toys when compared to this. so much intelligence and genius went into the xa and the xa 4.
    i avoided these cameras for years my mistake, if you come across one grab it.

  7. Stephen, thanks for the very useful vid. Just bought my own XA4 and I love it. Only two surprises, one being the total absence of any viewfinder info (apart from the green slow shutter warning light you mentioned). This will take a bit of getting used to, and having no idea of the shutter speed is maybe the one thing about this camera that I’m not so keen on. The other surprise is that on my sample the distance scale is set in meters; they obviously made two versions. Brilliant and inexplicably underrated cameras.

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