Olympus XA | Big Bear Lake

While sorting though a bin of cameras labeled “Broken” at a camera shop in Costa Mesa I found an Olympus XA, a pocket rangefinder camera from the late 1970’s. I had never owned one before and with a price of $5 I couldn’t help but buy it - and it looked unused, maybe there was some chance it was mislabeled and actually worked? For another $5 I bought some batteries and went back to my car.

Sitting in the parking lot I added in the batteries and moved the switch on the bottom to the “Test” position, nothing. There was suppose to be a small red LED that lights up and a continuous beeping tone, signifying a full battery. Disappointed I left it in my lap and did some searches on my phone about possible malfunctions. I have had quite a few cameras in the past that were sold as broken when really the seller didn’t know how to properly use the camera. Being unfamiliar with this model myself I was hoping I might find an easy solution.

5 minutes later, a subtle high pitched whine broke the silence and despair of the inside of my car. I looked down at the camera between my legs and saw the small red LED as the volume of the tone increased. Somehow the camera came back to life with 5 minutes of continuous battery current. The next day I took it inland up into the mountains for a weekend vacation in Big Bear, California.

Camera: Olympus XA Rangefinder
Location: Big Bear Lake, California
Film: Unknown
Lens: Non-interchangeable Olympus F. Zuiko 35mm f2.8