The problem with second hand reviews & Apols to the XA2

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll be aware I’ve a somewhat love-hate relationship with the Olympus XA2. At times I’ve been amazed and other times underwhelmed. Well it turns out one of the two XA2 I had over the last 2 years whilst superficially working produced naff results (the other in hindsight was pretty good)

Olympus XA2
Olympus XA2 ’80s classic supercompact

And this got me thinking about me and other reviewers of film cameras. What happens if we get a wrong ‘un ?

I ended up with 2 XA2 as my first one failed to fire the flash (not an uncommon issues as I’ve discussed previously). I was pretty happy with it otherwise. The second came and with hindsight whilst operating as you would expect shots on it weren’t to the same standard but I just didn’t click. So I began a love hate affair with this little classic with some brilliant shots in challenging conditions

Arriving Engrossed
Edinburgh 2013. Olympus XA2 (the good one) with Kodak BW400CN

The above shot was taken on a trip to Edinburgh and the XA2 kept good pace with my LC-A. But at other times shots were pretty poor. I suspect the worse XA2 came on both my 2014 and 2015 shootout holidays and was roundly defeated by the likes of a Halina MW35E and a VUWS.  My first XA2 died following a Trip to Manchester earlier this year (again keeping up with a LC-A) and it was only then that it became clear the second was proving pretty poor. I’ve a new XA2 and once again things seem better.

Am I bovvered ?
Whitby 2015. Taken on the not so good Olympus XA2 with Ilford XP2 (and this was one of the better shots)

But it raises the question of how much faith can you have i reviews by folk like me ? I like to think I provide a pretty honest take on cameras and usually see what others have written. Even when a camera is failing or knackered I try to reflect my comments on the practicality of the beast but am I always accurate ? I gave  a pretty damning review of the Hanimex 35 DL as part of the Poundland challenge – but was mines more knackered than the average ?

Hanimex 35 DL
Hanimex 35 DL – was mines a dud ?

I’d like to think not but you never know. I’m a tech bloke rather than a great artist so it’s the mechanics that interest me and I hope this comes across. My last review of a munted Yashica Samurai was based on no shots but was critical of the unarguable lack of control for such a sophisticated shooter.

Elsewhere I do wonder about some other reviews. The most interesting is the classic Marmite (you love or you hate it ) camera – the Lomo LC-A. I’m a bit of a fan but I do acknowledge its idiosyncrasies. Whilst some reviewers diss it on those legitimately,  other kill it off because theirs didn’t seem to work or had issues. Then again is mines one of the better made ones ?

So my apols to the XA2. Well partially at least, the new one has the same annoying sticky shutter that affected the other 2 and there remains the whole is it fixed or zone focus argument…

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2 thoughts on “The problem with second hand reviews & Apols to the XA2”

  1. I’m thinking I may have had the same issue with an XA2. I had one a couple of years back, loved it and got plenty of good photos. I got another one recently and so far the results have been very underwhelming. I wonder if there is a fault I didn’t realise, because it does take photos, they’re just not great.

    Think I’ll try one more roll with it before I write it off as a dud. Thanks for highlighting this possibility!

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