Monday, July 14, 2014

A couple cars and a diagnosis

My compact Olympus XA often gets to ride along in a pocket when I'm out for a walk with no particular photographic objective in mind.  The 1938 Chevrolet was parked at the west end of the Plaza Vieja early on Friday morning.  The owner was sitting on a nearby bench; he said he had owned the car for about 35 years.  

The XA also often gets to go along as a backup when I'm out to make pictures with one of my big 6x9 folders like the Monitor which only have a capacity of eight frames per roll of 120 film.  The XA also allows me to shoot easily in low light environments without the need for a tripod which is really essential with the long-lensed Monitor.  The spiffy sports car was in the shop where Saturday's car show was held.  I'm guessing it is a Ferrari 328, but I could be wrong.

The XA had also accompanied the Monitor when I visited the Nuclear History Museum earlier in the week.

When I scanned the aircraft shots, which had a lot of sky in the background, I noticed that the upper third of the image contained a number of round dark spots which can be seen clearly in the B-47 image.  The spots were present and in the same position in all the images shot that day.  This was clearly something going on in the lens.  The XA shutter has no bulb function to allow keeping the shutter open, so I was only able to examine the front and rear elements and found no trace of anything that could have caused the spotting

I was relieved to find that images made before and after the Museum visit did not have the spots on the negatives.  My fear when I had first noticed them in the aircraft pictures was that fungus had invaded the lens.  In fact my first XA was a victim of such an infection, and there is no easy way to correct that issue in the XA outside of an Olympus repair facility.  My conclusion at this point is that the spots were the result of condensation on the inner lens surfaces, which evidently dried up after the session with the aircraft.


Jim said...

It would be a shame to lose an XA to something like fungus, as they are more expensive to replace than many little 35mm cameras.

Mike said...

I found my two XA and the XA2 locally and didn't pay a lot for them. I'll be a little sad if they give out, but it is getting pretty hard to justify buying any more cameras for any reason I can think of. I have quite a few very good ones that I've done little with, so I'm going to try to focus on getting more from them.

Jeff Applegate said...

Mike, I think the spiffy sports car may be a DeTomaso Pantera - a car which really stirred my imagination as a young man with its sleak Italian body and Ford V8engine somehow shoehorned into the "back seet". :)

Mike said...

Thanks for the correction, Jeff. At least I got the Italian part right.

Bob said...

Just ran into this, sorry for intruding -- but there *is* a hidden bulb mode of sorts for the XA! Please see the link below for an instruction video I found.

Mike said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Bob.
I googled "Olympus XA Bulb Mode" and did find a number of references about the technique. None seemed to work for me. Not sure if it is me or the camera.