"Never us a flash!. This is not how life should be lit. I never use them, I do not wish to use them. Let us stick to the real, let us remain authentic. Authenticity is photography's greatest virtue! (H. Cartier-Bresson)

Be brave mon ami.

olympus xa camera flash a11
olympus xa with a11 flash attached

This is the A11 flash coupled to an XA. By modern standards the flash is big. It also takes 7 or 8 seconds to charge up. On the plus side, it couples easily to the camera and by simply pressing a lever on the front of the camera, the flash starts to charge and the camera is set to the right exposure. So easy to use. No fiddly multi-modes but not flexible either. The flash needs setting to the film speed - only 100 and 400 are available but 100 works for 200 film but of course you loose a stop - and with such a low powered flash.....


At 100 ASA the maximum range is 2.5M (8ft)

At 400 ASA the maximum range is 5M (14ft)


You can also set the flash to manual and on the XA only, set the aperture to correspond to the distance.


It is worth having a flash just in case if you are indoors but flash destroys all atmosphere. Instead, use the flexipod or just prop the camera up, use the self timer and you will be astonished at the results. If there are people moving around in the picture, that's fine.

If you think I am not in love with flash you are so right.

There are other flashes than the A11 but they are not common.


If you want the details, here they are:

Model Weight GN Batt Recycle 100ASA 400ASA
A9M 1.8oz 9 1xAA 7 sec 7.5ft 14.8ft
A1L ? 7 Lithium 1.5sec ? ?
A11 2.3oz 10 1xAA 7sec 8.2ft 16.4ft
A16 3.1oz 16 2xAA 5sec 13.2ft 26.4ft

The A1L - shown below - is a low power unit designed for the XA4 for close-up work. The batteries are in theory not user replaceable, but if you are handy with some small screwdrivers and perhaps some solder, you should be OK . It will fit other models we think and is highly recommended by at least one user.


The A9M - shown below - was a cut-down version designed for the XA1 only but you can use it on any camera - but why would you?


The A16 - shown below - is a 2 battery flash which is more powerful but not easily found.