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Carl Zeiss Jena, Werra 1, 35mm camera

The Werra was a 1954 exercise in minimalist styling to produce a striking looking camera, partly to the camera's detriment. The camera is a product of Carl Zeiss Jena, at the time in Soviet occupied East Germany. Keeping the top housing lines clean and devoid of wind on levers etc. entailed arranging the film advance and shutter cocking control as a ring around the outside of the lens barrel. Film rewind and frame counter were mounted out of sight on the base plate. The Werra is also characterized by a lens shade which doubles as a cover, early versions push in, later ones screw in. Into this was also screwed a dust cover which frequently gets lost. The earliest versions were finished in green vulcanite and had quite heavily knurled control rings for aperture and shutter speed selection around the barrel, whilst practical it detracted from the purity of the design somewhat. The desire to follow form before function was obviously strong and the design evolved into the Werra 1 in 1955, as illustrated by the top image. A tiny hard to find dot was all that indicated which shutter speed had been selected using two equally tiny and fiddly post grips mounted in the selector ring. The rewind knob was shallow, hard to grip and couldnt be extended, but it looked good. The camera was built around a die cast body with satin chromed top housing and base plate. By the time the last Werra 1e version was introduced in 1965 the purity had been compromised a little to include an accessory shoe, striped plastic window and a softening of the corners and overall styling, but still using the same core die cast body now finished in synthetic herringbone material. Seemingly to discourage their use altogether, the shutter and aperture control rings were fitted with miniscule grips. The rewind lever by this time had mercifully sprouted a retractable crank. But they took the opportunity to combine the open and close mechanism with the rewind de clutch, potentially leading to opening the camera before the film was returned to the cannister. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. There were further derivatives, Werra 2 being the same camera but with uncoupled meters, Werra 3 had coupled rangefinder and interchangeable lenses but no meter, Werra 4 were 2 and 3 combined and Werra 5 was the Werra 4 but with a coupled meter. Then there were Werramat and a Werramatics...

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Werra 1a

Werra 1, c1955

Carl Zeiss Jena, Werra 1e, 35mm viewfinder camera, c1965

Werra 1e, c1965

The following is for our Werra 1e, the earlier model is not displayed as it's missing it's lens shade and dust cap, and consequently lives in the spares bin.

Body No.658102
Shutter, Prestor RVS - speeds, B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250 and 750th
Lens, Tessar No. 8073099, 50mm f/2.8
Condition, 5F

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Werra Closed Werra 1e shown with lens shade fitted as covers. Werra with shade mounted Werra 1e shown with lens shade fitted ready for action.
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