|Exakta Varex IIa (Ihagee), 35mm SLR camera, c1961|
The Exakta Varex IIa stems from a long line of distinctive looking cameras that trace their ancestry back to 1932. When the first Exakta SLR was produced, it was a 127 roll film camera. The first 35mm version (the Kine) arrived in 1936, almost making it the first 35mm SLR, the 127 ancestry betrayed by the left handed advance, which seems inconvenient today, but at the time no precedent had been set. The Exakta exhibited a number of interesting features from the outset as well as an excellent build quality. None of this was lost some thirty years later when this model rolled off the production line, even though the factory was in East Germany by this time. This Camera is quite delightful and it's no surprise to see why they were so popular from their inception. A characteristic of the Exakta's is the mechanical timing mechanism on the right hand side, this allows for exposures up to 12 seconds, as well as a delayed release followed by a B exposure up to six seconds. It's a delightful piece of engineering. Amongst other rarely seen attributes is a film guillotine, allowing the film to be cut without rewinding. This allows a partially used film to be developed, with the added benefit that an empty 135 cartridge can be inserted in place of the usual take up spool. This camera was donated in July 2008 by J, Humphries, and was subjected to a deep clean and repair to shutter curtains. The Varex IIa was made from 1957 in several different styles this example being version 5. The most sought after being the earlier versions with curved Exakta nameplates. The enamelled ones like ours are common and not so desireable, so are welcome at the home of the unloved Classic camera! You will find a host of lenses fitted, as Ihagee didn't make lenses themselves, anything Zeiss is good and fairly common, personally, I'd avoid the Meyer Optik Domiplan. The basic camera body will accept either inserted Prism viewfinder or the cheaper ground glass viewers, so they can look quite different depending on equipment fit. The Varex IIa was repaced by the Varex IIb in 1963.
An excellent online reference can be found here, www.exakta.org
Shutter, Cloth focal plane,1000, 500, 250, 100, 50, 25, B, and T settings. When B is selected automatic timings between 5th and 12 seconds are available.
Lens, Carl Zeiss Jena, Pancolar 50mm f/2 No. 5822724
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