The Camera Site

Ihagee Kamerawerk Dresden, Germany (DDR)


Exakta Varex IIa

Exakta is one of the very first SLR cameras in the world. Original models were introduced in early Thirties. During the years several variants were made. This IIa was manufactured in 1958 - 1960 because the name Exakta is embossed on the front plate in relief, and not engraved as before. All together four different variants of IIa were manufactured between 1956 - 1960. A heavy and beautiful camera, which by some collectors is considered to be the prettiest in the whole Exakta line. And definitely, pretty it is. And I must say that I am happy to own one of almost in mint condition. The serial number of my camera is 900594 so, it might be version 4. In front of the serial number is marked VX IIa. On the American market, Exakta cameras were signed as VX instead of Varex which was a registered trade mark of Argus.

As a curiosity, Ihagee never made lenses of the own brand. Instead most of the contemporary lens manufacturers made lenses for Exakta. Some of them are very collectable to day. Exakta was quite expensive camera and it was used mostly by the professionals. When the competition came harder the price was crucially cut down. Times of the European made cameras begun to be up.


Type: 35mm manual SLR
Changeable waist level view finder or eye level pentaprism.
No Instant return.
Lens mount : Exakta, bayonet type
Film advance: Lever provided wind only in single stroke.
Shutter : Horizontal - travel focal - plane shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/1000 sec., B and T
Multiple exposure lever:
Provided, disengages frame counter for correct count

Exakta Top

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Exakta BackFrame counter: Additive type (S, 0-36) resets with a knob.
Film rewind: By knob.
Exposure meter:
This job is delegated to various brands of exposure meters.
Accessory shoe : No
Flash synchronization: For electronic flash and bulbs
Self-Timer: Approximate. 8-14sec. shutter release delay
Shutter Release Button:
On the front of the camera
Battery : No way
Dimensions: (W x H x D): 150mm x 90mm x 45mm
Weight :
865g. (With 2,8/50mm Tessar lens.)

Exa IIbExa IIb (little brother / sister?)

The first Exa with instant return mirror. On the top of the view finder is an indicator (a red "sign"). If you can see it, the camera is not ready for a picture. As it's predecessors the body mayterial is aluminium alloy and in this case the only non metal parts restricts to black leatherette covering exept the lenses and a prism of course. Lenses that fit to Exakta can be used in Exa too. An Exakta for a poor comrade if they ever existed?

It is a wonderfull example of an extremely simple but still (or just because) versatile and easy to use SLR of the 60's . It is no wonder that 70000 examples of Exa IIb cameras were made.

Type: 35mm manual SLR
Shutter : Vertical - travel focal - plane shutter with speeds from 1/2 to 1/250 sec., and B
Lens mount : Exakta, bayonet type
Shutter Release Button: Typically for Exakta / Exa on the front of the camera

©2008 Reijo Lauro