East-Germany: EXAKTA: 1950-1973 and Exa 1951-1987:
Post war East Germany turned up to have the center of SLR camera engineering within its borders, as Dresden came to belong to the east zone. Contax was already on the track of PP SLRs before the World War II, and Praktica and Ihagee were also among
the first. Both Ihagee Exakta and Zeiss Ikon had former owners living in the west. As the east zone Contax met massive obstacles from the west zone part of the company and was forced to change name for export, the DDR leaders phased out the Zeiss Ikon and
Exakta, to concentrate on Praktica under the Kamera Werke/Pentacon umbrella. The last real Exakta was produced from 1969 till 1972. Exakta branded cameras were still produced for a while, but more like copies of Praktica models. So, two of the most influential
producers in the pioneer time of PP SLRs were out of business some 20 years after the start.
Exakta had a little brother, the Exa. They were produced from 1951 till 1987, but not by Ihagee after 1972.
Exakta Varex penta prism, sn. 679389. This one belongs to the first series going from 670000 to 684000. Introduced as PP SLR in 1950 as worlds first with interchangeable finder, with start of series production in February. Size: 152x95x49mm. Weight: 676 grams.
VX eye level penta prism introduced the PAD lenses in 1954, to be copied by many, like Miranda, Topcon, Start. PAD was short for Pressure Activated Diaphragm, which means that by pressing the shutter release button in front, going through an arm on the lens, the diaphragm (aperture mechanism in the lens) was corrected from full opening to preselected value as the shutter opened. This was a more direct method than building a mechanism inside the camera, thus making it possible to obtain this semi automatic feature on elder cameras. Seen here is a house sn. 700771 from 1951 and a PAD lens from '54.
Exakta tradition was to build camera houses where the front wall, rather than being parallell to the rear wall, was shaping a shallow V towards the lens. ASA/DIN setting to the right of the camera, shutter speeds to the left. Note that Exakta had a winder arm, not a knob or a wheel, as was usual, but placed to the left.
Worlds first winder arm on a PP SLR. Note that both shutter speed dial and winder is on the left hand side of the camera.
A VX of 1951 with PAD lens of 1954 and A VX with waist level finder. Prism version sn.700771 and waist level version sn.728522 Both from the 1951-1953 series with Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50/2,8.
1969-1973: Exakta RTL 1000:
The last in the proud Exakta row was introduced in 1969 and produced till 1973. The RTL 1000 was a close to copy of the Praktica L, but with an interchangeable prism and a special self timer. But as a whole, the last Exakta was built on a Praktica house
more than the typical Exakta. Therefore some will say this was not a true Exakta, and rule it out as such. However, it had the Exakta mount, not the M42.
Obviously more Praktica than Exakta, although there were some differences at the front. (See next photo).
Weight: 647 grams. Size: 145x100x48 mm.
Shutter release button and selftimer did not look like the ones on the Prakticas.
Very Praktica L from above: the total lay out, except for the interchangeable prism house.
Pentacon Auto 50/1,8. Sn. 5861982.
1964: Exa II b
The Exa was a a series of smaller and simpler cameras produced by Ihagee from 1951 until 1972 and by Praktica from '72 till '87. The two series, the Exa I and Exa II, were two parallell but different series. The Exa I b and I c had M42 mount, setting
them apart from all other Exas and Exaktas.
The different models were:
Exa I: 1962-1964
Exa I a, VX 100, 1964-1977
Exa I b: 1977-1985
Exa I c: 1985-1987
Exa II: 1959-1963
Exa II a: 1963-1964
This Exa II b was the peak of the Exa II-series.
Weight: 660 grams. Size: 128x98x48 mm. Sn.: 237431.
Shutter time dial to the left shows a range from B to 1/250. Earlier Exas stopped at 1/150 as fastest shutter times.
An On/Off handle on the upper back wall opens for removal of back wall for loading.
A Meyer-Optik Görlitz Domiplan 50/2,8. Sn. 3570812.