Does anyone collect Exakta cameras?

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by Wade D, May 15, 2008.

  1. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I wouldn't call what I have a collection as such but I bought them to use in high school and thereafter. Very reliable and well engineered cameras. I have 4 Exakta VX's with various lenses which still function beautifully. They are, according to the serial numbers, from the early 50's.
    Anyone else have any of these gems? Just wondering.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I had a couple of Exacta's VX100's unfortunately I stored them in my cellar, and the damp got them during the summer, a few years ago. They are great camera's, some of the highest quality 35mm images I've printed were shot with a VX1000.

    I still have an EXA but the mirror is shot and needs replacing, other than that it's fine. I also have a very early convertible Tamron lens Exacta fit.

    Ian
     
  3. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    My Father was an Exakta/Exa user in the 1950s/60's. I remember him saying that they were fine cameras, but spoiled by Quality Control issues on the later models....shutter faults, lens with poor definition, etc.
    Maybe like a lot of the Eastern bloc products from that time...good simple design, rock solid build, but perhaps made by a workforce and sold by a marketing dept that had little real interest in their products.
    But good examples seem to have lasted well are still very usable and collectable.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The build quality of lenses definitely varied, the Pancolor I used on an Excata was superb, similar vintage Prakticamat Pancolor I owned much earlier was awful. It was sharp but the aperture diaphram never stopped down by the same amount each exposure.

    All the Zeiss Exacta lenses I used were excellent, and the Lydith 29mm is still an excellent performer.

    Ian
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    So was mine. I think it was the first 35mm camera he bought for himself to do weddings before changing to Nikons.


    Steve.
     
  6. WRSchmalfuss

    WRSchmalfuss Member

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    Exakta cameras!

    You should post your question also (English is fine) in the German APHOG.de forum. I've noticed, that there are a couple of EXAKTA collectors are.

    Cheers
    Wolf
     
  7. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    Yes, I remember my Father saying that the Pancolor was hopeless at larger apertures, and he used the 50mm 2.8 Zeiss Tessar as his standard...the Kodachromes from that still look great.
    He, too, had the Lydith and a Zeiss Flektagon wide angle (can't remember which, may have been 25mm as he did a lot of architectural shots) and, again, these seemed great lenses (I think the Flektagons still fetch top prices).
    When he passed away, I sold the kit to another enthusiast, as I already had a comprehensive Pentax outfit at that time. Sometimes wish I had kept the Exactas, but perhaps that's just nostalgia. :smile:
     
  8. Marc Akemann

    Marc Akemann Subscriber

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    I was introduced to a nicely working Exakta Varex VX thanks to a garage sale last year. Everything was fine with the camera except for pinholes in the cloth shutter curtain which I discovered with the first roll of film shot with this camera.

    The VX also came with a waist-level finder and a prism finder. The included lenses are a 58mm f2 C. Zeiss Jena Biotar, a 28mm f3.5 Angenieux Retrofocus Type R 11 and a 135mm f3.5 Rodenstock-Yronar. The whole package was $10 or $20! :smile:

    I have a Minolta E-Adapter for my SRT-102 and will shoot with that set-up until I get the shutter curtain repaired or replaced.

    Marc
     
  9. Wishy

    Wishy Member

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    I collect them. I've got a VX, Varex IIA, (Varex IIB got used as spare parts after I dropped the Varex IIA) and a VX1000. I've also got a RTL1000 (Really NOT an exakta), an Exa classic and a Exa 250.
    Lens wise, amoung others, I've got several tessars, a biotar (My favorite) and a pancolar f2 (Needs relubing) - The Pancolar F1.8 was useless - apperture blades didn't stop down correctly :sad:. My favorite is the Flektogon 20/4 though, cracking lens :smile:

    The quality was definately better in the earlier cameras, which were build with a more german ethic. The later ones (Such as the VX1000) had plastic where there was chrome before and generally felt cheaper.

    My VX and Varex IIA have both been overhauled, so I'm not sure how that bares on the reliability, as pretty much any cloth shuttered camera is going to want some work after 50 years.

    They're good to use, I love the waist level finders on them, theres a good selection of lenses, they look *REALLY* pretty and feel very nice to use.
     
  10. Wishy

    Wishy Member

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    Pinholes can be spotted with some fabric paint as a tempory measure. A full overhaul here with new shutter curtains undertaken by a specialist is £35+postage. Not bank breaking

    The Biotar is a good lens, the 28mm f3.5 Angenieux alone is probably worth 5 times what you paid. (The 135 is worthless though!)
     
  11. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    I'm happy to say I provide a happy retirement home to several aged Exakta cameras and lenses. As follows, VX, VX IIa, VX500, VX1000. Lenses are 35mm f2.8 Steinheil Auto-Quinaron, 50mm f3.5 Meyer-Optic Primotar, 58mm f2.0 Zeiss Biotar, 135mm F2.8 Steinheil Quinar, 400mm f5.5 Meyer-Optic Telemegor (Jimmy Stewart/RearWindow style). I have several waist level finders and several prisms.
    These cameras are on light duty now, BUT all go for walks winter or summer, They document picnics or casual snaps of friends and small events. The lenses have a lovely signature (Bokeh), very magical when shot against the light Contre-jour. I like the ability to change film emulsions in mid roll as they can be loaded with film, cassette to cassette. Many of the lenses will focus closer than modern lenses of the same focal length, allowing Macro shots of flowers or small objects. The sad part is finding someone reputable to provide CLA service to these cameras.
    Wonderful, exotic, rugged cameras. One could collect for a lifetime and never collect or see all the attachments that were built for these machines.
    My vote for the sexiest, sleekest is the VXIIa or b. For using, perhaps the VX1000.
    Please take good care of those you have, this way others in the future will be able to enjoy them as we. There will be no more Exaktas when these are gone.
    Regards,
    Sam H.
     
  12. Wishy

    Wishy Member

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    Samuel - I have a reputable, fairly priced and compitent Exakta repair specialist if your willing to post to the UK.

    How do you find the Auto-Quinaron lenses? I've been tempted to pick up these but i'm not sure they'll be much different to the zeiss lenses i have.

    The sexiest is definately the VX / IIA, (I'm undecided about embossed vs engraved, probably engraved) - I've never liked the black name label on the later IIA and the IIB's. Also the VX / IIA feels nicer. The rewind tab on my early VX makes thing easier as well. The rewind handle on the IIB is a ring pain in the bum.
    I don't like the VX1000 because it feels "Cheaper" with the plastic nametag and the plastic dials.
     
  13. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    I agree totally.

    Many thanks,
    Sam H.
     
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  15. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    No, but I happened to run across a Nikkor 135/3.5 lens in EX mount today. The shop wanted around $1000 for it :surprised:
     
  16. Marc Akemann

    Marc Akemann Subscriber

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    £35 for a full overhaul sounds quite reasonable! Who is the repairperson? Unless I find someone here in the States who can overhaul Exaktas, I may send my VX to the UK.

    I'll have to do more testing, but here are shots taken with my VX, shutter holes and all. Film used was Kodak BW400CN C-41. Both images were taken from almost the same spot of the same subject (Angel Hall in Ann Arbor, Michigan) using the 28mm Angenieux and the 135mm f3.5 Rodenstock-Yronar. I used a tripod. Exposure settings with the 28mm were 1/500 @ f11. For the 135, 1/250 @ f11. Straight lab scans. One shot does not make for a full test, of course, but the 135 did better than expected. It came with it's original lens hood and perhaps that helps a bit. The Angenieux was used without a lens hood.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts Wishy!

    Marc
     

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  17. Marc Akemann

    Marc Akemann Subscriber

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    I forgot to mention another Exakta-mount lens I have. It's a 400mm f4.5 Piesker Tele-Picon (Berlin W. Germany) that I bought at a consignment shop a couple of years ago. Amazingly, I still haven't shot with it yet. The lens is very heavy, has a fixed lens hood with no threads for filters and has perhaps a single coating on the front element only. The aperture is beautifully round with 20 diaphragm leaves!

    I will shoot with it soon. :smile:

    Does anyone have experience with this or any other Piesker lenses?

    Marc
     
  18. Wishy

    Wishy Member

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    I've PM'ed you the details of the repair guy

    All of the lenses (Other than the 50mm Biotar) are fairly slow, so you might find its a bit hard work focusing. Find on a sunny day, and you can always try and find faster glass.

    The longer german lenses do tend to have a decent number of diaphragm leaves, optical quality is normally reasonable. Just give it a try :smile:
     
  19. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    Wishy, I have the Exakta VX1000 with the Zeiss Tessar 50mm and Flektogon 20mm. Fabulous lenses however I'm getting some bad shots on each film from this camera. I suspect that second curtain is not closing up fast enough. I will need to send it our for a CLA and your person in the UK seams to have a fair price. Would you be able to PM me his details.
    I really want to keep this as an user.
    thank you
     
  20. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Here is a page that might be of interest to those needing CLA & curtain replacement. http://www.exaktaphile.com/repair.html. Sadly he is not currently accepting work. I book marked the page for future reference.
    Nice to know there are many others that enjoy the beauty of these classics as I do.
     
  21. Marc Akemann

    Marc Akemann Subscriber

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    Got it! Thank you! You've been very helpful.

    I'll go out tomorrow and shoot with that 400mm Piesker lens, finally.

    Take care,

    Marc
     
  22. Wishy

    Wishy Member

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    I'll forward you the detail. Do you want to upload / link some sample photos? I can nomally spot the faults from negatives.

    Have you tried holding up to the light and test firing, you can normally see whats happening there.

    Also, after you have your Exakta CLA'ed the chances are the long speeds will be back working, its very rare to find them in a working state - they cease easily :sad:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2008
  23. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Didn't Exakta make a version of that East German 6x6 SLR (the name escapes me right now), or did they just import the East German camera and spruce it up a little?
     
  24. Jack Lusted

    Jack Lusted Member

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    Seeing this thread reminded me of my VX IIb that I picked up for about £25 fifteen years ago. I bought it out of curiosity and also because when I first got into photography when I was a kid in the early 70s it was the Exakta that I really desired (most of my mates were into Zeniths). Many years ago I put a couple of films through it and it worked fine. Well, I've just found it again - it's in really lovely condition with a 2.8 Tessar, so I've put some Fomapan in it and give it another go.

    Jack
     
  25. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Heh, heh, I tried to collect an Exacta back circa 1958. I would drool over them in the camera stores in center city Philadelphia. Unfortunately I was in high school and barely had an Argus C3 budget. They were definitely awesome goodies at that time.

    DaveT
     
  26. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    I bought a couple of Exaktas from the estate of the late Jim Upton who was a competent repairman and replaced the shutter curtains.
    A common fault with Exaktas is shutter curtain pinholes. I dealt with this by diluting 'Plasti-dip' as sold for dipping tool handles and carefully painting the shutter curtains. This salvaged a beautiful 'embossed' nameplate VXII acquired at a jumble sale.
    Mark