View Full Version : A bag o' cameras

01-26-2008, 10:34 PM
A local camera store is in the process of moving to a new location and they decided to sell all of their "camera museum" items. There are a bunch of cool cameras, I'll probably go back for more, but I did pick up a few cool things:

1. Yashica-44 (TLR/127 film, baby Rollei copy)
2. Werramat
3. Exakta VX IIa
4. Skymaster (Japanese pocket rangefinder)
5. Voigtlander Vito II
6. Agfa Isolar

Fun new toys!

01-27-2008, 12:10 PM
You hit the jackpot. Replacing seals and cleaning lenses should keep you busy until the weather improves enough to get outside. Oh,never mind, I see you hail from San Fran, where the weather is perpetually photogenic! :)

I am freezing my large a-- off up here in Louisville, KY. The sun is out today, however, so I put down the razor blade and rolled down my sleeve.

Enjoy your new stuff. Christmas in January.

Phillip P. Dimor
01-27-2008, 12:35 PM
Werramat's are cool. I've never handled one but they sure look neat. Good find!

03-03-2008, 05:56 AM
3. Exakta VX IIa

The Exakta is an absolutely cracking camera. Very well made, Lovely to handle. Its one of the most complete "System" cameras of the era (Infact the first System camera). You can get interchangable Viewfinders, Prisms, Focus screens. 1700+ lenses are availible for it, the Carl Zeiss lenses are very good, even today. Huge number of accessories. They're also very pretty. Is your Varex (Or VX in the states - long legal dispute with Argus resulted in the name change, and customs grinding off the Varex name) the one with the round nameplate with engraved name, or embossed? Or is it the ugly one with the straight nameplate)
I've got about 5 of them myself. One other advantage is that the mount is less common than say M42 / Nikon / Canon, so there are few digital converters, which means the dirty digital users aren't stealing our nice cheap lenses and putting on their spawn of satan cameras. (Unlike my Pentax K Mount :( )

It seems they're more rare in America due to their east german communist origin (Although the VX IIA didn't suffer from poor quality as a result, it took about another 5-10 years for the quality to go down the pan). At the height of the cold war having a communist manufacturer camera seems to have made you "Unamerican" it seems.

If you have a lens for it, I'd recommend you check the shutter fires then check for pinholes on both shutters (Put it against a table light and look for stars). The likelyhood is a camera of its age (50 odd years) will have pinholes on the shutter if its not had a CLA or been extremely well looked after. After that check the stopdown mechanism on the lens works and your pretty much ready to shoot. The light seals are velvet rather than foam, so they don't deteriorate.

04-07-2008, 11:52 AM
Have to agree on the Exakta: very cool piece of kit. I picked up a Varex IIb recently as part of a box-of-cameras deal, and while I haven't had a chance to see the results yet, overall the quality of the thing is impeccable. I got lucky: mine came with the 'eagle eye' Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8. Looking forward to results, but it's definitely a very odd, very engaging camera that's going to take a while to master.

04-10-2008, 08:45 AM
Kavandje. Glad its still in one piece. The Varex IIB does get a lot of problems with pinholes, so i suggest you check that before you use it in anger.
The tessar is a good lens, sharp, nice bokeh, fairly common on the Exakta though (They were an expensive camera at the time, so good lenses tended to come as standard)

04-10-2008, 10:26 PM
The one problem I've found is that the Tessar's focusing ring has become very stiff due -- presumably -- to hardened lubricant. Either I have to go hyperfocal, or I need to fix the lens. Short of dousing the whole lens in lighter fluid, I'm not sure what the best course of action is, since I'm in southern Africa and nobody round here will CLA the old thing.
I'm running a test roll through it to see what it's like, and I'm gradually getting to grips with the Varex's very weird ergonomics...

04-11-2008, 07:29 AM
Tessars in Exakta mount and cheap and plentyful. Hop on ebay and you'll be able to buy one for around 10.

Stiff focusing on them is not uncommon, but the majority i've used are still smooth focusing.