EXAKTA & WESTON COLLECTION


EXAKTA & WESTON COLLECTION



EXAKTA & WESTON COLLECTION





exakta collection

CAMERA BODIES:

Exakta VX1000 version1.2 #1218093 Exakta Varex IIa version 8 #999115 Exakta Varex IIa version 3 #925909 (supplied by T.P. MARTIN LIMITED, 9, CASTLE STREET, CARDIFF, Tel: Cardiff 21316) Exakta Varex IIa version 3 #932529 Exakta VXIIa version 1 #828079 painted in white ink on footplate U.S.S.R. OCCUPIED Exakta VXIIa version 1 #833481 Exakta VX version 5 #777405 painted in white ink on footplate GERMANY U.S.S.R. OCCUPIED (supplied by OLDEN 1265 BROADWAY N.Y.C.)

VIEWFINDERS:

zeiss prism eye loupe & cell prism &c IHAGEE DRESDEN CELL-PRISM #136008 BOXED
IHAGEE DRESDEN CELL-PRISM #146487
HARWIX BERLIN TTL EXAMAT PRISMA #19377
PENTAPRISM version 3 #115134 with eyecup sans lens
PENTAPRISM version 3 #137619 with correction lens sans lens
PENTAPRISM version 4 #184056
PENTAPRISM version 4 #212608 with eyecup & correction lens
PENTAPRISM version 5 with correction lens sans lens
A. SCHACHT ULM TRAVEMAT CELL-PRISM version 2 #416081
HOODED version 3 with block focussing screen with 10mm clear centre
HOODED version 4 with block focussing screen plain ground in leather case
HOODED version 4 with block focussing screen plain semi-polished (for microscope)
ZEISS PRISM for HOODED VIEWFINDER Carl Zeiss Jena #5124 in leather case
IHAGEE DRESDEN MAGNEAR FINDER WITH TYPE 2 EYEPIECE

FOCUSSING SCREENS:

PLASTIC MICROPRISM 4mm centre spot 10mm matt surround
PLASTIC RETICULATED GRADUATED IN mm #5
GLASS SPLIT-IMAGE 10mm CLEAR SURROUND MATT #1
GLASS PLAIN GROUND
GLASS PLAIN GROUND
GLASS PLAIN GROUND
GLASS PLAIN GROUND WITH 3mm CLEAR CENTRE WITH CROSS HAIRS
GLASS SPLIT-IMAGE GROUND MATT #1
IHAGEE DRESDEN #23 for HARWIX EXAMAT PLAIN GROUND GLASS BOXED
IHAGEE DRSDEN GLASS PLAIN GROUND WITH 10mm CLEAR CENTRE & CROSS HAIRS BOXED
IHAGEE DRSDEN GLASS PLAIN GROUND WITH 10mm CLEAR CENTRE & CROSS HAIRS BOXED
IHAGEE DRESDEN GLASS PLAIN GROUND WITH 6mm SPLIT-IMAGE RANGEFINDER BOXED
IHAGEE DRESDEN GLASS PLAIN GROUND WITH 6mm SPLIT-IMAGE RANGEFINDER BOXED
IHAGEE DRESDEN GLASS PLAIN GROUND WITH 6mm SPLIT-IMAGE RANGEFINDER BOXED
IHAGEE DRESDEN GLASS PLAIN GROUND BOXED
IHAGEE DRESDEN PLASTIC FRESNEL WITH 13mm MATT COLLAR & 6mm MICROPRISM CENTRE BOXED
IHAGEE DRESDEN GLASS CLEAR BOXED (FOR MICROSCOPE)
IHAGEE DRESDEN GLASS PLAIN GROUND WITH 6mm SPLIT-IMAGE RANGEFINDER BOXED

LENSES:

BIOTAR 1:2 f=5.8cm T Carl Zeiss Jena No3111099
MEYER-OPTIK G…RLITZ ORESTOR 2.8/135 #4051139
BIOTAR 2/58 Carl Zeiss Jena #5588415 with Ihagee rect lens hood
SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH XENON 1:1.9/50 #5555329 with DoF red guide
SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH XENON 1:1.9/50 #5010351
FLEKTOGON 2.8/35 Carl Zeiss Jena #4926825 with shutter release button
A. SCHACT ULM TRAVEGON 1:3.5/35 R #245586
ENNA M†NCHEN TELE-ENNALYT 1:2.8/135mm #3201217engraved "made in Germany DBP1049120 U.S. Pat.2907248"
MEYER-OPTIK G…RLITZ PRIMAGON 4.5/35 #282600
MEYER-OPTIK G…RLITZ LYDITH 3.5/30 #3595084
FLEKTOGON 4/20 Carl Zeiss Jena #9107035
FLEKTOGON 4/25 Carl Zeiss Jena #6246892
ENNA 400F4 TELEENNALYT ENNA-M†NCHEN TELE-ENNALYT 1:4.5/400mm #4076309 ASTRO 150F1.8 PANTACHAR ASTRO-BERLIN C PAN-TACHAR 1:1.8 150mm #53254

ACCESSORIES:

METAL BODY LENS CAP FOR EXAKTA - JAPAN
LEICA EXAKTA BAYONET ADAPTOR
5mm TUBE RING BOXED
RELEASE TRANSMISSION second version BOXED
TAKE UP FILM SPOOL
PENTAPRISM FLASH SHOE BRACKET
B.P.M. BELLOWS EXAKTA BAYONET INTERCHANGEABLE MOUNT BOXED
REVERSAL RING
EXAKTA-CANON FD ADAPTOR 2 off
EXAKTA BELLOWS 125 WITH BODY CAP
IHAGEE VIELZWECKGER€T WICHTIGE TEILGER€TE: EINSTELLSCHLITTEN; BALGENAUFSATZ; SCHWENKWINKELAUFSATZ; DIAKOPIERAUFSATZ; STATIVPLATTE; BOXED A16
IHAGEE DRESDEN EXTENSION TUBE SET IN NICKEL WITH SUPER KINOTELEX & BODY CAP
IHAGEE DRESDEN EXTENSION TUBE SET IN NICKEL
MICROSCOPE ATTACHMENT TYPE 1 IN NICKEL & BLACK CRACKLE
MICROSCOPE ATTACHMENT TYPE 2 IN NICKEL
EXAKTA CIRCLE ENAMEL BADGE

LITERATURE:

EXA DIE PREISWERTE KLEINBILDREFLEX EINE HISTORISCHE KAMERASERIE WIRD VORGESTELLT VON KLAUS WICHMANN - 1993 VERLAG DER H. LINDEMANNS, STUTTGART ISBN 3-89506-106-9
VON DER KINE-EXAKTA BIS ZUR ELBAFLEX KLAUS WICHMANN - 1990 FERLAG DER H. LINDEMANNS, STUTTGART ISBN 3-928126-11-3
EXAKTA VON DER KINE-EXAKTA BIS ZUR ELBAFLEX - KLAUS WICHMANN - 1995 VERLAG DER H. LINDEMANNS, STUTTGART - ISBN 3-89506-129-8
EXAKTA CAMERAS 1933-1978 CLƒMENT AGUILA & MICHEL ROUAH - HOVE FOTO BOOKS - 1989
EXAKTA MANUAL - WERNER WURST - FOUNTAIN PRESS 2ND EDITION 1966
35MM PHOTOGRAPHY WITH AN EXAKTA by K. L. ALLINSON A.R.P.S. - FOUNTAIN PRESS 3RD EDITION JUNE 1955
EXAKTA OBSCURITIES by GARY CULLEN & KLAUS RADEMAKER- 2001 ISBN0-9689868-1-1
EXAKTA COLLECTION by CLƒMENT AGUILA & MICHEL ROUAH - 2003 ISBN 2-9519891-0-5
THE EXAKTA TIMES 1991-2010 QUARTERLY MAGAZINE OF THE EXAKTA CIRCLE

NOTES:

My collection was put together over a 35 year period, but mainly during the 1990's, before the internet really took off. It was possible at that time to make good finds in second hand camera shops and from dealers at camera fairs, particularly in London during the 1990-94 recession. My favourite shops were in Pied Bull Yard in Bloomsbury, and Andrews in Teddington. Mr. CAD in Croydon sometimes had some of the more hard to find accessories, as did Jessops, both in Pied Bull Yard, and on New Oxford Street.

Most of the accessories were found at the PCCGB PHOTOGRAPHICA where the Exakta Circle has a stand, as do many other Exakta dealers. <PCCGB PHOTOGRAPHICA> If you're interested in Exakta SLR cameras you need to subscribe to the Exakta Times, the quarterly magazine of the Exakta Circle. <Exakta Circle>

The 400mm f/4.5 TeleEnnalyt was purchased in 1976 from Campkins on New Bond Street, and the rare ASTRO 150mm f/1.8 PanTachar from a camera shop in Hollywood in the summer of 1979 whilst I was living in Santa Monica. I do not collect camera lenses, the lenses I have for my Exakta Varex SLR's either came with the bodies, or ones I wanted to use for astrophotography. That's why my collection is fairly small, it isn't intended to be a private museum. The Astro 150F1.8 PanTachar is an interesting lens. It was designed in the early 1950's to photograph the Zodiacal Light. At full aperture the image corners suffer from coma and astigmatism, but in the context of its primary purpose, that doesn't matter. It makes an excellent lens for meteor photography for the same reason.

All my cameras work. Some of them were serviced by Tom Page when he ran his own business in Bittacy Hill, and later Wickford Cameras in Watford. Some have been procured already serviced with replacement shutter blinds from Miles Upton. <Miles Upton> A CLA and shutter refit will extend the life of the camera another 15 to 25 years. Providing the film advance and shutter cocking mechanisms are serviced at regular intervals, these cameras do not wear out. All the gears were precision hobbed in the Ihagee factory in Dresden on special gear cutting lathes. They are all brass or bronze alloy and are set in phosphor bronze bushes or nickel chrome arbors. The cloth shutter blinds do wear out though, especially if the camera is subject to extreme temperature and relative humidity variations. If you keep a Varex in a cool, dry place, with the average humidity of the English climate (~60%) the shutter blinds and tapes will last a long time. For example my first Exakta Varex IIa version 3 #925909, supplied by T.P. MARTIN LIMITED, 9, CASTLE STREET, CARDIFF, in 1959, and purchased by me from HOLDEN CAMERAS on FISHERGATE in PRESTON in 1971, has had the same shutter blinds and tapes since August 1971.

I still use some of my Varex SLR's from time to time. For instance 2010 is the last year Kodak will be processing Kodachrome 64 135 roll film. The Lausanne lab in Switzerland is scheduled to close in November. 2010 is the last year you can shoot Kodachrome 64, so to commemorate this historic event I have purchased several rolls and have photographed Blackpool's Golden Mile using one of my Varex IIa's, as well as a 1956 Leidolf-Wetzlar Lordomat C35 with 50mm f/1.9 Lordon <Lordomat C35>. I have extended the project using an old 1916 Ensign 2&1/4B 120 B&W roll film box camera and a 1949 Zeiss Ikon Nettar II 518/16 with 75mm f/4.5 Novar 120 Fuji Velvia 50 reversal film <Zeiss Ikon Nettar>.

Exakta Varex VX & VXIIa SLR's are precision engineered cameras designed to last a lifetime. The later Varex IIb and VX1000 were built by Pentacon and are little better than Praktica in build quality. What some camera collectors overlook in their zeal to heap praise on Leica, Zeiss, Nikon and Canon cameras, is that the Exakta Varex was the first system 35mm SLR camera, with a huge range of accessories. Well over 1700 different lenses were made for the Varex. The Varex was the first SLR to have an optional interchangeable pentaprism viewfinder, and interchangeable focussing screens. (The 1949 Zeiss Contax S was the first 35mm camera to use a pentaprism, but it was fixed <Contax S>).

Examine any Varex IIa and compare it to either a Leica M3 <Leica M3> rangefinder camera or a contemporary Zeiss Contax IIIa <Contax IIIa>, Contaflex III <Contaflex III> & Contarex Cyclops <Contarex Cyclops>, or Canonflex SLR <Canonflex> or Nikon F SLR < Nikon F>, and you will see that the mechanical quality is directly comparable in every way. This includes the shutter, shutter speed control, film transport, viewfinder brightness, lens bayonet, focussing, lens quality, and overall handling. If you wanted a high quality 35mm SLR in the 1950's the obvious choice was the Ihagee Exakta Varex. The VX sold for $400 or £140 or DM1000 in the mid to late 1950's. To give you some idea of how expensive £140 was in 1958, a skilled draughtsman working for English Electric in their Warton drawing office earned about £12 to £15 per week. By comparison my Sony a900 @ ~£2k cost about 3 to 4 weeks wages, compared to 9 - 11 weeks wages for a Varex IIa.

If you are used to modern SLR's the Exakta Varex VX will seem a very peculiar camera. Everything about it is odd. The film transport lever is on the left, and it has to be wound round 270° in one continuous smooth movement. If you hesitate midway, and then try to move the lever back, you will strip the transport mechanism gear teeth! When you get to the last frame on the roll, if the lever ends up half cocked, don't force it, press the rewind de-clutch button and rewind the film, and then complete the lever movement afterwards. Sometimes when you open the back there is no take up spool. If you buy an Exakta Varex make sure a take up spool is with the camera. The shutter speed dial needs to be lifted and twisted to change shutter speeds, and it spins round when the shutter is fired. The shutter release button is on the front of the camera body left of the lens, not on the top plate right of the viewfinder. There is another shutter speed dial on the right of the top plate for slow speeds and the self timer. To use it, set the speed to B and then wind the slow speed dial clockwise until it clicks and then lift and turn it to set the speed.

The lenses will in all likelihood not have automatic iris diaphragms. My 58F2 Biotar has an iris cocking lever underneath next to the bayonet ring. You need to cock it first, then wind on the film transport, then frame your shot at F2, and when the shutter button on the lens, which is in line with the camera body shutter button, is depressed, the iris stops down before the camera body shutter button is depressed.

The viewfinders are withdrawn by depressing a small lever on the escutcheon plate. The viewfinder focussing screens clip into a frame and are held in place with steel springs. If you're clumsy, the glass focussing screens, which are a lot heavier than the later perspex screens, can fall out. It's not happened to me, but I have seen it happen.

The film chamber has a film cutting knife, with a nasty little razor sharp barbed blade, just in the right place to nick a finger tip when you're loading a film. Be careful to avoid it. Its there so you can cut the film if you load your own cassettes and shoot cassette to cassette (which negates rewinding). It enables you to switch films mid-shoot as it were. And you need to remember to set the frame counter to 1 after you've loaded a film and wound on a couple of frames. If you forget, you'll never know when the end of the film is coming up.

Finally, there's a little gadget tucked beneath the slow speed dial. Its a tiny circular window that reveals an incy wincy wheel with red triangles engraved on it. If your film is being wound on it will spin round when you cock the shutter. If it doesn't you've cocked up your leader feed in the take up spool. Don't ignore it. It's so easy to reel off 36 exposures only to find the film never seems to be coming to an end, and when you rewind, it seems to rewind far more quickly that it ought, and when you get your film back from the processing lab there's nothing on it and you have egg all over your face.

Neither the Ihagee cell-prism Selenium lightmeters, or the Travemat or Examat CdS lightmeters work. Their cells died long ago. Tom Page resurrected the Travemat in 1994, but it died again a few years later. It costs more than they are worth, and more than their usefulness to make having new cells fitted worthwhile. Instead I use a Weston Master III light meter, c1956 which is contemporaneous to the Varex and was the first Weston lightmeter to adopt ASA film speed ratings. Earlier Weston Master's used Weston ratings. Hence the printed conversion table on the inside lid of the Weston Master II case. Weston ratings were 80% ASA ratings.

I have a small collection of Weston Master lightmeters, all in working order, all calibrated. Weston Selenium lightmeters if handled correctly and used occasionally will keep working for a lifetime. The older Weston Masters in my collection have never needed their Selenium cells replacing, the later Weston IV & V models have had to have new cells fitted. The Master IV cell was replaced by Ian Partridge in Colchester. <Ian Partridge> The Master V cell was replaced by Newton, Ellis & Co. in Liverpool. <Newton, Ellis & Co.>

I like Weston Master lightmeters above all others. They ooze engineering quality. They feel right in the hand, and they are easy to use. I like the Master IV best of all. It has the clearest engraving on the dial and a very positive reading lock switch. Ironically it is, of all the Weston Masters, the most likely to fail. I have never found one with the cell working. Its not uncommon to find dead Westons (usually as a result of being dropped - it dislodges the needle pivot from its bearings), or sluggish Westons, but the Master IV seemed doomed to fade away prematurely.

The Master V comes in two variants, (ref index plates). The original came out in 1963, followed by a later variant in 1966. It was superceded by the EuroMaster in 1973. They cleaned up the busy Master V dial by using only geometric shutter speeds.

I don't collect Euromasters because they have the word "Euro" in the name. Weston was a New Jersey based American firm which later was bought out by Sangamo in 1936 whose plant was in Enfield <Weston>. To my mind Sangamo-Weston was quintessentially an English company. I suppose someone in the firm wanted to ride the European Economic Community bandwagon after Ted Heath took the UK into the wretched organisation in 1973.

I did own one - once! I bought it from a camera store in Hollywood in October 1977, after my Master V (which I'd had from a teenager in 1967) squidged out of the back pocket of my overly tight jeans onto the black marble floor of the Palomar 200-inch visitor's gallery. It did not bounce, but made a sort of jangling noise as its innards fell to bits. I had a day to replace it before a Total Solar Eclipse cruise sailed from Wilmington, and the only Weston in the camera store was a Euromaster. I hated it, I still hate them. It worked after a fashion, but in 1984, when I took it with me to Morocco to observe the Annular-Total Solar Eclipse from Sidi Moussa, when I took it out of its case in the hotel in Agadir, it had died. After only 7 years it was dead as a Dodo. It had always been sluggish compared to my Master V, now it was dead, deceased, as ex-lightmeter, it had joined the choir invisible.

I had intended metering the falling light levels as I did in 1977, and plot solar disc area against Weston LV rating. (The result is surprisingly linear). Well not on this trip I wouldn't. When I eventually got back to Blighty I took it to a camera shop in Crawley called Henty's (run by a fearsome baggage nicknamed Henty's Dragon). It was duly sent to Megatron at Kingston-on-Thames and the cell replaced at a cost of £47. The meter had cost me £77 seven years earlier. Even with a new cell it was still sluggish, and sure enough it got even more sluggish, until by 1993 it had practically died again. So I traded it for a Master V at Jessop's in Strutton Ground, much to the puzzlement of the salesman. This is the 1963 Master V #268 S which Newton & Ellis have fitted with a new cell at a cost of £48.
newton & ellis

WESTON METER COLLECTION:

weston collection WESTON METERS:

WESTON 617-2 1933 #5100 WESTON 650 1935 #084896 WESTON 650 1937 #4891897 WESTON 715/S74 1947 #F3258 WESTON MASTER II 735/S141 1952 #H3748 WESTON MASTER III 737/S141.3 1956 #N7265 (FIRST WESTON WITH ASA FILM SPEEDS) WESTON MASTER IV 745 1960 #85243 WESTON MASTER V 748/S461.5 1963 #268 S & 1966 #496 BG

The days when you could get your Weston Master Selenium cell replaced are numbered. In February 2010 Megatron, the company that supplied the Selenium cells to Sangamo-Weston, founded in 1945, closed down all operations. The support and repair servcies were passed over to Optical Test & Calibration Ltd. All the original vacuum chamber machinery, assembled by a Hungarian emigre in 1946, was dumped and scrapped, and there are no 45mm Weston cells left. Optical Test & Calibration also have no Weston cells. They were offered the vacuum chamber but declined it on Health & Safety grounds. Once the cells in Newton & Ellis's stock have been exhausted, it will no longer be possible to fit a replacement.

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