Best choice for exakta lens?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by kl122007, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. I just bought a exakta/FD adapter and can't wait to get more lens before it comes. But there are so many great exakta lenses were made and I don't know which should I use. Besides the price in the bay varies frequently so I really hope to knwo the exact price range of it.
    Can someone give any recommendation?
  2. Okay, first of all, it is almost certain,even though I've not seen the Exakta>FD adapter you are talking about, that it will only accept the Exakta lenses with the mount that goes into the opening on the Exakta cameras. Most large lenses, like my 400mm Telemegor, have an external mount that was introduced later to provide a more certain mount for very heavy lenses. I have been looking for a long time for an adapter of this external mount to the EOS format, but no luck. This does mean that you cannot expect to mount the most tempting lenses on the FD or EF mounts.
    Some spectacular Zeiss and even Meyer lenses were made in this format, and it is even more orphan than...,
    well, let's just say there aren't a huge number of people amassing old Exaktas. Some prices are very good, but there are some collector items in the lot that go for lots of money. The Angénieux 35mm f/2.8 Retrofocus Type R1, for example can go for up to a US$1000. Some of the Zeiss Biotars, especially the 75mm f/1.5, are expensive regardless of mount.
  3. SCL


    Here's a site with lots of info on Exakta lenses:
  4. My last Exakta camera was traded years ago. My standard lens was a 50/2 Zeiss Pancolar. The camera came with a 50/2.8 Meyer Domiplan. That lens has a very poor reputation and was dim to focus through so I got rid of it. The 50/2.8 Zeiss Tessar lenses have a good reputation. There are two interesting lenses which I have in M42 mount and which were also made in Exakta mount. These are the 40/3.5 Meyer Lydith which is mentioned in Ivor Matanle's book on SLR cameras and the 35/3.5 Noflexar. Both of these are very sharp lenses. The Noflexar is odd because the front section pulls forward in click stops for macro work. I actually prefer to use these lenses with a Canon F-1 and an adapter. If I need a little more finder brightness I will use a Minolta X-700 instead. The Exakta mount lens I have used the most is a 105/4 Noflexar. It's really in Topcon mount but I used it with an Exakta to Konica adapter on a bellows with very good results. There are people who know a lot more about Exakta equipment than I do so I'm sure some of them will show up. Topcon made many interesting lenses which you might try if you can find them. These include a 135 with a helicoid for close focusing, the famous 58/1.4, the 30mm micro lens with the cone adapter for bellows use, the GN lenses for flash use etc. I think there was also a 50/1.8 Zeiss Pancolar which is supposed to be very good.
    Canon lenses are very good too so you will have to see how much novelty there is in using lenses with adapters. I have two adapters for using Nikon F mount lenses on Canon cameras but I have many Canon and Nikon lenses as well as Canon and Nikon bodies. I sometimes use a 35/2.8 PC Nikkor on a Canon because I don't have the Canon 35/2.8 TS. You might enjoy using the older Canon FL enses. They have their own character. The disadvantage of using the on FD type cameras is that you lose full aperture metering. The advantages are that you don't need any adapter and that you retain auto diaphragm operation. Using Exakta mount lenses with a Canon means manual aperture operation and shooting mostly slower subjects.
  5. I don't know much about the exakta mounts but all I know is that I did bought a thing called "Canon lens mount converter E" , made by Canon and here is the information from here:
    And I've seen some one can put their exakata lens on FD body with that adapter,
    All I know is that most exakta lenses have an inner bayonet for mounting. I don't know there is a mount differences in large exakta lens ( which similar to Canon 50/0.95 LTM that has a special exterior mount made for it) . I searched some of your old posts and discover that interesting findings.
    I don'think it would brother me much. I am a film user. I have a used EOS 450D but seldom use it. Digital to me is just an extra support but not in major.
    And I believe the reson people won't make exteral exakta mount for EOS might because it has been enought telephoto lens options. If I do need these large lens, I would get an Exakta body.
  6. Thank you Stephen, I have checked that out. BUt I wish to knwo more from the commemts here.
    Agree with Jeff, I found the exakta is dim when the lens has small aperature. Hard to use when light is limited. And it is one of the reasons I avoid the original bodies. Meanwhile, most exakta bodies I found has problem of light leakage. Most shutter curtain has tiny holes and that's why I avoid them.
    I had the Topcon 58/1.4 but sold in a many years before. I won't get it again now since it gets more expensive than the past.
    Jeff, I use old Canon F-1 as main body even though I have a Nikon F. I don't have any shift lens but I have a FD 35/2. It has been enough for me. Besides I have a FL 55/1.2 and it works great.
    Full aperature metering started to brother me since I get used to stop down. I enjoy it because I can meter and check the DOF at the same time.
  7. I have been selling off all my Exakta lenses on ebay. The lenses aren't bad, the cameras are just getting old and cranky.
  8. Try a Meyer Oreston Kevin, they are perfect.
  9. Some goodies that you can find cheap are the 2.8/50 Tessar, the Pancolar, and the 58mm Biotar. The Flektogons are all nice whether you go for the 20, 25, or 35. Most of these lenses were also made in M42 but the Exakta versions can be had a little cheaper.
  10. From the link given above, there is a likelihood that some of the wide angle lenses like the Flektagons may have troubles on 35mm sensors and regular 35mm film cameras.
  11. A couple of weeks back I took my Exakta VX with 50mm "Zebra" Tessar 2.8 lens to an old camera store called "Schiler's" in St. Louis. There is an older dude there named Scott who used to shoot with Exaktas a lot. He was very pleased to see the old beast, and remarked that the 2.8 Tessar from Jena was the best lens for them. He noted many felt it was the Pancolor, but the 2.8 tessar is sharper in the center. The Zebra (chrome stripes on black barrek) has an auto aperture which stops down when the lens is fired.
    I also have a 50mm f1.9 "Westrocolor" Lens made by Isco that is just sharp, gorgeous and one of the best 50's I've ever used.
    I'll attach a pic from that lens below.
  12. I want to add that the 2.8 Tessar comes in many versions, but all are excellent. I got my Zebra on FlEaBay for $26. The Westrocolor came on a dead VXII Model Exakta.
    Most of the models for sale on Crudbay are the newer VXII models and the shutter curtains are shot full of holes. The older VX models were made much better.
  13. I'll still vote for the Biotar 58mm f/2 on either the Exakta or Praktica mounts.The Biotar 75mm f/1.5 is a classic, but a little rich for my blood.
    The lowest point of DDR camera making was before the Berlin Wall went up. The East was bleeding skilled workers at an incredible rate, and morale was very low. Ironically, things got better once the option of escape was shut down.
  14. Agree, JDM, the wide angle lens might hit the mirror. I don't have a lens now and
    I believe I need to lock up the mirror when I use it.
    Your Exakta is hot! And I just ordered a Biotar 50/2 from the bay. THe diapharm auto release feature is inculded in my version. I hope it will fit on the adapter (If no, then I add a close up ring for close up use). And I also got a Meyer Orestor 100/2.8 with a rather high price, but not asmuch as Biotar 75/1.5.
    I checked several Exakta bodies but I don't "dare" to get one since I have spent a lot to get a nice condition. Can the Exakta users suggest a mordern (with X-sync flaxh socket) and reliable exakta model?
  15. The VX and the VXIIa were very well built and function well even after 50 years. You can do a CLA at home on them if you follow Miles Upton's book and/or Rick Oleson's instructions. I would also recommend the Exakta RTL1000; but it is a modern camera with metal bladed shutters, syncs flash at 1/125 sec. It was a forerunner of the Praktica VLC. Exaktas give you excellent results and a unique form of satisfaction. But they also demand some attention and upkeep. Regards, sp.
  16. Another possibility is the last of the "true" Exaktas (the pre-RTL1000 models), the VX1000. It has an instant-return mirror and even a TTL metering system (if you can find one, shown below on an "Elbaflex" variant for export to the BRD). The chrome finish is a little more 'granular' than in the earlier models, but they seem to be fine mechanically. Mine were like new, old stock.
  17. Great Exaktas, JDM.
    I think I will try harder to get a VXIIa. VXIIa has a more vintage looking than that of VX1000.
  18. The TTL metering in the picture above is in a form of a metering prism (2 types available AFAIK, Examat [pictured] and Travemat) that can be installed on every Exakta from Varex onwards. You'd be hard pressed to find a properly working one, though.

    Best regards,

  19. Best Exakta lenses? Wow, where to start? The one really nice thing about Exaktas is that you have a huge selection of lenses -- at one point, there were more lenses made for Exaktas than any other camera.
    I'm offering these thoughts as someone who has been using Exaktas since he was 12 years old (32 years), so take these opinions however you like.....
    As far as a 'normal' lens goes, I'd go for the 55m f/1.9 Steinheil Auto-Quinon -- beautifully sharp, and you can close focus with it. Speaking of close focus, another one would be a Kilfitt 40/3.5 Makro Kilar.
    Wide lenses - my choice would be a Schneider 35/2.8 Curtagon. Any of the Angenieux lenses would be good too. I have an ISCO 24mm lens, but I can't say that's it's the sharpest lens (at least mine isn't, and it's in very nice shape).
    Portrait lenses - there's a few good ones, but of course the best of the best is the 75/1.5 Zeiss Biotar. I'd also vote for the Meyer 100/2.8 Trioplan.
    Please keep in mind that a few of the lenses I've mentioned are either manual or pre-set lenses. Not that it's a big deal, but it just adds one more thing for you to remember if you're focusing wide open and need to stop down to take the picture.
    The cameras themselves are not 'speed' cameras, but does it really matter? They just make you a more thoughtful photographer!
    My personal preference for an Exakta camera model is the VX version 1 - the back does not detach like the Varex, it has that beautifully curves film advance lever, and you don't have to hold the rewind button down to rewind the film, as with a VXIIa. But, I have to say that the VXIIa with the embossed logo on the front is quite pretty.
    Exaktas are quite underrated cameras (in my opinion). True, it can be difficult to find a good one (primarily due to deteriorated shutter material), but once you do, you will be rewarded with beautiful photos and a very satisfying photography experience.
  20. Nikon made the 13.5cm F3.5 in Exakta slr mount; also in LTM and Contax and Nikon RF too

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