Exa 1b - an M42-mount Exa

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. Exa 1b* an M42 mount Exa

    Hummel Nr-10


    Standard lens: (Meyer) Domiplan 50mm f/2.8 (M42 mount, fully automatic diaphragm)

    As I had indicated in my earlier discussion of a "System Exa" (LINK), Exas were a more affordable (preiswerte) version of the Exakta, able to use many of the standard Exakta lenses and accessories. That rationale was completely negated, however, by releasing a version of the camera with an M42x1 auto mount, instead of the traditional Exakta bayonet mount. Thus it is NOT part of the Exakta "system," in a technical sense. The first of these was introduced in 1977 and production of some version of M42 mount Exa continued until 1987 (then called an Exa 1c). The later the version of the M42 Exa 1, the more chrome parts are replaced by plastic. There is some indication that some models and versions may have been made by Certo Camera Werk, Dresden-Großzsachwitz, but certainly a part of VEB Pentacon, as it became. Models made by Certo are supposed to have a "C" prefix to the serial number. Contrary to some statements, not all black-fronted models were built by Certo; at least the one discussed here lacks the C prefix.

    I suspect that most of the Exa Ib and c models were sold in the Warsaw Pact. Certainly by 1983 (contemporary with the Canon T70, for example), it is rare to find ads in the American photomagazines for Exaktas that are not the various Western made ones. Earlier versions of the Exa 1s with Exakta mounts had some of the "export" labels like "Elbaflex", but not, I think, any of the 1b models. By the standards of 1983, this is a very primitive camera--without an instant-return mirror, for one major shortcoming.

    One of the distinctive features of all Exas, including this one, is that the mirror is actually part of the shutter mechanism. When the exposure is made, the mirror goes up as in a conventional SLR, but when the exposure is over, a second cover rotates upward to block the light. There is no shutter curtain. When the film is wound on, the mirror lowers and the bottom cover drops down under the mirror cavity. The presence of a rapid wind lever also makes the camera easier to use than the older Exas, although it retains the same left-side shutter release of all Exas and Exaktas. It uses most standard Exakta viewfinders, waist-level and prism.

    With the fully automatic diaphragm on the Domiplan, there is a standard M42 type arc/lever that depresses the pin on the lens that closes the diaphragm blades. When the pressure is let up, the lens opens fully again. A half-depression of the shutter release allows a depth of field preview. Of all the Meyer Domiplans I have purchased with cameras or on their own, a very high percentage have failed diaphragms (LINK) , a weakness of some Meyer lenses, particularly affecting this particular one, but extending into some of the post-Meyer descendants on occasion. I have identified where the problem occurs, but so far, I haven't figured out how to reanimate the mechanism. Regardless, this particular example worked exactly as it was supposed to do. I have had much better luck with Domiplans in an Exakta mount, apparently some difference in the way the mechanism worked, but of course this one is a standard M42 mount, even though it is on an Exa.

    The film I used was more of my find of Ilford XP2 super 400, a B&W C-41 film. While it has some nice features, I think I honestly prefer regular B&W films. Then on the other hand, the film I have did expire in 2006, so this may not be a fair test of it. :)

    The pictures below show the camera from the front and top. Note that the speeds on the dial selector are 175, 125, 60, (50 flash), 30, and B. At least the speeds are a little more standard than those on earlier Exa models.

    *Note that the correct label is an arabic numeral "1", not a roman numeral.
  2. Actually, as the first picture below shows, the local tradition of giving novel and imaginative names to campus facilities such as "Home Education Building" or "Life Science Building" had led me to give the name of the lake as simply "Campus Lake". As the sign shows, this was unjust as the actual name now is apparently "Lake on the Campus". ;)

    The bottom picture shows the continuing cleanup from the-first-ever-anywhere "Super Derecho" (think inland hurricane) of May 8 of last year.

  3. The picture on the left is the walkway around the lake.
    On the right is some of the native flora, a lovely ivy with green berries.
  4. All in all, it was a pleasant camera to shoot with, if a little limited in features. The Domiplan was a Domiplan, but far better than it has any reason to be given its simple triplet construction and low cost. The fully auto diaphragm (that worked!) was a big improvement over the stop-down lens on the System Exa in ease of use, if not in optical quality.
    That's all folks. Probably a surfeit of Exas for most of you. :)
  5. Sharpness looks good. Wow, I never knew there was an M42 Exa. Thanks for posting.
  6. Another revelation ! An Exa I've never heard of. Thanks for a really interesting and informative post. I have to agree; all the C41-process B/W I've come across lacks the "bite" of regular film, and the results look more like desaturated colour. Nice pics, notwithstanding; despite it's mechanical frailty I've found the Domiplan to turn in acceptable results.
  7. I never heard of this one, in M42 no less. And so thick! Nice results for an inexpensive lens.
  8. An odd , and interesting camera. No instant return mirror would have been behind the curve in 1963!
    XP-2 does a nice job in certain conditions. Shoot it in high contrast conditions (no cloudy days), and over expose just a tad.
    From Ilford's web site:
    XP2 SUPER is a sharp, fast, fine grain black and white film. It can be used for any photographic subject, but ensures excellent results when there is a wide subject brightness range. The film yields high contrast negatives and has an extremely wide exposure latitude making it suitable for use in varied lighting conditions. XP2 SUPER is easy to process. It is a black and white film which is processed in C41 type processing chemicals alongside colour negative films.
  9. Reminds me a lot of my old Exa Ia that I received in 1973. It was my first "real" camera, and I learned about sunny-16 via the old Kodak pocket photo guide. In fact, that was the only photographic "how-to" book I owned until much, much later. A simple SLR, but it taught me a lot!
  10. That looks like poison ivy (toxicodendron radicans) to me. Lovely ivy with green berries indeed. I admit, it can be attractive, especially in fall when the leaves can go bright orange and red; but please don't touch it. You won't be a happy guy, I guarantee it.
  11. Frank, I've spent years in the field in archaeology in the East, after many of which I finally became sensitized to Toxidendron. I think no one is "immune", but there is individual variation on how much exposure it takes before you become vulnerable. I was "funning", but it is attractive, isn't it?
  12. Note on XP-2.
    Contrary to what I say above, additional experience has now made Ilford XP-2 my favorite, nearly my only, B&W film.
    So smooth, so creamy, so flexible, so ....
  13. 1-Flektogon 20.jpg
    My Exa with CZJ Flektogon 20/4. This lens does not work on my Exakta Varex IIa, quite odd.
  14. 1-P1030596.JPG
    Exa with CZJ Pancolar 50mm/2
  15. 1-Exakta.jpg

    Exakta Varex IIa with Kilfitt Makro Kilar 40/3.5

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