Exa 1c - more on the last of the breed, 1985-87

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Exa 1c - more on the last of the breed, 1985-87

    Kadlubeks IHA 2190
    Wrotniak 4.5

    When Subbarayan Prasanna ( http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00aR5H ) posted on this camera, I said,
    “Nice workup of the Exa. I don't have this later, all black version. Mine is the earlier M42 1b model.”

    You all can guess what that led to. Now, years later, here is my own little Exa 1c, the Chingachgook of the Exa line….

    If you have no familiarity with a surprisingly complicated model history you should look at http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/exakta/exa-serial.html and http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/exakta/exa-gallery.html for a breakdown of models. Suffice it to say, a Model I is not the same as a Model 1, and the Model I is later than the Model //, so tread carefully before you post. ;) Hummel (SPIEGELREFLEXKAMERAS AUS DRESDEN-Geschichte - Technik - Fakten, by Richard Hummel; Edition Reintzsch Leipzig, 1995) also lists variants The older standard for Exakta collectors (see updates and comments by Wrotniak, though) is Aguila and Rouah- Exakta Cameras 1933-1978 , 1978 Hove, as well as later, harder-to-find publications by them (meaning, “I don’t have them”).

  2. These ‘last’ , M42x1 screw-mount Exas were made in the soon-to-be-no-more DDR, not by VEB Pentacon itself, but under license to Certo. These are some of Wrotniak’s ( http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/exakta/exa-serial.html ) late 1b *4.4 and all Ic *4.5. Cameras built by Certo have serial numbers preceded with a letter C.

    Construction was ‘cheapened’ by the use of molded plastics, but the lens mount, and other functional interface parts are pretty much still metal. This “good where it needs to be”, “cheap when it doesn’t matter” approach is a sort of trope of the Warsaw Pact in general in my experience.
    In any case, I find the appearance of this tiny, all-black photo-apparat quite pleasing.

    Here it is with the Certo waist-level finder installed.

  3. The Exa 1c, by the way, will take most post-1960 Exakta and Exa waist-level and prism finders. Those shown here are the contemporary tail-enders of the line.

    It is used here with a contemporary, but, perhaps higher quality than usual, Pentacon 50mm f/1.8. Its usual lenses were either a Meritar 50mm f/2.9 or a Domiplan 50mm f/2.8.

    Certo was an old German camera company in Dresden, founded in 1902. After 1946, it produced the Super Dollina camera. Like a rare, few other companies it was not fully nationalized until fairly late, in this case, in 1972. It joined the great, all-devouring Kombinat VEB Pentacon in 1980, but retained a degree of autonomy ( https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certo-Kamera-Werk ). It was best known in its later years for the “Rapid-system” (= SL-System in DDR) Certo cameras it made.

    Just as the earlier Exas had provided a lower-cost body taking the vast array of Exakta-mount lenses, this M42x1 mount was a cheap beginner SLR for people in the East, as well as providing an inexpensive alternative body for the huge catalogue of M42 (“standard” mount, it was sometimes called) lenses. While earlier Exas were sold widely in Western Europe and even the USA, I have nothing to indicate the 1c was much marketed in the US, at least.
  4. Also FYI, I don’t actually collect Exas or Exaktas, these are just a by product of my Praktica/Pentacon fugue.

    Aside from the construction materials and the M42-mount (see also http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00XJih ) this is a sweet little camera, or rather would have been so for 1960, but perhaps less so by the standards of 1985 to 1987 when it was being sold new. No instant-return mirror (nee Praktiflex ca. 1938, for 35mm), for example. It still has the nearly unique mirror-shutter mechanism that characterized the earlier Exakta-mount Exas. It works well enough, but the marked shutter sequence (1/175, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, and Bulb) is a little unfamiliar to those not raised in the Exa-world.

    Well the test is in the using, after all. The Exakta is small, but thick (we’ve all known folks like that), but it does fit nicely into the hand. One advances the film (left-to-right, here) and focuses the lens with the right hand, while the left hand presses the front-left shutter release. Once you’re used to it, it all is very natural. BTW, Since the left-handed Exakta was actually the first in many ways, it’s clearly the rest of the world that is off on the wrong foot. :|

    Because of the limited speed options on the Exa 1c, I decided to shoot the chromogenic (C41) Ilford XP2 Super 400 film*

    The best balance of sharpness and grain is obtained when XP2 SUPER is exposed at EI 400/27. However, down-rated or overexposed XP2 SUPER negatives have finer grain, the opposite of that expected and obtained with conventional films. Up-rated or underexposed XP2
    SUPER negatives have only a slight loss in quality. Furthermore, standard C41 processing is recommended for the whole of the exposure range.


    XP2 SUPER can be exposed over the range EI 50/18–800/30. When higher speed is needed, XP2 SUPER can be rated at up to EI 800/30. For finer grain, when speed is less important, rate the film at EI 200/24, although for
    finest grain it can be rated as low as EI 50/18 if required.
    The practical implications of this wide exposure range are very important. XP2 SUPER can be exposed at a setting to suit the job. The benefit of variable speed also provides security against inadvertent over- or underexposure.

    Note that this range is without any change in the development/processing of the film: “No matter which film speed is chosen, standard C41 processing is recommended.” (Ilford tech sheet on XP2), so each image can be shot at what is needed for the shot.

  5. As said, the proof is in the pudding:
    here is a cattle shelter on the University Farms (we have an agriculture school)
  6. Agrarian architecture
  7. Sometimes my Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED, however, just wants to go back to color negative. You have to watch closely to avoid it.
    This was not avoided, but produced a nice effect I thought.
  8. birds and feed dispenser (Homage to the Beckers)
  9. This piece of equipment, of course, is a necessity around any large corporate, governmental, or academic enterprise:
  10. I was to have spent the later part of 1990 in the German Democratic Republic. The country went away before I got there. :(
    Das ist alles.
  11. Beautiful article, as always, thanks JDM! I have the earlier Ib, which is also M42 and, as you say, very easy and comfortable to use. It was my first M42 camera.
    My only complaint with the Ib is that the quaint shutter will produce horizontal vignetting in the negative, when using some lenses (I learned about this with a 100mm, IIRC). I wonder if this problem was solved in the Ic. Your pictures all seem to be taken with the normal lens.
  12. Yes, I used the lens shown on all pictures. I expect that the lens limitation is still there, since I don't think anything much was changed except for the mount and the cosmetics.
    Some other exotic Exa posts:
  13. Bravo! Scholarly, witty and informative...I'm pleased you decided to return, JDM. These posts of yours are just so much an intergral part of CMC. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't own a M42-mount Exa, but then the two or three Exas I have sort of happened, mainly because I fell in love with the Art Deco appearance of the shiny original Exa, and then the Exaktas of the same vintage looked similarly attractive... The most recent model I have is the 1B, still with the Exakta mount, but your black 1C is tempting... And with the M42 mount the lens options are obviously huge.
    Oddly enough, I posted a few frames from an Exa in the current Weekend thread, using the original Meritar 50/2.9. With the waist level finder one is pretty much limited to landscape format, though it is possible to hold the camera sideways at eye level for a vertical shot, a rather Zen experience involving some necessary dislocation of the senses. Many thanks for a very enjoyable post.
  14. Yes--for verticals with the waist-level finder, one needs to just give up and use the optical peep-through built into the cover -- however, NOT built into the cover on this 1C waist finder!!!
    Here it is on the older Exa form:
  15. That's the one that seduced me, JDM. I notice I typo-ed "1b" in place of the correct "1a" in my response above when mentioning the latest model in my posession... As Julio noted, the 1b has the M42 mount...
  16. I knew what you meant. The Exa and (slightly less so) Exakta have enough model peculiarities and varieties to make the most avid stitch-counter happy. :|
  17. Enjoyable post JDM! Thanks. I think that some of the early IBs also had the Exakta Mount. I have come across an odd one. But I don't know if it was the factory original or the owner's change of mount. The Oreston keeps its class wherever you mount it. It is one of my most cherished lenses. Thanks again. sp.
  18. Great post, JDM. That camera looks brand new. And great results. Thanks for an informative post.
  19. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't own a M42-mount Exa, but then the two or three Exas I have sort of happened, mainly because I fell in love with the Art Deco appearance of the shiny original Exa, and then the Exaktas of the same vintage looked similarly attractive...​
    1. I've mentioned it before, but there was a cartoon (Kliban, I think) in which a guy was surrounded by cats, and saying "It was just one cat, and then I got another...."
    2. Only here could someone admit that they were ashamed not to have an M42-Exa!
    All in all, this is why I am glad to be back on P.net, despite troubles caused by what some perceive as my "difficult and childish" personality.
    The Exa 1c may have been new, old-stock. No box, but did come with instruction booklet in German.
  20. Kliban cat cartoon:
  21. Later correction:
    For some reason I keep putting in "Becker" for Becher (link, link). mea culpa.

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