EXAKTA varex II a best classic camera ?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by robert loop, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. I have an Exakta Varex IIa with Flektogon 4/20 wide angle lens, 77mm diameter thread. The shutter works at all speeds
    Pentaprism viewfinder.
    The shutter speed dial B T 25 50 100 250 500 100
    Exakta has very long mechanical delay. Rotate right button until stop, clock shutter
    press release button. zzzzzzzzzzzzz for about 12 sec, shutter clicks.

    Exakta has unique feature, rarely seen on other mechanical cameras: its delay time
    can be selected : 1/5 1/2 1 * 2 * 4 * 6 8 10 12

    Exakta  Varex  II  a.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  2. The time delay of Exakta Varex IIa can be extended to about 15 sec.

    Turn the time delay knob clock wise pass 12 sec mark until stop. Press shutter release, zzzzzzzzzzz about 15-16 sec, shutter activated.

    This is probably the longest time delay of mechanical camera
  3. I started out collecting the Contax S to Pentacon line of SLRs, but somehow ended up accumulating - almost by accident - a bunch of Exaktas.
    At first, I found many of them inoperable, but as time passed discovered that they had been disabled by people twisting knobs without any idea what they were doing - especially overwinding the shutter for slow speeds and jamming it for some reason. As I discovered, if you tinkered around with old Exaktas with a little gentile poking here, etc. almost all of them could be got back to operating. Once they're going and you have got used to the "backward' layout (really, Exakta was often there first so it's the OTHER SLRs that are backward, except we're used to them).
    the camera in the center is the RTL1000 Exakta
    This is my prettiest Exakta - with a selenium metering prism, as well as a viewfinder - recovered in red goatskin:

    I prefer the VX models overall.
    In terms of features, the best Exaktas are the VX1000 series (the RTL was direct ancestor to the later Prakticas, but that's another story). While they are very good to use, the quality control and finish were not up to the earlier standard:
    The Elbaflex was an export model to avoid ™ rulings by Wessie courts
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  4. The prettiest : Exakta VX IIa

    Exakta Varex  II Pnet.jpg

  5. At one time the Exakta was priced more than the Leicas, after WWII. But the Market value apart I find the Exakta a joy to repair and renew. I learned the repair jobs from Upton's book and Olson's notes, plus my own mischievous instincts. They are built in a modular design fashion much like the VW beetle cars. Even when one of the subsystems fails the camera will work via other routes. Changing shutter curtains and doing a CLA job are quite simple, if one is patient and has hand-eye coordination. Simple hand tools are sufficient. Shutter cloth is available from Japan, pretty low cost! Simple rubber glues will do the job. After the CLA and new curtains the Exakta will work like new for quite a few decades in the future.
    I did this for a hobby and renewed quite a few abandoned Exaktas. It made me feel a few years younger, after each renewal.
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  6. subbarayan_prassana said:
    I'm sure SP wouldn't mind if I revealed that the Varex IIa I pictured above is in full working trim, thanks only to his expertise. I had two cosmetically excellent and mechanically sound Varex bodies with shutter curtains in a state of total disarray, and it was worth my while to post them across the planet for him to repair. Each time I use one I think of SP and silently thank him again!
  7. Since the self-timer of many old cameras will likely jam up completely; I think you'll find a lot of mechanical cameras have a delay time up to infinity seconds!:cool:

    And how often is a delay time of over 10 seconds really needed? The subject could have got bored and walked away, or the light have completely changed in 15 seconds.
  8. Right before my marriage in 1992 I came across a kit with the block logo Varex IIa with three Zeiss lenses. The Panacolar, the 35mm Flektogon and the 120 Biometar. I could write a chapter on each as they were not all of the best vintage, problems with the camera and lenses initially but they all work now. Along the way someone gave me the Exa Ia of similar 1960s vintage with the WL finder and a Tessar. Also the Tessar was broke. I enjoyed using these and have some nice shots. Most recently though the Varex packed it in at the end of a roll. I was so disappointed I indulged myself by acquiring an earlier model (nothing near as beutiful as Rick D showed) I was so enamored with the embossed logo and it came with another Tessar, I then found the Exa to match with the corresponding prism finder, The downside is the shutter on the Exa needs wwork. It trips when cocking,. after some exercise it will behave but needs work. I'm not left handed, but I like quirkiness of the cameras and the lenses are cool too. I often use the block logo Exa with the Flektogon.

  9. I have a second Exakta Varex IIa, this one has a Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 1:4.5/35 lens and a waist level finder with flip up
    I also have a Ihagee Exa slr, waist level finder. However I havent figure out how the shutter works
  10. I have two Exacta Varex IIa, one with aus Jena Flektogon 4/20 super wide angle lens, this lens has a shutter plunger. This camera as pentaprism viewfinder
    Second Exacta Varex II has Meyer Optik Gorlitz Primagon 1:45/35 lens
    This lens is smaller, hence it has no shutter plunger, this camera has waiste level finder, but
    it has no magnifier, hence hard do critical focusing.

    Varex has horizontal travelling cloth shutter
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2021

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