[Old Film Camera] EXA 1a

EXA 1a (Selfportrait)

During a district expedition this summer I visited Atelier Beissert. After our talk about art, photography and black tea, I discovered some old film cameras tucked away in a cabinet. Showing some (okay… a lot) of interest, Peter offered me two of them to try/buy. One was an EXA 1a equipped with a Carl Zeiss Jena f2,8/50mm lens.

Nearly 1 million EXA cameras were build between 1949 – 1990 in Dresden, Germany. They are fully mechanical, have no light meter and are build like a tank. Good for taking photos or hammering nails. Most of them (1a is one of them) use the “Exakta” mount.

Shooting experience

It took some time to shoot a full roll of film on *another* camera – I might have a collecting problem. Being able to use a waist level viewfinder gives you a whole new perspective and shooting experience. I really liked it. What I didn’t like was the max shutter time of 1/175 sec.

Now that the film is developed and scanned I have to say, damn that’s a good lens. Sadly the frame counter was physically broken off, so I had no idea how many images were left. In the end I didn’t buy the camera because of that, but I guess now I have to look for a better preserved one, or at least for a M42 mount version of that lens.

Black and white photography for the financially challenged

On a side note I think I settled on an ISO400 b/w film for “normal” day to day shooting: Rollei RPX 400. If you order 10 at a time over at Macodirect you pay 3,75 EUR per roll. I also looked into bulk loading film, but decided against it for the time being. I’d have to shoot a whole lot more, before the savings on film exceed the investment of a bulk film loader. But I’ll keep that option in mind.

Leipzig, Germany – Summer 2016

Shop Talk

EXA 1a + Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2,8/50 + Rollei RPX 400

Thanks to Peter (Website / Facebook) for letting me try out the camera!


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