I have wanted one of these cameras for a while as they are quite different. I didn’t think I would find one in Japan, but voila. It was taking me a little time to figure out which version of the Werra it was. So I asked the internet gods, they were very helpful. With their guidance, I tracked down a manual from Butkus and the description and pictures matched what I thought I had.
A Werramat. But then another aficionado looked up the serial number and said it was a Werra 2b from 1960. You can’t argue with a serial number?? Either way, Butkus is very handy. I have bought that guy a pint once, please do the same if you use the site.
Here is my actual camera.
When I started to research the 2b I found this website and it said the Werra 2b is the Werramat. Then I found another more detailed website which said the 2b is also the Werramat, but that the 2b’s photocell was unreliable so it was updated and re-released as the Werramat…bugger.
My Werra works like the others, you advance the film and cock the shutter by twisting the lens barrel in a clockwise direction. I found this example to be a little tricky, or I was just nervous about using it. It seemed to need an extra push sometimes, but I might have been too gentle as I have wanted one for a while. It could also be the fact it hasn’t been used in a while. Anyway, I was so happy about actually owning one that I made a strap with some remaining paracord. I might make a cooler one when I get back to the UK and have a better cord. At first, I thought the rangefinder was broken as I could not see the second image at all. Chatting with the internet peeps also reassured me that the rangefinder wasn’t broken, this version does not have one. That being the case I had to guess at distances for the test film.
The lens cap turns into a lens hood. Mine was damaged, but from what I have read somewhere on the net it is a common issue (I should bookmark everything I read!). Having used this camera I think I can see how it happens. The hood doesn’t actually fit back on if the lens is extended. Before putting the hood back over the lens you have to turn it to infinity, so it is close to the body. Without being in that position the lens hits the inside of the hood. If you are not careful you can use too much pressure, forcing it on and ultimately cracking the hood.
I have already bought a “for parts” camera with an intact hood and case for $10. So at some point, I will have a complete hood and case, with a hopefully working Werramat. That purchase seemed a bit overly confident given I hadn’t even tried this camera, but it was cheaper than buying a replacement cap. Plus I think I know where I can get this one serviced in the UK.
You can find more even more details on how to use the Werra on this blog.
Anyway here is my test first film, taken around Ibaraki.
As for the so-called unreliable lightmeter…I relied on the light meter for this film and it seemed to work very well. The light meter is coupled. I was unsure what coupled meant until I found this discussion. There is a needle inside the viewfinder that moves when you alter the speed or aperture. The fact you can see it in the viewfinder makes it coupled. I tried covering the cell with my finger and it didn’t seem to make a difference, so I was surprised by how well it worked. The cell is in exactly the place I like to put my index finger, so I often covered by accident. The photo of the shrine lion is especially impressive. Of course, my guesses of distance were not always accurate, and it was very tricky to get the swans in focus as they kept swimming away. You can see the first few shots are overlapping. That could be down to my nervousness and the lack of use. So to be fair I used another film and retested the camera.
This time the shutter was a bit worse as you can see. It is sticking open, hence the light leaks. OK, it needs a service for sure. And you can see what happens if you forget to take off the lens hood.
Well, now I want to say where and how I bought the camera as that is a story unto itself. As a blogger and camera lover, of course, I read other blogs too. I saw this great blog entry and made a comment and decided to act upon it (I am windswept007, if you hadn’t guessed). I followed the instructions, even down to knocking on the door. I am polite. Once inside I was determined to buy something, I had gone to the effort to get there and find the place. Inside was one other customer, I gave a polite nod/bow to them and carried on looking. Then that customer spoke to me..and in English to boot. That rarely happens in camera shops here.
“Have you seen this blog?” he asks showing me his iPad.
“Why yes, that is the reason I am here?” I reply.
…a small pandemonium occurs as he chats to the owner in Japanese, basically saying,
“See mate, told ya…I bring you customers!!”
Turns out he was the writer of the blog, and now a new internet friend 🙂
I introduce myself and tried to tell him about this blog, but I didn’t have any relevant business card. Business cards are all the thing here. I have some now. What a small world of blogging we live in. Anyway, I was still determined to buy something, so I bought this Werramat. To be honest, I think I overpaid, but it is a German camera in Japan, so that is a given. If I had waited until my return to Europe I might have got one much cheaper. Either way, I was happy with the camera, the meeting, and the whole experience.
Keep or Sell: Mine, it is soooo pretty and unique….it just needs a service….ooh maybe I need to get one with an actual rangefinder?