Ihagee Exa 500

Mike Eckman has a regular post called “Cameras of the Dead“. I have a couple of cameras coming up that I would put into that category, this is one of them. I was sent this camera by Canny cameras who has also written about it. Alan wrote a lot about the camera and the history of the line, so I am not even going to go there. He sent it to me as the camera had a mirror issue and thought I might like to play with it.

Firstly, I sent the camera to a friend who is much more skilled than me. He returned it, saying, “The fault is intermittent and not worth taking apart to fix it.” This was the same conclusion as Alan. It is not a great camera, not an expensive camera, not really worth the energy and patience to fix it.

I decided to try a film in it, to see just how intermittent it was. I took it with me while volunteering at my local RSPB reserve. Here are most of the results.

As you can see, the mirror issue was apparent in about 20% of the results. For me, that was just a bit too high. As the camera was free to me and it was raining, I decided to take it apart. Before doing that I watched the mirror action on slow speeds to see what the issue was. The mirror wasn’t sticking, it just wasn’t staying in place. It would make the “slap”, then fall down to the position in the photo below. That blocked the shot and caused the black section.

I followed the instructions on this website to take out the shutter box. It was very easy to remove the insides…apart from one thing or rather two…The screws holding the film transport shaft sheared off. That would be an issue when putting it all back together.

It would mean reboring the screws or supergluing the bracket. The latter would mean taking it apart again would be very tricky. I soldiered on anyway.

I tightened screws, added clock oil to different parts and managed to get the mirror working. I put it all back together and decided to superglue the bracket into place. Voila…..nope. Now the camera would not cock. So I took it apart again, I would figure out the transport shaft after. I found I had inadvertently moved a very small spring on the cocking mechanism. It reminded me of the konstructor kit, it worked in exactly the same way.

Then, just as I was going to put it all back together another issue developed, the spring in the photo below gave way.

Bugger. It simply snapped. Then I found the film advance had jammed too and at this point I gave up. I looked online for a body so I could reuse the lens. But all the ones for sale without a lens were listed as for part and jammed too. So that is it. I will only use one film in this camera and will probably never use one again.

There are much better cameras out there and much more reliable ones. This one really wasn’t worth the effort as my friends had told me.

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