Tag Archives: version

Ihagee Exa – Version 2

I was intrigued by this camera after I saw the top viewfinder on Instagram. A 35mm with a top viewfinder, beautiful. So I actively looked for one on eBay, a cheap one. Finally I found one that said untested so the price was cheap, a gamble.

When it first arrived the shutter button was sticking on all speeds. I added a little clock repair oil to that and just kept pressing. Eventually it didn’t stick any more. By looking through the exposure opening while firing I could see the shutter working. At the top speed the mirror seemed to cover the light entering a little and I wasn’t confident it was working at 1/150th. So when I loaded the camera with Fuji Acros, I left the speed on 1/100th for the test.

This is the second version of the Exa. I know for two reasons. Firstly, this site says the second version has a cover over the shutter button. Secondly, there was a sticker on the bottom saying ‘version 2 1953’.

Mine came with a f2.9 50mm lens, the lenses are interchangeable. This lens has an aperture stop function. You set the aperture you want by pushing the front towards the body and then move the red dot. You can then open up the aperture to aid focusing, then close it down again to take the shot. Once you fire the shutter the mirror moves up as the backside of the mirror acts as the shutter curtain. It is not a focal plane shutter. Once you wind on the film and cock the shutter the mirror returns to the original place. As you can see on the photos the shutter speed is set with the stick on the side of the viewfinder.

With the aperture wide open, the image in the viewfinder is very bright. There is a magnifier to help with focusing. But this didn’t help me, I really need a split screen or micro-prism. On my example the film counter did not work, but it would be set before hand manually, then it should count down.

I took the camera to Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall. The former can be reached easily by train, which I recommend as it can get quite busy. The latter can be reached by a local bus, which I also recommend as the walk is quite steep. I haven’t been to Heptonstall before and I thought it was fantastic. As the link says, it is a hidden treasure. I found it more photogenic than Howarth, with much fewer people. You are just missing the Brontes, but you gain a Plath.

So did my camera work?

I doubted it and felt kind of disappointed all day using it. But work it did, though I had a lot of trouble gaining a sharp focus. My scanner didn’t help in that respect.

As you can see I only took one photo in portrait mode because using the viewfinder on its side was a real pain in the butt. You can also see a light reflection on some shots.

The gentleman you see seems to be a real figure of Heptonstall. He was outside the museum and really interesting to talk to. He told us about himself, his cameras, and the history of the place.

Inside the museum was this display about Alice Longstaff. You can find out more about her here.

I think I will get this camera serviced at some point. It is too pretty to get rid of quickly. I would like to try it again to improve the focusing.

Fed 4 2nd Version

I bought this from a customer at a vintage fair I had a stall at. The funny thing about the fair, I came away with more cameras than I took. Many people coming up to me saying they had a film camera at home and would I like to buy it. Mostly I said no, but I said yes to this one. I looked at ones sold on eBay and halved the price, that was the fee I was willing to pay and they accepted. This one is mechanical so I could see it worked quite well, but you never know. It was definitely missing the take up spool so I would have to buy one of those.

As the title says there are a few versions of this camera, this is the second. It was produced between 1969-1980. That is quite a long production time. You can find all the technical details you might like here. I love these old Russian cameras, they just work and rarely seem to stop. They look like bricks and last like them too. This example came with the regular Industar 61 lens. I tried it with with a collapsible jupiter lens, but it didn’t seem to work quite as well. After I put in a 100 asa film and took it to a couple of historical places. First to Chatham Dockyard and then finished the film at Battle Abbey, the site of the Battle of Hastings.

I found carrying the camera a little awkward due to the lack of strap rings. That meant I had to rely on the original camera case and strap which was a little thin. I really wanted to cut it and replace it with another, but that seemed wrong. The long length of the strap did mean I could carry it over my shoulder instead of around my neck. The viewfinder was small, but the second image was nice and clear. The camera has an uncoupled selenium cell sensor with a match the needle type indicator. I relied on that at both locations. Loading the film was fine, but unloading it was a bit of a pain due to the lack of a lever. There is a thumb wheel and boy is it hard to move, and that is even after you have managed to put it in reverse mode. To do that you have to rotate the collar around the shutter release in a clockwise direction. That was not easy if you have got to the very end of the film. This reviewer also mentioned this system as a bit unconventional. I wasn’t actually sure it was rewinding until I felt the film finally give way.

Here are my test shots.

Well would you look at that. All perfectly exposed, well done light meter. The lens is nice and sharp too. What a cracker. Still not sure it is worth the weight though. If this was your only film camera then yes it is. But if you have other, lighter choices…hmmmm tough choice. I think I prefer the Zorki 4 and the Fed 2 to this one for a variety of reasons.