Competitions & Prize Draws

(Win this) Ihagee Exa – An East German Beauty – Guest post by Michael Rennie

I’ve had this Ihagee Exa for around a year and to be honest a bad case of GAS has meant it’s not seen as much action as it deserves! It could be one of the most beautiful cameras ever made but as you will read later on, I don’t want it sitting on my shelve gathering dust and looking pretty.

The Ihagee Exa is the simpler little brother to the Exakta SLR and uses the same lens mount, mine is fitted with a Carl Zeiss Jena – Tessar 50mm F2.8, noted as one of the better lenses available for this camera; it’s certainly capable of taking very sharp images.

One point perspective, taken with Exa on Agfa Vista 200

One point perspective, taken with Exa on Agfa Vista 200

In use the Exa is fairly simple, loading film is easy as long as you have a take up spool to hand, the back slides off leaving plenty of access to load film. The frame count is then manually reset and the camera wound on with the knob on the top plate.

The shutter is cocked by winding on the next frame and due to the design of the shutter, the viewfinder is dark until the shutter is cocked. The mirror is actually on the shutter and it swings away with the shutter when it is released, due to this unusual shutter mechanism the shutter speed it limited: 1/25th to 1/150th and bulb.

Round the dinner table

Round the dinner table, shot on way expired Kodak Kodachrome and processed as B+W.

The shutter is quite quiet and has a nice feel to the release, which is on the left hand side of the front of the camera and has a little swing over cover to prevent accidental triggering. It can also take a remote release cable into the shutter button.

Focusing is done on the waist level finder, which is quite bright and a good size. Focusing with the lens wide open and then stopping down to take the shot takes some getting used to but is the most accurate way to work, although zone focusing is always an option and the lens is marked appropriately. The Carl Zeiss Jena – Tessar 50mm F2.8 focuses down to 35cm, making it quite useful for detail shots.

Graveyard 2

Stirling Graveyard on Agfa Vista 200

It comes with a lovely leather ‘ never ready’ fitted case and is a very lovely thing to use, especially the waist level finder.

Win this Exa

So I’m looking at my rather forlorn Ihagee Exa the other day and thinking about listing it on eBay, when I had a thought; I’ve loved following Hamish’s ‘Win a Leica‘ photo contest so I though, I’ll run my own competition to win this Exa

The idea is to submit a photograph on the theme ‘Unity’. Camera, medium and editing are all free, the only thing that matters is the photograph and the story behind it.

If you would like to find out more or enter the competition, you can do so here



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  • Reply
    Frank Lehnen
    September 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks Mike,

    Submitted a pic! That’s good looking camera by the way.

  • Reply
    Stewart Harding
    September 6, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Post posted here on September 5. Rules state contest closes September 4. Huh?

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      September 6, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      It’s been extended

  • Reply
    September 6, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Awesome idea and prize! Submitted my entry today!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Please don’t forget to tell the winner to never change shutter speed on this camera while shutter is already cocked!

    • Reply
      Michael Rennie
      September 7, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Now I’m nervous….. why is this?

      • Reply
        September 8, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        I have to apologize, I confused the EXA with the Zorki 4 (a Leica clone and also a „commie camera“, I own both of them) where the changing of shutter speed AFTER the shutter is „charged“ can wreck the whole camera.
        So never mind, sorry again! The EXAs are great cameras, I only have to use mine more often. Whoever wins this camera really wins.

  • Reply
    Ken Hindle-May
    September 7, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Very interesting! I love waist-level finders for street photography and have always assumed I’d need to go medium format to get a useably large one. I might have to snag one on eBay if I don’t manage to win this one. It looks good with the Tessar and the Meritars and Domiplans they usually come with are probably quite characterful.

  • Daniel Castelli
    Daniel Castelli
    September 9, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    My wife & I went to the Brimfield (Mass.) antique fair today. I actually found this identical camera sitting on a shelf at a vendor’s tent. The lens looked as if it had been sandblasted. With a case: $200 USD. I passed.

    But, it’s a damn cool camera!

  • Reply
    Michael Rennie
    November 20, 2016 at 9:03 am

    The results are in, check out for the result!

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