Exa models in pictures

Here are the some models of the Exa line of cameras. The cameras come from my collection, which I only recently started, so the lineup is far from exhaustive. Still, it contains the representatives of all three main Exa models produced.

Version references are given using my decimal star notation, and also according to the "new" Aguila & Rouah (A&R 2003).


This the original Exa (sometimes referred to as "Exa 0" to distinguish it from the later models). Although it is much simpler than the Exakta, the workmanship is equally good, finish similar, and the family resemblance obvious.

The camera is compact, nicely shaped, and a pleasure to handle; its main disadvantage is in shutter speeds: from 1/30s to 1/150s only. The shutter does need lubrication, so the camera will work even in sub-freezing temperatures.

This particular Exa came with a 50mm Tessar lens of early Fifties and with a prism finder, both parts of the original outfit.

I bought it in a store in Poland, in 2002. It was in top condition, with the original box showing the price of 3185 zl (about two months' pay in '57). It even had a nice, metal lens hood by the Polish Optical Works.

Camera: Exa *1.5.1 (A&R v4) #474599, 1957
Lens: manual 2.8/50 Tessar #5221233 (1950) by Carl Zeiss
Finder: P.2.2 (A&R v4) #123312, 1954

Exa Ia

Exa Ia is a member of the Exa I line, with a body construction different from the original Exa. Actually, it is quite a different camera, retaining (in addition to lens and finder compatibility) only the non-orthodox shutter construction.

The camera is bigger, heavier than the older Exas and, I would say, cruder: the make and finish seem to be much worse.

The Exa I line does not accept Exakta finders made before 1960, and the newer ones fit in a quite wobbly, imprecise way.

As compared to Exa I, the Ia model has one improvement: film winding with a lever (not a knob). Its smooth action is about the only thing I like about this camera.

This particular Exa Ia was bought on eBay from a dealer in the Czech Republic, together with a plastic-barrel 2.8/50 Meyer Domiplan lens. The shipping was perhaps more expensive than the camera is really worth. Oh, well...

Camera: Exa Ia *3.2 (A&R v2) #441127, 1965
Lens: auto 2.8/50 Domiplan #5309129 (1962) by Meyer
Finder: H.3.3.n (A&R v6),

Exa II

The Exa II line was introduced earlier than Exa I, in 1959, and manufactured concurrently with first Exa, and then Exa I models until 1963, to be replaced with Exa IIa and later, IIb.

The prism is permanently fixed (with a plain groundglass, at least in this one), and the camera has a regular focal-plane shutter running vertically. The wind lever is not as smooth as that of Exa Ia, probably because of a different shutter mechanism.

The body shape, size, and weight are similar to those of the Exa I line, and the feel and finish — somewhat better.

This Exa was bought from a dealer in Slovakia. It came with an auto 50mm/2.8 Tessar, typically sold with this camera.

Camera: Exa II *5.2 (A&R v2) #279816, 1961
Lens: auto 2.8/50 Tessar #8600692 (1966)
Finder: prism, fixed

Back to my main Exakta page

Photographs taken with an Olympus Camedia C-5050Z camera.

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Posted 2003/01/07; last updated 2017/12/31 Copyright © 2003-2017 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak