Exa IIa – The Baby Exakta

I have lost count of how many times I say that this was another camera bought on a whim! I must confess to having a liking for older Soviet and German cameras. I saw this offered with another identical camera and a third one that came minus the lens. The deal was ‘Get the lens-less camera free if both others were purchased. Suffice to say, by the time I saw the offer, one of the complete models had gone. I bought this one but have no idea what happened to the lens-less camera!

This is my first Exa and might not be my last. It appears fully functional. The mirror is in a bit of a state but is surprisingly functional. I was surprised to find that it came with its original take-up spool.

I have done a little research on this camera and discovered that it was manufactured concurrently with the original Exa and Exa 1 models. It did not replace them

It is a later model with Strap eyelets added and the shutter lock button replaced with a lever. The serial number is 167082. From the serial number it appears that this camera was built between 1963 and 1964. It has a rounded body shape (like the Exa I) and it has a rewind crank not a knob.

I guess that many people might find the position of the shutter release on the front left of the camera a little odd but to be honest once you have used a few vintage cameras, one soon gets used to weird and wonderful locations for the shutter release. To me, the most difficult feature that takes a bit of getting used to is the shape of the camera!

The Exa IIa comes with an f2.8/50mm Meyer Optik Gorlitz Domiplan lens rather than the Carl Zeiss Tessar that was standard with the Exa Ia. This lens, automatically stops down the aperture when the shutter release is pressed.  This is achieved by means of a lug on the lens barrel that covers the shutter release on the camera body.  The shutter is activated by pressing this lug which in turn presses the shutter release.

I will finish this short review with a list of the camera’s specifications followed by a gallery of images of this camera.

Specifications of Exa IIa

  • Engraving on the prism: Ihagee Dresden
  • Lens release: lever on the lens flange
  • Focusing: simple matte glass screen, ring and scale on the lens
  • Shutter: Focal plane cloth vertical shutter; speeds: in geometric progression 1/2-1/250; Setting: dial on the left of the top plate
  • Shutter lock lever: on the back of the top plate
  • Shutter release: on front of the camera, w/ cable release socket
  • Cocking lever: also winds the film, short stroke, on the right of the top plate
  • Frame counter: decreasing type, manual reset, on the winding knob
  • Viewfinder: eye level SLR pentaprism, fixed
  • Mirror: not instant return
  • Re-wind lever: folding crank, on the left of the top-plate
  • Re-wind release: beside the winding lever
  • Flash PC socket: on front of the camera, bulb and electronic flash markings near the speeds dial
  • Memory dial: a collar beneath the winding knob
  • Back cover: removable with bottom plate, opens by a thumbnail knob on the bottom plate
  • Special removable take-up spool
  • Tripod socket: ¼”
  • Strap lugs
  • Body: metal; Weight: 838g (with lens)
  • Lens: f2.8/50mm Meyer Optik Gorlitz Domiplan
  • Fully automatic type, no internal aperture coupling, diaphragm always in open position, pressing the plunger on the lens closes the aperture to the pre-set f number then the shutter releases,
  • Exakta bayonet mount, filter thread 49mm
  • Aperture: f/2.8 – f/22; setting: ring and scale on the lens
  • Focus range: 0.75 – 12m + infinity

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