Exakta was top-notch
Cameras made during the 1950s were expensive. In 1954, a new Exakta VX with a 58mm f/2 Biotar sold for $335 which is equivalent to $3,000 in today’s dollars after you adjust for inflation.
There were some excellent lenses made for the Exakta. The 58mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar sold for $120, equivalent to $1,043 today. For $25 more you could have bought a 50mm f/1.5 Angénieux. Good luck finding that Angénieux today for under $10,000, however you can find many used 58mm Biotars in the $100–150 price range.
East German Carl Zeiss Jena lenses were later marked C.Z. Jena or aus Jena because of a trademark dispute with Zeiss in West Germany. The names of the lenses were abbreviated to B for Biotar, T for Tessar, S for Sonnar and Bm for Biometar. Look for the 1Q primarqualität mark that indicates the lens was tested to meet the highest standards.
What’s great about Exakta
What’s great about the Exakta mount is it can be adapted to EF/EF-S , Four thirds, NEX E, and micro four thirds digital cameras.
Here are a few images I made with a 58mm Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar, an 80mm C.Z. Jena Tessar and a 300mm Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar. These are all coated, preset lenses without the Exakta plunger for the automatic diaphragm.
If you’d like to see a crime solved with an Exakta, watch Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film “Rear Window”.