Exakta

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.
1954_exakta_ad_BenderThere 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.

Taken with an Exakta mount 300mm Carl Zeiss Jena Son­nar on an Olym­pus E-PL2. 1/500 sec at 200 ISO.

Taken with an Exakta mount 300mm Carl Zeiss Jena Son­nar on an Olym­pus E-PL2. 1/500 sec at 200 ISO. RAW file processed in Photomatix.

Taken with an Exakta mount 58mm Carl Zeiss Jena Bio­tar on a 5D Mk II. 1/500 sec at 1250 ISO.

Taken with an Exakta mount 58mm Carl Zeiss Jena Bio­tar on a 5D Mk II. 1/500 sec at 1250 ISO. RAW file processed in Photomatix.

 

Taken with an 80mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena Tes­sar in Exakta mount on a 40D. 1/30 sec at ISO 100.

Taken with an 80mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena Tes­sar in Exakta mount on a 40D. 1/30 sec at ISO 100.

Taken with a 58mm Bio­tar on a 5D MkII. 1/2500 sec at 160 ISO.

Taken with a 58mm Bio­tar on a 5D MkII. 1/2500 sec at 160 ISO. RAW file processed in Photomatix.

Taken with an 80mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena Tes­sar in Exakta mount on a 5D MkII. 1/80 sec at ISO 100.

Taken with an 80mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena Tes­sar in Exakta mount on a 5D MkII. 1/80 sec at ISO 100.

Taken with a 61 year old 58mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Jena Bio­tar on an Olym­pus E-PL2.

Taken with a 61 year old 58mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Jena Bio­tar on an Olym­pus E-PL2. RAW file processed in Photomatix.

If you’d like to see a crime solved with an Exakta, watch Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film “Rear Window”.