Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

The Kine Exakta might have been the first 35mm SLR camera*. It was developed by Ihagee's engineer Karl Nüchterlein.

The camera type was derived from the Ihagee-EXAKTA for rollfilm 4×6.5 cm (127 format), an earlier SLR-creation of Nüchterlein. The Kine Exakta was presented at the Leipzig Spring Trade Fair in 1936.

Different from its rather simple medium-format predecessor (shown above), the Kine-Exakta was very compicated; the word Kine derives from its use of 35mm cinema film.

At least two variations of the Kine-Exakta exist: the earlier one has a round loupe (magnifying glass) in the hood; later ones have a rectangular magnifying glass.

Early Kine-Exaktas had a fixed waist-level viewfinder, but later models, starting with the Exakta Varex, had an interchangeable waist- or eye-level finder.

Most controls - including the shutter release and the film wind lever—are on the left-hand side, unlike most other cameras. The film is transported in the opposite direction to other 35mm SLRs.

In classic Exaktas - made between 1936 and 1969 - two film canisters can be used, one containing unexposed film and a second into which is wound the exposed film. A sliding knife built into the bottom of the camera can be used to slice the film so that the canister containing the exposed film can be removed while preserving the unexposed film in the main canister. The knife was omitted in the Exakta VX500, one of the last "official" Exakta cameras.

The shutter release on classic Exaktas is on the front of the camera, rather than the top. It is pressed with the left forefinger. Most later Exakta lenses, known either as "automatic" or "semi-automatic", included a button in an extension that would align over the camera body's shutter release when the lens was mounted. The diaphragm of these lenses remained fully open, providing a bright viewfinder image, until the button was depressed halfway, when the iris would be stopped down to the shooting aperture; pressed farther, the lens button engaged the camera's shutter release button, tripping the shutter.

There was a full line of specialized equipment available for these 'system' cameras that included microscope adaptor, extension bellows, stereo attachments, medical attachments and various specialized finder screens. Equipment is fully compatible between all models manufactured between 1936 and 1969.

The spelling found on cameras has traditionally been Exakta, but some early Kine-Exaktas were marked Exacta specifically for marketing in France, Portugal and the U.S., perhaps for copyright reasons; and certainly a great number of American collectors refer to the whole range as the "Exacta."

A related line of smaller, simpler cameras with limited shutter range was the Exa line (from 1951); these, too, existed in several variations. The Japanese Beseler Topcon line of 35mm cameras used the same lens mount as the Exakta.

Examat and Travemat through-the-lens metering prisms were introduced in the mid-1960s.

In the early 1970s the Exakta RTL 1000 was introduced; it accepted the older models' lenses but had its own range of viewfinders, which included a model with through-the-lens light metering. Because of this lack of backwards compatibility the RTL series is generally not regarded as part of Ihagee's Exakta line; most collectors consider the VX1000 (shown above) the last "official" Exakta camera.

Wiki and Camerapedia articles were used

Also recommended:
Captain Jack's Exakta pages
Exakta & Exa Pages (DE)

See more images of Exakta in the album (pp. 3 - 5)

* The other contender for the title is Sport aka Helveta - a Soviet 35mm SLR based on Leica II/FED. It was presented earlier than Exacta, but its serial production started later.

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Comment by lord_k on March 2, 2010 at 3:15pm
To Tome:
dentist's lens has a circular flash in the front. Very useful not only for dentists, but also for shooting coins and small pieces of jewelry.
Comment by lord_k on March 2, 2010 at 3:14pm
to TheBoyWhoLived:
you'd better search for the Nikon F or F2 with a waist-level finder. It's much friendlier, believe me.
Comment by Piper Williams on March 2, 2010 at 3:00pm
Wow! A 35mm with a waist finder! I grew rather fond of the waist finder on the mamiya rz67 I used while at university.. but on a 35?! Incredible! I'd love to get my hands and eyes on one of these. .
Comment by Tome Wilson on March 1, 2010 at 6:33pm
The "dentist's lens?" Nope. I usually shoot events and photo-journalistic subjects with a digital SLR. All of the other lenses and attachments might as well be powered by magic gnomes for as much as I know about them.
Comment by lord_k on March 1, 2010 at 2:33pm
I used a waist-level view finder a lot, mostly with medium-format cameras. Good thing when you shoot paintings and other flat object from a static point.
There is a huge number of medical attachments of every kind. Have you ever heard of the dentist's lens?
Comment by Tome Wilson on March 1, 2010 at 1:38pm
I've never used a waist-level view finder. I understand the concept of why they would do that, but it must have been a pain to use if your eyesight wasn't 20/20.

Also, the "medical attachments" sound pretty gruesome. I've never heard that term in relation to cameras before.

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