Exakta VX IIa.


The “1960” Exakta Varex IIa

While essentially the same model, this late (1962) Exakta Varex IIa replaced the traditional Exakta logo with something more “modern” at the time. The front plate is also changed, not necessarily for the better.The pentaprism has also a new shape; this is P.3, manufactured from 1960 on.

The lens mounted on this camera is a beauty: the 4.0/25 auto-diaphragm Flektogon, the second-widest lens Zeiss ever made for the Exakta (there was a 20 mm Flektogon, too).

Pentacon Six.

The Pentacon Six line were cameras made by VEB Pentacon Dresden in the former East German Democratic Republic from the late 1950’s to 1990. A professional camera with many accessories and lenses, the bayonet mount and the design of the camera were copied inside and outside Warsaw pact countries. Lenses for the Pentacon Six were made by Carl Zeiss Jena and were outstanding in both design and performance, however the camera its self can be a different story all together.

Photo by:  i’m Jac

A professional camera with many accessories and lenses, the bayonet mount and the design of the camera were copied inside and outside Warsaw pact countries (The Soviet built Kiev 60 and West German built Exakta 66.)

First of all, you’ve probably noticed the odd design for a 120 SLRcamera, most of them run film top to bottom or vise versa, but on the Pentacon Six line, the film runs from left to right, like a 35mm camera. This new feature results in a more conventional design but leads to one of the systems most annoying issue, Film spacing.

If improperly loaded the Pentacon Six TL will have spacing issues, this is mostly due to the fact that the engineers designed the camera to fit 13 6×6cm exposures on 120 film, making the spacing small to begin with. Secondly the film advance lever is somewhat fragile, the biggest mistake you can do to a Pentacon Six is to let the film advance lever snap back after winding, gently guide it back to its resting position; not doing so will damage the gears inside the camera resulting in an inconvenient trip to a repair shop. Avoid early “Praktisix” models as these are the most unreliable of the entire Pentacon Six line, your best bet is to get your hands on the most recent and most reliable Pentacon Six TL.

Photo by: zgodzinski

The Pentacon Six TL is all in all a awesome chunk of East German engineering, it just feels well built in your hands, with its faux leather covering and brushed steel trim it looks the part too! (and weighs the part as well !)

The Pentacon Six TL is extremely capable of professional grade images and has a shutter range from 1 second all the way up to 1/1000th of a second ( along with B) , has available TTL metered prisms along with X flash synchronization, making this camera tremendously expandable and worthy of “serious photographers.” Of course the Pentacon Six TL is also a great asset to any “Non-serious” photographer as well as Lomographers.

Another great feature of the Pentacon Six TL is that you get Hasselblad quality pictures at a bargain basement price of around 200-300$ for a well maintained model, a great deal considering how any western built 120 SLR made by Bronica or Hasselblad can easily go for 500-1200$ depending on condition, so why pay more when you can get the same quality pictures out of a camera that has tons more charisma and character at a fraction of the price?

-Great quality pictures at a great price.
-Intelligent design with many features.
-Hundreds of lenses and prisms available for reasonable prices.
-World class quality lenses from Carl Zeiss Jena.
– Made in the DDR! How cool is that?!

– Large, heavy design.
– Can be tricky to load properly.
– Finicky advance mechanism.
– Quality issues on early models.


Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16.

Ok, and here it is my first 120mm camera purchase.

I found this beauty on the way home in a shop that sell antiques,  I can’t resist to the camera and of course the excepcional low price (after a few minutes of negotiations with the seller). It was a great deal, after checking the price in various websites.

Let’s move in on to the important part, the camera himself…

Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16 folding camera made in Stuttgart by the famous Zeiss Ikon company. It used medium format 120 film with negatives measuring 6cm x 6cm. It was, in its day, a very high quality camera that used medium format 120 film, though it was the size of a 35mm.

According this source, this specific model it was manufactured in Stuttgart –  Germany, between (month ?)/1949-Dec./1959.


  • 120mm film in 6×6 format
  • Novar-Anastigmat Lens 1:4.5 f=75mm
  • Vario Shutter
  • Aperture: f4.5-22
  • Shutter: B, 1/25, 1/75, 1/200 sec.
  • Double exposure prevention (you can defeat this by using a cable release with the socket on the lens instead of the body shutter release)
  • Manual film advance with red window

A 400 ASA film is best advised when using the Nettar 518/16.

Tthat is because the speed range is rather limited by today’s standards. Speeds range from 1/25 – 1/75 – 1/200 sec. plus B. You should always remember that the lens is a 75mm, so shooting at 1/25 involves a risk of shaking the camera. This leaves you with two speeds that you can work safely with, 1/75 sec. and 1/200 sec.

The fully manual operation, with no built in meter and no built in focus/rangefinder forces you to slow down and think before you click the shutter release. You have to run through a mental checklist (estimate or meter exposure, estimate distance, compose, cock the shutter, release) for each picture, and so while You only get twelve exposures, You can be sure that You thought hard about each and every one of them. Hopefully the discipline will help  even with more automated cameras.

The Nettar 518/16 has a double exposure prevention mechanism which is very handy. A red flag appears in the finder and you cannot press the shutter button without winding the film.


I have not yet photographed with this camera, so I can not have a proper conclusion of myself, but I can leave here two opinions that I have found on the web.

(…) wonderful piece of old mechanical technology that produces great results once some thought is applied.

If you are looking for an inexpensive entry to medium format photography, this is the way to go. Image quality is really really good between f/5.6 – f/11, it is build like a tank with very few things that can break and you can always have it with you due to it’s small size. My only complain is the limited speed range and the lack of a rangefinder, so it might be a good idea to buy and external one.
All in all, a very nice camera and if you find it for anything less than £50 buy it and you won’t regret.

Voigtländer Vitoret DR.

Voigtländer Vitoret DR, 35mm rangefinder camera 1965.

Manufactured: 1965
Film: 135 (35 mm cartridge film)
Frame size: 24 x 36 mm
Lens: f/2.8 Color Lanthar 50 mm
Shutter: Prontor 300 leaf shutter

Image Rights

Voigtländer Vitoret is a 35mm film viewfinder camera manufactured by Voigtländer & Sohn AG, Braunschweig, former West Germany and produced between 1961-1971

The Voigtländer Vitoret series were a very successful range of consumer level inexpensive cameras that were produced from 1961 to 1971. Vitoret series were more inexpensive than the Vito range cause there were the choice of lenses and shutters and a more simple internal design. All series produced with quantity ca 700.000. Many Vitoret cameras are often still useable and capable of providing good results.


Canon T50.

“The Canon T50, introduced in March 1983 and discontinued in December 1989, was the first in Canon’s new T series of 35mm single-lens reflex cameras compatible with Canon’s FD lens mount.”

The manual focus Canon T50 is most likely the simplest camera in the FD arsenal. Program – Off – Battery Check are the only top controls. No “B” bulb, no PC flash input, no cable-release input. Turning the FD lens from “A” Automatic to f-stops switches the camera to 1/60th sec. This gives you the (limited choice) option of going manual and allowing the use of off-brand flashes.

The T50 is simplistic joy – allowing me to concentrate on my shots and leaving the exposure chores to the camera. As an all-manual photo guy, it was difficult giving up the control of shutter and aperture, but the results were more than pleasing.


Olympus OM-2N 35mm Film Camera Review.

The OM-System was introduced by Olympus in 1972, more than a decade later than most of the, by then, well-established 35mm SLR brands. Its success must undoubtedly be attributed to Olympus’ chief designer Maitani Yoshihisa[1] and his staff, certainly taking advantage of new technology and increased general 35mm SLR understanding. The nucleus of this system is the brilliantly conceived camera body of remarkably compact design, yet with possibly the best viewfinder in any 35mm SLR camera. The first model introduced was the all-mechanical M-1, soon renamed OM-1, with a full aperture TTL CdS exposure meter and a wide bayonet lens-mount, gradually complemented by several quite sophisticated models. The system is also associated with one of the finest ranges of optics ever made available, the OM-System Zuiko lenses, and a generous selection of accessories.

OM-2 is the automatic version of the OM-1, presented officially in 1975 at the 31st Photo Salon in Paris. An OM-2 prototype was displayed in a showcase at the 1974 Photokina in Cologne, but none of its features was announced.  Externally it is nearly the same as the OM-1, but the shutter is electronic and the exposure is either automatic (aperture priority) or manual.

The exposure meter of the OM-2 is able to measure the light reflected by the film (1/45th sec and longer) and compensate for any variation of light during long exposures; this is called off-the-film (OTF) metering. The exposure sensor also controls the flash exposure; this is called through-the-lens (TTL) flash automation or otf flash exposure. The OM-2 was the first camera to have these features (a Minolta patent licensed to Olympus). The TTL flash automation greatly simplifies flash exposure, and was quickly adopted by most other SLR camera makers, while OTF metering was also adopted by some competitors, like the Pentax LX. The Olympus Quick Auto 310 flashgun was designed for the OM-2, which unfortunately is not compatible with the T series flash units introduced in 1979 together with the new OM-1n and OM-2n.

The OM-2N, based on the OM-2, has the same modifications plus:

  • a direct contact inside for Recordata backs
  • an exposure compensation warning flag
  • full-frame averaging at all shutter speeds
  • 120 second exposure limit on auto, though in practice, low light exposures will often go to 3.5 minutes (the OM-2 limit was listed as 60 seconds in the instruction book, but at asa 12 would go as long as 19 minutes while at asa 1600 would end in as little as 19 seconds)

All these models existed in chrome or black. According to this page of the OM Sales Information File.