It was nostalgic fun to have an Exakta (well three, actually) at the eye for a while again after an interlude of nearly 40 years. I bought three bodies which came with a total of five lenses from different eBay sellers.
|Replacement foam above the mirror|
In both IIbs but not the IIa the frame counter was not working. It jumped all over the place when the film was advanced. This mechanical failure I am told is a common problem.
|The frame counter did not work in the two Varex IIbs|
|The mirror of a Varex IIa showing deterioration of the silvering|
The major problem in the IIa but not the IIbs was the state of the shutter curtains. The deterioration of the material is a well-known problem. The curtains were wrinkled and had, when a light was held behind them, what seemed like pin holes. However, pin holes are usually a seller’s description. This is far a more serious condition. The whole (rubber?) material within the curtain is in process of breaking down and the light leaks are extensive, as the following photographs show.
|Wrinkled shutter curtain - tell-tale sign of light leakage|
|Light coming through the shutter curtain|
|Light coming through the shutter curtain (LED torch in mirror box)|
|Smooth curtains not leaking light in a Varex IIb|
Temporary (paint the curtain) and permanent (do-it-yourself curtain replacement or professional repair) solutions are shown in a number of websites. However, professional repair is an expensive route (£200 plus + VAT, I was quoted) which is why so many Exakta bodies are lying ‘beyond economic repair’.
One of the shutters tapered at 1/500th and 1/1000th sec so could not be used at those speeds without servicing. That shutter sounded better than the one in the second body which fired with a squawk that is said to indicate a lack of oil. The second was fine to use at all speeds. In terms of accuracy, the pattern was the same or similar to that reported in various websites. The higher speeds were slow: the slower speeds were fast.
|135 mm f/4 Zeiss Jena Sonnar|
|This Exakta lens hood fits all the 50 mm and the 135 mm f/4 lenses|
|Original Ihagee filters are not that common|