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 Ihagee Exakta Varex VX - 1951                    New! WidePhotoViewer for iPhone/iPod/iPad       

Early Exakta with removable pentaprism finder
$343 with f2 lens in 1951 ($2877 in 2010 dollars)

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This page continues from the Kiné Exakta page. Start there. See also the Exa page.

Ihagee introduced the Exakta Varex in 1950. It was the first Exakta with interchangeable viewfinders, which was important because that meant a pentaprism was one of the choices. "Varex" was already trademarked in the US, so the camera was called the Exakta V here.

My VX is Version 2 of the next model, with only a few minor improvements over the V, such as a thumbwheel for setting the film counter. Mine is marked Varex and the film speeds are in DIN, so it was a version for the European market.

There are two sites for tracking down when an Exakta or Exa was made and what version it is: and Exaktaphile. My VX has serial number is 741350, which means it was made in 1953-1955.

I have a Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 lens, unfortunately stuck on infinity. (I'm thinking of trying to fix the lens myself. [26-Oct-2009 update: I did, by warming it with a hair dryer.]) The body is excellent, however.

Jimmy Stewart used an Exakta VX in the Hitchcock movie Rear Window. Here's an ad about it that appeared in the September 1954 issue of Popular Photography:

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And here's a close-up of the the camera in the movie:

Here's an ad for the VX from the December 1951 issue of Popular Photography. Click on it to see it bigger so you can read the text.

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Here's another ad from the April 1952 issue:

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The VX with my lens sold for $343 in 1952, about what a Leica IIIc with an f/2 lens cost. It's equivalent to about $2700 today.

Here's the VX in a 1956 Sears Camera Catalog:

The brochure that follows is undated, but it doesn't show or mention the auto-diaphragm that was added around 1954, so figure it came out close to 1951. Further evidence of this is that it lists the 1951 price, $343 with f2 lens.

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