Exakta Varex IIa

aka Exakta VX IIa

35mm MF film SLR camera • Discontinued


35mm full frame
Film type:
135 cartridge-loaded film
Exakta [44.7mm]
12 - 1/1000 + B, T
Exposure metering:
Exposure modes:
Physical characteristics:

Manufacturer description #1

The new 1957 Automatic Exakta IIa is a significant advance in Exakta photography. Created by the famous Exakta designers and engineers who have established a trail-blazing concept in original camera engineering, the Automatic Exakta IIa is the first single-lens reflex camera with a new noiseless shutter design. Here is another important milestone for Exakta, the most versatile camera in the world!

The Exakta has long been famous for its single-lens reflex principle which insures complete elimination of parallax at all times, giving you the exact picture on film that you see in the viewfinder. And, of course, the many new desirable innovations and refinements in the new Automatic Exakta IIa make it the best Exakta yet. The new features include a new three-outlet MXF flash synchronization, for focal plane flashbulbs, for SM flashbulbs, and for electronic flash; new scratch-proof pressure plate; new and improved window rotodial; new wide-diameter film spool for faster winding; new improved winding mechanism; new spring-catch spool retainer; and a new slow-speed setting knob for faster, silent operation. Naturally, the new 35-mm. Automatic Exakta IIa has all the other renowned and treasured Exakta features as Automatic diaphragm lenses; interchangeable lenses; interchangeable viewfinders, penta prism eye-level viewfinder, waist-level reflex viewfinder, split-image rangefinder, and magnear lens-viewfinder; coupled film transport and shutter cocking; the most accurate focal plane shutter; 27 shutter speed settings ranging from 1/1000 of a second to 12 seconds, plus bulb and time; built-in knife; provision for intentional double exposures, and more.

Two viewfinders are available for your Exakta. They are the Penta Prism and the waist-level hooded viewfinders. These viewfinders are meant to serve as a team, each for an individual purpose, and to complement each other. They are interchangeable with each other in a matter of seconds. By having both viewfinders, your Exakta will be universally equipped to give you many outstanding pictures that you would otherwise miss.

The Penta Prism viewfinder (with a split-image rangefinder) is furnished with the Exakta as standard equipment. With this finder, the Exakta photographer can make exciting eye-level shots with a horizontal or vertical format. Sighting through the Penta Prism is like looking through a small window. Everything is "life-size", the same size in the finder as the eye sees it. The Penta Prism can be used by the photographer with both eyes open. One eye sights through the finder, the other follows the actual scene. For fast action, sports, theater, nature, newspaper and general photography, the Penta Prism is exceptional.

The second half of the Exakta viewfinding team, the reflex waist-level hooded finder, adds more invaluable features. This all-direction finder allows you to point the lens of your Exakta at your subject from many different directions and angles and still focus without changing your position. The waist-level finder is invaluable for portraiture - for portraits of children and animals, for photographing flowers and plants, for close-up and copy work, and for many varied applications in scientific and industrial photography with the Exakta.

By having your Exakta equipped with both viewfinders, you can take pictures everywhere... making the sky the limit.

Manufacturer description #2

We are pleased to introduce you to the Automatic Exakta VX-IIa, the most versatile camera in the world. The Exakta camera was invented 30 years ago. Over the years Exakta engineers have continuously added significant improvements to keep Exakta in the forefront of 35mm single lens reflex photography. That is why Exakta is recognized as the pace setter in the field of photographic achievements - always the best camera in its basic, original design - and the most reliable.

There are now over 300,000 Exakta camera owners, and each day the number grows even larger.

The newest Exakta of them all is the 35mm Automatic Exakta VX-IIa. The Automatic Exakta VX-IIa offers such outstanding features as 26 shutter speed settings, ranging from 1/1000th to 12 seconds, plus time and bulb, built-in knife, lever film wind, interchangeable lenses up to 800mm and longer, interchangeable viewfinders, penta prism eye-level viewfinder, light-meter penta prism viewfinder, waist-level viewfinder, split-image rangefinder, the magnear, the stereo unit, MXF flash synchronization for focal plane flashbulbs, SM flashbulbs and electronic strobe, most accurate focal plane shutter, automatic diaphragm lenses, provision for intentional double exposures, new scratch-proof pressure plate, new spring-catch spool retainer, film speed reminder dial and more.

Yes, the magnificent Automatic Exakta VX-IIa camera embodies within a single camera the most complete adaptability and the widest range of versatility.


Lightmeter Penta Prism Viewfinder - Includes the split-image rangefinder, a photo-electric-cell exposure meter and optical sports-finder. This eye-level Lightmeter Penta Prism viewfinder gives a life-size image ratio in 1:1 size. Vertical or horizontal pictures can be taken with sides unreversed. Split-image Rangefinder indicates when lens is properly focused. Photo electric exposure meter gives accurate reading for all light conditions. Opening meter baffle increases meter's sensitivity 32 times. Optical sportsfinder is ideal for flash and sports pictures.

Penta Prism Viewfinder and Split-Image Rangefinder - Exceptionally bright Penta Prism Viewfinder and Rangefinder. Eye-level shots can be taken with horizontal or vertical format with sides unreversed. Image seen is life-size in ratio of 1:1.

Waist Level Hooded Viewfinder - The New Exakta Waist Level Viewfinder with ground glass offers a uniform bright focusing screen. It is recommended for low angle shots, for portraiture, close-ups and copywork, and for many industrial and scientific applications. Is instantly removable and interchangeable with Lightmeter Penta Prism and Penta Prism Viewfinders and the large range of focusing glasses for the Penta Prism are now interchangeable with the new waist level hooded viewfinder - including the split-image rangefinder glass. A magnifier is built into hood for greater magnification.

Split-Image Rangefinder - The Split-image Rangefinder is intended to serve as a rapid, convenient focusing device, saving time and effort for the Exakta owner. It is a fine grain focusing screen with a split-image rangefinder in the center, and fits into the Penta Prism or Light-meter Penta Prism Viewfinder. You observe two halves of the image in the center circle. When lens is properly focused, the two halves are in line and the ground glass image is sharp.

The Magnear Lens-Viewfinder - The Magnear is a viewfinder for the Exakta which employs an Exakta lens as a magnifier through which the image is examined and critically focused. It is removable, and interchangeable with all other Exakta viewfinders. Excellent for close-ups and photomicrography. 50mm lens when used with Magnear gives 5X magnification.

Manufacturer description #3

Introducing the new automatic EXAKTA IIa

The new and fabulous Automatic Exakta IIa with noiseless slow speed shutter design has been hailed by the photographic public of amateur and professionals alike as the crowning achievement of a long line of world-honored optical instruments. Bringing once again a whole new range of improvements so typical of Exakta progress, the new Exakta IIa encompasses all of the exclusive, notable features for which the entire family of Exakta cameras is justly famed around the globe. The major changes which have been made in the new Automatic Exakta IIa include:

1: New quiet slow speed timing mechanism and delayed action shutter release.

2: Three separate synchronization sockets, for class M and class F flashlamps, and for class X electronic flash or "strobe lights."

3: A new reminder dial for the various types of films, both black and white, reversal color and negative color.

4: New window -covered rotodial, showing the actual advance of film during winding for each exposure.

5: A new "suspended" pressure plate which is self-adjusting for any type and thickness of film, or direction of winding.

6: New automatic diaphragm lenses, automatically stopping-down to a preset aperture as the exposure button is pressed.

The newest synchronization arrangements for flash-illumination are embodied in the Automatic Exakta IIa. The new Exakta IIa has 3 separate plug-in sockets on the front of the camera, marked M, F, and X. Thus no adjustments are necessary for any type of flash lamp - it is simply a matter of plugging the flash unit into the proper socket.

For example when the unit is plugged into the M socket, the shutter opens 16 milliseconds after the electrical contact is made. This is correct for all medium-peak and long peak flashlamps, including the focal plane types GE or Westinghouse #6 or #31, or the Sylvania #26 or #2 which are particularly suitable for use with the focal plane shutter of the Exakta. Flashlamps can be inserted before or after film is wound, on the M socket.

The F socket makes contact 5 milliseconds after the shutter opens, and is designed for use with GE and Westinghouse SM and Sylvania SF lamps. These lamps should be used only with shutter settings of 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 second, because of their short flash duration. It is important to remember, when using the F setting, that the contacts remain closed after the exposure, hence the flash lamp should not be inserted until after the film is wound and shutter cocked, otherwise premature firing will take place.

The X socket is intended for use with electronic flash or "strobe lights." It makes contact at the instant the shutter is fully open, and since with strobe lights it is essential that the entire film area be uncovered at the instant of the flash, this setting should be used only at shutter speeds of 1/25 and 1/50 of a second. The actual exposure time will, of course, be the same as the flash duration of the strobe light, which varies with different types from 1/500 to 1/10,000 second. Flashlamps may be inserted before or after film is wound when using X socket.

Another new feature of the latest Exakta is the new "suspended" pressure plate. Because 35mm. films vary in thickness, stiffness and curl between the various manufacturers, this new plate is designed to be self-adjusting, to hold the film flat in the focal plane during exposure, and to permit scratch-free winding in either direction.

Some of the newer lenses for the Exakta IIa (they will, of course, also fit the earlier models V and VX) have completely automatic diaphragms, which permit focusing at full lens aperture, and photography at any pre-set f/stop. A single button release operates both the diaphragm control and the camera shutter.

And now, with the high-magnification powers of the large family of Exakta long range tele-Ienses, you are instantly brought astonishingly close to the object of your scrutiny. Any seat in the arena or grandstand brings you within seeming arms length of the action on the field, the track or the boxing ring, when viewing the scene through your Exakta viewfinder, for at such times your camera actually becomes a photo-telescope of highest quality. Through the magic of the Exakta tele-Ienses, you are enabled to follow every moment, every change of pace or expression in your subject. While remaining unseen yourself, Exakta long range telephoto photography grants you the power to see distant people remarkably close up, going about their natural, un-self-conscious ways. Thus a whole new world of enjoyment is open to you in the field of sports, nature and news photography.

These new features of the Automatic Exakta IIa are, in many ways, major changes, and they actually add to the convenience and simplicity of the Exakta camera. For the Exakta is more than just a camera - it is a system of photography! The reflex system of the Exakta provides the most accurate system of focusing ever devised in any camera because the image on the focusing screen is produced by the very lens which will make the negative. No "matched" lenses can ever equal the accuracy possible from using the same lens throughout. And, since the taking lens can be focused wide open or stopped down, you see the focus and the depth of field, exactly as it will be on the final negative - there need be no guesswork, and while depth of field scales are provided on all Exakta lenses, they are seldom required in practical work, because the photographer can see exactly what he is getting. He can study his composition wide open, he can watch the depth of field increase as he stops the lens down. In short, he is never in doubt on any of the factors that go to make up his picture. Yet, unlike other reflex cameras, it is not necessary to sacrifice the ease of eyelevel operation or of rangefinder focusing when using the Exakta. An interchangeable view-finder is available which contains a penta-prism and built-in rangefinder of surpassingly ingenious simplicity. With the eyelevel viewfinder the image is visible and special attachments such as focal frames are unnecessary. When accessories are needed, however, they are available. Special equipment is provided for copying color transparencies, for making lantern slides from flat copy, for medical, dental and surgical work, for stereo, for almost any special type of photography through research instruments such as gastroscope, proctoscope, etc. Yet for the large part of photography, no accessories are required; the Exakta alone can do the job.

Having no connection with the lens itself except the light rays passing through both, it needs no specially "coupled" lenses, and will work with any lens that will fit the Exakta. Not only will it work thus, but it continues to work accurately when the taking lens is extended with a set of extension tubes. And having no moving parts, it can never get out of order, or out of calibration.

The Exakta photographer never has to shift his eye from one eyepiece to another - rangefinder focusing, ground glass focusing and composition are all done in the one hood, through the one eyepiece, and in one operation. With this parallax-free system of framing and focusing, problems which are difficult with other cameras are easy with Exakta. Even photomicrography - one of the most difficult of all problems with ordinary cameras - can be done with the Exakta with no accessories except a single coupling to attach camera to microscope. In the Exakta System you see what you are going to get - and you get what you see. Extreme closeup work, such as copying and macrophotography, is easy with Exakta. No matter whether supplementary lenses, extension tubes, long bellows attachments or just the basic lens is used, you can see on tbe ground glass what you will get, and when it is perfectly framed and focused.

From beginner, to advanced amateur, to photographic specialist in any field, the Exakta System provides, within a single camera and a small range of accessories, the most complete adaptability, and the widest range of capability in the photographic equipment field. Therefore the new Automatic Exakta IIa is the most versatile of all 35mm. cameras.

Manufacturer description #4


The New 1957 Exakta IIa has been greatly improved, and now has three sockets (outlets) of synchronization for flash photography, M, X, F.

M OUTLET is used for flashbulb synchronization with focal plane flashbulbs as G.E. and Westinghouse #6 and #31 and Sylvania #26. The Exakta flash synchronization on the M outlet is set so that the shutter opens 16 milliseconds after you press the shutter release. Thus focal-plane bulbs are suitable because they have a long, even peak coinciding to the travelling or opening of the Exakta shutter.

F OUTLET is used for flashbulb synchronization with flashbulbs having a 5-millisecond delay - as SM flashbulbs, with the shutter speed set at 1/25 of a second. Before inserting flashbulbs into the flashgun (on F outlet only), or before you plug the flashgun into the camera, be sure the shutter is cocked, each time. If you do not cock the shutter each time, the bulb will go off immediately!

X OUTLET is used for electronic flash and strobe units. Electronic flash units operate without any delay after the shutter has been released. When using electronic flash, the shutter of the camera should be set at 1/25 or 1/50 of a second. At these settings, the shutter slit is open at its widest, thus providing sufficient time for the electronic flash to record on film.


The New Exakta IIa permits Exakta Camera Owners to take 20 out of 27 shutter speed settings with the new and unique quiet-shutter mechanism (1/5 to 12 secs.). This improvement requires no special handling of the camera, and on many occasions will be regarded as a most valuable asset in industrial, medical, scientific, portrait and other types of photography.


Directly below the slow-speed shutter setting knob, there is a rotary dial on which film speed-rating numerals are engraved. These numbers, which can be seen at a glance, are ASA film speed ratings. The triangle engraved on the top plate points to the film speed you select. The dial should only be turned counter-clockwise. The ASA film speed numerals are used for black & white film. For color, the dial can be set according to the type of color film with which the camera is loaded.


All brand new Exakta Cameras are equipped with a genuine Ihagee Penta Prism Finder. A genuine Ihagee Prism Finder can be identified by the Manufacturer's name - Ihagee, Dresden - and the engraved serial number on the front left side of the Penta Prism. An engraved VX and Germany also appear on this finder. Penta Prism finders which do not have these identifying marks are cheap imitations that are not guaranteed, and which do not work properly with the Exakta Camera.

Manufacturer description #5


is the ideal camera for any and every kind of photographer - for the amateur, the professional, the photo journalist, the commercial photographer, the portraitist, the doctor, the dentist, the ophthalmologist, the scientist, the teacher, the photo-micrographer, the traveler - for anyone who wants to get perfect pictures. The reliability and precision of the high-efficiency Exakta exposure meter guarantees you the satisfaction of knowing that every shot you take will be perfectly exposed, whether you are using black-and-white or color film.

Exakta Photography is 35mm. single lens reflex photography carried to the peak of perfection in the age of electronics. The remarkable new automatic Exakta Light-Meter IIa camera features a new ultra-modern, built-in, photo-electric cell exposure meter that solves every exposure problem for you, immediately and effortlessly.

The reliability and precision of the high-efficiency Exakta exposure meter guarantees you the satisfaction of knowing that every shot you take will be perfectly exposed, whether you are using black-and-white or color film.

While the Exakta exposure meter performs the time-consuming calculations for you - almost with the speed of light - you are free to devote your entire attention to composition and picture-taking. The comprehensive working range of the built-in Exakta exposure meter assures you highly accurate readings. An ASA scale for film speed ratings is provided. The engraved markings for the shutter speed settings on the meter correspond to those on the Exakta shutter. The instant you aim your Exakta at the subject, the light-sensitive electric cell indicator points to the correct exposure. It's that simple! Also built into the Automatic Exakta Light-Meter IIa camera is another instrument that gives you additional picture-taking quality insurance: the new separate-window optical viewfinder.

Invaluable in taking instantaneous flash and sport pictures, the new viewfinder swiftly frames and centers the subject you are shooting. Thus, the selection of the correct exposure and viewfinding are performed and completed for you by the Automatic Exakta Light-Meter IIa, with its single-lens reflex system that gives you absolute accuracy in and control over every phase of the photographic process.

It is based on the remarkable single-lens design of the Exakta, a design that utilizes the same lens for viewing and taking the picture.

When you look into the viewfinder of an Exakta, you realize how and why it has established new picture-taking methods. There, on the ground glass, from the first instant you see the complete image of your subject. As you move the camera, you see the many variations in composition that are possible. You see whether the image is sharply focused, whether every detail is as sharp as you want it to be, whether you have included every important object. You see whether your subject is well-lighted and the effect of closing and opening the lens aperture. You see up to the instant you press the shutter release how your picture is altered as you operate the focusing and other controls of the lens.

You do not have to worry about parallax with the Exakta Light-Meter IIa. There is no parallax because one lens provides the image both for viewing and taking. The image enters the lens and is reflected onto the ground glass by a mirror. When you have composed your picture, you release the shutter, the mirror snaps out of the way and the film records the exact image you saw on your ground glass.

There is no greater thrill than to conceive, plan and execute a photograph. The better the picture, the more we enjoy photography. Picture taking has reached the stage where we expect to get a good picture every time.

Many photographers, however, tie their own hands. They buy a camera that robs them of the most important feature and pleasure of photography - being able to determine what the picture shall look like. The camera controls them and decides what the picture shall be, rather than vice versa.

Picture control is determined by the camera's viewfinder, an optical system designed to help you compose your picture. Many cameras have serious viewfinding limitations. Some finders are too small, preventing the photographer from seeing the image and area of sharpness. Others are obscured by focusing devices that distract the eye and prevent accurate composing and focusing.

The most serious viewfinding difticulty is parallax, an optical discrepancy and handicap resulting from the fact that one lens is used for viewing the picture and another for taking it. The difference in location of the two lenses causes the picture you get to be different in composition from the one you see on the finder ground glass. All cameras whose viewfinders have an optical system separate from the lens that takes the picture must suffer from parallax. Only the single-lens camera is free of it.

Because of these limitations, picture taking with other cameras is a hit-and-miss affair. So much is left to chance and guesswork, that the result is not actually what the photographer wants but what the camera takes for him. Because the exact image cannot be seen at every instant, the photographer is unable to make the camera the tool and instrument it should be and unable to make it respond to his wishes. The pictures he gets, good or bad, are the result of haphazardness, rather than precision, and often are unsuccessful.

A critical photographer - anyone beyond the snapshot level falls in this class - wants his camera to record a scene exactly as he sees it. He wants to compose his picture down to the last detail and then get it as he planned it - no more, no less - when he releases the shutter. If you want a camera with such accuracy and precision, one that is in fact an extension of your eye, you will be interested in the Exakta Light-Meter IIa, the camera that is so advanced it will lead the photographic field for years to come.

The Exakta Light-Meter IIa is the most versatIle camera in the world. With it you can photograph any type of subject, microscopic or gigantic, an inch or a mile away. With the same camera you can shoot perfect portraits and photographs of such subjects as children, pets, wildlife, flowers, landscapes and industrial scenes - even the moon, if you wish. You can make slides and copies of documents, books, stamps and other material and take tabletops, close-ups and photomicrographs with ease.

You can quickly interchange viewfinders, from the marvelous eye-level Penta Prism to the universal hooded finder, to suit your specific photographic needs. You can compose your picture comfortably without additional viewing devices or eye strain whether your subject is at ground or eye level. You get a brilliant, upright image on the ground glass and, with the Penta Prism, the image is full size and the sides are not reversed.

Exakta Photography means using the finest, coated, color-corrected lenses produced by world-famous manufacturers. An entirely new series of unusual lenses incorporating the advanced feature of automatic diaphragm control is available for the Exakta Light-Meter IIa. Pressure on one button closes the lens instantly to the preselected stop and releases the shutter simultaneously. All Exakta lenses are quickly interchangeable because of the specially designed bayonet mount. As the need arises, you can insert a faster lens, a wide-angle or telephoto lens. Every time you change lenses, in effect you create a new camera.

Lenses ranging from 28-mm. to 800-mm. in focal length and to f/1.5 in speed are available for the Exakta Light-Meter IIa. Extension tubes and bellows for close-ups and photomicrographs also can be used with these lenses. In every case you see the effect of changing lenses and adding extension tubes immediately in the viewfinder. For photomicrography, the camera can be attached directly to the optical system of the microscope by means of an adapter after the lens has been removed.

All types of artificial light can be used with the Exakta Light-Meter IIa. The camera has built-in synchronization contacts for both regular and electronic flash, and is flash-synchronized on all speeds. The Exakta Light-Meter IIa uses economical 35-mm. black-and-white and color film in standard cartridges. Each roll gives you 20 or 36 exposures at a cost per picture only a fraction that of larger sizes. Cartridge-to-cartridge film feed eliminates rewinding and provides rapid, easy operation. Since one short movement of a lever transports the film and cocks the shutter simultaneously, the speed with which a series of pictures can be taken with the Exakta Light-Meter IIa is unsurpassed.

The Exakta Light-Meter IIa is a 35-mm., single- lens reflex, the latest refinement of a world- acclaimed line of cameras that have made a significant contribution to photography. The distinguished Exakta has made picture taking a fascinating pastime for the amateur and a pleasurable, uncomplicated field for the professional. It has introduced a new standard of photography and given photographers all over the world a new concept, an easy and precise way to take better photographs. It has created Exakta Photography, an entire photo technique.


SINGLE-LENS REFLEX PHOTOGRAPHY - The remarkable design of the Exakta Light-Meter IIa assures you that the picture you see on the viewfinder ground glass is the same in composition, detail and sharpness as the one you get on the film. There is no parallax problem because only one lens is used for both view-finding and taking the picture.

AUTOMATIC DIAPHRAGM LENSES - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa brings you the latest development in photography; fully automatic diaphragm control. This new series of lenses offers you the great advantage of presetting the aperture for greater speed and convenience. The lens diaphragm is operated automatically by pressing the shutter release button.

HINGED, REMOVABLE BACK - One of the new and helpful improvements of the Exakta Light-Meter IIa is the hinged back, which permits you to handle the opened camera without difficulty or awkwardness and frees your hands for the film changing. The hinge has a removable pin which enables you to detach the back when the occasion calls for such action.

EXPOSURE METER - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa has a new, ultra-modern built-in photo-electric cell exposure meter that assures you of correct exposure settings for both color and black & white film. The instant you aim your Exakta at the subject, the indicator points to the correct exposure area.

INTERCHANGEABLE VIEWFINDERS - The unique design of the Exakta Light-Meter IIa permits you to interchange viewfinders instantly to suit your needs. The hooded finder is a very important supplement to the Exakta Camera. It is used for waist-level focusing and is equipped with a magnifier for precise work. The hooded finder provides a brilliant image in full negative size with upright composition on ground glass.

35-MM BLACK-AND-WHITE AND COLOR FILM - The Exakta uses both standard black-and-white and color film in standard daylight cartridges. You get 20 or 36 exposures to the roll, which means that your photography is very inexpensive since the cost per picture is only a fraction that of larger sizes. You can also afford to take more pictures.

DIRECT OPTICAL VIEWFINDER - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa direct optical viewfinder is outstanding and invaluable for taking instantaneous flash and sport pictures. This superb Exakta view-finder swiftly and easily frames and centers the subject you are shooting, with positive accuracy.

SPLlT-IMAGE RANGEFINDER - Available with the camera or as accessory, the split-image finder permits you to focus with an accurate split-image optical system as well as on a ground glass, an advantage when speed is important. The rangefinder interchanges instantly and easily with the ground glass of the Penta Prism.

BUILT-IN KNIFE - A unique Exakta feature, the built-in knife, is incorporated in the Exakta Light-Meter IIa to permit the photographer to remove the exposed portion of a roll of film whenever he wants to do so without finishing the roll. If the film has been fed into a standard cartridge, it can be removed from the camera without the bother of going into a darkroom.

INTERCHANGEABLE LENSES - Every manufacturer of importance produces coated, color-corrected lenses for the Exakta. These can be interchanged with ease in a moment. You have available a vast array of lenses ranging from 28-mm. to 800-mm. in focal length and as fast as f/1.5. Every time you change the lens, you create a new camera.

26 SHUTTER SPEED SETTINGS - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa incorporates the unique Exakta feature of an extremely wide range of shutter speed settings, ranging from 1/1000 of a second to 12 seconds. Exposures can be made at 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, 1/5, 1/2 of a second and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 12 seconds plus bulb and time.

NEW NOISELESS SHUTTER MECHANISM - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa is the first single lens reflex camera with a new noiseless slow-speed shutter mechanism. Slow speed and delayed self release exposures are precisely timed and quietly and automatically recorded. Self timer releases shutter after 13-second interval; works with slow and fast exposures, and permits photographer to include himself in picture .

PENTA PRISM VIEWFINDER - The Penta Prism is used for eye-level viewing and can be instantly interchanged with the universal hooded finder. It provides you with an upright image, "life size" as the eye would see it, with the sides unreversed, an indispensable aid in taking action shots because the camera can move with the action.

CARTRIDGE-TO-CARTRIDGE FILM FEED - This Exakta innovation permits you to wind film directly into a standard cartridge as you take pictures, eliminating the need for rewinding and lessening the possibility of scratching the film. It also speeds roll changing because the take-up cartridge can be removed immediately after the last exposure.

FILM SPEED GUIDE - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa has a rotary dial on its top which is engraved with a scale of A.S.A. film speed ratings so that the photographer can keep a record of the kind of film (black & white or color) he is using or the speed rating. The dial, which can be seen at a glance, stays put until you alter it, preventing memory mistakes.

FOCAL PLANE SHUTTER - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa has a focal plane shutter, the most accurate type devised. Electronically tested by the factory, the shutter assures you of accurate exposures at all speeds, a decided advantage in color photography especially. The shutter has two curtains that operate with a variable slit, which determines the exposure.

INTERNAL FLASH SYNCHRONIZATION - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa has built-in contacts for both regular and electronic flash. The camera is synchronized for all speeds with flashbulbs and with speed-lights and stroboscopic lights. Flash pictures in black-and-white and color can be taken with both types of lighting without any difficulty.

INTERCHANGEABLE GROUND GLASSES - A variety of ground and clear focusing glasses for all kinds of scientific work is available for the Exakta Light-Meter IIa. Ground glasses with a clear center spot and with or without hair-line crosses, plain clear glasses, bisected clear or ground glasses and bisected, ruled plain or ground glasses can be obtained.

COUPLED FILM TRANSPORT AND SHUTTER COCKING - The movement of the film transport lever of the Exakta Light-Meter IIa automatically cocks the shutter, saving considerable time and making it possible to take picture after picture with great rapidity. The Exakta has been designed throughout to meet the need of photographers for fastest operation.

FILM-TRANSPORT GUIDE - The Exakta Light-Meter IIa has a tiny "rotodial" built into the camera top that warns you against faulty loading by providing you with visual evidence at all times that your film is being transported. Each time you wind the film-transport shutter-cocking lever, the "rotodial" turns if the film is winding onto the take-up mechanism.

DEPTH-OF-FIELD, APERTURE AND DISTANCE SCALES - Each lens furnished with the Exakta Light-Meter IIa contains engraved scales on which you can read at a glance the information essential for topnotch photography. The various scales tell you the opening of the lens diaphragm (f stop), the distance on which your camera is focused and the area of sharpness.

From the U.S. Camera magazine (1962)

The Exakta started single-lens reflex photography in the 35mm field. It started before WW II, shortly after the first few Contax rangefinder models appeared. The main thing it had in common with the Contax and Leica at that time was the fact that it used 35mm film and was made in Germany. Every other thing about it was different.

The Exakta we hold in hand today is a refinement, over the years, of a very successful concept. Proof of this is the fact that SLR photography has taken over the 35mm field.

Originally the Exakta featured waist-level focusing, a small magnifier for critical focusing, and an alternate method of aiming the camera at the subject directly via a sort of sports finder.

Even with its pipsqueak ground-glass (the same size as the 24x36mm film format), the concept appealed to many photographers for a very good reason. Think back to the great rangefinder cameras of the prewar days, or visit them now in a nearby pawn shop. They all featured peep- hole viewfinders which delivered an image so reduced in size chat sighting the camera was more like aiming rather than framing.

In the early days the SLR was the easiest, and possibly the best, way to accomplish parallax-free closeup photography. Perhaps it is difficult for the reader to remember those early days in 35mm photography before the era of the parallax-correcting viewfinder and the picture window 1-to-1 viewfinders we now have in rangefinder cameras.

Thus, the Exakta was a camera with a lot of attractions. It could do many things its popular breathren couldn't. At the time the 24x36mm ground-glass could have been classified as big-screen viewing. The close-focusing possibilities appealed to scientists, men who had requirements beyond pictorial photography.

Like Topsy, the Exakta system grew and grew. The Exakta group is a loyal bunch and this dependable camera has held its following while flip-mirror-come-latelies have been taunting the devotees. You see, the Exakta does not have an instant-return mirror. Could they? Sure, why not? But the big question is really how important is a quick-return mirror. It's a jim-dandy selling feature and it's a mighty fine user-appreciation getting device, but what does it actually do for you if you are not using a motor? Does it make you feel insecure being alone there in your pentaprism with nothing to look at?

By the way, the Exakta has evolved into an excellent pentaprism camera and the once standard waist-level finder is now the accessory. The pentaprism was at first available as an accessory and as its popularity became apparent it became the standard. In fact, the pentaprism is properly credited with enticing a lot of photographers to the SLR way of seeing.

What is the great appeal of the Exakta system? Is it the tremendous range of controlled shutter speeds which the camera provides? Is it the extensive choice of lenses from which the SLR photgrapher can have a picnic making his selection? These are the big things. Then there are hundreds and hundreds of little points that cause a photographer to say, "I do," when he meets the Exakta.

Early Exaktas had preset arrangements for diaphragming and if there was ever a deterent to the candid type of photography, popular in the late thirties, it was this extra operation that slowed down the photographer and obscured his big-picture view. At that time the rangefinder photog was a faster shooter, while his Exakta-equipped competitor was more precise.

With the introduction of the semi-automatic and fully automatic diaphragming lenses the whole SLR field was given a shot in the arm. The post-war pentaprism also gets a good share of the credit for bringing us single-lens reflex photography in 35mm format. The Exakta VX-IIa is the way Ihagee Kamerawerk keeps pace with modern photographic requirements.

An important point of interest in the Exakta line of lens equipment is their belief in external automatic diaphragming. The same one-finger pressure stops the lens down and presses the body release. It is positive to use and it gives the photographer one advantage. It warns him when there is no movement of the aperture blades within the lens mount. The lens could inadvertently be set on a maximum aperture whereas the photographer had anticipated f/16. With the Exakta external-diaphragm method, there is a slight darkening of the scene as the plunger of the lens mount moves towards the body release. What we've described herewith must be regarded as a slow-motion effect of what is actually happening. You get the benefit of this effect, a fringe benefit at that, but it in no way intrudes on your moment of truth.

How many lenses are there for the Exakta? We've got almost any answer you could want. How many can you afford? How many do you really need? No matter what you answer, it can be topped. The Pentacon and the Exakta lens mounts are the closest to a universal standard for the photographic world. And the ace card is the fact that as in the game "rocks break scissors" (played by throwing fingers) you can gobble up all Pentacon-Pentax thread mount lenses for your Exakta via adapters.

This camera even has the answer for you on the age-old controversy of which is better - a hinged back or a removable back. Exakta has a hinged back and once the easy film threading is done you will appreciate the fact that you have only to slam the door. On the subject of film for this SLR the following may help to entice you. There is a film-cutting blade built into the body. To use this by itself you have to go into your darkroom. But with placement of extra cassette (an empty from your darkroom waste-basket), threaded in daylight, you can cut-off, skip a few frames and have the advantage of daylight unloading, too. The removable take-up spool is not the least bit flimsy and it takes a firm grip to free it or replace it on its ball-bearing mounting points.

The unique shape or the Exakta body is not the only thing that distinguishes it from all other cameras. Flash outlets are three and separate, and even this really isn't distinguishing by itself. The big plus for the Exakta owner, from this here point of envy, is the great number of things this camera can be adapted to do.

An interesting internal feature of the VX-Ila is the pressure plate which consists of a pattern of raised dimples. These give a minimum of surface area to come in contact with the film and reduce the possibility of static electricity charges. You can be sure that this pressure plate is a way in which Exakta keeps its brand of SLR photographic equipment modern.

Microscope adapters, bellows, copying stands, extension tubes, accessory light meters, and even an Exakta Multiblitz strobe with accessory ringlight are all part of the trap.

Nine of Exakta's 26 measured shutter speeds fall between 1 and 12 seconds duration. This is an unusually wide range of shutter speeds and they are all delivered by unusually smooth and quiet focal plane shutter. This shutter has been refined and refined over the last quarter century.

Film counting dial, and its zero-set control are top mounted very near depress-for-rewind button. The film transport pivots from right to left towards the front of the camera, from top left.

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Chromatic aberration

There are two kinds of chromatic aberration: longitudinal and lateral. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is a variation in location of the image plane with changes in wave lengths. It produces the image point surrounded by different colors which result in a blurred image in black-and-white pictures. Lateral chromatic aberration is a variation in image size or magnification with wave length. This aberration does not appear at axial image points but toward the surrounding area, proportional to the distance from the center of the image field. Stopping down the lens has only a limited effect on these aberrations.

Spherical aberration

Spherical aberration is caused because the lens is round and the film or image sensor is flat. Light entering the edge of the lens is more severely refracted than light entering the center of the lens. This results in a blurred image, and also causes flare (non-image forming internal reflections). Stopping down the lens minimizes spherical aberration and flare, but introduces diffraction.


Astigmatism in a lens causes a point in the subject to be reproduced as a line in the image. The effect becomes worse towards the corner of the image. Stopping down the lens has very little effect.


Coma in a lens causes a circular shape in the subject to be reproduced as an oval shape in the image. Stopping down the lens has almost no effect.

Curvature of field

Curvature of field is the inability of a lens to produce a flat image of a flat subject. The image is formed instead on a curved surface. If the center of the image is in focus, the edges are out of focus and vice versa. Stopping down the lens has a limited effect.


Distortion is the inability of a lens to capture lines as straight across the entire image area. Barrel distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to bow toward the center of the image, producing a barrel shape. Pincushion distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to curve in toward the lens axis. Distortion, whether barrel or pincushion type, is caused by differences in magnification; stopping down the lens has no effect at all.

The term "distortion" is also sometimes used instead of the term "aberration". In this case, other types of optical aberrations may also be meant, not necessarily geometric distortion.


Classically, light is thought of as always traveling in straight lines, but in reality, light waves tend to bend around nearby barriers, spreading out in the process. This phenomenon is known as diffraction and occurs when a light wave passes by a corner or through an opening. Diffraction plays a paramount role in limiting the resolving power of any lens.


Doublet is a lens design comprised of two elements grouped together. Sometimes the two elements are cemented together, and other times they are separated by an air gap. Examples of this type of lens include achromatic close-up lenses.

Dynamic range

Dynamic range is the maximum range of tones, from darkest shadows to brightest highlights, that can be produced by a device or perceived in an image. Also called tonal range.

Resolving power

Resolving power is the ability of a lens, photographic emulsion or imaging sensor to distinguish fine detail. Resolving power is expressed in terms of lines per millimeter that are distinctly recorded in the final image.


Vignetting is the darkening of the corners of an image relative to the center of the image. There are three types of vignetting: optical, mechanical, and natural vignetting.

Optical vignetting is caused by the physical dimensions of a multi-element lens. Rear elements are shaded by elements in front of them, which reduces the effective lens opening for off-axis incident light. The result is a gradual decrease of the light intensity towards the image periphery. Optical vignetting is sensitive to the aperture and can be completely cured by stopping down the lens. Two or three stops are usually sufficient.

Mechanical vignetting occurs when light beams are partially blocked by external objects such as thick or stacked filters, secondary lenses, and improper lens hoods.

Natural vignetting (also known as natural illumination falloff) is not due to the blocking of light rays. The falloff is approximated by the "cosine fourth" law of illumination falloff. Wide-angle rangefinder designs are particularly prone to natural vignetting. Stopping down the lens cannot cure it.


Bright shapes or lack of contrast caused when light is scattered by the surface of the lens or reflected off the interior surfaces of the lens barrel. This is most often seen when the lens is pointed toward the sun or another bright light source. Flare can be minimized by using anti-reflection coatings, light baffles, or a lens hood.


Glowing patches of light that appear in a photograph due to lens flare.

Retrofocus design

Design with negative lens group(s) positioned in front of the diaphragm and positive lens group(s) positioned at the rear of the diaphragm. This provides a short focal length with a long back focus or lens-to-film distance, allowing for movement of the reflex mirror in SLR cameras. Sometimes called an inverted telephoto lens.


A photographic lens completely corrected for the three main optical aberrations: spherical aberration, coma, and astigmatism.

By the mid-20th century, the vast majority of lenses were close to being anastigmatic, so most manufacturers stopped including this characteristic in lens names and/or descriptions and focused on advertising other features (anti-reflection coating, for example).

Rectilinear design

Design that does not introduce significant distortion, especially ultra-wide angle lenses that preserve straight lines and do not curve them (unlike a fisheye lens, for instance).

Focus shift

A change in the position of the plane of optimal focus, generally due to a change in focal length when using a zoom lens, and in some lenses, with a change in aperture.


The amount of light that passes through a lens without being either absorbed by the glass or being reflected by glass/air surfaces.

Modulation Transfer Function (MTF)

When optical designers attempt to compare the performance of optical systems, a commonly used measure is the modulation transfer function (MTF).

The components of MTF are:

The MTF of a lens is a measurement of its ability to transfer contrast at a particular resolution from the object to the image. In other words, MTF is a way to incorporate resolution and contrast into a single specification.

Knowing the MTF curves of each photographic lens and camera sensor within a system allows a designer to make the appropriate selection when optimizing for a particular resolution.

Veiling glare

Lens flare that causes loss of contrast over part or all of the image.

Anti-reflection coating

When light enters or exits an uncoated lens approximately 5% of the light is reflected back at each lens-air boundary due to the difference in refractive index. This reflected light causes flare and ghosting, which results in deterioration of image quality. To counter this, a vapor-deposited coating that reduces light reflection is applied to the lens surface. Early coatings consisted of a single thin film with the correct refractive index differences to cancel out reflections. Multi-layer coatings, introduced in the early 1970s, are made up of several such films.

Benefits of anti-reflection coating:

Circular fisheye

Produces a 180° angle of view in all directions (horizontal, vertical and diagonal).

The image circle of the lens is inscribed in the image frame.

Diagonal (full-frame) fisheye

Covers the entire image frame. For this reason diagonal fisheye lenses are often called full-frame fisheyes.

Extension ring

Extension rings can be used singly or in combination to vary the reproduction ratio of lenses. They are mounted between the camera body and the lens. As a rule, the effect becomes stronger the shorter the focal length of the lens in use, and the longer the focal length of the extension ring.

View camera

A large-format camera with a ground-glass viewfinder at the image plane for viewing and focusing. The photographer must stick his head under a cloth hood in order to see the image projected on the ground glass. Because of their 4x5-inch (or larger) negatives, these cameras can produce extremely high-quality results. View cameras also usually support movements.

135 cartridge-loaded film

43.27 24 36
  • Introduced: 1934
  • Frame size: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2
  • Double perforated
  • 8 perforations per frame

120 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated

220 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

Shutter speed ring with "F" setting

The "F" setting disengages the leaf shutter and is set when using only the focal plane shutter in the camera body.

Catch for disengaging cross-coupling

The shutter and diaphragm settings are cross-coupled so that the diaphragm opens to a corresponding degree when faster shutter speeds are selected. The cross-coupling can be disengaged at the press of a catch.

Cross-coupling button

With the cross-coupling button depressed speed/aperture combinations can be altered without changing the Exposure Value setting.

M & X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for M- and X-settings so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In M-sync, the shutter closes the flash-firing circuit slightly before it is fully open to catch the flash at maximum intensity. The M-setting is used for Class M flash bulbs.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.

X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for X-setting so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.

Unable to follow the link

You are already on the page dedicated to this lens.

Cannot perform comparison

Cannot compare the lens to itself.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance (distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane) is also different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. Magnification is expressed as a ratio. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front lens element over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.