Exakta Varex VX

aka Exakta VX

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 EXAKTA VX 1 1/2 X 1 in. (24 X 36 mm) is the latest in development of our well known Kine-Exakta, first 35 mm single-lens reflex camera.

This camera offered ground glass focusing with 35 mm miniature photography so highly esteemed by beginners and experts, using one lens only for the reflex image and the picture. The EXAKTA VX is built on the same basic principle of the single lens reflex:

It has internaly a small movable mirror which reflects the picture by the taking lens on the reflex focusing-screen until pressing the shutter release knob. In this manner only can the reflex image always fully correspond with the final photograph (the EXAKTA VX is parallax free) so that you may rely with confidence on the ground glass image when choosing the subject and focusing critically. Though the first Kine-Exakta was a very versatile camera, it is, in this respect, much surpassed by the Two-System Camera EXAKTA VX: The interchangeable focusing systems (reflex finder-hood and Penta Prism) permit to utilise all the advantages of the single-lens reflex camera and of the camera with eye level rangefinder guaranteeing full success through adaptability to every photographic work.

Manufacturer description #2

The introduction of the Automatic VX is a far-reaching event for Exakta owners and other photographers, perhaps, the most significant development in photography to date. The Automatic VX heralds the Automatic Age of Photography and brings Exakta Photography closer to perfection and effortless operation. It will influence camera design and picture-taking methods for years to come. The Automatic VX incorporates the fully automatic preset diaphragm lens, a refinement eagerly awaited and of tremendous significance. It also includes these invaluable body refinements: shutter lock so exposure cannot be made by accident; redesigned advance, shutter-cocking, exposure-counting mechanism; redesigned rewind mechanism for easier film rewinding; improved shutter mechanism so exposure can be made with waist-level viewfinder sides folded. Naturally, the Automatic VX has all the other renowned and treasured Exakta features, such as lens interchangeability, including the invaluable Penta Prism eye-level finder, the Split-image Rangefinder and the Magnear lens-viewfinder; built-in synchronization for regular and electronic flash; cartridge-to-cartridge film feed; coupled film transport and shutter cocking; 29 speed settings ranging from 1/1,000 of a second to 12 seconds, plus bulb and time; built-in knife; provision for intentional double exposures, focal plane shutter, the most accurate made; and the single-lens reflex system that eliminates parallax, giving you the exact picture on film that you see in the viewfinder.

Manufacturer description #3

Long recognized as the pace-setter in the field of photographic achievement, the Automatic Exakta VX with its single-lens reflex system continues to open new frontiers. Here is a precision instrument that embodies automatic features Exakta owners and other photographers have longed for, but have felt were still on the drawing boards, if, indeed, they were even possible. Yes, the Automatic VX is years ahead of its time, bringing Exakta Photography to the near perfection that means true versatility and effortless operation. The Automatic VX incorporates the fully automatic pre-set diaphragm lens, a refinement eagerly awaited and of tremendous significance. Among other valuable body refinements, the Exakta VX includes: a shutter lock designed to prevent accidental exposure; improved film advance, shutter cocking and exposure-counting mechanisms; a completely new rewind mechanism for easier film rewinding; and an improved shutter design that permits exposures to be made with waist-level viewfinder sides in the folded position. In addition, the Automatic VX retains all of the long-treasured Exakta features such as: built-in synchronization for both regular and electronic flash; lens interchangeability, including the priceless Penta Prism eye-level finder, the Split-image Rangefinder and the Magnear lens-viewfinder; coupled film transport and shutter cocking; has the most accurate focal plane shutter; has a range of 29 speed settings from 1/1000 of a second to 12 seconds, plus bulb and time; built-in knife; provision to permit intentional double exposures.

Manufacturer description #4

The Exakta VX 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 photomicrographer, the traveler - for anyone who wants to get the exact image that he sees on the ground glass.


SINGLE-LENS REFLEX PHOTOGRAPHY - The remarkable design of the Exakta VX 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.

PRESET DIAPHRAGM LENSES - The Exakta VX brings you the latest development in photography; fully automatic and semi-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 by pressing the shutter release button, or by a flick of the finger respectively.

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 1000-mm. in focal length and as fast as f/1.5. Every time you change the lens, you create a new camera.

INTERCHANGEABLE VIEWFINDERS - The unique design of the Exakta VX permits you to interchange viewfinders instantly to suit your needs. The hooded finder 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.

PENTA PRISM VIEWFINDER - The Penta Prism is used for eye-level viewing and can be instantly interchanged with the standard 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.

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.

FOCAL PLANE SHUTTER - The Exakta VX 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.

29 SHUTTER SPEED SETTINGS - The Exakta VX 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, 1/150, 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, 1/5 and 1/2 of a second and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12 seconds plus bulb and time.

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

CARTRIDGE-TO-CARTRIDGE FILM FEED - This Exakta VX 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.

INTERNAL SYNCHRONIZATION - The Exakta VX has built-in contacts for both regular and electronic flash. The camera is synchronized for all speeds with flashbulbs and for 1/25 and 1/50 of a second 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.

DELAYED, SELF-RELEASE ACTION - The Exakta VX has a built-in self-timer that releases the shutter after a 13-second interval. With the aid of the self-timing mechanism, the photographer can include himself in a picture and avoid the camera shake that may occur when photographs are taken at slow exposures. It works with fast and slow speeds.

FILM SPEED GUIDE - The Exakta VX has scales engraved on its top so the photographer can keep a record of the kind of film (black-and-white or color) he is using and the speed rating. Both the Weston and A.S.A. speeds are engraved on the camera where they can be seen at a glance. The indicator stays put until you alter it, preventing memory mistakes.

FILM-TRANSPORT GUIDE - The Exakta VX has a tiny "speedometer" 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 speedometer turns if the film is winding onto the take-up mechanism.

HINGED, REMOVABLE BACK - One of the new and helpful improvements of the Exakta VX 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.

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

35-MM. BLACK-AND-WHITE AND COLOR FILM - The Exakta VX 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.

DEPTH-OF-FIELD, APERTURE AND DISTANCE SCALES - Each lens furnished with the Exakta VX 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.

BUILT-IN KNIFE - A unique Exakta feature, the built-in knife, is incorporated in the Exakta VX 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.

COMPACT, LIGHT - The Exakta VX is easy to carry and operate. The camera handles well because it is small, measuring 6 inches in length, 4 inches in height. With a pre-set Zeiss f 2, 58-mm. Biotar, the VX weighs only about 2 pounds. Telephotos barely increase the weight because they are made of a special metal that is extremely light.

From the Exakta magazine (Vol. 2, No. 1, 1952)

Ihagee Camera Works recently introduced a new 35-mm. Exakta model, the VX. Naturally, a new model is of major importance to the entire Exakta family - to you, to us and to Ihagee. As an Exakta owner, you undoubtedly want to know how the VX differs from your camera. You also may be interested in the background activities that bring about a new model.

The process of refining the Exakta's design has been going on since the first (vest-pocket) model was introduced in 1933. Ihagee has been on the alert, watching new developments, testing new ideas, sifting technical material in a vigilant effort to find and develop anything new that could help the Exakta owner take better pictures more easily. Skilled designers and extensive laboratories have been maintained for this purpose.

Year after year, Ihagee has brought to photographers the latest technical advances from the drafting boards and laboratories, improvements that have made revolutonary changes in picture-taking methods. A change in a model has been made only when Ihadee felt that something radically different, something not offered by an existing model could be incorporated in a new one.

The single-lens, reflex design of the Exakta, however, has remained the same from model to model. This ingenious approach to picture taking, which was the basis of the design of the first Exakta, has not been altered through the years, even in the VX. Only refinements and unique features to improve and simplify the operation of the camera have been incorporated in new models. Therefore, no previous Exakta model has been made obsolete by a new one.

The most significant innovation in the VX is the long and eagerly awaited pre-set diaphragm lens, an important asset to the Exakta photographer. The pre-set diaphragm acts like a brake, stopping the iris diaphragm at a pre-selected aperture when the lens is closed. The mechanism can be activated or ignored, as you wish.

Pre-setting the aperture speeds picture taking immeasurably when you are working under lighting conditions that are constant. You can pre-select the correct aperture for your exposures, then close and open the lens as many times as you wish without taking your eye away from the viewfinder to look at the aperture scale. The iris diaphragm will always stop at the pre-selected aperture.

Although an entire series of pre-set lenses eventually will be offered, for the time being the VX is available only with either of two original Carl Zeiss Jena coated objectives with the pre-set mechanism - the redesigned 50-mm., f/2.8 Tessar and the 58-mm., f/2 Biotar.

The new f/2.8 Tessar is of special interest to Exakta owners. This lens, whose high quality has been a byword with photographers for many years, has been redesigned and its definition has been vastly improved. The new f/2.8 is now the equal of the f/3.5 Tessar, which has been the standard all-around lens for many years.

The Tessar and Biotar mounts are newly designed, too, featuring a knurled focusing ring with a non-slip grip. In addition, the mount extends much further in front of the first lens element than previous lenses of the same type, providing a built-in sunshade. Naturally, the new lenses have the standard Exakta mount and can be interchanged. All of your lenses can be used on the VX, of course, because the mount is the same as those on previous 35-mm. models.

A second major innovation of the VX is cartridge-to-cartridge film feed, which also speeds picture taking. For years, Exakta owners who must shoot a great many pictures rapidly and reload hurriedly have asked for some way of eliminating or decreasing film rewind time. Ihagee redesigned the inside of the Exakta so that with the VX you can eliminate rewinding, if you wish. In other words, you now have a choice of two methods, rewinding or not rewinding.

If you prefer to rewind, you use the standard take-up spool, just as in other models. If you prefer to eliminate rewinding, you replace the take-up spool with a regulation daylight loading cartridge. Then, as you take pictures, you wind the film directly into the take-up cartridge, not only eliminating the need for rewinding but decreasing the possibility of scratches. (It is also possible to use special cassettes which open inside the camera to avoid scratches, but not as take-up spools.)

Roll changing is speeded with this method because the cartridge containing the exposed film can be removed immediately after the last picture is taken. The built-in knife, a unique Exakta feature, takes on added significance because it is used to cut the film loose from the original cartridge.

If you wish to remove a few frames before the entire roll has been exposed, the use of the take-up cartridge makes it possible to do so in daylight. The knife severs the exposed portion of the roll, which is already encased in the daylight loading take-up cartridge. Thus the need for darkroom removal of the exposed film is eliminated.

A third VX innovation is the built-in film transport indicator, located on the right side of the slow-speed knob (camera lens facing away from you). The indicator, which looks something like the revolving disk in a taxi meter, turns when the film is being transported. It gives you perfect assurance that the camera has been properly loaded, that your film is moving and that you are getting the pictures you are taking.

The left side of the VX slow-speed knob also has a new feature. Ihagee has engraved both Weston and A.S.A. film speed rating scales there so that you can keep a record of the kind of film in the camera. An ingenious control ring, built into the slow-speed knob, can be turned counter-clockwise so one of its three prongs point to the appropriate film speed. Each prong designates a specific type of film by means of a code. Three different kinds film are identified by code letters: BW for black-and-white; black C for daylight color; and red C for tungsten type color.

The back of the Exakta has been redesigned in two ways. The locking mechanism has been changed so that the back cannot be opened by accident. In order to open the VX back, the knob opposite the take-up spool must be pulled out and given a quarter-turn either clockwise or counter-clockwise. At the same time the back must be pulled backward. Once it is open the back cannot be closed unless you press it down and at the same time give the aforementioned knob a quarter-turn until it clicks into place.

The back of the VX also is hinged so you can handle the opened camera conveniently. Both hands thus are freed for film changing. The hinge has a removable pin so that the back can be removed if you wish.

Minor changes have been made in the take-up and rewind knobs and the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera body. The take-up and rewind knobs now are much larger than before and easy to grasp.

The rewind knob has been redesigned so it operates on a spring and can be pushed back into place after the film is loaded and even after the back has been closed. For rewinding the center of the knob is pushed in until it catches the spool of the film cartridge. The rewind lever is no longer required.

The tripod socket is much larger so the camera can balance on it when placed on a level rest. It will fit both European and American tripods (the latter with a bushing adapter).

The neckstrap eyelets have been moved around on the VX so they are on the front of the camera. In this position, there is less chance of their interfering with camera operation.

None of the changes that have been made in any way alter the adaptability of any accessories you own to the VX. The various 35-mm. Exakta models are standard in size and any changes that have been introduced have been made without making any accessories obsolete.

These changes not only improve Exakta photography, but make the VX the most versatile 35-mm. camera on the market and put it way ahead of any other camera in many other respects.

From the Modern Photography magazine (October 1952)

Points you will like

  • The Exakta VX body construction is a single casting, which assures stronger construction and a more perfect alignment of the lens with the focal plane than on previous models.
  • The winding mechanism is operated by lever allowing extremely rapid film advance and shutter wind. The reflex mirror remains in the up position until the shutter is wound. Forgetting to wind the shutter and film is almost impossible. You can't look through the viewfinder until you do.
  • The rapid interchangeability of the Penta Prism and the waist-level viewfinders enabled the camera to be held above the head to shoot over crowds. Also, to be used in small spaces at waist level where it was impossible to view the scene while keeping the eye behind the camera as was necessary when using the Penta Prism.
  • Additional lenses and accessories for the Exakta seem endless in number and surprisingly inexpensive when compared to those available for other cameras in this price bracket. The reflex principle of the Exakta made unnecessary many accessories which are a necessity on other cameras for copying or using long or short focal length lenses. Because of the reflex design, the camera has proved excellent for specialized work in the medical, dental, surgical, microscopical and astronomical fields. Equipment is readily available to adapt the camera to such uses.

Points you may not like

  • More care must be taken with the Exakta than other 35mm cameras. Dust and lint frequently get into the Penta Prism housing and fingerprints get on the bottom of the ground glass. Cleaning is relatively simple, however, since the bottom element of the housing is easily removed. The reflex mirror is extremely delicate since it is front-surface silvered. It must never be touched when changing lenses, or viewfinders.
  • When opening the camera back after rewinding film, the take-up spool is apt to fall out unless the camera is held parallel to the ground or upside down. The tripod socket accommodates European threads. An adapter bushing must be used for American tripods.
  • The camera si bulky by usual 35mm standards because of its reflex construction. It is of moderate weight (slightly over 2 Ibs.). Its bulkiness makes it slightly difficult to handle at eye level. The shutter release is placed for left-hand operation instead of the more customary right.
  • When slow speds are to be used, it is necessary to wind the slow speed dial as well as the standard wind lever, slowing down camera operations.
  • Since the Exakta VX permits viewing and focusing through the camera's taking lens, the use of filters causes the entire scene to become yellow, green, pink or red, depending on the color and strength of filter used.
  • Although the camera produces negatives sharp to the edges, the Penta Prism viewing image is not sharp to the edges. Focusing must be done in the finder's central area.
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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.