Since starting my collection, I have always liked the look of Ihagee cameras. In fact, I have nine of them, eight working. Oddly I have never shot with one until now. Which one did I pick? The Varex IIa.

Despite some quirks, this camera is a joy to use and is perhaps the prettiest in the entire Exakta line. The waist level viewfinder is bright and clear, and the controls laid out logically, once you get past the less-than-traditional location of the shutter release.

This particular camera is paired with the excellent Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar f2 50mm lens.

Make Ihagee
Model Exakta Varex IIa
Year 1956 – 1958
Format 35mm
Shutter Ihagee focal-plane
Speed B, T, 1/25 to 1/1000
Lens Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar
f2 50mm
Focus 0.5m – ∞
Aperture f2 to 22
Light Meter n/a
Rangefinder n/a


Example shots – Fuji 100 (pardon the horrible focus and composition)