Well, well, well. Lookie what we have here. Mr. High Falutin and what not. Daaaaamn son, look at that logo. Is that calligraphy? Who do you think you are, Exakta V?
The Exakta V is a real fancy fuck of a camera that basically changed photographic history forever. So yeah, it can have a fancy as fuck logo cause it’s basically the Almighty when it comes to SLRs.
Let’s get to the beef: this faberge egg of a camera was designed by the one and only Karl Nüchterlein who you have never heard of for the Ihagee Company which you have never heard of in the early 30’s which seems like the the future to you, you ignorant homunculus. Now if you chill out a damn second you will learn that Karl here was tired of looking through crapola ground glass viewfinders. He said on many occasions “I’m sick of looking through these krapola ground glass viewfinders” (he was German, hence “k”rapola. Science). So he got really drunk on schnapps one day, and put a prism in the camera with a retractable mirror, and basically created modern photography, you’re welcome.
The Exakta was the very first 35mm SLR to be produced on the market. It was ridiculously expensive at 38 Kronars (about 3.8 million in USD today) and was geared toward professionals or prosumers that had something to prove. Regardless it was a huge success and landed our boy Nüchterlein a bonafide bronze plaque in his hometown of Dusseldorf.
I mean look at this sick plaque. You ever see a plaque of someone that made something? Where is Henry Ford’s plaque? Or John Ziplock’s plaque? EXAKTA-ly my friends. And if you’re wondering what it says then allow me to translate it for you verbatim:
“This beefcake was sick and his camera was better than John Steinbeck’s books, and then in 1936 Sir Carl Nightlight (1904-1945) constructed the Exakta between 1945 and 1970 and changed the fucking world. All future artist, especially Spielberg, has to fucking acknowledge that our boy was the shit and changed the game.”
Well there you have it. This camera changed the face of history, and really didn’t give a shit what you thought of it. It’s got a few weirdo features that are just a goddamn delight. First of all, Karl was a lefty so guess what? He said “fuck you righties, deal with a left side shutter release AND advance lever. Yeah that’s right, howyalikemenow son?” (He was a bit of a loudmouth). It also had a top down viewfinder so you would hold it at the hip and look down, presumably toward your manhood, to remind you that this camera meant business. I mean look at that lens.
Are you taking a picture grandpa or just happy to see me? Personally I think Karl might have been compensating for his Vienna Sausage a bit if you know what I mean. He basically created the Hummer of cameras, just saying.
Phych! You FOOL! You think Karl is gonna get a big bronze plaque cause he worried about his manhood? Hell no son, he could care less. The only think he cared about was creating the world’s greatest photographic recording device on this OR ANY OTHER PLANET. So much so that Exakta didn’t even make lenses you fool. They were all supplied by other companies like Zeiss or Meyer. That’s right, it was I that bought that lens! I’m the one with the masculine issues. How dare you blame Karl.
Let’s talk advertising folks. The Exakta was geared to hot blooded men with extreme means at their disposal. These were captains of industry, blue bloods, Rockefellers, oil barons and opium dealers in the Orient. It was a camera for people with big bucks and rich taste, and their literature reflects that.
I mean hot hot hot! Look at that green one … just a head and arms, NO BODY. These people knew what they were doing.
Honestly, none of this 100% true historical facts matter, because once you put this little cheese wedge in your hand, you are immediately transcended to photographic heaven. The slick cock of the shutter, the ease of release, the pleasure of looking down in shame at your subject, all this is the absolute zenith of camera interaction, the Royles Royce of clickers. What’s even more sublime is the images it takes, hauntingly milky and laminated with wonton surrealness.
Yes, if you are wondering that is my friend Emmy nominated burrito eating 2 million dollar home living Chris Sullivan from the hit show This Is Us, deal with it, I know someone famous, but really he’s no one compared to Karl “let me just reinvent photography for everyone” Nüchterlein. Stay focused people.
Listen, this camera is a BEAST and I love it dearly. Fact is I had no idea how important it was to the history of photography before writing this article. I bought it because it had a big lens, proving, size does matter. You don’t have to take my word on it (I speaking about how important this camera is, not about size mattering) just watch this insane documentary entitled Ihagee Exakta: The Rise and Fall of a Legend. I mean, it starts with Wagners “Flight of the Valkyries” it means business people.
The Vintage Camera Quest is an adventure through vintage cameras by director Roberto Serrini who records his adventures in word, photography and film. . Check him out on instagram @vintagecameraquest or twitter @oldcameraquest or subscribe to his blog www.vintagecameraquest.com – thanks for reading!