Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- First SLR for 127 film came in 1933.
- First wind-on lever in 1934.
- First built in flash socket, activated by the shutter in 1935.
- First SLR for 35mm film came in 1936, the Kine Exakta.
Exaktas have interchangeable lenses and viewfinders. A peculiarity of Exaktas is that most controls -- including the shutter release and the film wind lever -- are on the left hand side. The film transport moves opposite the direction found in other 35mm SLRs. In classic Exaktas -- made between 1936 and 1969 -- two film canisters can be used, one containing unexposed film and a second into which is wound the exposed film. A sliding knife built into the bottom of the camera can be used to slice the film so that the canister containing the exposed film can be removed while preserving the unexposed film in the main canister.
As noted, the shutter release on classic Exaktas is on the front of the camera, not on the top. It's pressed with the left forefinger. Most Exakta lenses included a button in an extension that fit over the camera body's shutter release. When the lense's button was pressed, the lense's iris closed to shooting aperature; pressed farther, the lense's button engaged the camera's shutter release button and tripped the shutter.
Equipment is fully compatible between all models manufactured between 1936 and 1969. The spelling found on cameras has traditionally been Exakta, but some Exacta were produced. A related line of smaller, simpler cameras was the "Exa" line. The Beseler Topcon line of 35mm cameras used the same lense mount as the Exakta. In the early 1970s, a new Exakta model appeared as the "RTL 1000". It accepted the older models' lenses but had its own line of viewfinders, which included a model with through-the-lense light metering. Variants of the RTL line of cameras also appeared under the Practica name.
After an economic collapse following Germany's reunification, the successor of the firm is now back in business.
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