Half Frame Exa, by Klaus Wichmann (Exakta Times N. 17)



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Half frame Exa Ib
Text by Klaus Wichmann
EXAKTA TIMES Number 17, December 1994


My first knowledge about an existing half-frame Exa was from the 1987 IHG-List (IHG = Ihagee Historiker Gesellshaft), an Exa Ia with the serial number 434948, owned by S. Muller, Vienna, Austria. More than two years ago, John Schoenbeck, the publisher of the "Exaktaphile" of Cleveland, Ohio, told me that Bob Pins, a well known camera dealer of Norwood, New Jersey, USA (who buys and sells a lot of Exaktas) told me that he once had some half-frame Exas that had been owned by the royal Canadian Mounted Police. Apparently the RCMP got rid of them and they were sold through department stores. Bob picked up some and sold them for $299.95 including Domiplan lens.
After Germany was reunified, a lot of half-frame were offered in a sale from the liquidation of the DDR Ministerium fur Staatsscherheit. Approximatively 20 of them, from an unknown number, alleged to be from the Volkspolizei in Leipzig, were purchased from a dealer in Berlin, in Spring 1991, at a Cornwall auction in Cologne, Germany, Mr Cornwall offered a half-frame Exa Ib as a prototype. The bid was 600DM. I asked Mr Cornwall for the serial number of this Exa, and he kindly told me that it was 789598.
I examined a half-frame Exa Ib with the serial number C836950, by courtesy of Mr. H.J. Beekmann of Berlin, who bought it from the Berlin camera dealer.
This Exa is clearly an alteration of a common Exa. The winding mechanism, the frame and the frame-counter are changed. The film advance-lever stroke is reduced from 140 to 110, the frame has a 18x24mm mask fixed with synthetic-resin glue, the frame counter has 10 lines, each line for 4 frames, and the prism-viewfinder (VX 1000 version with an interchangeable plastic Fresnel lens with central split-image and microprism rangefinder and frosted surround) has a simple 18x24mm mask..
I called the camera dealer in Berlin but he remembered only a few buyers. I asked these buyers for the serial numbers. There is a half-frame Exa Ib with the serial number 678136 owned by the Museum fur Verkehr und Technic, Berlin. Serial number 789533 is owned by W. Umstatter, and C835770 by K. Feige.
In a letter dated 15th may 1992, Mr R. Hummel told me that at the end of 1952 approximatively 500 half-frame Exas were produced. The common Exa type was altered. The range of numbers was about 222000. I have seen such an Exa at the Dresden Museum. Volker Hahn told me that he owned a half-frame Exa with the serial number 211551. But I think Mr Hummel will give us more information about this unknown chapter of the Exa history in his book.

(The Circle has acquired a copy of the Hummel book. From my first study, and without attempting a full translation, I can only find reference to this 1952 model. Illustrated is 221213 - Ed.)



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