The earliest examples of the Exa have the same style black lens mount found only on the Exakta V, a couple of years earlier than the introduction of the Exa. This version is readily identifiable by the two sets of bi-polar flash plugs on the front of the body. The waist level finder used the same locking arm arrangement of the earlier types of Exakta, in which an arm protruding into the body from the waist level finder when closed will lock the shutter from firing. Serial numbers run 200,000 to 235,000
Version 2 (1955-56)
On this version the flash sockets are standard PC, with black outer rings. The finder lock has been eliminated, and the shutter release has a swinging guard like the later Exaktas. Serial numbers run 235,000 to 245,000
Version 3 (1956-57)
In 1956 the factory at Dresden could no longer meet the demand for Exaktas and Exas. Production of the Exa was farmed out to Sommerda. These cameras are marked "System Exa", "Rheinmetall" and "Sommerda" on the front. The finder release is marked "VEB", and the back of the finder is marked "Rheinmetall". Other than the markings above, and the finder lock lacking the cut out for a cable release, the camera is the same as the version 2. Although serial numbers run from 245,000 to 275,000, I have not seen an example in 15 years of collecting cameras. I suspect they may have only been marketed in Europe.
Version 4 (1957-58)
Production was resumed in Dresden by Ihagee. The flash sockets are finished in chrome, rather than black. The film guides have been eliminated from the back, which can be removed by pulling out the pin from the hinge. Serial number run from 400,000 to 520,000, numbers previously used on Vest Pocket Exaktas and Kine Exaktas.
Version 5 (1958-61)
This model is identical to the previous model, except the word "Exa" on the front plate is raised, rather than the usual engraved style. Serial number run from 520,000 to 560,000.
Version 6 (1961-1963?)
The final version has the newer style nameplate that the redesigned Varex IIa did, white lettering on a smooth black background. The shape of the finder lock changed, as did the engraving on the front. Serial numbers run from 560,000 to 620,000.
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