Ihagee improved the Exakta's design over the years, but the improvements were too little and too late to save it from the onslaught of Japanese designs, most noticeably the Nikon F. By 1970 the famous Exakta name was applied to the Praktica VLC, sold as the Exakta RTL1000 to get the last remaining mileage out of the once famous Exakta name.
The politics of a divided Germany affected Ihagee in somewhat the same form as it affected Zeiss. Ihagee was originally
a Dutch owned private company that happened to be located in what became East Germany. Heirs to the founder, and
shareholders of the original Exakta company founded a new Exakta company in Berlin. Through a battle of lawsuits they
won the right to market a camera labeled Exakta. They built and distributed one model, then had models built in Japan
by other makers. For more information on these cameras, go to :
Ihagee was not an optical firm, and did not make their own lenses. A very few lenses carried the Exakta name, but as Ihagee did not have a glass works, they had to have been made by another company under contract. Exaktas were supplied with lenses from Zeiss, Schneider, and Meyer. A broad range of lenses from many different companies were available in Exakta mount.
The Exakta V was sold as the "Varex" outside the US, as this name was not available here. All subsequent models have the name Varex for the markets outside the US, but will be listed by their American designation here.
Also, I have followed the book "Exakta Cameras 1933-1978" by Aguila and Rouah to designate different versions. I understand the difficulty of the task they undertook to search out and identify all of the different versions, but I think they lack a little consistency in what constitutes a different version. That said, it's the best book I've seen on the subject, and I'm following it rather than starting a different system and confusing everyone.
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