Two separate purchases landed me with an Exa (original version) with a 50mm f3.5 Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar; and an Exakta Varex/VX IIa with a 58mm f2 Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar and a 30mm f3.5 Meyer Optik Görlitz Lydith. I think I paid around $100 for the lot so I’d didn’t have very high expectations. I think that they are beautiful cameras though and figured that even if they didn’t work they’d look nice on a shelf. I was surprised to find that both cameras seem to work, although I haven’t run any film through them so I don’t know for sure. Everything definitely needs cleaning though.
The Exakta is in pretty good shape apart from a little lifting of the leather, which can easily be glued back. The Exa has a slightly wonky but functional finder, which doesn’t bother me greatly as I can use the finder from the Exakta (one of the benefits of having replaceable finders). A piece of the leather has worn on the back of the Exa. I might consider replacing it one day depending on whether or not it works.
As for the lenses – I tried out the Lydith on my Nex 5N and really like it. The Lydith and Biotar are somewhat “beat up”, particularly the Biotar, but they all seem to work, although the auto diaphragm is rather sluggish and I fear that the shutter will close long before the lens stops down. This doesn’t bother me much as I don’t mind stopping down manually so I probably won’t use the auto diaphragm. The Tessar seems to be in better condition. More to follow when I’ve tried out the Biotar and the Tessar.