Exakta RTL 1000 with a conventional pentaprism

Exakta RTL 1000 with a conventional pentaprism


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Exakta RTL 1000 with a conventional pentaprism.

The Exakta brand came from Ihagee (Industrie-und Handelsgesellschaft), a camera and lens maker from Dresden in eastern Germany. Ihagee was founded in 1912 by Johann Steenbergen, a Dutch engineer who was trained by Ernemann, another maker of cine and still cameras in Dresden. Ihagee started his camera life making roll film and plate cameras.

World War I and the ensuing economic downturn were not in his favour, and the original company was liquidated in 1918 before being revived. Just seven years later, Ihagee was making about 1,000 roll film cameras a day.

Spurred on by the development of the 35mm Leica rangefinder in the 1920s, Ihagee engineers came up with an even newer camera format. In 1933, the engineers, led by Karl Nuchterlein, came up with the first prototype of the 35mm SLR camera: the first 35mm camera with a frosted glass viewfinder. This became the Kine Exakta in 1936, after the fact that it used cinema film (kine in German). This started with a long line of 35mm Exakta SLRs, masterpieces of shiny metal and watchmaking technology.


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