The Exa Ia is 35mm film SLR camera made by Ihagee and produced between 1964-77.

It was also sold with names Elbaflex 175, Exakta 100, VX 100.

Although Exa is much simpler than the professional Exakta cameras, the workmanship is equally good, finish similar, and the family resemblance obvious. With its lower price, Exa cameras are addressed to the amateur photographers.

Ihagee did not produce their own lenses. Instead, they relied on many of the major optical firms of their day to each produce a series of lenses for their cameras, eg. Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer-Optik Görlitz and Schneider-Kreuznach. The lenses from these three makers, in terms of the number and variations of lenses produced, are the most plentiful and in most cases the easiest for collectors and users to acquire. Maybe, over 80% of the Exaktas offered for sale are equipped with normal focal length lenses from these three firms.

As to collectors, the true Exaktas and Exas are ones made by Ihagee in Dresden.

Exa Ia is a mechanical SLR camera body with collapsible top-view finder. It's made for lenses with the EXA-bayonet fitting, among them many of the famous old Meyer-Optik Görlitz lenses. One of the standard lenses made for the Exa is the Meyer-Optik Domiplan 1:2.8/50mm . When this lens is mounted on the Exa its aperture release lever is located exactly over the shutter release button which is placed on the camera's front side beside the lens mount. This construction allows depth-of-field preview by pressing the lens's lever half way, and shutter release with aperture release at once by pressing it down wholly. The mirror swings back when the film is advanced. The viewfinder shows the image mirror-inverted. Full finder brightness is achieved by opening the lens's aperture. Adjusting the aperture to the appropriate value won't darken the finder image until the aperture/release lever is pressed. The camera has a quite short but effective film advance lever. For changing the film the camera back-and-bottom part has to be removed.


  • Engraving on the top plate: Ihagee Dresden [2]
  • Lens release: lever on the lens mount
  • Focusing: matte glass screen , setting ring, scale and DOF scale on the lens
  • Shutter: Mirror acts like a curtain as a part of the shutter, vertical moving, due to this maximum speed is limited to 1/175 speeds: 1/30-1/175 +B
  • Setting: dial and ring on the left of the top plate
  • Shutter release: on the left of the front plate w/cable release socket
  • Cocking lever: also winds the film, on the right of the top plate, rapid short stroke
  • Frame counter: manual reset, decreasing type, on the cocking lever knob
  • Viewfinder: waist level finder, w/ magnifying glass, opens by a small knob on back side, changeable with eye level SLR prism finder
  • Viewfinder release: turn the small lever to the left and pull-up the finder
  • Mirror: not instant return, returns to up position after cocking the shutter
  • Re-wind knob: on the left of the top plate
  • Re-wind release: a knob, beside the cocking lever
  • Flash PC socket: on the front plate, setting to X and bulb, the red dot on the speeds dial and symbols on the top plate must be opposite by turning the speeds dial ring
  • Cold-shoe: none
  • Memory dial: for ASA under the cocking lever knob, in a small window
  • Self-timer: none
  • Back cover: removable with the bottom plate, oıpen by a knob on the bottom
  • Film loading: special removable teke up spool
  • Tripod socket: ¼"
  • Strap lugs
  • Body: metal; Weight: 727g
  • Serial no. in the camera
  • LENS in the photos:
    • Meyer-Optik Domiplan 50mm f/2.8 3 elements
    • Mount: Exakta bayonet mount
    • Filter thread: 40.5mm , serial no. under side of the lens, produced c.1966
    • Black zebra finish
    • Fully Automatic
    • It has a special shutter release plunger, you can see the DOF by half pressing of it
    • Aperture: f/2.8-f/22 setting: ring and scale on the lens
    • Focus range: 0.75-12m +inf
    • Interchangeable with Exakta Varex lenses

Notes and references[]

  1. Version, manufacturing year, body and lens info are as to Andrzej Wrotniak
  2. There are different name plates and engravings on the some cameras.


Ihagee Exa series cameras
Exa (original) | Exa I | Exa Ia | Exakta 100 | VX 100 | Exa 1b | Exa 1c | Exa II | Exa IIa | Exa IIb | Exa 500 | Exakta 500 | VX 200