Pentacon Exakta RTL 1000
The East Germans state, DDR or GDR in German and English respectively, had followed the centralized economy doctrine of their masters, the Soviets. There were many casualties, including the optical industry. Indeed, pre-war Germany saw mergers in this industry; but all were more of joining forces towards yielding better products in the ever-competitive up-and-coming, ever-growing market.
Pentacon was where the East German camera makers were summoned, chewed, and spat out non-descript and lacklustre products. Ihagee fell into this abyss in 1970. As with other Pentacon tributaries, little remained other than the name and the Exakta mount.
Pentacon made one try to capitalize on the Exakta name, the Exakta RTL 1000, hastily introduced at amalgamation. Again, other than the name, the mount, the ever-confusing slow speed/self-timer dial, and the additional left trigger, no Ihagee soul was left.
An illegitimate child, for this camera, the Exakta name could only be used in markets outside Ihagee West registered trademark and name rights sphere, so the camera name was shortened to RTL 100, and its life span was as short to an untimely demise. Only about 80,000 were made; although relatively scarce, they hold no value in the collectors market.
The RTL 1000 is a Praktica VLC, redressed to resemble the earlier Exakta cameras. Oddly, this model preceded the VLC, which saw the market three years later.
The body is a typical Praktica, styled as industrial as they come, with no flare, intended or fortuitous. It was the first Praktica variant with a replaceable viewer.
- There are three viewer options: waist, eye level, and metered eye level prism, Photomic style. The viewer housing is not backward compatible with the legacy Exakta models. A metered viewer was available for the last real Exakta, but it was dropped here in favour of a Pentacon-made unit. I have no further information, but it could well be that the technology was outsourced from the early viewer makers.
- The slow speeds, 8, 4 & 2, combined with the self-timer, are where logical camera makers place the self-timer. The combination idea is borrowed from the older Exaktas, and could be, and indeed is, confusing. To use the dial for slow speed, set the main speed dial to B, and the slow speed as needed by lifting and turning the dial, and cock the dial. To fire, press the button in the middle of this dial. For use as a self-timer, the slow speed values are now the delay time. Set the main speed as needed, cock the self-timer, and press the button in the middle of the dial. Using the main trigger will override the slow speed /timer function in both cases. Confusing? Indeed.
- There are two shutter release points. A prominent one on the right, where Praktica models have it. Instead of Praktica style angled movement, here it uses a downward press. Another trigger, socket only, is at the opposite side of the lens barrel. It accepts a threaded extension rod that can be used on its own or with the arm in the Exakta stop-down auto lenses. Not to be undone by Ihagee’s notorious complexity, a tiny dial on the main trigger can disable it.
- Early Exakta models had a long winder travel; it is a short, regular drive here.
- There are two options for flash synch. For electronic, set the speed dial to the lightning bolt icon; for a magnesium bulb, set it to 30, marked with a bulb icon. Guess the latter is now redundant.
- Removing the viewer takes simultaneously pulling down two minuscule pins at both sides of the viewer housing. It pops out easily.
- Setting the film speed on the metered viewer is a difficult task. Takes pressing the release clutch and turning the bottom dial, fairly tight.
- An auto-reset frame counter, a fresh idea for the DDR-made cameras.
- The manual seems not to conform fully to the unit I have. It might be a version change. Further, there is a lengthy manual for the metered prism, good luck with it.
|Model||Exakta RTL 1000|
|Weight||750 gr, Body with lens and meter viewer|
|Class average weight||610 gr, Body with lens and meter viewer|
|ASA range||6-800 in metered viewer|
|Lens make||Meyer Optics|
|Lens mount||Exakta Bayonet|
|Aperture||Stop down with auto lens|
|Shutter||Focal plane vertical metal|
|Light meter||With metered prism viewer|
|Speeds||B, 8 sec to /1000|
|Viewer||Interchangeable, waist finder, prism or TTL|
|External sync||X, M|
|Sync speed||125, 30|
|Battery||PX 13, 625|
|Service / repair links||camerlog.com|