Your camera’s got a Carl Zeiss lens? Meet the only Carl Zeiss camera.
This post is more for the Camera aficionado’s that may be reading, but a few months ago whilst in Budapest, in a dusty little old camera store, I was lucky enough to stumble across a Werra.
Named after a river near the factory it was produced, in a nutshell, the Werra’s history is that it was the only actual camera to ever be produced by Carl Zeiss Jena, which until then, and still to this day, remains a household name to camera enthusiasts, renowned for their supreme and elegant lens’s.
The uniqueness of the Werra wasn’t only limited to its manufacturer, but also to its film advanced mechanism which was engaged by twisting the ring around the lens!
To quote camerapedia; “The cameras offer a high degree of control with a minimum number of levers, knobs or rings. In their simplest incarnations, the Werras featured only a shutter release button on the top plate. With it’s streamlined styling, one could call the Werras a design camera. Nearly all other controls were incorporated into the lens barrel”…
This camera is just soo kool, I sat there looking at it for a couple of days before I even put a roll through.
The design was just way ahead of its time, for mid 1950’s, I cant think of another camera that is as streamlined or stylish as the Werra.
Even now, 60 years later on, it still holds its own.
Over its short production life, there were a number of variations including Werra’s with selenium light meters, range-finder versions, and interchangeable lenses – mine (pictured) however was the first, and absent of all these additions.
In general I found the Werra a bit fiddly to use.
As stated above (no light-meter / non range-finder version), focusing is limited to guessing against the inscriptions on the lens, and composition is constantly off due the whole common parallax/viewpoint displacement thing.
No light-meter means you will need to carry one separately, or embrace the Sunny 16 rule.
As the shutter speed and aperture controls are both located on the lens barrel too, along with the focus, all 3 tend to move when you try to change only one, which add’s to its fiddly-ness.
My film advance ring also felt a bit ‘stiff’ (acceptable after 60 years life), it worked well enough but I was a bit worried the next turn was going to snap the film.
Camera: Werra – by Carl Zeiss Jena
Film: Agfa Vista 400 (expired 2003)
Location: Budapest, Hungary. April 2010.
This was the first, and probably the only roll I’ll ever put through my Werra.
Overall, the Werra is a beautiful camera, and I love it, but more to look at than to use.
Kind of like your Mum’s crystal vase’s, know what I mean.