On World Left Hander’s Day,we take a trip down photographic history and take a look at the Exakta, the World’s most popular camera designed for left handed people.
Images- Lost Labours UK
As you can see above, the film winding lever, the shutter button and the shutter speed dial are all on the left. The Exakta had many variants, but the main layout of the controls remained the same. The shutter button varied from the top left of the camera to the front left of the camera.
The camera was made in Dresden, Germany by Ihagee Kamerawerk (Ihagee Camerawork) which was formed in year 1912.
The reason for such a design was simple, a large section of the German population was left handed at that point of time.
The two cameras that were the most popular were the Kine Exakta and the Exakta VX1000 which were both 35mm models.
The VX 1000 as introduced around the time of the Second World War and featured a built in “film cutter” so that photographers could save a roll after only taking a few pictures and not wait till the entire roll was finished. This may be the only camera designed to have film cutting knife.
Another bit of trivia. Legendary Czech photographer Joseph Koudelka used an Exakta to take his iconic images of the Prague Spring in 1968.
Copyright- Joseph Koudelka, Prague Spring
The Exakta was never popular in India though, as better and well made electronic cameras has started coming in from Japan in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Till date, I have seen only one on display at the shop of Madanjee and Company in Chandani Chowk, Delhi.