This Project Wants to Bring Back East Germany’s Ihagee ELBAFLEX Film Cameras in Nikon F-Mount


A new Kickstarter project has an interesting take on the retro-is-new craze sweeping everything, cameras included. This time it's capturing photos like you're back in the USSR, in a way.

Ihagee was a camera and optics manufacturer based in Dresden, Germany that was founded by Dutchman Johan Steenbergen in 1912 as the Industrie- und Handelsgesellschaft or IHG, the acronym's pronunciation being Ihagee in German, hence the company's name.

The company is best known for its Exata line of cameras, made between 1933 and 1976, a turbulent period during German history to say the least and which includes World War II and the partition of the country into East and West.

After the end of World War II, Dresden was in the Soviet zone of occupation and the company became an East German (DDR) concern after that. The ELBAFLEX name is the Exata line’s moniker in the Federal German Republic, or FDR.

The company was eventually merged in with Pentacon which subsumed its product lines.

Image via Ihagee ELBAFLEX Kickstarter.

The remake of the ELBAFLEX camera proposed by this Kickstarter will use a Nikon F-mount with a mechanical shutter at speeds of 1/2sec to 1/500sec + B as well as a single stroke wind-on crank.

It will come with modern amenities like a PC socket for flash memory devices as well as the ability to use old and modern lenses according to DP Review.

The new Ihagee was born of a partnership of German and Ukrainian engineers that are inspired by the spirit of the original though not beholden entirely to its limitations.

The name ELBAFLEX was coined by the Ihagee company to avoid lawsuits from its former owner who had formed a new company in West Germany and relaunched his camera line under the Exata name. Use of ELBAFLEX this time is to avoid a similar lawsuit.

If successful, the Kickstarter will begin shipping devices in August 2018 with a suggested price of $1500 for the camera body and will come in a variety of colors. Early backers of the project, however, can obtain this same device for $530.

Image via Ihagee ELBAFLEX Kickstarter.
Image via Ihagee ELBAFLEX Kickstarter.

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

The Koblenz-headquartered net SE group ( is behind the resurrection of Ihagee Elbaflex.

They are also behind the resurrection of Meyer-Optik Görlitz, Oprema Jena (Biotar lenses), Emil Busch A.-G. Rathenau (Glaukar Anastigmat lens) and C.P. Goerz.

Most trademarks belong to their subsidiary SEMI Verwaltung GmbH, also headquartered in Koblenz: C.P. Goerz, Ihagee, Meyer Optik, Biotar, Lydith, Makroplasmat, Nocturnus, Oreston, Primagon, Telemegor and probably more.

Some trademarks belong to net SE directly: Emil Busch A.-G. Rathenau, Glaukar and Anastigmat.

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