I have a preference for old cameras, whether it is because of their simplicity, or their technical sophistication, their inimitable design, as is the case with the Werra camera for me. This will probably never be fully clarified and is part of a personal feeling.

The Werra camera is a purely mechanical camera. The tensioning of the shutter and the film transport are actuated by a torque-like winding mechanism, placed in the form of a ring on the lens, by a rotary movement. The back can be removed after loosening a locking screw in order to insert a 35mm film. At the bottom there is a counter mechanism that must be reset after the film has been loaded. The same applies to the unlocking mechanism during the film transport process, so that the exposed film can be rewound afterwards.

The Werra camera dates from the 1950s and was made by Carl Zeiss Jena. Various models were made, mine is fitted with a Tessar 2.8/50 Carl Zeiss Jena lens. There are shutter speeds from 1-250, as well as a “bulb” and aperture settings from 2.8 to f/16. The small viewfinder, moved to the side, is perfectly adequate for everyday use and is quite fun.

I was surprised by the result of a first film shot with the camera, and my expectations were exceeded. For this small, simple device, the imaging performance is truly amazing.

Even overview shots, such as those taken on a shelf, look sharp and the image muted.

Certainly, it takes some trust in the old mechanics, but I have already been rewarded for it. For me, the risk, which should of course always be considered with older cameras despite their often simple construction, has definitely been worth it in relation to a rather low price, which has therefore also been manageable.

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