ELBAFLEX 35mm True Analog Camera: History Reloaded
ELBAFLEX 35mm True Analog Camera: History Reloaded
German & Ukrainian camera specialists construct a classic 35mm, Nikon-mount analog camera. Ideal for b/w and energized, mindful photos.
German & Ukrainian camera specialists construct a classic 35mm, Nikon-mount analog camera. Ideal for b/w and energized, mindful photos. Read more
German & Ukrainian camera specialists construct a classic 35mm, Nikon F-mount, fully analog camera. Ideal for b/w and energized, mindful photography
German and Ukrainian engineers have joined forces to create a new 35mm SLR camera that will allow you to take beautiful analog 35mm images. The camera is equipped with a Nikon mount so which opens up a whole horizon of possibilities to use your lenses - either Nikon or others with adaptors. Best of all: The system is offered at an affordable price with a full two year guarantee (Base version) or a full five year guarantee and a German-based repair center (Prime version)
The ELBAFLEX is a joint effort between German and Ukrainian engineers. For both - the Base and the Premium version - the camera internals have been improved by carefully reengineering a number of key components, especially some critical mechanical elements. These parts include elements of the mechanical shutter, the usage of uodating sealing materials of the highest quality and a new, soft mirror brake.
Besides internal technical changes, the team has also designed a new body and for the Prime version also created a specially made wooden grip for vastly imporved ergonomics, and for the Prime version we are giving every backer the opportunity to choose his or her personal leather covering to personalize the camera. Associated straps are also offered as add-ons.
We’ve designed this camera to be a piece of art itself. It gives you an opportunity to return to the basics, when photography was an art and you had to be prepared to take that shot at the right moment to create an original, timeless piece of art.
The camera is 100% manual and mechanical. There is no battery or other electrical requirement in order to use the camera whatsoever. Of course this means no build in light meter.
Expected delivery date of the camera is August 2018. However, we are confident that we’ll have the first 100 cameras shipped out by July 2018.
The retail launch price of the camera is expected to be much higher than the current Kickstarter offering and is currently planned to be around $1,500--. This is because the cameras will be assembled one-by-one on a “made-to-order” basis with longer waiting times. So, you can take advantage of some great savings by backing us on Kickstarter! After this project is finished, we will ask you for your preferred leather coating of the camera.
The Prime version of the camera will be available with a choice of four distinct leather colors.
The differences between Base and Prime at one sight::
But not only the camera can be colorful whne you choose the Prime version, of course more important is the color of the images taken no matter whether Base or Prime - but see for yourself.
Please note: The photographs you see in this campaign have all been taken with working prototypes of the ELBAFLEX with various lenses. All photos of the lenses attached to the camera are for illustration purposes only and our basic pledges cover the ELBAFLEX body only unless you back one of our special rewards, which include various lenses from Meyer Optik.
Speaking of which, Meyer Optik has agreed to help us with a special offer with options including either a Trioplan 50mm f/2.9 lens, a specially made 50mm f/2.8 Tessar type lens called the Primotar 50 and a final option for the historic Lydith 30mm f/3.5. All these combinations are individual pledges and all at considerable savings in the bundles!
Why in the world are we bringing back an analog camera where everyone else is striving to get the highest amount of pixels into a sensor or speed up autofocus and allow the photographer to electronically manipulate the image? Well, because we believe that photography takes place before you push the button and, maybe, in this day and age, we have to force ourselves to slow down, step back and go back to the roots. The ELBAFLEX will support you in this effort. But we are not naive. Of course, modern camera systems have many advantages but from time to time, it is good to step back and take a deep breath. Allow yourself the joy of real photography again.
This project is not about nostalgia. Analog photography is a fantastic way for the photographer to shoot images and often a very intense relationship develops to the subject as the photographer and the subject are being totally concentrated and focused on that very special moment. It is a bit like film noir or making Jazz music. They have smaller, niche audiences but are full of life and creativity.
Analog photography is the fun of saying “no” to the wave of images that overload our senses. Images become fleeting moments. We think it is exciting to limit yourself to a maximum of 36 images, which you take carefully and concentrated. We strongly believe that this concentration leads to another intensity of energy in your images.
Analog photography inspires more and more photographers because it provides access to a wider horizon of artistic expression - one which has been sidelined in the digital age. Analog photography forces us to slow down and consider the potential in front of us. We have to think from the end (the image) to the beginning (the shot) and not simply shoot, take a look at our LCD screens and shoot again.
At first, analog photography means restricting the possibilities we have grown used to with digital. But it is a deliberate restriction. Like having a piece of paper and a pencil and 10 minutes to write down what is important in life.
You have to focus. Decisions have to be made in regard to the aesthetics the photographer wants to achieve. There is the need to reflect about the image, to interact with the subject or the model and to previsualize the result in one's head before the shot. No safety net and double ground, no making up in post-production. Analog images are the image. Period.
Not only is the photographer free from power supply and fancy tech gadgetry, he is also independent from the hassle of post-production. Hours spent in front of your computer instead of in front of your subjects is a thing of the past.
Many software tools such as Photoshop, Lightroom and others work hard to imitate what analog photography produces in the first place but never get it just right.
Last but not least, there is this tension and excitement about the latent images waiting to be developed. Having to wait to see the image until after the roll is developed raises the excitement and anticipation - a little bit like unpacking a gift.
The ELBAFLEX is the perfect addition to your kit list. Now, you have a very personal, one of a kind image in your hand. You can give it away to your loved ones or file it for yourself. When our digital data most likely will be lost, your film will still be there.
So, to make a long story short: Analog photography is not a nostalgic fad but the rediscovery of an art.
Founded in Dresden, Germany in 1912 by Johan Steenbergen, a young man from the Netherlands, the company developed and produced many famous and innovative cameras, especially between its founding and the early 1960s.
Originally, the company was named Industrie- und Handelsgesellschaft (Industry and Trade Society) but later, the abbreviation IHG was written as it is pronounced in German: eehahgay. This pronunciation was incorporated in the official name. Ihagee has produced many camera types, some rather common but also some interesting models. In 1936, the Kine-Exakta was the world's first single lens reflex that used the now standard cine film and the 24x36 mm picture size. From 1939, the company was practically only producing the Exakta. In 1942, the Nazis took over the company. Steenbergen, who was married to a Jewish woman, had left the country in time. At that time, production concentrated on war-related goods. After the war, production resumed quickly and most of the cameras found their way into other countries. In 1966 the Dresdner Ihagee (East Germany) presented the Exakta Varex II b. But in 1969 the West-German high court ruled that all name rights were to be returned to Johann Steenbergen's heirs. From then on, no more cameras from Ihagee could be sold in West Germay.
As a consequence Ihagee Exakta cameras were now sold as ELBAFLEX. Since the name Exakta is still held by a German Company we decided to protect and use the name ELBAFLEX since it represents the camera closest to our current design.
Exakta/Elbaflex cameras were famous for their reliability but also for their innovations and for concentrating on the essentials.
This basic concept has been carried into this new model: simplicity, robustness and affordability are the key features of the ELBAFLEX.
The new ELBAFLEX is created by a team of of German and Ukrainian engineers. The German side has the design and engineering leadership. On the German side, we are former engineers and technicians of Leica Camera and partners of Schneider Kreuznach and combine many years of experience in the production of analog and digital cameras.
The role of the German side is to ensure quality control, not only at the end of the project but by establishing a quality ensuring procedure and workflow. The German part of this project also oversees the supply of some critical materials, use and test of all other materials and technical improvements of the basic historic camera body.
On the Ukrainian side, former members of the Arsenal factory have created their own shop with a team of 20 employees, all with long-time experience in the manufacturing of cameras and lenses. The role of the Ukrainian engineers is the basic sourcing and the manufacturing, itself.
So, in short it is German engineering plus Ukrainian production.
The camera, technically speaking, is a solid construction. Here is the key data:
Nikon mount: the Nikon mount was introduced in 1959. All MF lenses and all AF lenses can be used of course fully manual without transmission of any data.
We need you to reproduce this blend of German and Ukrainian technology. With your help, we can create this wonderful camera so that you can enjoy all the advantages and excitement of analog photography with a beautiful camera.
Please back this project and bring the ELBAFLEX to life.
Backers can decide for only one of the pledges to support this project. But you can add whatever you want from our add-ons. Later in our backer survey, we will ask for the precise information like color of the leather or add-ons.
In order to get your add-on you just have to add the Dollar value of one or more of our add-ons.
Current add-ons are:
1. Leather camera strap made from the same leather and in the same color that you have choosen for your camera: 99 $
2. Leather everready case: 89 $
We will ship from our logistic centers in the US and Europe.
For our backers in the USA, you don't need to pay any additional shipping costs.
For our backers in Europe, please note that your ELBAFLEX will be shipped from Germany thus all EU backers have to add 19% VAT. We will send you a bill in regard to this VAT before we send the lens.
For backers outside the USA and Europe, please note that we charge an additional $ 40 for the pledges to cover shipping and other costs. If you are not from the EU or from the US, we are afraid there may be some extra importation duties to pay on delivery.
If you have a specific question about shipping, please just write us a message!
Hummel (1995): Hummel, Richard: Spiegelreflexkameras aus Dresden. Edition Reintzsch Leipzig; 1995, ISBN 3-930846-01-2 oder 3-89506-127-1
Wichmann (1995): Wichmann, Klaus: EXAKTA - Von der Kine-Exakta bis zur Elbaflex. Lindemanns Verlag 1995, ISBN 3-89506-129-8
We want to send a big thank you to our team of creative und super supportive friends you see in the video: Fabian Stürtz - is known for his super special authentic portrait photography Chris Piotrowicz - a very talented and one of a kind filmmaker Ella Rohwer & Sophie Moser - two beautiful ladies with insane skills at their instruments Thank you so much for helping us with this project!
Special thanks to our photographers Carsten Bockermann, Firat Bagdu, Benedikt Hartmann, Raffaele Horstmann, Benedikt Ernst, Kurt Tauber.
Risks and challenges
There's always a risk of unexpected delays and production issues associated with launching a new product. Of course there could be some issues that we have not foreseen before but we are all well experienced in this field. By setting up the cooperation between the Ukrainian and German engineers and workers we have merged the best of both worlds but of course communication problems and misunderstandings could happen.
By having the final quality control in our German location we make sure that we are also prepared for later repairs and quality issues.
We are determined to ship on time but delays may happen. Kickstarter is not a retail platform but a site where great ideas meet great people and uncertainty is part of entrepreneurial life.
But we are working as a team that combines man years of experience in the production of photographic equipment so we are very confident to achieve our goals.
But we have to be realistic in terms of the challenges on the way that we might have to face. We have first prototypes but it is always a challenge to go into serial production. This includes several steps and along the way problems might arise. We are sure we will solve all of them but it is hard to forecast them and the time needed to solve them.
The resurrected ELBAFLEX will be a new but historic camera of robust quality and modern state of the art analog camera technology. All our expected delivery dates are estimates only. Be assured that we will work very hard to get this beautiful camera into your hands as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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