Carl Zeiss Werramat - Staff Review


The Werramat is a modern, stylish camera that is easy to use and offers clever features.

image from here

The Werra camera was manufactured by Carl Zeiss Jena, a German manufacturer for optics and industrial devices. After the World War II, when the company was split into two divisions – West German and East German – the latter decided to use their expertise after losing their personnel to the Russians. They came up with the Werra, named after the nearby river.

So what’s so special about the Werra? It’s sleek and classic design is hard to resist, especially for passionate collectors, but the main feature is the covered rapid advance ring. A twist cocks the shutter, advances the film and frame counter. Another interesting feature – the lens cap also doubles as a sun shade, if you screw it on the filter mount.

The Werramat emerged after the 1960s. It was an enhancement of the earlier models – all of which had a smooth design, with slightly rounder bodies. It had a fixed lens – the superior Tessar 2,8/50 famous for producing sharpness and deep colors.

Vicuna discovered the Werramat while browsing a website specializing in DDR design. He was impressed with the “modern, fluid and simple design” and quickly purchased the camera.

Werra cameras share a unique design of simplicity and fluidity, no knobs and
levers on the camera, only a shutter button (very well designed too!). The great “trick” of the Werra family is to turn the ring between the lens and the camera body to advance the film and cock the shutter for the next
shot! It’s very surprising in the beginning (your finger is desperately
looking for a knob to turn) but then it’s like a very natural and
smooth movement, and I love this feature. The shutter button is smooth too; it gives a very nice feeling when you shoot you can only hear a
little “click.” Great mechanism, a real clockwork! Focusing is going from 0.8 to infinity with no less than 12
different and precise positions.

Some Werras have a lightmeter (only the 1 & 3 are without) and I could
test it on my Werramat: a very intuitive and precise selenium
lightmeter with a simple black sign moving on a scale in the
viewfinder. When it’s in the marked middle, your exposition is right
and you can change the aperture or speed while looking in the
viewfinder very easily because of another little perfect invention: a
little mirror reflection in the lower right corner of the viewfinder
let you see the speed and aperture rings so you always know what are
your settings! The film rewinding knob is under the camera as well as the opener systems who separates the whole back body of the cam. The film is placed on the right side of the cam.

Shooting with the Werramat, he says, is always a pleasurable experience because it’s easy and quick to use, and has a discreet shutter. With its modern design and smooth finish, some people are in disbelief when he tells them that it was built in the ’60s!

A Tip from Vicuna: You can use the Wide Angle lens for LC-A+ on the
Werra! The screwing mount in front of the lens is EXACTLY the
same size as the Wide Angle lens for LC-A+! So you can add a little
wide angle effect on your 50mm to give you approximately 35mm
shots. The only difficulty is to find the right focusing distance,
not so difficult at infinity, but more on the intermediates. Vicuna used to
approximate the distance setting divided by 1,5 or 2 but didn’t avoid the
blurry shots.


Photos by Vicuna

written by shhquiet on 2008-06-22 #gear #review #zeiss #staff


  1. adzfar
    adzfar ·

    Love the blurry! Nice.

  2. smu
    smu ·

    Have a Zeiss Werra 1 from the early 50s with olive green leather. Im't not handy with it by now, but this is really a one of a kind cam...

  3. lyndxe
    lyndxe ·

    lovely photos! i just saw a Werra I in a shop the other day and had to research some more info about it - thanks for the input, i might just have to consider going back tomorrow and snatching it up!

  4. ali55
    ali55 ·

    I LOVE my Werra :)

  5. deano
    deano ·

    Have just started using one of these. A great little camera.

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