The Curtagon Story
[C370-33A: The “mythical” Joseph Schneider Kreuznach 40mm f/4 Curtagon lens in Exakta 66 mount]
The Exakta 66 was announced in 1984, and by 1986 there was a 12-page colour brochure describing the system. This listed the Schneider Kreuznach lenses for the system, including a 40mm Curtagon extreme wide-angle:
However, no photograph of this lens was included in the brochure. Various other items had also clearly not been ready at the time the photographs were taken – for instance, the 250mm Tele-Xenar, the bellows lenses and various accessories. Exakta Foto GmbH tried to cover up these omissions by
|In June 1986 Exakta Foto wrote to me that “das Curtagon 4/40 [ist] ab Anfang nächsten Jahres lieferbar” (“the Curtagon 4/40 can be delivered from the beginning of next year”).|
|In December 1987 I wrote to the major German photographic retailer
FOTO OEHLING to get prices with a view to ordering an Exakta 66 from them.
Their reply lists prices for all major components of the system:
In the event, I bought the camera, the metering prism and some small
accessories from them, adding the 75-150mm Variogon a year or two later.
I should clearly have ordered the 40mm Curtagon from them at that time–
though it would not have been realistic for me to have spent 6890 Deutschmarks
+ VAT on the Schneider 55mm Tilt-Shift Super-Angulon!
As an indication of the cost of these items in another currency, at the time it was possible in England to obtain 3.15 Deutschmarks for £1.00 sterling.
Exakta 66 outfit prices in Germany were thus significantly lower than in England.
In March 1989 I rang Exakta Foto to enquire about the 40mm Curtagon and was told that it had not yet been produced and would still not be available during that year. Someone told me that they were hoping to do a deal with Hasselblad to supply the lens for them, and that if this happened, it would be produced for the Exakta 66 also. As we know, this lens did not appear in the Hasselblad mount, and we must wonder whether it ever entered serial production in the Exakta 66 mount. A sample was shown at Photokina, but when I visited the Schneider works in Bad Kreuznach in April 1989 I was told that it was a non-working sample.
Cambridge Camera Exchange of New York included the lens on their web page in the late 1990s, with a price of US$7,950 – not within my price bracket, so I never ordered one.
When the revised Exakta 66 brochure was produced in January 1990, the 40mm Curtagon was missing from the lenses listed for the system. So does the 40mm Curtagon shown at the top of this page exist?
To go on to the next section, click below.
The Curtagon Story, Part 2
Back to the wide-angle lenses
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© TRA November 2005, November 2008