Ihagee Elbaflex film SLR camera with Nikon F-mount launched on Kickstarter


The Elbaflex film SLR with Nikon F-mount is now officially launched on Kickstarter:

Pricing starts at $499. Technical specifications and full press release:

Kickstarter Launches for the Rebirth of the Ihagee Elbaflex 35mm Analog Camera

(Dresden, Germany) The famous Ihagee camera brand is making a comeback, launching a Kickstarter campaign today for its first offering, the Elbaflex, a 35mm analog camera with a Nikon F mount, stylish wooden grip and a full two-year guarantee.

The Elbaflex has a simple, yet beautiful design that is aimed at the photography purist. Its designers say the fully-manual camera is intended to make a statement that the art of photography is about taking your time and making each frame meaningful.

Early Kickstarter backers can get the Elbaflex for pledges that start at $529, as well as bundles that will include either the Trioplan 50mm or Lydith 30mm, both of which are fully-manually and made by German lens manufacturer Meyer Optik.

The camera is expected to be shipped to Kickstarter backers in August 2018, though the first 100 cameras are expected to ship to early Kickstarter backers by July 2018. The Elbaflex, which will be handmade, is expected to have a retail price of $1,500 and be on the market in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The company takes its name from the German camera pioneer that in 1936 produced the famous Kine-Exakta, a camera which eventually became known as the Elbaflex in the 1970s.

The new Ihagee Elbaflex is a collaboration between a team of German and Ukrainian engineers. The German side includes former engineers and technicians who have many years of experience in the production of analog and digital cameras, as well as lenses, for Leica and Schneider Kreuznach. They will provide the engineering and design leadership, while the Ukrainian side, which includes former members of the famous Arsenal factory in Kiev, will oversee production.

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  • Richard Haw

    but…why?

    • Delmar Mineard Jr

      You took my line. But…Why?

      • exactly! I have my Nikon FM2a, and FE still functional and take pictures. Completely agree on slowing down and spending more time on the subject part.

    • Michael Jin

      My sentiment exactly…

  • Mistral75

    This is definitely a 1988 Kiev 19M in disguise.

    Prices are outrageous, like always with Meyer-Optik Görlitz and their bunch:

    – 24h offer $499
    – Super Early Bird $529 (50 units)
    – Early Bird $549 (75 units)
    – Super Deal $599 (100 units),
    – bundled with Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 50mm: $1,299 (50 units)
    – bundled with Meyer-Optik Görlitz Lydith 30mm f/3.5: $1,399 (50 units)
    – bundled with Meyer-Optik Görlitz Primotar (Tessar) 50mm f/2.8: $1,499 (50 units)

    – forecast RRP (body only): $1,499.

    The Kickstarter campaign is only a marketing tool: the financing goal is set at $50,000.

    • Roger S

      I see that you can buy a new Kiev 19M on ebay, with a 50mm f/2.0 lens, for $179.10. Comparing the pictures below, that’s one expensive wooden grip.

      • Spy Black

        Leftover parts from the Sony-rebranded Hasselblads…

        • Roger S

          lol — I think you’re right

    • Thom Hogan

      Well, it may be a bit disingenuous, but I’m not sure it’s as outrageous as you think. I suspect what we have here is an attempt to get a factory back online, and for future product.

      • Mistral75

        A shop rather than an entire factory: there are 20 Ukrainian people involved in the Ihagee project.

      • El Aura

        Is there any reason to buy this instead of a used FM, FM2, FE, FE2, FA, FM3A (or even FM10, FE10)? Not sure if a used F3 could be had $500 by now.

        • Thom Hogan

          Didn’t say there was.

          • El Aura

            My question had two purposes but the first one got lost in the second. It was whether there is something in these pre-AF SLRs that would make them stop working after 30+ years? Do any of the lubricants degrade, do any of the non-metal parts start to break down?

            • Thom Hogan

              Really depends upon the design. Early designs had a lot of metal on metal. Some cameras went to plastic/teflon gearing and connective parts early on, others happened later. Also, springs were used a lot, so it depends upon how the spring was left (untensioned, tensioned) and how much longevity it might have.

              In general, those early cameras still pretty much operate as you’d expect if they were cared for decently. The big problem with the Nikons were things like the exposure meter. My mom’s Nikormat (yes, not Nikkormat, which tells you where it was bought) can’t be repaired.

  • Ryan Mac

    film, what’s that?

    • Mike

      Came just after rock slates and chisels. Funny though, there are a roughly 15,000 per day that visit just one of many analog chat boards (APUG). I guess they still like using slates and chisels for some strange reason – What is wrong with them!

  • Someone

    erm, you can buy a very good F3 or FM2 for less than that!!!

  • Mark H Lee

    I rather go for used Nikon FE for around $100….

    • TheInfinityPoint

      Got mine on ebay for $25 lol.

    • Someone

      YES! I got my FE2 + 50mm 1.8S for £55!!

  • Sawyerspadre

    My FM2 does all that and 1/4000 sec shutter. I don’t get it, why only 1/500?

    Also, handmade where? China, or Dresden?

    • Mistral75

      Hand made in Kiev, Ukraine by former employees of the Arsenal factory, where the original Kiev 19M was manufactured from 1988 onwards.

      • Chris

        I have kiev 4 and zorki-3M. AFAIK when they copied Zeiss/Leica’s mechanism in the past they couldn’t work out a light-weight high speed shutter mechanism for quite some time. The old one with 1/1250s is not very consistent and can regularly break. Biggest improvement is that they could remove separate slow speed dial and made it break less frequently. Then sales started to decline, then USSR was gone…

  • spamdie

    Because nothing says expensive cameras take better pictures then paying more for less!

  • tomskyphoto

    Hipster scam.

    Or scammed hipsters?

    Oh well, don’t know but couldn’t care less either. I’d rather buy a nice lens for that amount of money (actually already did, but it’s not an F-mount…).

  • TurtleCat

    A famous brand name? Um, I don’t think so. At least not within my lifetime.

  • Martin M

    Where’s the market for it?

    I bought a mint FM3a for 600€…this can do aperture prio or fully manual/mechanical if needed. A nice small and light and proven camera…it‘s my fallback if all electronics break down

  • deepshade

    Someone, somewhere thought they could make money out it. If you are naive enough to contribute to a project that doesn’t provide anything that you can’t already purchase secondhand (and better) – then more fool you.

  • MB

    I wonder if it is made by Arax … they bought the camera parts stock some years ago and employed former Arsenal camera technicians, although they do medium frame…
    But Ihagee name was used before for a similar scam when they sold Cosina cameras under the Exakta brand … at least those were solid quality and more reasonably priced Japanese cameras not something scavenged from Chernobyl nuclear waste like this…

  • tomskyphoto

    If it’s an SLR then it needs to have automatic aperture, regardless whether film or digital. Having to stop down for exposure measurements like it’s 1964 or so again is just plainly ridiculous. It’s not that an aperture coupling mechanism is exactly rocket science in the 21st century; but still all these Kickstarter hipster toys of cameras and lenses alike start to show up without it.

    Mirrorless is a bit different story as the viewfinders on these even work acceptably with stopped down lenses – which makes them so attractive for using adapted legacy glass (main reason why I also own a Sony A7RII). But on an SLR? C’mon – get serious or bust.

  • Sabe Ambulette

    “The ELBAFLEX is a joint effort of German and Ukrainian engineers”…
    Really? Kiev camera for over $1500? Thanks, but I prefer Nikon!

  • Basilisk

    My Praktica MTL3 was better specced than this in 1980 – at least it had basic TTL metering.

  • Rich Poinvil

    A great idea would be to add sensor shift image stabilization.

  • Wendell Franks

    I was about to simply ask “WHY?”, but seemingly others already have. Perhaps, instead, they could manufacture slide rules so that people can do mathematics.

    • Mistral75

      Do you think there are some NOS slide rules here or there?

  • Fly Moon

    That’s one ugly grip!

  • kbb

    Was the Kiev 19M a copy of the old Ricoh Singlex SLR? The shutter speed dial on the right front is the tipoff. I guess the supply of old Pentax K1000’s is running low. BTW, those K1000’s were about $150 new in 1980.

  • Deryk Sonsini Goodrich

    If I have another analog phase, I would much rather buy a used Nikon FM3A or go with a Leica M3 or something like it. That’s my opinion, anyway.

  • Allen_Wentz

    An absurd idea with all the many unused excellent film cameras that already exist in every possible style. Absurd enough to qualify as a scam.

  • Mistral75

    Just posted by Ihagee / Creator in the Comments section of the Kickstarter project:

    the inside of the camera is designed by our Ukrainian colleagues and
    made with the tools from the Arsenal factory. We are changing the
    materials used so that the reliability is higher. We have also done some
    changes to the shutter mechanism. The body is build with tools from the
    Kiev 19M. It would be impossible to produce new tools for those parts
    as this is too costly for the small quantities.Therefore the camera
    looks similar.

  • Ruben Alonso

    lol the video is so funny ^-^ I can get 2 or 3 fm2 and some lenses with 500$

  • Mistral75

    The outcome of the first 24 hours is not overwhelming by net SE standards (Meyer-Optik Görlitz, Oprema Jena and Emil Busch Glaukar Anastigmat campaigns):

    – a bit more than $32,000 raised (the -symbolic- goal being $50,000)
    – 60 backers
    – 52 cameras sold, of which 5 bundled with a Meyer-Optik lens.

    Come on guys, you can do better than that!

  • Mistral75

    It gets worse after 48 hours:

  • Mistral75

    …and even worse after 48 hours:

    – total pledges dropped to $27,200
    – there are still 60 backers, again with defections and newcomers
    – the number of cameras sold dropped to 47, of which 2 bundled with a
    Meyer-Optik lens.

    • I still have the feeling they will reach their goal.

  • Mistral75
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