A weird old post this one. You may have noticed these pages have been a little quiet for the last couple of days…Yes?

Well there is a reason.

Your host, the grey-haired and rheumy eyed, wizened old fool, Mr Shpics, had been saving up his ice-cream money in preparation for a visit to his favourite camera toy-shop, (which the informed amongst you will know as ebay). After weeks and weeks of careful penny-pinching, and much criticism from the spend-thrift Mrs Shpics who wanted another pair of shoes, his excitement had built to a fever pitch, and I know Dear Reader, that you can’t wait to find out why…

So…..Did he buy some state of the art auto focus lens for his digital SLR, some Hi-End digital strobes, technically advanced wireless remote systems,or maybe some bang up to date bit of editing software?  Well did he?


The silly old bastard bought a Cold War East German camera EVEN OLDER than he is !!!!!

WHY? I hear you scream…Well I’ll tell ya.


I’ve mentioned before, (quite often if truth be told), that I’m the sort of photographer who HATES gear! I really do..Having to carry anything other than a single piece of equipment really cheeses me off…So, 9 times out of 10, I’ve got a single lens, no tripod, no flash and not even a bag to bung the camera in if it starts to rain…..But I’m still not happy! That DSLR is just too damned heavy!


So…Why not kill a couple of birds with a single well aimed brick?

Why not get a camera which is small, relatively light and comes with bugger all else other than some focussing glass and a shutter, so that you can leave everything behind… apart from your brain?

Cracking idea..Say goodbye to back-ache AND learn how to take photos like you did in the days before the advent of the idiot switch…To that end, (Fanfare), I give you the 1958 Carl Zeiss Jena WERRA 3.


So…I’m guessing you all think I’m a total fu*k-wit! Between you and me you might just be right, but I do have my reasons.

First off, It’s manual focus using a rangefinder, which means you look through a viewfinder off-set to the lens and have to line up a tiny little focussing spot with any horizontal or vertical line you might just happen to find in your subject..The only manufacturer still making range-finders is Leica,  but going that route will set you back well over a grand and that’s too many ice-creams that would have to be foregone…Rangefinders are super fast and super steady as there is no mirror like in a DSLR, consequently you can hand hold at really slow speeds and do all sorts of creative things…But there is NO light meter, so exposure has to be calculated in your head and set manually using variable F-stop, shutter speed and iso combinations…Oh, and it uses film of course……FILM!!

So thirty quid for a camera that does pretty much everything a Leica does, with a comparable lens, (this ones got a 50mm Tessar and they don’t come much better), and everything built in to make you a far better photographer..i.e.NOTHING!

It’s a no-Brainer!

Maybe you’ll get to see some photos over the next few weeks…..(Or maybe not).

What do you reckon Dear Reader? Will I rise to the occasion and get some shots worth posting, or will I fall flat on my proverbial face, never to call myself a photographer again?

Answers on a postcard please….

There is some great info about this camera here: http://elekm.net/zeiss-ikon/werra3/

All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde

  1. scillagrace

    Here’s my question: with film, you can’t do Photoshop, right? And to post them into digital interwebby stuff, you have to scan a print or negative, right? Or is there some film/digital interface thingie I don’t know about?


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      I’ve bought some Ilford XP2 black and white film which uses colour chemicals for developing…So I’m hoping that will be sufficient for me to find my feet again, (haven’t shot film for over 15 years)….
      If it works out I will probably end up doing the developing myself and there’ll be more choice of films I could use…There’s still a lot of varieties for sale on the internet…
      Wish me luck!


  2. Stacy Thomas

    I completely support your decision and think your new camera is gorgeous and I want one, too. Also, did you know that film allows you to blow up your images to any size you like, as opposed to digital which will become pixelated at a certain size? Pretty big selling point if you ask me. 🙂


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Yes… you’re so right….I once had an absolutely colossal print made from an old 110 black and white film…It stayed SUPER smooth. 🙂
      I can’t wait to shoot on the Werra…It really is a sexy little beast isn’t it? So retro it looks really modern..It feels really lovely and ‘mechanical’ too..everything ‘clicks’ and ‘whirrs’..So much nicer than beeps.


      1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

        This was on the UK ebay site……I’d been looking on there for around three weeks and there’s usually about half a dozen up for auction at any one time. This one was missing a lens cap but had been serviced and was fully operational so a bit of a snip at what I paid..Just over £30.00 sterling…(Probably a fair bit more than it was new in 1958)…..But £30.00 for this or £1500.00 for a Leica? 🙂

  3. depressed, francophile

    it will be quite nice to see what a proper photo looks like!!!
    all the ones i take are proper cos i can’t do photo shop lol


      1. tanya

        yes,just got back and the flintstone b&b was fabulous.
        think a dark room is a good idea,a friend of mine sometimes uses her old camera for special photos and costs a fortune for processing.

  4. suej

    Blimey, film! I still have my film cameras but haven’t got the energy to do D&P anymore, and if I paid to get it done? Far too much pocket money… Well done for going that route, you brave person… 😉


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      If you use C41 black and white you can get a 36 exp film developed and scanned to CD disk for around £8.00 in the UK so I’m going that route in the short term..If it works out, I’ve still got some old dev tanks and I might even go that far…But energy is a factor isn’t it?


      1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

        I’ve got a Durst B&W enlarger as well…..But, thank the heavens, I haven’t a clue where!!
        Loft/garage/shed/cellar?….I really hope it doesn’t come to that, and my retro leanings get curtailed at scanning the negs….If I start blacking out the bathroom and setting up an enlarger over the bath,(which is what I did back in the 70’s), I reckon Mrs Shpics, who is very much a child of the digital age, will have my guts for garters.
        Fingers crossed.

      2. suej

        Hope your recall stays mute on that one, then… And last time I did any serious photography with smelly chemicals was early 1980s – no wish to go back there!

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Thinking back to my last foray into developing I remember a lot of bloody awful Christmases !!
      Ha ha..
      (You can’t beat a bit of healthy pessimism).
      But you’re right, when film is right, it really is the dog’s bollocks!
      (OK, so I’m paraphrasing but you know what I mean).


      1. sculpturallandscapes

        I shoot digital, but for a pure representation of what the photographer see’s nothing beats film. There is no where to hide! Photoshop is a great tool but I myself never use it for fear of loosing that personal connection between artist and subject (This is not to say it’s right or wrong, and some results are stunning I’m just rubbish at it!!! )

      2. Stuart Hyde - shpics

        There’s no denying, Photoshop can ‘muddy the waters’, It CAN make an average shot into something better..In photoshop an average shot CAN become a striking image…But it will never turn an average shot into a great shot and a great shot probably doesn’t need Photoshop…
        Whatever happens with my B&W film experiments with this ‘New’ machine, AND my digital shoots using my Nikon DSLR, if I ever do get a great shot, (and I’m still living in hope :-)), I guarantee, it wont be because of photoshop…..much as I love it!

  5. ehpem

    Hi Stuart – thanks for stopping by and commenting on my very similar post about my “new” Olympus Pen. This really is so much fun, breathing life into these 50-60 year old small cameras.
    I had not heard of the Werra, or at least not in memory, so to see this and look a bit more into it as well, is a real treat. This is a fantastic camera, you are going to have a lot of fun with it. And won’t be nearly as limited in film speed choices or shooting conditions as I am going to be with my Pen (and its partly functional shutter with only 2 working speeds).


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      The Pen was another camera I’d been checking out examples of on Ebay so your post really struck a chord…
      And you’re so right…I don’t think I’ve been quite so excited about the prospect of shooting something,(anything), for quite some time…


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      $2.22 !!??!!!
      I could easily hate you….. 🙂
      There is an RB67 on my shopping list…(Truth be told it’s been on the list for quite a while but the day is getting closer)…
      In 35 years of taking pictures I have NEVER used medium format of any description….
      I need to get my arse into gear!


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      That little camera in the back pocket can be all you need for even THE MOST exceptional of shots….
      All the gear in the world will never make a photographer…It can help but its only a tool…..Give a man a gold plated, multi headed, soft grip, adjustable chisel, and he’s still not (necessarily), going to be Michelangelo..
      Here’s hoping both of us get some results with just that one pocketful of camera…


  6. BagspackedI'moff

    Having spent the day trying to pack the camera bag for the next trip I am now incredibly jealous. No stuff to carry, no decisons on what lens to use, being forced to really think about each shot (no unlimited number). Plus it looks really cool! Love old cameras……
    Hmmm still have a couple of days before I leave: when does that camera shop open??? 🙂


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      It’s tempting isn’t it….
      But, between you and me, on two occasions now I’ve found myself carrying my dslr AND this little beast, AND a light meter…..Not really my desired intention!!!
      I’m my own worst enemy!!


      1. BagspackedI'moff

        Aha the truth is out. There was me thinking you were swanning around town with only your new cool toy, whipping it out at every oppportunity (steady:-)) and not lugging anything else around 🙂 Although I too would find it hard to drop the habit of taking the dslr as well!!

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