Curious about PRAKTICA MTL3

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PGraham3

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Howdy, APUG! I’ve never used an East German camera before and i’ve been eyeing a PRAKTICA MTL3 for quite awhile. I’m curious, would any of you be willing to offer their sincere opinion/recommendation about it?

Also, there are various available 50mm m42 lenses for it, such as the Domiplan, Carl Zeiss Tessar, Flektogon, Pentacon, etc. Which one do y’all think is the sharpest, or in your opinion, the coolest lens?
Thanks a bunch!
-Paul
 

Dali

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These are very capable cameras with a very convenient shutter release button but also a quite loud shutter.

For M42 lenses, I would stick with the 1.8/50mm Pentacon / Meyer Oreston lens. Construction is OK but you can find lenses better built like Mamiya Sekor or Fujica M42 series.
 

R.Gould

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They were great cameras and should have cost a lot more than they did, East germany needed foreign currency and sold practicas for cost price or less, , they were advanced for there time check it is working correctly and if it is then grab it, as far as the lenses are concerned they are all pretty good, the only 2 I have and use on various cameras from the 40's/50's are the Tessar, stopped down a stop or so very shard, and the Flektogon, which I use on my Werra's, very sharp indeed, they are all older design lenses, and all shoud be sharp, The domiplan was used on Exacta cameras with no complaints, and the Pentagon was made by Carl Zeiss for the Praktica, Carl Zeiss, I need not say more, one of the best lens makers around making lenses for many top rated cameras today
 

gorbas

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Praktica PLC-3 was my first SLR in 1978. Carl Zeiss Jena lenses, Flektagon's 2.8/20 and 2.4/35; Pancolar 1.8/50 and Sonnar 3.5/135 were optically absolutely superb, not much mechanically, but quite usable. With current prices of Pentax screw mount cameras I will not bother at all with Praktica. Pentax Spotmatic's were jewels of mechanical engineering and productions, Praktica's were not.
 

Ap507b

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Don't have a 3 but have a 5. Bought it off ebay for £10 a few years ago as I wanted to use some M42 lenses that had been gathering dust for many years. Pleased to find out that it has a bridge circuit so the meter can be run off a modern battery in place of the no longer available mercury one it was designed for. Something an OM1 lacks. Shutter button is in an odd but very comfortable to use place. A bit heavy and not the best camera by any means but it's capable of good results & a bargain for what I paid for it.
 
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PGraham3

PGraham3

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Very cool. Yeah, prices for these are very reasonable and it seems worth a shot to take one for a spin. Thanks for commenting!

@Ap507b
What is this “bridge circuit” you speak of?
Yeah, one of the pitfalls of this camera is that it needs a mercury battery for the meter to function. While it can easily shoot without a battery, I’m curious, could I install a LR44 and somehow calculate the +/- 1.3v to 1.5v after a trial run? Is this what you mean by “bridge circuit”?
Or use a Wein Cell?

Thanks!
-Paul
 

GRHazelton

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Very cool. Yeah, prices for these are very reasonable and it seems worth a shot to take one for a spin. Thanks for commenting!

@Ap507b
What is this “bridge circuit” you speak of?
Yeah, one of the pitfalls of this camera is that it needs a mercury battery for the meter to function. While it can easily shoot without a battery, I’m curious, could I install a LR44 and somehow calculate the +/- 1.3v to 1.5v after a trial run? Is this what you mean by “bridge circuit”?
Or use a Wein Cell?

Thanks!
-Paul
A bridge circuit is virtually immune to the voltage of the cell. I'd suggest whatever silver oxide cell will fit; all will be well. Don't worry about compensating for the voltage difference.

I have an LTL marketed by Hanimex. The 1.8 50 mm is/was excellent, it needs a CLA. The body has survived many years of hard use, including bouncing off the sidewalk! The shutter sounds right even now. The stopdown metering is the best implementation I've found, including the Pentax Spotmatic series. BTW I own a Spotmatic F. The LTL is loud, however...if that bothers you. For a workhorse camera it is the way to go.
 

hsandler

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I briefly had an LTL and then an LTL3, which I think are similar to the MTL. The angled shutter release is kind of cool, though my finger kept instinctively going for the top plate. The Pentacon normal lens was OK; the Domiplan normal lens on the soft side and only f2.8. The main downside was that I found the viewfinders very dim compared to Nikon or Pentax.
 

Alan Johnson

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https://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Praktica-MTL3-35mm-Film-Camera
They were very popular in the UK because they cost a lot less than the Japanese competition.
Meyer Optik and East German Carl Zeiss lens manufacturers were absorbed into VEB Pentacon and in some cases the same lenses, eg Lydith, Oreston, were rebranded Pentacon.. I agree, the sharpest of them were as outlined above.
 

Vw1302

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I have 5-6 of them, MTL5 was one of my first analog cameras... good way how to start shooting.. lenses are really good.. now whenever I want to shoot small format, I prefer Pentax..
 

Neil Grant

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Howdy, APUG! I’ve never used an East German camera before and i’ve been eyeing a PRAKTICA MTL3 for quite awhile. I’m curious, would any of you be willing to offer their sincere opinion/recommendation about it?

Also, there are various available 50mm m42 lenses for it, such as the Domiplan, Carl Zeiss Tessar, Flektogon, Pentacon, etc. Which one do y’all think is the sharpest, or in your opinion, the coolest lens?
Thanks a bunch!
-Paul
...one of the best reasons for getting an m42 camera is the vintage glass. Zeiss lenses like the Flektogon 35mm f/2.4 and the Sonnar 135mm f/3.5 are terrific - and both focus really close - opening up creative possibilities. The Domiplan 50mm can be sharp, but only after f/5.6 - but what do you expect? it's only a triplet. Use it carefully to experience how the out of focus planes 'fall apart'. Fun lens but variable in QC and prone to oily diaphragm. Not too tricky to repair diy as there are so few parts. The Meyer Optik Lydith 30mm is fun too - 'poke it in close' and the backgrounds just 'give up'. All are getting pricey except the Domiplan. Check out the Helios 58mm f/2 - the 44-3 is multicoated and has a nice 8-bladed iris. Not so keen on the Prakticas though - feel cheap and frail. My current favourite m42 is the Chinon CE Memotron - even better than my foundling M1. Both much better construction. CE does aperture priority and that's good with preset lenses. If you're into macro, the Takumar 50mm f/4 is a gem - mechanically a league above the 'Eastern Bloc' lenses - simply hold a Pentax is what they said in the adverts. You'll know why when you do.
 

barzune

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I happened upon a fairly un-used MTL5 at a yard sale, maybe 15 years ago, and bought it ($35 ) with 3 or 4 extra lenses (Domiplan, etc) to use as a backup for my Spotmatic.

While this M42 set, with Takumar and Commie lenses, is used only sporadically ( maybe once a year, for a couple of weeks, 20-or-so rolls),
it has never let me down and is my choice for wet/damp weather locations or times. I actually am more comfortable with the Praktica for hiking, where the more robust
feel ( and sound ) seem more confident???, and I use the Pentax when people are around. Neither of these cameras have ever let me down in any way, and neither has had the
care or maintenance that are normally discussed and recommended on these forums.

They, along with all my other cameras, live on bookshelves, and get a dusting and wipe-down once before, and once after each outing.

Like all my tools, if they do what they are supposed to, and feel good in my hands, I use them; if not, I give them away.
 

AgX

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One disadvantage of many Praktica L-series models I find is the self-release lever. It sits where my finger tops are and has sharp edges.
One could modify it, buy a model without it, or... take it off.
 

Sewin

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Nothing wrong with Prakticas. My favourites are the L and L2 fully manual versions.
Regarding lenses I'd steer clear of the Domiplan.
 

railwayman3

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I have never owned a Praktica myself, but several friends in the my then Photo Club, back in the day, used them regularly and satisfactorily, with no apparent problems. They spoke well of the Zeiss and Meyer lenses, particularly the wide-angle and telephoto ones.
 

John51

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I had a MTLx back in the 70s. Solid but utilitarian. Of all the dirt cheap cameras you can bid on, the MTL gives you the most chance of receiving a fully working camera. There is a price to pay though. It's LOUD and tbh, it's not much fun. Think Land Rover that doesn't break down. Uncomfortable but will get you where you are going.

It's sort of the 620 version of M42 cameras. Usually in good condition because people never shot much film with it because boring. [Cue anecdotes from people that wore out their Praktica. I wore out a Halina Paulette.]

It's your spare camera. Buy it and use it while looking for your bargain non Soviet M42 camera. When your best camera turns up (at the right price) the Praktica will live in a drawer waiting for your favourite camera to die.

fwir, there isn't a single M42 lens you can buy that isn't better than some other M42 lens in some way or other. The Helios 44 is kinda a must have. No point having an M42 camera if you don't have swirly bokeh pics to show off. For some reason, the Helios 44m-7 is considered cool because of extra resolution plus the ability of certain crafty people to fake it but push into shove, the extra resolution doesn't compete with 1st World extra resolution.
 

Helios 1984

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Nothing wrong with Prakticas. My favourites are the L and L2 fully manual versions.
Regarding lenses I'd steer clear of the Domiplan.

Let's dance a Mamushka!


I had a MTLx back in the 70s. Solid but utilitarian. Of all the dirt cheap cameras you can bid on, the MTL gives you the most chance of receiving a fully working camera. There is a price to pay though. It's LOUD and tbh, it's not much fun. Think Land Rover that doesn't break down. Uncomfortable but will get you where you are going.

+1

They are less complex than others, but require less maintenance, and their vertical shutter is very reliable.

Howdy, APUG! I’ve never used an East German camera before and i’ve been eyeing a PRAKTICA MTL3 for quite awhile. I’m curious, would any of you be willing to offer their sincere opinion/recommendation about it?

Also, there are various available 50mm m42 lenses for it, such as the Domiplan, Carl Zeiss Tessar, Flektogon, Pentacon, etc. Which one do y’all think is the sharpest, or in your opinion, the coolest lens?
Thanks a bunch!
-Paul

The CZJ Tessar 50mm f/2.8 is one of my favorite lenses, it's compact, sharp, and I just love the look it gives.
 
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