Praktica Appreciation Thread

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Sewin, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. Helios 1984

    Helios 1984 Subscriber

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    I just had a weird vision of Prakticas lying on the ground to trap bears. :D
     
  2. Agulliver

    Agulliver Member
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    I'm happy to report that I caused a few heads to turn at a charity burlesque show last weekend, shooting HP5+ and Kodak Max400 in two Praktica BX20X bodies. I was assuredly the only person shooting film, and obtained some unique images.

    I don't know if it was the BX20S or my giant Kiev 6C which turned the head of a fellow photographer in Oxford a week ago....she had a lovely pink Hasselblad over her shoulder.

    I've got to say....25 years and several attempts to convert me to Nikon....and I still use the BX20S more than any other film body. I think my MTL5 may be calling me from it's resting place in the garage, though...
     
  3. blockend

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    Proving yet again that familiarity is worth more than most camera attributes.
     
  4. Theo Sulphate

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    Nice photos. As for architecture, I like those three buildings in the distance which form a pyramid.

    It seems so appropriate to be using a Praktica in eastern Europe.

    BTW, my paternal grandfather was born in Perlez, Serbia, before travelling to Hungary.
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The L-family model EE from 1977 was the first Practica with autoexposure, electronically controlled. The manually set shutter speeds were electronically controlled too, but their setting only stretched from 1/30-1/1000.
    Why no longer shutter speeds? Pennysaving for some more resistors? No space for more resitors?
    The AE range went from 1s-1/1000.

    Well, the much earlier Nova model Electronic from 1968 had already electronically controlled shutter speeds. World Premier. Ranging from 30s -1/1000, in 15 steps!


    To be fair, the L family model EE2 got a manual, electronically controlled shutter speed range from 1s-1/1000.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  6. John51

    John51 Member

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    I've just been given a BX20S system with a faulty shutter. Fitted a new battery, it appears to cock and fire but the shutter lets in no light. I like the viewfinder and focusing better than my OM1n. Came with a 28mm prime and 2 macro zooms covering 35mm to 210mm. Cool, I'll get another body for it. Got a cheap BX20 body that allegedly worked and it does. Sometimes. Feels like the shutter is cocked but pressing the button does nothing but sometimes it does fire. Sometimes I can wind until a hard stop. Then I know that it will fire but sometimes the winder refuses to come to a hard stop but will fire anyway.

    Are either of these cheap fixes?
     
  7. oreston

    oreston Member

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    Really? I thought the VLC models had the same mechanically timed shutter as the L, LTL, MTL etc. I've never really liked the idea of a camera with an electronically controlled shutter but without an AE mode (the Praktica BMS is one such). It seems to defeat the object of utilising electronics. The camera is battery dependant for manual exposure while possessing no particular advantage over one with a mechanical shutter.
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    You are perfectly right. I mixed up models, it was the EE2. I corrected my posting above


    A electronic shutter yields a greater range of shutter speeds than a mechanical shutter. Plus it is more dependable. The mechanical shutters I got that have issues especially at slower speeds plus a temperature dependability are many. In hindsight I do not see the today here at Apug often brought up criticism of battery dependance in the discussions in Germany back then. Even electronically controlled Compur shutters came up.
     
  9. nusproizvodjac

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    Thank you! Sorry for the late reply, been a little preocupied. You should really visit Vojvodina, and Serbia in general if you ever have a chance, beautiful scenery and a land of truly rich albeit turbulent history.
    The three buildings really fascinate me for some reason, and they are only a 5 minute walk from my apartment. I really love taking photos of them from different angles.
    Zenit was really considered an amateur camera, whereas Praktica was thought to be more advanced amateur oriented (and it was in all truth far more advanced than Zenit). My dad's first camera was a Zenit EM, but he longed for a VLC3. Unfortunately it was out of a student's budget.
    Anyhoo, here's another photo of those buildings (they are called Rudo (birthplace of the architect), or The Eastern City Gate):
    [​IMG]
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I guess no one ever thought the Zenit to be designed as anything else than an amateur camera. The Praktika was designed as something inbetween. The Praktina was given up when maybe it had best chance to be successful in a new dress. And actually 10 years later it was revived in a way, but too late. All the time the Praktica had to be kind of substitute. And with the VLCs some attempt for more professionalism was done.
     
  11. nusproizvodjac

    nusproizvodjac Member
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    You forgot about the Smena 8. :D
    That was the ultimate broke-as-hell student's camera. It's really abundant here. Truth be told Zenit is, no matter how bad, ages ahead of Smena.
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Well, I got Smenas and my favourite is the Smena SL, a fine finder and that register. Ahead of its western counterparts.
     
  13. OP
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    Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    (Nice to see this thread is still going)

    That was the opinion in the UK of the Zenit way back in the early 70's, the Zenit was an amateur camera not really worth considering.

    I do remember one camera shop selling out of E's as soon as they arrived though. They were heavily advertised in the UK photo mags.
    I still use a Zenit B and TTL with Helios lenses. I quite like the "semi agricultural" feel of them.
    The TTL is certainly a heavy solid lump, the one I have is in very good condition with an accurate meter i.e a T.O.E. checked model.

    Going back to Prakticas I stupidly sold my B100, B200 plus lenses a couple of year ago, wish I'd hung onto them, but still like my L series.
     
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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    For us who got one or two cameras already... acquiring a B-type would mean another mount and a further set of lenses.

    And I never liked the B-models from their look. But back in the 70s I found the L-types not good looking either, especially that oblique release stud. But... meanwhile I turned to like that release button in use and even got accustomed to that pearl-cover.
     
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    Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    I quite liked the look of the B series, my B100 was smooth finish, but the B200 was "hand grenade" finish. But as you say another set of lens is required dedicated to the B series.

    The L series aren't really good lookers,but they perform well. I think the Zenit TTL actually looks better and much more workmanlike.
     
  17. blockend

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    Smena seemed to be the eastern block Halina. Poor build quality but with enough manual control to carve out a photograph.
    Easy to forget cameras were expensive items in the 1960s and 70s. A Zenit was cheaper than a Praktica, and typically half the price of, say a Chinon. Which was about 70% the cost of a "proper" Japanese camera. They were certainly agricultural but not poorly designed, just rather old fashioned and clunky. Non-enthusiasts (that's to say people whose interest was not photography for its own sake) often clung on to theirs for years.

    It would be interesting to know what a Zenit with fine engineering tolerances and good quality control would feel like. Probably like a German SLR of the period.
     
  18. russell_w_b

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    My first SLR was a Praktica MTL3 back in '79: Pentacon 50mm lens. Out of sheer nostalgia I bought one off eBay earlier this year, along with a shed-load of other stuff at a knock-down price, that came with a Carl Zeiss Tessar f2.8 50mm lens. The lens had infinity problems so I looked for aPentacon 50mm f1.8 and the cheapest one I could find came with another Praktica MTL3 attached!

    In the meantime I'd fixed the Carl Zeiss lens so now have TWO Praktica MTL3s: one of which I gave to my daughter as she'd expressed an interest in black-and-white film photography and the MTL3 looks 'cool'... Both cameras work perfectly though the first one - cosmetically better - has a misaligned frame counter and I've to add six onto the number to get a true count. But I can live with that.

    The only thing with the Praktica is you couldn't sneak up on anyone with it... :D I lashed out on a couple of rolls of Fomapan 100 as it seemed right and proper to use Eastern European film in them.

    [​IMG]Drambuie and Water by Russell W Barnes, on Flickr
     
  19. markjwyatt

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    I ended up with a couple of Practikas to mount my Zeiss Ultron 50mm f1,8 on. I got a LTL3 (has a light leak; meter not working) and an MTL5 (works well). I also got Spotmatics and recently a Fuji 605N. I am thinking the MTL5 (and possibly the LTL3 if I get the light leak fixed) and the 605N (if it ends up checking out) will be my main M42 cameras. In the mean time I have picked up a few less interesting M42 lenses.
     
  20. OP
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    Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    That's the good thing about having a collection of M42 lenses . You can try different camera bodies and not be stuck with one manufacturer.
     
  21. railwayman3

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    Forgive me if I've missed something in not reading through all the thread in detail, but where did the "Pentacon"(?) 35mm camera fit into the scheme of things.....I vaguely recall such a camera back in the 1970's(?) which, IIRC, looked something like a Pentax LX, with motor drives, interchangeable finders, long length magazines, and numerous attractive accessories. Looked like it was aimed at serious professionals, I know it was way beyond my means as an impoverished student.....
     
  22. oreston

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    You may be thinking of the Pentacon Super, a quite rare and fairly short-lived (c1968-1972) professional system camera with features somewhat as you describe (although I don't know that it looks that much like an LX). You could regard it as kind of luxury Praktica, but I believe it was conceived as a belated replacement for the Praktina series with the intention of keeping Pentacon in the 35mm professional market.

    As a design it sits slightly to one side of everything else Pentacon ever made. It had an M42 mount featuring open aperture metering with compatible lenses, but used a different means of accomplishing open aperture metering than the one found in the Praktica LLC and VLC series. It had a top shutter speed of 1/2000 (before the Nikon F2 Canon F1 and only a few years after the Leicaflex). The shutter (with unique hybrid cloth and metal curtains) is vertically travelling but is not the same type as the one found in the Praktica L series. It's standard lens is the very special Zeiss Jena Pancolar 55mm f1.4, which I don't think was available separately or supplied with any other camera.

    I'm unsure if the Pentacon Super was ever officially marketed in the West. It was probably an expensive combination of camera and lens back then (and maybe prohibitively so for more than a very few professional photographers in Eastern Europe at the time?) but you'll do very well to score one for less than £1,0000 now.
     
  23. AgX

    AgX Member

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    There are 2 "Pentacon" 35 cameras

    -) the "mirror Contax" was renamed "Pentacon" (1953)

    http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/cam7.jpg
    http://fokus.com.pl/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Pentacon_F_12-700x280.jpg

    -) Pentacon Super (1968)
    the second attempt by Pentacon to market a system SLR (too late introduced)

    http://zeissikonveb.de/____impro/1/onewebmedia/Marco/Kameras/DSC_4191.JPG?etag="1226b0-571f96c3"&sourceContentType=image/jpeg&ignoreAspectRatio&resize=1056+520&quality=85



    And of course there is the MF camera Pentacon Six.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  24. markjwyatt

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    They tend to be older cameras, but the Fuji 605N is n the newer end of the spectrum. Having choices makes a difference- I got an M42 adapter for my Schneider-Kreuznach (non-RF) DKL lenses. It will not screw into Spotmatics all the way, and the lenses cannot be focused, but it does work on the Practikas perfectly. I have not tried the Fuji yet.
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Why would one design such an extraordinary camera and not market it in the West too?

    However on the net I could find no advertisement and only one review in a western, a french, magazine. There an importer is named, but that is the Pentacon importer, which nevertheless could mean that no sample was sold...
     
  26. markjwyatt

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    I believe Practika produced cameras for others which sold in the west, such as Vivitar.
     
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