Praktica Film Cameras
The Praktica range of 35mm SLR cameras originated from Germany in the 1960s. It was a simple, easy to use and relatively cheap yet robust camera for amateur photographers. The most popular models were the MTL range with a chrome and black leather exterior. Whilst heavier than other models available, it had a centre-weighted metre and reliable manual operation. The MTL 50 was the last version of the model to be released in the 1980s and is still in use today.
For students learning about photography, a Praktica camera is a fully manual design that is sturdy, reliable and easy to use.
Features of the Praktica MTL camera
The Praktica MTL range of cameras didn't come with many features. The screw-mount SLR camera has a manual shutter speed of up to 1/1000th of a second, a flash sync of 1/125th of a second and metering to ISO 1600. Being a screw-mount model, different lenses can be used, such as the Zeiss Jena 50mm lens, the M42 lens, a Meyer Optic Orestor 100/2.8, a Flektogon 35/2.4, or a Pentacon Auto 50mm lens. The metering match need was replaced with LED lights to show over- or under-exposure on later MTL models. The centre-weighted metering works well in the majority of conditions and the shutter button is located at the front of the camera, rather than on the top.
The film loading system ensures a 35mm film is safely loaded by using two wires that hold down the film as it is wound onto the take-up spool in the film chamber. The camera's battery is flat PX625 cell that is located in a chamber on the base.
The metal shutter on a Praktica camera is noisy and photos can't be taken quietly. However, it is very reliable and rarely develops a fault.
Being a manual camera, you will need to set the film speed via a dial on the top, adjust the focus, set the exposure and once a photo has been taken, wind on the film via a lever. Whilst the Praktica camera has a self-timer, it can get jammed if not used regularly.
The viewfinder does not allow you to view the picture until the shutter has been set. Once the picture has been taken, it will disappear from the viewfinder. Also the viewfinder on the older models is located in the top plate of the camera so it was not possible to hold the device up to your eye. Later models featured a top mounted viewfinder with an instant return mirror, allowing the image to be viewed prior to depressing the shutter.