Praktica LTL

I tried this camera out before I left for my holiday in Japan. It is the last in my draft box, then I am up to date 🙂

This should have been a post about a very different camera. At the vintage fair I attended I was given my first ever Miranda camera to try, but unfortunately the battery compartment was welded shut by corroded batteries. Never mind, I could use the M42 lens on another camera so I bought a Praktica LTL body as they were very cheap. On went the lens…it was broken too, bugger. So now I had a body and no lens. 😦

Off I trotted to West Yorkshire Cameras in Leeds to buy a lens from their junk pile. I just wanted a light, cheap one. There was a 35mm or lots of 200mm. And here is the final version, nothing left from or like the original I started with. Not a Miranda, but a heavy tank like Praktica.

To top off all the issues I have had, the meter on this example doesn’t work either due to a little more corrosion. TAKE YOUR BATTERIES OUT PEOPLE!

Luckily this camera from the early 1970s works without batteries. You can find all the technical details you might like here or even here. This camera would normally use stop down metering, but without the meter working that is a moot point for this example. Interestingly the lens I bought has a stop down dial on the front. You set the aperture you want and then use that dial to open the aperture to focus, then move the dial back to the required one. Or that is what I used it for anyway. The viewfinder was incredibly dark when set at a small aperture, so opening it up and allowing more light in made focusing much easier. Even so I still found it tricky due to the microprism focusing screen, I much prefer a split screen. Another quirk of this camera is the placement of the shutter button, right on the front panel, not on the top. For me that meant I had to remove my finger from the shutter every time I wound on the film. It didn’t make for a quick process. Combine that with the focusing issue and I didn’t find using this camera pleasant. I put in some film and tried to get to like it, tried to get through the film which usually isn’t an issue for me

In the middle of it all I read this post about a Zenit and I remembered my very first camera, a Zenit 11. I bet that camera is still working, but for someone else. I started to look on eBay for a new to me Zenit 11 (I got one). Reminiscing made me gain a new appreciation for this camera. Yes it is boxy, yes it is heavy, but even with the age and damage it is still working. It is a work horse of the GDR. Really it is very similar to the Zenit 11 in terms of looks, size, weight, and lens choices. So on a rainy day I picked up the Praktica again and finished the film around my house. It wasn’t easy as the weather made the insides dark too and the only lens I had went down to a pathetic f3.5 and the film inside was a Fomapan 100 which I had not been pushing.

Here are the results.

Well, would you look at that. They actually have a nice feel to them. It seems the junk lens and damaged body worked well together. If you want a camera to take on holiday that would work under most conditions, didn’t need batteries and could act as a weapon in the face of danger this might be the perfect choice. It could save your life and still be ok to take photos after. Plus they are so damn cheap it wouldn’t matter if it dropped down a ravine in the process.

I am not quite sure what to do with this camera. I probably won’t use it ever again. Maybe I will try it with another lens if I get one sometime….oh, the one on the Zenit 11 that has just arrived.

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