This is another of those cameras where, if I fix it I can keep it. I was given a box of two Practika cameras. Both had issues, but this one’s light meter worked so I decided to use the other to fix this. One good one out of two faulty ones.
This example only had a minor issue, the rewind lever was broken. It was loose and wasn’t strong enough to rewind the film. So I took the good one from the other camera and voila, this one was fixed. The asa selector was also a bit loose, but it stayed in place. Plus, a bit of tape could keep that more secure if really didn’t trust it. Neither camera had a battery compartment lock, but that didn’t matter. The battery stayed in the slot and the door stayed closed without the lock.
The box had a selection of lenses in it, I decided to use the Pentacon f2.4 50mm, a pancake lens. It made the whole ensemble light, practical and easy to hold with one hand. A practical Practika.
Actually, I quite like Prakticas, this one is pretty much like the BCA in looks but with more manual options. In the viewfinder there is a judas window and a light scale showing the speed value chosen by the TTL meter. There is an exposure lock button on the left of the viewfinder. The button also acts as a battery check. Most of the time I would take a reading and then switch to a manual setting to avoid having to press this when the light conditions hadn’t changed. On the back of the camera is a film box slot, I think all SLRs should have those.
I loaded mine with a roll of Agfa APX400 and took it on holiday to the Cotswolds. Once it was completed I developed it in Pyro 510 after switching from my regular developer. My previous developer of choice became exhausted very quickly. I was tired of that happening, basically without notice until you lose a film. So I switch to Rodinal and now Pyro 510 which is supposed to last for years.
I really liked the developer, it was easy to use if you follow the instructions. The film is nice and contrasty, just as I like it. Oh and the photo of the cross hatched window is where the first ever negative was created.
As for this camera, I love it. It worked in manual and automatic with a reliable TTL meter. It has a great top speed and plenty of cheap lenses available that are easy to fix or clean. The skin isn’t the sticky kind so if you find one with it still attached, it will feel nice. The only issue is the battery it takes a single 4LR44, but some people use 4 x LR44 with some success.
Best of all, this camera can still be found for cheap on the bay, with a top speed of 1/1000th it is a bargain.
What about the donor camera? Well, I sold that for £1 on eBay. I attached a dirty zoom lens from the box to act as a body cover. Someone bought it. About a week after I posted it I received a message saying they had fixed the camera and cleaned the lens. Apparently they cleaned the contacts and electrical points and it worked fine after that. So they got a real bargain and I am happy another camera is brought back to life.