This camera is a typical Praktica, heavy, sturdy, with no settings, just a reliable camera, except my example had a few issues. The light meter didn’t work, the counter didn’t work and the skin simply fell off. So to make up for the issues, I recovered it in a funky print and attached a Helios 44M-4 just like my friend at 35mm Retro Photo.
The reskinning was easy. The original pieces fell off in one piece so I could use them as a template.
Here is the final version.
It has a top speed of 1/1000th and accepts any asa of film…’cause my lightmeter is broken 🙂 But usually, it takes 12-1600asa, twelve is pretty low I am not sure I have seen many cameras that go below 25asa.
I loaded my example with Ilford HP5 and took it for a walk around my local nature reserve. Then once I was sure it worked I took it on holiday to the south of England. I chose this camera for my holiday friend as it now no longer needed batteries and I was camping. I wanted to pack as lightly as possible…so I took a heavy camera, but hey, it didn’t need the extra few ounces for batteries.
The only thing I noticed while using it, the metering key could be obstructed by your finger while pressing the shutter button. I could feel it jiggle when the shutter activated. With my meter not working my button really acted as a depth of field preview as it stopped down the aperture, but didn’t give me a reading.
Inside the viewfinder were a metering needle and a triangle which pops out when the shutter has been fired. The triangle goes away when the camera is cocked and ready to go again.
Here are most of my results from that first roll.
That small door next to the slightly taller than the average man is Axbridge. It has to be the cutest, coolest street I have ever walked down. The final photo was taken as I entered Yorkshire Sculpture Park, I posted some more photos from this trip here. I had no idea how many photos were left on the film. It turned out there was one.
So at that point, I reloaded the camera with an expired Solaris 200 which I shot at 50asa. I got the film at the Analogue Spotlight event where I asked the Analogue Wonderland stand staff for something that I might not have tried before, they suggested this film. It was a good buy, a little expensive for 18 shots, but look at these colours.
The Damien Hirst Unicorn photo with the sun at the top of the “corn” was a tricky shot. I could not really see through the viewfinder as I was dazzled, so I was delighted that the shot came out as I wanted.
My experience with this camera was weird, it didn’t entirely work but I liked it. I didn’t like the last Yashica I tried which was fine, but this beaten-up camera, I liked. I especially liked the new skin 🙂
So, if you are looking for a very cheap camera to attach a Helios to, then this is it. It does exactly what it says on the tin.