Praktica L - a couple of questions

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Andrey, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    Preamble: Both of my Canons died at the same time. FTb's mirror doesn't come up and the shutter stays open. A-1's battery died after 3 actuations. The battery is en-route for it from HK. So I was hunting for a screwmount camera.

    I have a couple of questions about this camera.

    I was going to buy the camera, but it was dirty, the tessar's blades got stuck, it was dropped, had two screws missing and then after a couple of actuations the shutter got stuck along with the lever. :rolleyes:

    The guy gave it away for free. Pulling on the pressure plate released the shutter and now it seems to work fine.

    As a body, the body has all I need. 1 sec to 1/1000 shutter speeds and they're seem to have started working reliably. It also doesn't need the batteries.

    Is the viewfinder supposed to be this bad? It's worse than ZENIT I have. I heard they are replaceable and from what I'm seeing is that the focusing screen is the opposite way.

    How hard is it to get to the focusing screen? I want to try mounting it the other way around. When I focus, I can't clearly see the focus point no matter how bright the object is.

    Thanks
     
  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    You can't flip the focusing screen, or the camera won't focus correctly. Flipping the focusing screen will change the plane of focus.

    If you want a good screw mount camera, find a Pentax Spotmatic. There are always a large number of them for sale on eBay at any one time.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Andrey,
    Give the Praktica L as good a cleaning as you can. The focus screen is plastic, so be care how you handle it; but take it out and wash it in distilled water and photo flo or a very mild detergent.
    The Pentaxes are "better" cameras. But I have negs shot with Prakticas, Pentaxes, Nikons, and Oly Oms. over the years and it amazing how similar the actual results are.

    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    If you want a Praktica L body that has been CLA'd (twice...) for very cheap, PM me! I've got the right angle and the magnifying finders as well. It was my first and only camera before I got my Pentax, which I then exchanged for a Nikon. I haven't used it for a while.

    It's a good little camera. The viewfinder is not as good as the Pentax, but not by much. It has all the basics to learn photography, it's reliable, and not too much can go wrong.
     
  5. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    Erm... The reason why I'm thinking of flipping the screen is that I think it's installed incorrectly right now. It seems to have been disassembled by an amateur and probably the same guy assembled it.
     
  6. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    How do I take out the screen? It didn't seem obvious when I looked into the camera.
     
  7. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    For what's it's worth - I would say in this day and age, when amazing high-end cameras only a few years old are available second-hand for peanuts, I can see no reason to bother with a crude dinosaur with a build quality as low as its intended original selling price. Praktikas, Zeniths etc. might seem rugged, but they have horrible vibration levels (wrecking sharpness), very wide assembly tolerances (not good for sharpness either) and fragile wind mechanisms and shutters. Horrible!
     
  8. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    I agree, but for one, it's free.

    Two, I used to live there. Sometimes I want to see just how bad they actually made em.

    Another good thing about amateur stuff like this is that it's not abused. I'd love an OM-1, but most of them have been abused by pros for the last 20 years. But if I get 3 kievs, two of them might die, but one is going to keep clicking for years...
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'd be very surprised if most of the OM-1s have even been touched by a "pro". When the OM-1 appeared, it was a revolution of sorts, and I would be willing to bet that the vast majority were purchased by enthusiastic amateurs, rather than professionals.

    Now if you were asking about things like the true motor drives for the OM, or the bulk backs, or the accessories in the macro photography group, or any of the other specialized lenses or accessories that helped define the OM cameras as a professional level system camera, I might have a different opinion.

    Matt
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    You're going to have to get to the screen by removing the top cover & the various things holding the prism in place. If it's got an internal meter and the needle is visible in the finder you also may have to remove the galvanometer assembly to get the screen out. Oh well....
     
  11. elekm

    elekm Member

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    If the screen had been installed upside during a previous disassembly (not at the factory), it wouldn't focus correctly now. In any case, you'll need to remove the top deck.

    The other cautions still apply regarding handling the focusing screen.
     
  12. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    Arg... I tried removing the top plate. I can't get the shutter selector know off.

    It's easier for me to buy a K1000 with an adaptor... or pentax spotmatic.

    Plus, the batteries arrived from HK and I can use my A-1 again! Yay
     
  13. wenca3

    wenca3 Member

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    Is it possible to get to the screen under home conditions? Or do I need sth. special? I have an old praktica mtl3 and it had a little dirty mirror, I (what an idiot) somehow got the screen dirty and cleaning just so it does't do it. I know that here only the putting the camera appart and assembling it costs almost like a new one. Please help.
     
  14. C A Sugg

    C A Sugg Member

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    You must have gotten the one I finally returned in the late 70's, just short of the end of the 1-year warrantee. I only got perhaps four months use out of it as the rest of the time is was in the shop, vainly trying to get the framing right. The mirror kicked like a mule, with no mass to dampen it. It was so bad that, hand held, I had to shoot at 1/250 sec or higher.
    Unfortunately, I traded it back to the dealer for a Star-D tripod.
     
  15. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    @ Andrey: so you are an Ossie ?! Which town ?
    @ Andrey and Wenca: send me a PM, I will be in Holland in June or July and can give you full instructions how to.....
    Might have even some spare parts somewhere in my dutch home if you need.
    Sorry I don't have all my data with me here in Brazil......

    Peter
     
  16. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    OMG

    Old thread. I gave the camera away for free a year ago when I sold a durst for 40 bucks.