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  1. #1

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    Praktica L - a couple of questions

    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. #2

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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. #3
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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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. #4
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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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.
    Using film since before it was hip.


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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by elekm View Post
    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.
    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. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    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
    Thanks for the advice.

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

  7. #7
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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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. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington View Post
    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!
    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. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey View Post
    I'd love an OM-1, but most of them have been abused by pros for the last 20 years.
    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. #10

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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....
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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