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  1. #1

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    Practika MTL5 lightmeter

    Hi guys

    I recently purchased a Practika MTL5 and I am really anxious to start shooting!
    Today I went to a retro camera specialist and got a battery for the lightmeter. The storeowner told me to adjust the iso a little bit, because the battery that was used in this camera is no longer available, and the new one that is now put in the camera has more power so the lightmeter may be off a bit.

    But when I use the lightmeter on broad daylight, with a 400 TX kodak film and iso set to a little under 400, and my F on 1.8 .... I would expect that the lightmeter would go pretty high above the middle bar. But it hardly does.. in fact, when I try to use the camera indoors.. I hardly get enough light according to the lightmeter..

    oh, the shutterspeed is set to 30.

    Can anyone tell me if the lightmeter is off or that the camera has difficulty getting enough light?

  2. #2
    Prest_400's Avatar
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    I think that meter must be off. Camera shouldn't have problems getting light, just the meter.

    Perhaps there's something corroded. A rusty cable or contact can be a problem, with their reduced capacity. At worst it might be a problem of the meter cells.

    A low tech test for meters that I perform on my OM-1 is pointing the camera at a completely blue sky of noon, and see if it isn't way off the sunny 16 rule. As you describe it, it isn't just a little bit off, it's completely out of calibration.

  3. #3

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    My very first camera was an MTL5, and there are a couple of quirks in mine that you may also experience:
    Be sure to hold the meter switch down for a second or so. Mine doesn't always respond quickly.
    I generally set my film speed down to 320 for Tri-X. On 400 speed b/w and c-41 they come out just peachy.
    Be sure to get in there and give your contacts a good cleaning. These are 50 year old cameras made in communist factories by workers who were probably less than motivated.
    If you ever wanted to do a film speed test matching a single filmstock to a single camera & meter, this would be a dandy reason to do it.

  4. #4

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    If you do not want to fiddle with the battery issue look up the CHRIS adaptors and see if there is one for the meter. If the meter took originally the 625 battery then the adaptor is the MR9. I have several of them for my camera and meters and they are an answer to the problem and work great.

  5. #5

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    You've got a very nice camera there if you get it working again. As zenrhino said, it's probably the battery contacts. Give them a thorough cleaning and see what happens.
    The battery is only needed for the light meter, everything else is completely mechanical. You could still use it and guess exposure, if the meter is broken.

    I'm not sure, but I think the MTL 5 already has a bridge circuit that adjusts the voltage for the metering circuit, so you don't need the banned mercury cells or special hearing aid batteries.
    I had a LTL 3 (which was an earlier model than the MTL) and used a regular 1,5V LR44 cell with some aluminium foil... somewhat higher voltage, but it worked alright at least for negative films where wrong exposure doesn't matter that much. Even if it doesn't work with your camera, it won't fry the metering circuit, so try it.

    Also it's Praktica, not Practika

  6. #6

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    No need to adjust anything on MTL5...I have a common LR44 in mine and it works flawless...
    I think your meter is gone...try cleaning contacts...if it doesn't work you may either
    1) Buy an external lightmeter
    2) Learn the "sunny 16" rule...

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaimiephotography View Post
    Hi guys

    I recently purchased a Practika MTL5 and I am really anxious to start shooting!
    Today I went to a retro camera specialist and got a battery for the lightmeter. The storeowner told me to adjust the iso a little bit, because the battery that was used in this camera is no longer available, and the new one that is now put in the camera has more power so the lightmeter may be off a bit.

    But when I use the lightmeter on broad daylight, with a 400 TX kodak film and iso set to a little under 400, and my F on 1.8 .... I would expect that the lightmeter would go pretty high above the middle bar. But it hardly does.. in fact, when I try to use the camera indoors.. I hardly get enough light according to the lightmeter..

    oh, the shutterspeed is set to 30.

    Can anyone tell me if the lightmeter is off or that the camera has difficulty getting enough light?
    The proper mercury batteries provide a consistent voltage to the end of their life, but the modern replacements gradually loose voltage. It generally starts off too high then reduces over time and the meter readings are correct for only a short time. Check out what appropriate replacements are available and work from there.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by chorleyjeff View Post
    The proper mercury batteries provide a consistent voltage to the end of their life, but the modern replacements gradually loose voltage. It generally starts off too high then reduces over time and the meter readings are correct for only a short time. Check out what appropriate replacements are available and work from there.
    ...unless the camera has a bridge circuit to equalize a different voltage, which this one has (I conclude that from lorenzo1910's reply). I have to admit that I don't know exactly how it works, but my similar LTL3 had very accurate readings for more than a year with one LR44. Maybe it'll become inaccurate after some more time, but with a battery that costs a few cents, that shouldn't be a problem. The only real replacement would be a WeinCell, but since it's zinc-air, it won't last nearly as long and is much more expensive.



 

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