Main -> Photography -> Classic Cameras -> SLR -> Praktica MTL-5B [sitemap]

Created 6 June 2001 ... Updated 25 September 2005

Praktica MTL-5B
When looking for a simple manual camera I, of course, came across the Praktica. Made during the 1980s it's a very basic M42 camera but it's built like a Russian tank: very crude but very reliable. Unfortunaly that cannot be said of the M42 lenses, many of them cannot be used anymore because of a stuck aperture system. The spring was simply not strong enough to keep it's tension over the years. Ah well, they're cheap to replace and there are many working lenses, just keep looking...

This little camera is great for hikes, when size and weight are an issue. On a hike, a few years ago, I took with me my two Canon EOS 600s, three lenses, the Yashica D TLR and of course plenty of film. Apart from that I carried food for 5 days, a tent, cooking equipment and spare clothes. I was way too heavy and hiking became a pain. The scenery were nice and some very nice pictures where taken back out but it would have been nicer to have carried only half the weight.

The Praktica would have been perfect for that, all mechanical, no autofocus lenses and therefore not needing so much space and weight and above all: very inexpensive. When something breaks it's easily replaced. Did use the camera later on some smaller hikes and it's great for snapshots.

The Carl Zeiss (Jena) and Pentacon lenses are sufficiently sharp when stopped down. The only thing is to make sure to hold the camera very steady, a tripod would be perfect or else make sure to use a natural support or a high enough shutter speed. The mirror-slap is considerable, especially compared to the more modern systems.
Praktica MTL5b

Type  :  Mirror Reflex, 35mm SLR
Manufactured  :  early 1980s
Lens  :  all auto/manual M42 lenses will fit
Shutter  :  Bulb, 1 - 1/1000 secs
Film Speed  :  ISO 12 - 1600 setting for light meter. Any speed will work.
Winding  :  manual
Film Type  :  135 rollfilm (35mm)
Negative Size  :  24 x 36 mm
Material  :  body plastic with metal details
Made in  :  Eastern Germany
Praktica MTL5b

links Praktica web links
links Mike's Praktica collection
links Historic information about the cameras, the factories and the advertising.

links Andrey's Photographic pages
links Praktica model history and information about other M42 cameras.

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997 - 2005

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