Close up of my (defunct) Praktica MTL5

I have been so enamored with my Pentax Spotmatic that I wanted to try another M42 mount camera.

The M42 mount is often called either the Pentax screw mount or the Praktica screw mount for the two cameras that arguably had the most success with it. Naturally it was my inclination to try out a Pentacon Praktica next.

I picked up two “as-is” Prakticas off eBay for about ten dollars just to check them out: a basic LB2 with a non-coupled selenium cell meter and a more advanced MTL5 with TTL metering.

I was really happy when I put a battery into the MTL5 and loaded it up with everything seeming to work just fine. However in a mere 15 exposures or so the film advance and mirror froze preventing me from shooting any further.

I loaded up the LB2 as well, but right from the start it’s film advance feels very rough and forced.

I can’t fault two “as-is” cameras for not working terribly well. However I have to say that both Prakticas have a very light and cheap feel to them, nothing as serious as my Spotmatic.

In fact they remind me of one of my other lower-quality vintage cameras which also happened to have its advance freeze on me…

The Prakticas also have the most annoying shutter release positioning I have ever experienced: It is placed angled forward sticking out of the front of the camera. It can be painful to use, especially with my middle finger getting wedged between the self-timer and lens.

The net result is I do not feel inclined to get another Praktica… I think I simply need a second Spotmatic for a backup body!

Written by Bubble Level

Jamie Zucek lives in California and enjoys film and digital photography, collecting and shooting vintage and modern cameras whenever he can.

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