Praktica MTL 5 B – the Results!

First a disclaimer: I do not like the Lomography Lady Grey film! Either made by Foma, Kodak or anyone else. I don’t care. I don’t like it!170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (30)

That being said, it was the only roll I had lying around…. got to buy some film, really. So I loaded it into the Praktica MTL 5 B and went out for a walk. About one hour later I was back, developed and scanned the film and now, after 4 hours (no I did not spend all that time on the film!), I can write this post though I’ll only publish it tomorrow… that’s today, as you read it, but for me it’s still tomorrow….. confusing stuff!

Anyways, That nearly beats digital, hehe. Same day delivery!

Ok now that we have that out of the way, what do I think about the camera? Simple, it works terrifically well. I had my initial problems with the placement of my fingers, but as I said using the middle finger to meter and press the shutter release and the forefinger to change shutter speeds works surprisingly well… once you get the hang of it! But I still fumble a bit.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (11)

The meter is very good, slow to react to light changes and when you stop down to meter, but when it has taken it’s measurements it’s quite spot on. The only badly metered shot on the roll was my fault, I didn’t watch those shadows…

The Camera is loud! Sure, it’s not a street photographer’s tool. Even on a noisy street everyone will look at you as if you fired a gun. Well it’s not that noisy but compared to my Leica IIIa it’s bad.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (7)

So the handling is OK, the meter works fine… what’s not so good about the Praktica MTL 5 B?

Hmmm, not that much. It’s a little bit awkward to hold. The fingers of my right hand are just on the shutter release casing and the self exposure lever which is quite sharp, when I hold it in my hand not shooting. Not a deal breaker but another thing to get used to. I could attach the nice, blue original cloth Praktica neck strap I got with it.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (32)

That’s all! I really like the camera! I like the way that using the DOFP/M (depth-of-field-preview-/-metering) tab to read the light makes me reconsider the shot and carefully adjust it… or decide not to take it. It is in line with my slow, deliberate shooting style.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (3)

I find that I hardly have to crop or level the photos I take with an SLR as opposed to a rangefinder. With rangefinders I get very often a crooked horizon…. perhaps after all they are not for me? We’ll see…170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (36)

Let’s talk a bit about the lens now. The Pentacon 50mm f:1.8 is OK. That’s all I can say. It did not surprise me, it does it’s job. Is it sharp? Can’t tell for the moment with this shi…abby film and I’ll have to get some better stuff to pronounce myself. But I think it’s average. Not bad, not overwhelming… just OK.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (24)

The out-of-focus areas (No, I won’t use the B-word!) are average too, nothing swirly Helios-like, not buttery smooth like a Summicron. It’s average….

I’ll definitely have to get other lenses for this camera but for the moment this one will serve me well.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (17)

I tried some shots into the sun to make it flare… no luck. And the deep set front lens makes the use of a lens shade useless – good point! Only  thing I got, shooting directly into the sun streaming through these trees are these….170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (12)

Nice sun-balls! 😉 Gives the photo something surrealistic I think.

I have to admit that I upped the contrast a bit after scanning as the scans were quite flat. Is it the film or the lens…. or both? We’ll see with the next film I put through The Praktica. And I will definitely continue to use it!170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (5)

I would define the look of this lens / film combo as old fashioned… it has something 50ish about it. I’m excited to run some HP5 or FP4 through it! Or a nice roll of Portra… or even Superia 200.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (4)

This camera is a winner and the price is unbeatable! These east german machines have a special thing going on. Makes me want to try a Pentacon Six…. but that’s for another day.170923 - Praktica MTL5B -Lomography Lady Grey (9)

Thanks for reading and try a Praktica…. you won’t lose a lot of money!

16 thoughts on “Praktica MTL 5 B – the Results!

  1. Some nice shots Frank, film stock aside. I especially like the sun balls. I quite like the retro feel generated by this combination. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice shots.

    What you say about the upping of contrast afterwards would be true if any film. I think you need to go into the darkroom to see what the film is really like.

    You could also use a M42 adapter and see what the Fuji makes of the lens.

    I have a Pentacon Six here waiting to be tried!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve tried a handful of M42 Prakticas, mostly bought for the Pentacon or Zeiss lenses they had attached. There’s not much to criticise, they are very simple, functional, hard wearing cameras. I liked the film spool take up – that wire frame that locks down on the film leader and makes it almost impossible to mess up loading the film. Also the shutter button, whilst strange at first, actually makes the cameras feel smaller I thought. A clever trick given they are about as hefty as M42 SLRs come.

    Is yours one with the rubber bobble/waffle type skin? I had some with these (which I liked and was really grippy) and others with smooth leather (not so grippy or pleasant to hold).

    For some reason if I wanted a back to basics M42, I used to go back to a Zenit over a Praktica. I think because they’re possibly even heavier and even more primitive, it felt extra rewarding to coax any half decent photo from one. And they had more personality somehow than the bland (to me) Prakticas. I know many people think the opposite – love Prakticas and hate Zenits!

    I think there’s more to come with the Pentacon 50/1.8. I’ve had maybe a dozen across different variations, and of the ones that had working aperture blades and smooth focusing (er, that’s about four of them) did perform very well.

    And I love that close focus down to around 0.33m – puts them in a different league on that front to 95% of 50mm lenses, and opens up a whole other world of options without needing extension tubes, close up filters or anything.

    Enjoy shooting your next roll of film!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I certainly will. My Praktica has the smooth ‘leather’ though.

      One thing I don’t really care for is the strange ratcheting sound when changing shutter speeds. You can feel delicate gears getting strained in there.

      That’s why I prefer my ‘new’ Spotmatic SP1000. Feeling rock solid through and through!

      Like

      • Try one with the bobbled rubber grip if you ever have a chance, I much preferred the feel, but it might be a personal thing. I don’t know if it’s specific to one model, I think I’ve had at least one each of the MTL3, MTL5 and MTL50.

        Yes absolutely with the Spotmatics. I realised soon after getting my Spotmatic F that there’s little point having any other M42 camera. If I did get another one, I wouldn’t even glance at a Praktica or Zenit, or anything else, it’d be either another Spotmatic or an older S1a or SV!

        Liked by 1 person

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