Ok guys, I am back again. The beginning of the new year was a bit ‘busy and for various reasons, I have not posted anything during January. This does not mean that I have not continued to take pictures, of course. 😉 Before moving on to other cameras and lenses, however, I wanted to finish the series of “experiments” with the Praktica. This time, on Mtl5B I mounted a Pentacon 29mm f / 2.8.
It has been a long and intense year, the one that is about to end. This blog has grown thanks to the many readers around the world. Many things have happened and others will shortly happen. The most important was the Darkroom I built, where finally be able to print the best shots made with film. Soon, I will also print using ancient techniques, such as Platinum/Palladium and Cyanotype, when will be ready the U.V. contact printer that I’m building. Thanks to contact printing, I’ll be able to better use large format cameras too. Already a couple (M.P.P. Mark VIII 4″x 5″ and Reality so Subtle pinhole 4″x 5″) are already waiting to be used. But it will also, print (via internegative) images from digital files. So even intangible electronic images will become real. This post by the end of the year is dedicated to another East Europe’s camera, but this time it is not only manual, but electronics controlled with aperture priority exposure: the Praktica Bc1.
It is true: we’re back in the …. Eastern Europe’s phase. The fact is that the cameras and film rolls accumulate, remain there for a while in half use and then finally, it is their moment to be finished, developed and published. So, it happens that concentrated within a period, similar types or even different versions of the same models. This time it is the turn of the small, but very pretty, Werra 1. Obviously, produced in the former GDR. Simple, spartan (no range finder or meter), but well performing (Carl Zeiss Tessar 50mm f/2.8 lens) and with some super-technologic “surprise”, at least for the time.
There are many excellent Eastern Europe lenses of the past with the M42 screw mount, and I have some, e.g. the Helios 44M4 58mm f/2. Built in the former Soviet Union to equip Zenit cameras. The latter, while if robust, often have limits, both operational, and reliability. To play it safe and always staying behind the Iron Curtain, should turn to production in the former GDR. Still were German! And so, I did not miss a couple of Praktica Mtl5 bodies . One normal, and the other in B version. These differ between them practically only in the power source of the TTL CdS meter. The second in fact, uses the current LR44/SR44 batteries, while the first was designed for use with the PX625 mercury.
Being (among other things) a fan of cameras and their respectable lenses, made behind the Iron Curtain , long ago I had the opportunity to enrich my vintage “arsenal” with a beautiful Pentacon Six Tl, fitted with its Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm f/2.8 standard lens, wlf and metered pentaprism with angled eyepiece (and diopter correction). The camera is truly remarkable aesthetic and mechanical conditions, but a first test roll gave so many problems that I thought of having to make another to correct some of my errors in the loading of the film and in the development of the same. In the meantime, I ordered a new focusing screen with split image on Araxfoto site. Following the instructions on the Pentaconsix site (which I highly recommend for any info about these cameras), a few days ago I loaded a Ilford HP5+ film and started my hunting for satisfactory images. But …. things do not always go as we would like …
Many film photography fans are fascinated by cameras (and lenses) produced behind the so-called Iron Curtain, in countries of the former Warsaw Pact. The DDR (or GDR) between them has created brands as Ihagee, Praktica, Pentacon (which has absorbed the first), synonymous with high quality construction mechanics, along with names such as Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer-Optik and the same Pentacon with lenses even at the highest level of quality. Speaking of cameras, robustness is one of the main qualities. The reliability of the models built in eastern Germany is also much higher than that of her contemporaries and even valid Soviet models. It is not uncommon then, to come across more than fifty years old cameras, which seem to come from the factory today and fully functional.