|Captain Jack's Praktina SLR Cameras|
The Praktina Single Lens Reflex Cameras were manufactured in East Germany by the firm VEB Kamera-Werke Niedersedlitz. The Praktina was one of the first "system" 35mm SLR cameras produced, rivaled at the time only by the Ihagee Exakta in terms of the number of professional features and accessories offered for it. The Praktina even surpassed the Exakta in the areas of motor drives and long film backs, accessories never offered by Ihagee. It wasn't until the advent of the Japanese Nikon F that a camera was offered with such a diverse number of accessories.
Two basic Praktina models exist, the Praktina FX and the Praktina IIa with two major variations of each. Each feature interchangeable lenses, a very sturdy breechlock lens mounting facility, interchangeable finders and a direct Newton viewfinder. Hummel identified an early Praktina without the FX/IIa engraving, (Hummel #108), apparently a prototype that never reached production.
Lens makers who offered lenses in Praktina mount included Carl Zeiss Jena, Schneider Kreuznach, Albert Schacht, Steinheil München, Angénieux, Enna München, Isco Göttingen, Kilfitt and others.
My favorite Carl Zeiss Jena lenses in Praktina mount are the 25mm f4 Auto Flektogon, the 35mm Auto Flektogon, the very sharp 50mm Auto Pancolars and Flexons, the 75mm f1.5 Preset Biotar, the 80 f2.8 Auto Biometar and the 180mm f2.8 Sonnar. From Steinheil, my favorites are the 55mm Auto Quinon, the 135mm f2.8 Preset Tele-Quinar and the 300mm f4.5 Preset Tele-Quinar.
Camera: Praktina IIa, Ver. 1
Serial #: 106408
Hummel #: 110
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f2.0 Auto Flexon
Serial #: 4463120
Finder: Praktina Metered Prism
Notes: The Version 1 Praktina IIa, pictured here, can only use the fully automatic lenses. The Version 2 Praktina IIa has provisions to take both fully automatic and semi-automatic lenses.
Camera: Praktina IIa, Ver. 2 [RARE]
Serial #: 124775
Hummel #: 110 (a)
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm F2.8 Auto Tessar
Serial #: 5469749
Finder: Praktina Prism, Ver. 2
Notes: The Version 2 Praktina IIa, pictured here, can take both the fully automatic and semi-automatic lenses. The Version 1, Praktina IIa has provisions to take only fully automatic lenses.
Mirror Box for Ver 2, Praktina IIa
Note the two notches in the female lens flange.
Camera: Porst Reflex [RARE]
Serial #: 103864
Hummel #: 110a
Lens: Aus Jena 50mm f2.0 Auto Pancolar
Serial #: 6821684
Finder: Praktina Prism, Ver. 2
Notes: Imported into West Germany by Porst, it is essentially a Praktina IIa, Ver. 1, with an accesory shoe added and a plate reading "Porst Reflex" attached to the front of the camera. Quite uncommon.
Camera: Hexacon Supreme [VERY RARE]
Serial #: 31328
Hummel #: 109a
Lens: Aus Jena 58mm f2.0 Biotar (preset)
Serial #: 3958562
Finder: Praktina Prism, Ver. 1
Notes: Essentially a Praktina FX, Ver. 2, with a plate reading "Hexacon Supreme" attached to the front of the camera. Imported by Peerless Camera of NY City in the mid 1950's, it is VERY uncommon.
Another Praktina camera exists with the name Corbina.
If the Exakta Real was the last German attempt to manufacture a professional caliber Exakta SLR then the Pentacon Super should be considered the final leap in the evolution of the Praktina and the earlier Pentacon/Contax SLR cameras. In size, the Pentacon Super is a larger and heavier camera than the Praktina very much like the Exakta Real is substantially heavier than the Exakta Varexes.
The Pentacon Super was short lived, however a Motor Drive and a Long Exposure back were produced for it as was a TTL Prism and Hooded Waist Level Finder. It utilized a special M42 screw mount. It was offered with the magnificent Carl Zeiss Jena 55mm f1.4 Auto Pancolar lens. It also featured TTL metering and shutter speeds from 10 seconds to 1/2000th.
Camera: Pentacon Super [RARE]
Serial #: 1532
Hummel #: 119
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena 55mm f1.4 Auto Pancolar
Serial #: 7172645
Finder: Pentacon Super TTL Prism
Pentacon Super Hooded Finder
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