East German cameras

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by keller, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. keller

    keller TPF Noob!

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    I've seen a few of these old SLRs supposedly from East Germany, and they're selling for as low as $30. Does anyone know why?

    I mean, I know the joke about East German cars, but are their cameras notorious for bad quality or something? Or did I just end up finding a really cheap model? $30 is a bit low for a film SLR, compared with the Canon/nikon/etc models.
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Build quality and image quality mainly - you get what you pay for. There are some Eastern Bloc cameras which produce interesting and sometimes good results. For that money, give it a try and see if you like it!

    Rob
     
  3. montresor

    montresor TPF Noob!

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    What about the Werra, made by Carl Zeiss Jena? I think Jena was in East Germany. I have no experience with the Werra, they always seem available on eBay (not cheaply, either!) from former Eastern Bloc countries, and I'm reluctant to send money to strange lands; but they are certainly some of the sleekest 35mm cameras I've ever seen. The transport/shutter-cocking mechanism looks like it could cause trouble as it ages, but the first model, with the olive leatherette trim, is a breathtakingingly beautiful design classic. Admittedly, it's a rangefinder, not an SLR....
     
  4. ThomThomsk

    ThomThomsk TPF Noob!

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    Praktica SLRs are solid and go for next to no money, and were a common student camera because they were good value. I think they are probably better than the Russian equivalents.

    The MTL series are the ones I remember, often with a Carl Zeiss Jena lens. Jena is a town in East Germany, and after World War 2 the Carl Zeiss company got split into 2, with the Jena factory coming under Russian control. Many of the Jena lenses are pretty highly regarded.

    Thomsk
     
  5. The East Germans have been making some of the finest glass in the world. I can't speak to shutters, build quality or the overall controls of their cameras, but as far as their lenses go, they are quite good.

    East German binoculars are highly prized.
     
  6. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Don't overlook the Russky rangefinders. You can pick up a decent Fed 3a, Zorki 3-C or Kiev 4AM for about $US60, including shipping. These were solidly built rigs and remain fully functional today. Lenses such as the Jupiter 8 are fully acceptable for most work.

    Why so cheap? The lure of modern rigs with all sorts of whistles and bells has proven irresistable and the old cameras are being traded in for them. There are far more old cameras than buyers in the old Russian Empire countries.
     
  7. JonK

    JonK I want MORE!!

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    watch yourself if buying those from ukraine or russian federation based sellers...been stories of lots of problems with them on ebay. plus they are literally flooding the market...millions of these cameras were made and a lot of them are suspect. buyer beware!
     
  8. keller

    keller TPF Noob!

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    Yes, Praktika was the one they were selling. I might go buy one just to try it out. The sellers are from Australia fortunately, so (hopefully) shouldnt have too many problems.
     
  9. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Prakticas are some sweet cameras. I got a B200 for under $100 w/ shipping. Prakticas are built like tanks. Pentacon makes good glass and made some for zeiss.

    from wikipedia
     
  10. nreed_94

    nreed_94 TPF Noob!

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    I own a Praktica LTL3 for $10 at a flea market. I absolutely love it, and use it more than my digital camera. It has a Carl Zeiss Jenna Tessar lens, and it takes fantastic photos. East German cameras may be cheap, but they are built to last!! The LTL3 has a solid body, and a great feel. Overall, I am very please with it. Some companies are better than others, so it all depends though.
     
  11. SamSpade1941

    SamSpade1941 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are a few members of my Medium Format group on Deviant Art who are from Eastern Europe that shoot the Pentacon Six cameras and submit their scanned photos and from what I can see the Pentacon Six is no slouch as far as being able to produce nice quality images.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  12. timor

    timor Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Pentacon company, a maker of Practika had, like many others companies in communism, problem with raw materials. Very seldom one model had a run longer then 2 years without any change. That is why there is so many models with different reliability "rating". I was a happy owner of brand new LLC model with some "electric" lenses: Pancolar 1.8/50, Flectogon 4/20 and Pancolar 1.8/80 and one non electric, Sonnar 2.8/80. I lost that set during the emigration, too bad, I am still mad at myself for it. Nevertheless LLc body withstood around 1000 rolls of film with just one failure of film winding sprocket which was fixed for small money. This bodies, except for small price, are very indifferent, basic cameras, quite noisy but with excellent film loading system, which will save at least 2 frames and if you lucky 3 frames on every roll. It is simply very good value for the money.
     

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