KW Praktina FX -my latest 35mm SLR

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by IanG, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I bought this camera for a bargain price at a camera fair a couple of months ago, it's in excellent condition for its age, made around 1953/4 and is fully functioning.
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    Build quality is superb on a par with a Leica. This was the first 35mm SLR professional system camera, unlike the Exactas it takes a bulk back and motor drives.
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    The film advance knob also controls the mirror return, two lever wind attachments were available they fit on the base plate.
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    Breech-lock lenses for fast accurate lens changes, this model has a semi auto diaphragm, the lens is cocked in the full aperture position and the first touch of the shutter release stops the lens to the set aperture.
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    Inter-changeable prism finder.
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    The camera can take two different motor drives one clock-work the other electrical.

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    A practical half case.

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    A nice touch is the button on the case that engages the cameras rewind release.

    KW also made a budget camera the Praktiflex and later a Prakica as well as the MF 6x6 Praktisix, after merging with the East German part of Contax the new company used the name Praktica as a brand name.

    The Praktina's were too expensive to make and production ceased in 1962. The concept was revived for the Pentacon Super designed to be an M42 professional system which was never successful.

    Ian


     
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  2. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Don't see to many of those around anymore. And that one is super clean!
     
  3. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Oooooh!
     
  4. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I want it, what's your address?
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Don't think I've heard that name before; very nice.
     
  6. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The company was around for many years, founded in 1919. Their best known early cameras were the 6.5x9 and 9x12 Patent Etui plate cameras, very small. light and pocketable (hence the name - Etui means case).

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    The camera on the right is a 9x12 KW Patent Etui, with a 5x4 Crown Graphic and 6x4.5 Ikonta. (x12 is almost the same size as 5x4 just slightly narrower.

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    Alongside a Rodenstock (Welta) 9x12 camera.

    Charles Noble (aUS citizen of German origin) took over the company in 1938 and switched to 35mm camera production, the Praktiflex in 1939. Noble and his son were imprisoned after WWII by the Soviets and the company.

    The Praktina was innovative in it's design with an advanced shutter, over 10 companies made lenses for the camera system. The last model the Praktina N was a prototype and went into production as the Pentacon Super.

    It's not so much that people haven't heard of KW and the Praktinas, because most photographers know of the KW Praktisix later re-named as the Pentacon 6, they just don't know the origin.

    KW took over production of the last East German Contax cameras (exported outside the Soviet block as Pentacon), a couple of years later they merged with the East German Zeiss Ikon.

    Praktina cameras and particularly accessories can fetch very high prices, a 75mm f1.5 CZJ Sonnar sold recently for $4000.

    Ian
     
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  7. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Wow!!! and Ooooohhhhhh ... what a find. I see a whole lot of Nikon F in that puppy.
     
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  8. sniper x

    sniper x TPF Noob!

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    Wow, I think I need a cold shower.....
     
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  9. davidharmier60

    davidharmier60 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That is a BEAUTIFUL camera!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
  10. oldcamera

    oldcamera TPF Noob!

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    It’s a nice piece of photo history but best keep it on display. When I was starting out in the early sixties I used one with a really nifty windup motor and a 250 exposure back to shoot a high school graduation. The idea was to get a shot of each graduate as they received their diploma. The praktina literally fell apart after 20 shots. Sorry, not built like a Leica. I never forgot.


    Sent from my iPhone using ThePhotoForum.com mobile app
     
  11. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That doesn't match what I've heard first hand from people using Praktinas professionally bought in the 1950's, using the motor drives all the time. Or the fact that I can pick them up in excellent working order dirt cheap, I could have bought 3 more 2 weeks ago, even the well worn models are fully functional.

    I could understand that very late models made after the Contax/Pentacon merger might be different but all the early ones I've seen are well made and even when well worn functional.

    Ian
     
  12. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I bought a second Praktina FX today mainly for it's Carl Zeiss Jena 58mm f2 T Biotar lens, it was a bargain price (£50) but the lens is in superb optical and mechanical condition. It was cheap beacuse the company that owned it engraved a number on the top plate otherwise it's all excellent.

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    This Biotar lens really is in mint optical condition. I also looked at a KW Prakica as well out of interest but it really was obvious this was KW's budget model (before the Pentacon merger).

    As a Large Format shooter (5x4, 7x5 and 10x8) I hardly ever shoot 35mm these days but these cameras are fun and inspirational.

    Ian
     
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