Praktica MTL3 Viewfinder from Outer Space

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by DamienW, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. DamienW

    DamienW TPF Noob!

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    Hello...first post...be gentle...about time I joined a photography forum instead of just reading them. Hope this thread fits ok here....

    Prompting this post was the purchase of a Praktica MTL3 on eBay. It was described as near mint, and probably seeing little use with clear glass etc etc. I'm a bit sentimental about the old Praktica cameras, since an MTL3 was the first SLR I abused when I was young. When I received this one, I found hazing and separation on the lens, and a blurry viewfinder on the body. Forget about using the aperture at all, as it feels like somebody has poured honey into the lens body, and the focus ring is little better. Film advance operated three or four times (shutter did sound good) before jamming. I think the marketing was a touch optimistic.

    Anyhow, not much money blown and it looks like the seller will agree to a part refund. I'll just use it for parts/education such that I am able.

    But on to the topic of my post...I took a photo through the viewfinder to show the seller how affected it was. I managed to focus on the muck obscuring the top part of the image, and it revealed a rainbow kaleidoscope of dribbles and swirls. Does anybody have a better idea than me of what this is?

    My first impression was that it is some sort of oil or other fluid. Fungus did come to mind, but it just doesn't appear as I expected (with my naked eye...fungus looks a little more 'jaggy' and tree-like). Otherwise, maybe some sort of delamitation of materials?

    Just curiosity more than anything else. I'm not about to try to crack into the prism/viewfinder on this camera - I hear that it's...challenging.

    Cheers!
    Damien

    PS...file title may mislead...it's a shot through the viewfinder with no lens on the body, not a shot of the lens.


     

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  2. cgw

    cgw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    With respect, take the partial refund and keep shopping. Too many 35mm cameras in better shape for very little $$$ to bother with junk. Ask here before you buy. We've been there--and back.
     
  3. DamienW

    DamienW TPF Noob!

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    Oh yes...absolutely! I've no ambition to restore this one...the lens will maybe come apart to show my son the workings, and I may take the timer lever off it to replace the missing lever on a serviceable LTL that I have. I'd like a MTL3 in reasonably good order - so I will keep looking for that.

    I'm curious about the stuff in the viewfinder though - like a little garden, and even a little colourful. Wondering if somebody knows what it is...fungus, mould?...oil?
     
  4. cgw

    cgw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Could be separation or coating deterioration on the focus screen/prism.
     
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  5. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  6. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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  7. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've never seen that in a viewfinder before. Guess at least you've got a parts camera.

    For a replacement try a dealer like KEH, Adorama, or B&H if they ship to where you live. Condition given on ebay seems to be subjective. And doesn't ebay cover the refund on an item if a seller doesn't?
     
  8. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've seen it most often in older German optics for some reason (though not Leitz or Zeiss). I guess it's the optical cement they used. When it degrades the two elements get air between them and this refracts the light into a rainbow. It affects lenses and viewfinder optics or any optics with multiple elements. It's not at all uncommon with post war Schneider and some Voigtlander lenses and viewfinders. You have to inspect these carefully before buying. I guess the "East German" Praktica optics used the same stuff.
     
  9. DamienW

    DamienW TPF Noob!

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    Ahh nice...the flower pattern looks the goods. I think you and cgw hit the nail on the head.
     
  10. DamienW

    DamienW TPF Noob!

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    Yes...it's interesting. The MTL3 I had many years ago experienced something similar. I'm thinking it was probably the exact same issue. I took that camera to a tech at the time, and he said that it was unrepairable due to the glues used inside the camera. Well, there you go!
     
  11. DamienW

    DamienW TPF Noob!

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    Yes...eBay should probably have sorted it if required, but I contacted the seller first and we came to an agreement (they were a little more generous than I asked actually). Happy enough with the result.
     
  12. DamienW

    DamienW TPF Noob!

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