Praktina

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by compur, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I bought a box of old photo gear at an estate sale, mostly because this
    camera was in it. It's a Praktina FX made by the German company
    Kamera-Werke in the 1950s with a CZ Jena 58mm f/2 lens in nice, working
    condition.

    That's Praktina with an "N" - not a Praktica with a "C." The two brands are
    related but the Praktina is a different beast with a different lens mount
    (rotating breech type similar to early Canon mounts).


    [​IMG]


    The Praktina is historically significant because it is the first 35mm SLR which
    can truly be called a system camera with interchangeable finders, focusing
    screens, camera backs, motor drives and, of course, lenses.

    [​IMG]

    That little window to the right of the "Praktina" logo is a direct-view
    viewfinder. The subject can be viewed either through the normal
    SLR prism or through the viewfinder.
     
  2. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Looks great! Does it work?

    Congrats!!
     
  3. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ^ Yes, it seems to work fine -- thanks.
     
  4. IanG

    IanG TPF Noob!

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    No the Praktina was the second 35mm SLR System camera, KW did't start making 35mm cameras untilafter the company's take over in 1938 by Charles Noble, an American. (of German origin).

    By 1938/9 the Kine Exacta was a highly developed system camera, although unlike the Praktina it never had a motor drive.

    The story of the manufacturers is also very interesting. KW began with 6.5x9 & 9x12 plate cameras particularly the Patent Etui's. They went on to make medium format SLR's in the 30's, but as Jews the owners weren't safe in Nazi Germany. Ironically the company was swapped with a US citizen of German origin, Charles Noble, in 1938, and the new owner and his son stayed in Germany producing cameras during WWII, they were later imprisoned in the former Nazi camp, Buchenwald, by the Communists who seized the company after the war, John was later given a 15 year sentence in a Soviet labour camp and was only released in 1955 after the intervention of President Eisenhower.

    The company began 35mm camera production in 1939 making the highly innovative Praktiflex which eveloved into the Praktina's and later the Praktisix, in the 60's they merged with the East German part of Contax to form VEB Pentacon.

    The Pentacon Super was to have been the company's flagship product and drew heavily from the Praktina system.

    John Noble regained one of his father's factories after the fall of the Berlin wall and it still makes Noblex cameras today using the KW name.

    Ian
     
  5. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Kine Exakta was a milestone but about the only thing interchangeable on
    it were lenses.

    Not finders, film backs, focusing screens, motor drives, etc. This is why
    the Praktina is considered the first true system 35mm SLR.
     
  6. IanG

    IanG TPF Noob!

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    We'll beg to differ :D

    By the time the Praktina had replaced the Praktiflex the Exacta system was extremely well established, but the Praktina leapt ahead with it's motor drive, but it lost out in the long term with the merger with the East German rump of Zeiss.

    I don't underrate the Praktina's but they were quite rare outside Eastern Europe, and I'm still wanting to buy one :).

    Ian
     

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