That Praktica LTL that I had for sale a while back....I didn't sell it. Well tonight I took it down from the shelf and clicked the shutter a few times and it froze up. The mirror stays locked up and the shutter blades stay open. When I advance the camera the lower shutter blades come all the way up and then snap open again. Now here's the wierd part, if I smack my hand on the bottom a few times it unlocks and works a few more times before locking up again. Any ideas? This is the old LTL, not the 3.
Randy, it sounds like the top half of the shutter is staying up which means the lower half won't latch when you wind it so it comes up to where it should latch and then, with nothing to hold it, returns downward as if the shutter were tripped.
Me? I'd squirt a few drops of denatured alcohol into the top half of the shutter and let it sit a minute or two and them use a bulb to blow air in the channel to dry the blades. I've cured a couple that way but I may have just been lucky. Sometimes it takes a couple of treatments.
The Prakticas can be one of the very best bargains out there. I've had my best luck with the older "L" series such as the LLC, LTL & LTL3. The LLC uses the PX21 battery which looks similar to the common AA battery but is slightly fatter and is 4.5 volts. Some have fashioned an adapter to use three LR44 or similar 1.5V batteries in series. The battery is only for the meter.
While the MTL3 and MTL5 Prakticas are newer than the models already mentioned, I've had bad luck with them. The film advance sprocket, made of poor quality plastic, seems to strip out on them more often than the earlier cameras and it's not a repair that can be done easily.
That's my experience but others may have had better luck with the MTL models. I do have an MTL3 marketed as the Revueflex that works very nicely. I like the Prakticas and have to force myself not to bid on them unless it's a model I don't have.
In my not very extensive experience the older cloth-shutter Prakticas are more reliable than the later metal-shuttered ones. I suppose I've got about 10 or 12 all told, and the only ones that have given any trouble are both metal shutters, an MTL5 and a VLC. Both of them just jammed solid for no apparent reason.
I'm not really worried about the MTL5, I've got other metal-shuttered Prakticas: another MTL5, a 5B, a 50, a PLC3 and a BCA.
I'm quite fond of the BCA, but at the moment I'm rather peeved about the Carl Zeiss Jena multi-coated f/2.8 28mm lens I got with it. A month or so ago I was focusing with it when the helicoid unscrewed itself and the whole front part of the lens fell out. Haven't got around to doing anything about it yet.
I'm also a bit pissed off about the VLC going on strike. That's a nice camera, or it was when it was working, and they're not so thick on the ground as the others.
Unless someone's poked at them and bent the blades the metal shutters aren't usually all that difficult to sort out, just time consuming. You've got to take the top off, the front off and take out the whole mirror box before you can at them. And if you have to take the shutter right out of the body it's a sod to set up and retime again. And, as a couple of people have warned, the plastic gear in the wind-on train can get toothache and spit out a tooth without warning. At the moment there so many working ones going very cheaply that it's not worth the hassle of fixing them.
To complete my little catalogue of woes I've got a nice Tokina RMC Canon-fit 80-200 close-focus zoom which takes really sharp pictures. But last time I used it I put the back cap on and somehow got it jammed. Now it just will not come off. It's only plastic so if the worst comes to the worst I'll break the thing off rather than force it and risk damaging the lens.
It's infuriating. They really got their act together with that metal shutter, but they put in the plastic wind-on sprocket at the same time. People have been using these cameras since 1970 with no problems at all, but the plastic has deteriorated with time.
I love the BC series though - and use an adapter with a Pentacon lens to give me that serious close-up that was characteristic of the Prakticas.
Sorry to hear about your VLC. Now I've got one I'm not going to use it!
Post by Just Plain Curt on Jun 3, 2007 7:55:36 GMT -5
You guys have got me nervous here. I buy cameras if they're so cheap I can't let them pass. That said it means most of my SLR's are Zenits, Prakticas and lesser m42 mount cameras. I counted and have 40 Prakticas, 24 Zenits and 149 total m42. Other than 7 cameras I bought (I buy plenty from sellers who mysteriously know nothing at all about cameras or newbie sellers) with jammed or NFG shutters mine have miraculously survived the ravages of time quite well. Now I'm askeered to use 'em fer fear thet they'll plumb fall apert if'n I cock 'em, LOL. Seriously, other than a jammed Praktica IV B , autofiring Praktica Super TL, 2 Zenit B's w/jammed shutters and 3 Zenit E's w/jammed shutters I guess they've been pretty decent to me. I have at least that many Ricoh TLS and electronic shutter Ricohs that have come to me deader than a doornail. Problem is at the price I buy them, it's useless to return them as the postage is worth more so I call them future projects or parts cameras. Anyone need a future project LOL? I have 2 MTL 5 and 3 MTL 3 and without incurring the wrath of the gods here, they haven't fallen apart yet. Other than meters which I never use anyway, I guess I've been extremely blessed.
Walker's probly got it right - just keep working it. But be gentle with the wind-on lever. The cogs have a tendency to disintegrate with age.
And don't worry too much about it - you'll get another for $5 !!
Regards - John
John, I worked it, gave it a little alcohol, worked it a little more, smacked it around a little, and .... it gave up the farm, bit the big one, and went bristols up. I just bought a replacement. I hope I have better luck with the next one. Anyone interested in a drunken East German Schwarze Kaput Kamera? LOL ;D
Randy, I'm sorry my suggestion didn't work out. Your Praktica apparently has more serious problems than the ones I've revived.
PeterW, you may be correct about the reliability of the older cloth shutters but I've found the metal Praktica shutters to be very good. However, I've purchased five or six Praktica TL Super cameras for the lenses they carried (Pancolars, Orestons and a Tessar) and all of them have had very good shutters and on most the meters work too, once a battery is installed. The most common problem with them once again centers around the cheap plastic they used on the film advance lever. Most I see are missing the plastic thumb piece and it's not as comfortable using the thin metal lever to cock the shutter and advance the film. Not awful, mind you..... just not as nice. Otherwise, as a cheap beginner camera, the Super TL is not a bad choice IMO.
The Practica jam was always cured by "professional repairers" by a double thump on the bottom, a quick check and hand it back to the customer, it was known as the Practica Turn Repair, you accepted the repair, spun round, thumped it twice hidden from the customer, and the turned back to hand it back. ( Sounds like ballroom dance instructions), seriously the jam was not that important, or easy to adjust out of the mechanism of the metal shutter.
The plastic gear issue had only just started to rear up in the late 1970's, and has got worst, as the plastic gear ages and warps, leaving a very sick mirror return. At one time in the late 1970's a replacement metal gear and a PTFE moulded replacement were made and sold in the repair trade. I don't think these are still made. I seem to remember that BPM made some metal versions, they were used by Camera Repairs, to make the half frame version, with re-geared sprocket drive and mask, that was made for Security and Police use in the UK.
The technicians doing the half frame work tried to cure the shutter jams, simply taking the whole shutter apart and re-building it as it should have been assembled. East German quality control was not good then. Never oil the parts to excess, they run better dry or with watch oils or dry key lubricants.
It is actually an easy shutter to work on, but the tabs and movement restriction stops are a bit primitive in design, and easily bend, or are easy to put out of adjustment.
The cloth shutters are much more reliable, they should be, as they had made them since the 1940's, they only suffer the same sort of issues any cloth shutter has, oil, lack of, or rot to the cloth and bands broken. Easy to cure once you have learnt on a Russian Fed, and tried to repair a Leica!!! The Fed/Zorki were used to train the repairers as they were cheap, once mastered, they were allowed on Leicas, or as a punishment, given a Russian Contax shutter to repair!!...then they were let loose on Prontors or Compur....... Stephen
Leica or Japanese Leica clone shutters much more difficult IMO to repair because the tolerances were much tighter that on a FED 1 or Zorki 1. Just getting the cameras apart and back together was more of a chore.