Praktina FX - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Praktina FX

1952

VEB Kamera-Werke Niedersedlitz

Dresden

German Democratic Republic

Image of Praktina FX

Lens:
f2, 58 mm Biotar, semi-automatic iris diaphragm to f16. Iris has to be opened after exposure. Depth-of-field scale. Breech lock mount. Serial no. 4897569 .

Shutter:
Focal-plane, speeds 1 - 1/1000, B. X, F flash synchronisation.

Construction:
Leather covered metal body.

Format:
36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm film held in cassette.

Focusing:
Helical to 0.5 metre.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Removable roof pentaprism, split-image rangefinder and ground glass focusing screen, condenser. Direct-vision (lens/lens) view-finder.
Mirror trips, raised by spring.
Auto-stop on film advance. Film advance tensions the shutter and lowers mirror.
Exposure counter. Film reminder dial: 9 - 27 DIN, 5 - 320 ASA.

With:

  • Waist-level finder, with magnifier. In box.
  • Bellows. Extension between 20 - 60 mm. Box, instructions. The image width with a 50 mm lens is between 23 - 75 mm. This is a late model suitable for the model IIA where the diaphragm pin needs to be depressed to work in manual mode.
  • Extension tube set comprising: Camera bayonet to screw, 5 mm; Screw to lens bayonet, 9 mm marked KW; 10 and 25 mm tubes screw fitting.
  • "A New Path Opened by the Praktina FX", pamphlet. Instruction book.

Praktina FX

1952

VEB Kamera-Werke Niedersedlitz

Dresden

German Democratic Republic

Image of Praktina FX

Lens:
f2.8, 50 mm Zeiss Tessar, semi-automatic iris diaphragm to f16. Iris has to be opened after exposure. Depth-of-field scale. Breech lock mount. Serial no. 4706988 .

Shutter:
Focal-plane, speeds 1 - 1/1000, B. X, F flash synchronisation.

Construction:
Leather covered metal body.

Format:
36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm film held in cassette.

Focusing:
Helical to 0.5 metre.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Removable roof pentaprism, split-image rangefinder and ground glass focusing screen, condenser. Direct-vision (lens/lens) view-finder.
Mirror trips, raised by spring.
Auto-stop on film advance. Film advance tensions the shutter and lowers mirror.
Exposure counter. Film reminder dial: 10 - 23 DIN.

With:

  • f4, 135 mm Triotar. Pre-set diaphragm to f22. Depth-of-field scale. Focus to 4 feet. Plastic container. Serial no. 5565665.
  • Spring-powered Motor Drive. 10 exposures per wind of motor. Marked USSR Occupied. Serial no. 04202.
  • 400 Exposure Back. For 50 feet of film. Frame counter, film reminder scaled 9 - 800 ASA, 9 - 30 DIN. Two cassettes. In box.
  • Magnifying Viewfinder. Eyesight adjustment.
  • Extension tube set comprising: Camera bayonet to screw; Screw to lens bayonet; 10 mm and 25 mm tubes screw fitting. Black finish marked KW.
  • Ever-ready case.
  • Instruction book.

The spindle of the take-up spool of the bulk-film back attaches to the camera's film advance spindle using a coiled spring. This stretches between the underside of the bulk-film back and a short extension piece fitted to the bottom of the camera. A metal plate then attaches to the film back to cover the spring. With a motor drive in place the coiled spring fits into a slot in the motor drive.

Praktina FX

VEB Kamera-Werke Niedersedlitz

Dresden

German Democratic Republic

Image of Praktina FX

Lens:
f2.8, 50 mm Zeiss Tessar, semi-automatic iris diaphragm to f16. Iris has to be opened after exposure. Depth-of-field scale. Breech lock mount. Serial no. 4778065 .

Shutter:
Focal-plane, speeds 1 - 1/1000, B. X, F flash synchronisation.

Construction:
Leather covered metal body.

Format:
36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm film held in cassette.

Focusing:
Helical to 0.5 metre.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Removable roof pentaprism, split-image rangefinder and ground glass focusing screen. Direct-vision (lens/lens) view-finder.
Mirror trips, raised by spring.
Auto-stop on film advance. Film advance tensions the shutter and lowers mirror.
Exposure counter. Film reminder dial: 9 - 27 DIN, 5 - 320 ASA.

With:
Extension tube set comprising: Camera bayonet to screw, 5 mm; Screw to lens bayonet, 9 mm marked KW; 10 and 25 mm tubes screw fitting.

The Praktina was the first 'system SLR' offering features such as motor drive and bulk film backs not found on the Exakta, and preceding the Nikon F by several years.

The first model (FX) was brought out in 1952 or 53, it had a semi-automatic lens diaphragm that had to be manually opened and tensioned after exposure by a lever on the underside of the lens. The diaphragm was kept open by a spring latched in the tensioned positioned, when the diaphragm pin was depressed the latch was released, the spring contracted and closed the diaphragm to its pre-set position. On the model IIA (1958) the diaphragm was automatic, it opened when the shutter was tensioned; a spring in the lens tended to close the diaphragm, it was held in the open state by a plunger in the camera body acting on the lens, during exposure the plunger was withdrawn (which allowed the diaphragm to close) and returned after exposure when the shutter was tensioned.

The lens mount is a breech lock type with the moving ring attached to the camera body, as on the later Praktiflex. There are variations and developments in the camera models.

In the early 1960s production was ended allowing KW to concentrate on the amateur end of the market with its Praktica range.

A large number of lenses was available, other accessories included:

  • Bellows.
  • Extension tubes, pre-set or automatic.
  • Lens reversing ring.
  • Rigid magnifying hood.
  • Waist-level finder.
  • Roof Pentaprism with selenium meter.
  • Accessories to fit pentaprism: eye-cup, right-angle finder, magnifier.
  • Lever-wind attachment.
  • Motor drive, two versions - clock-work or electric.
  • Bulk film back for 50' of film.
  • Stereo prism and viewing eye-piece.

References & Notes:
Falchenberg, Cameras from the DDR. BJA 1962, p. 161 (model IIA).

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