Simon Hawketts

Every now and then, when I buy an old camera to add to my collection, I will find one which still has a film in it. I’ve been saving these up and yesterday I took a few of these films into my local high street photography chain to have them developed and scanned. Today I collected the developed films.

Of the 5 films I took in only 3 had any images on them and most of them were blank. It’s a fact that most of the films found in these circumstances are not completed films but ones forgotten and with only a few exposures made. Also most of the  pictures which had been taken were not very good photographically with poor focus and colour balance, but for some reason there is a real interest in looking at these pictures of people and places that you will never know. You wonder who the people in the picture are and what they did in their lives. It’s also interesting trying to date the pictures from the decoration, furniture and items in the room. For example, the third picture has a CRT television so it was obviously taken before LCD panels became ubiquitous.

I have one other film which I’d misplaced, but I’ve found that now and will get that developed soon. I hope it has better images than these, but whatever they are there will still be that excitement of seeing pictures which no one has seen since the unknown photographer took the pictures all those years ago.

Quite a few of these pictures have multiple exposures and because of that I have cropped a couple of the pictures.

Vintage camera collection - photo’s from old cameras Every now and then, when I buy an old camera to add to my collection, I will find one which still has a film in it.

This is a short review of a classic Russian rangefinder camera – the Fed 4. There were lots of variations of this camera when it was being made between about 1964 – 1980 and mine is a revision 2 model which puts it somewhere in the second half of that period.

I actually own three Fed 4 bodies because I bought one for the Industar 61 lens attached (to use on my Nex 6) and then another two bodies in a single sale, because the original one I bought was missing the self timer lever. Although both these bodies were sold as ‘spares or repair’, I found that after a minor repair to one unit they both worked. The repair was simply to turn the film advance in the film chamber by hand to cock the shutter and then fire it. Once this was done both bodies were working and actually in better condition than my original purchase so I’ve assembled the best unit from all three and I’ll probably sell the other two bodies. As an added bonus, one of the cameras had a film still inside so I’ve removed that and it’s joined my small collection of exposed 35mm films I’ve found in cameras I’ve bought. I’ll get those developed soon.

As is almost standard with Russian units there are some odd quirks to this camera. For a start, in a similar way to the Zorki 4, the shutter speed needs to be set after the shutter has been cocked. If it’s adjusted prior to cocking the shutter it can be destroyed. Another oddity is that you mustn’t move the shutter speed dial between 1/30 and 1 sec. Although that sounds reasonable, when you look at the position of those two speeds it seems really odd. You would think the problem area would be to move between B and 1 but the B setting sits between 1/500 and 1/30!

Another similarity with the zorki is the way the whole bottom of the camera is removed to load a film into the camera. The two lugs at the bottom are turned and the bottom and back of the camera come off the allow the film to be fitted. There is a removable take up spool that the film leader is fitted in and the handbook for the fed 4 recommends removing this prior to loading the film to make the operation easier. When the film is loaded the bottom the the case is replaced and locked in place and the film counter is manually set to 0. Once the film is exposed there is a collar round the shutter release which is turned to release the film advance and allow the rewind knob to wind the film back in the cassette.

The exposure measurement is made with a built in light meter. There is a photocell mounted on the front of the camera and the measurement is made by simply pointing the camera at the subject and matching the measurement needle with a movable needle built into the camera. Then the reading can be transferred to the shutter and aperture and the picture taken. The biggest advantage of this system of course is that no batteries are used so it works all the time.

Focusing of course is achieved by viewing the scene through the viewfinder window and aligning the two images you see at the subject point of the picture. With these cameras, the second image is yellow in colour, so you move the lens focus ring until the yellow image coincides with the colour image and the camera is focused. Of course being a rangefinder means there is no indication of the depth of field because the image is simply composed in the optical viewfinder rather than through the lens.

The viewfinder has a diopter adjustment which is adjusted with a knurled ring round the viewfinder.

  •  35mm Rangefinder camera
  • M39 screw thread lens mount
  • 1 to 1/500 shutter + B
  • 10 sec self timer
  • Match needle exposure meter
  • ISO 20 to 320 film speed
  • ‘Cold’ accessory shoe
  • Flash sync socket
  • 1/30 flash sync speed
  • Viewfinder diopter adjustment
  • Exposure counter and film type reminder
  • Fitted with Industar 61 50mm f/2.8 prime lens
  • Centred tripod bush
http://wp.me/pZ9bl-1Ha This is a short review of a classic Russian rangefinder camera - the Fed 4. There were lots of variations of this camera when it was being made between about 1964 - 1980 and mine is a revision 2 model which puts it somewhere in the second half of that period.

This is the latest vintage camera I’ve acquired for my collection, a Topcon Unirex fitted with a Topcor 50mm f/2.0 lens made sometime between 1969 and 1970.

The cosmetic condition of the camera is quite good. There is a little scuffing to the paintwork in a couple of places round the lens barrel and on the back plate, but almost everywhere else is in pretty good condition. Functionally, the viewfinder has a dark spot near the centre of the screen, coinciding with the focus assist rings, and the lens aperture was a little reluctant to close when the shutter was fired, although that seems to be getting a bit better with use. I suspect the dark spot may be related to the exposure measuring system – more later.

I must admit that I didn’t know a great deal about Topcon as a camera manufacturer before I bought this one for my collection, but it seems to be a better quality manufacturer than a lot of the more famous makers. The film advance lever has a real feel that you are connected with a piece of precision engineering rather than just pulling on a lever connected to some cogs!

In design this camera is different from any other 35mm SLR I own because of a few interesting features. For example, the shutter is not a focal plane shutter sitting just in front of the film, but a leaf shutter sitting just behind the lens in the back of the lens mount. The shutter speed control is fitted around the back of the lens barrel behind the point where the lens mounts on the camera. The ISO speed setting for the exposure system also sits at the same point, and this is also a bit unusual because it has different set points for different lenses. This can be seen in the pictures above: there are 4 setting points for f/2.0 up to f/5.6. This makes me wonder if the setting had to be changed everytime the lens was changed? That would be quite an inconvenience.

Exposure system.

There looks to be quite an advanced exposure system on this camera. Not only does it offer (what is effectively) shutter priority automatic exposure and manual mode, there are a choice of two metering modes. A switch around the film rewind crank allows the photographer to switch between Averaging mode, where two photocells are used, or Spot mode, where a photocell embedded in the mirror is used (probably the reason for the darker patch in the middle of the viewfinder). The camera is powered by a single cell fitted in a compartment in the bottom plate. My example didn’t have a cell fitted, but when I put one in I can see the lens being stopped down so I assume some sort of reading is taking place.

The lens aperture is controlled by the camera in auto mode, so composition and metering is all at full aperture with the lens being stopped down at the point of exposure. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of electrical connection between the lens and the camera so I think this must be a purely mechanical arrangement. The ISO setting is adjusted by pulling a small lever on the speed setting button and rotating the speed dial to set the correct ISO for the film you are using and the lens aperture fitted to the camera.

Lens Mount

The lens mount is a bayonet design with a button mounted in the lens to remove it from the camera rather than a button on the camera. It looks a lot like an Exakta mount, but it isn’t exactly that because the lens won’t fit on my Exakta to Nex adapter. I assume it is some variation of that design.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder has twin micro prism circles to assist with focusing, and a needle in the bottom left hand corner with an aperture scale showing. This is the manual exposure system which shows the aperture to set for the shutter speed selected when out of ‘Auto’ mode.

  • Topcon Unirex 35mm SLR
  • Leaf shutter 1 sec to 1/500 + B
  • Bayonet lens mount
  • Average and Spot metering available
  • Auto and Manual exposure
  • 10 sec selftimer
  • X and M flash sync
  • ‘Cold’ accessory shoe with flash sync socket
  • UV coated 50mm f/2.0 Topcor lens
  • Flash sync (with electronic flash) up to 1/500 sec

 

http://wp.me/pZ9bl-1G8 This is the latest vintage camera I’ve acquired for my collection, a Topcon Unirex fitted with a Topcor 50mm f/2.0 lens made sometime between 1969 and 1970.

I had to go into London today to visit the Symfony Live conference in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster so I took my Sony Nex 6 along fitted with my Takumar 28mm wide angle lens and my Camdiox focal reducer. As it happened I left a bit early and missed the final keynote because I had a headache from being in a darkened room all day, so while I walked around to get rid of it I took some pictures of the places and people around Westminster.

It turned out that the end of the day was really nice for photography, with some nice light and clear sky. I also got a couple of pictures inside Kings Cross station which has been completely re-built since the last time I went into London.

I’ve post-processed these in Lightroom using my usual steps

Views around Westminster I had to go into London today to visit the Symfony Live conference in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster so I took my Sony Nex 6 along fitted with my Takumar 28mm wide angle lens and my Camdiox focal reducer.

This Mamiya ZM Quartz fitted with an E series Mamiya-Sekor 50mm f/2 lens is the latest addition to my vintage camera collection, and I have to say it’s a step above the usual camera’s I manage to pick up on ebay for a few pounds.

The Mamiya MZ Quartz was the last 35mm film camera that Mamiya produced because after this model they left the 35mm market and concentrated on medium format film cameras. This model was made in the early 1980’s and was quite a sophisticated camera in it’s day. If I compare it to, for example, my Praktica PLC3 which was made at a similar date, in appearance it’s like chalk and cheese although in terms of the actual camera features there is not that much difference between them. The Mamiya seems to ooze quality and style however.

When I first received the camera it had no batteries, and it had been sold as ‘should work ok but I haven’t tried batteries in it’. When I unpacked it and tried the shutter it wouldn’t fire and the film advance wouldn’t move, so I assumed that it probably didn’t work, but I fitted a couple of batteries in it to try anyway. With the batteries in, I still couldn’t get the shutter to fire although the exposure system seemed to be taking some readings and the LED’s in the viewfinder were working. I was about to give up when I tried manually moving the film advance wheel within the film chamber with my finger. There was a click and when I tried the shutter again it fired! I could also move the film advance as well so I wound and fired the shutter a couple of times and it all seemed to be ok. So it now has a reel on FP5 black & white film loaded and I’m trying the camera out with a film.

Exposure modes

The camera has both aperture priority auto exposure and fully manual operation. To put the camera in Aperture priority mode the shutter speed dial is set to ‘A’ and then as the aperture is set, the camera selects the shutter speed and shows the speed selected as an LED against a scale in the viewfinder. If the shutter speed dial is moved from ‘A’ the speed can be manually selected and then the viewfinder shows the metered speed and the actual selected speed. In this mode the correct exposure is obtained by aligning the two lit LED’s.

There are two stops of exposure compensation available via a dial round the film rewind crank. This is enabled in both auto mode and manual mode, although of course in manual mode it’s as easy to just set the exposure ‘out’ by the amount required.

An exposure lock position is available on the main shutter speed dial. To operate this the AEL position is selected and the photographer moves so that the area to be correctly exposed is filling the center portion of the viewfinder. Once the shutter button is half pressed the exposure is locked and the photographer moves back to the position he had to correctly compose the picture, making sure the button remains half pressed. This all sounds a bit error prone to me!

Lens

The lens fitted is a Mamiya-Sekor 50mm f/2.0 manual focus prime lens.  The aperture information is transmitted to the camera body by a series of electronic contacts fitted to the bottom of the lens mount. There is a small grey button which will lock the aperture after the f/16 setting, and I believe this allows the lens to be used on a fully automatic version of a Z series camera, where the aperture could also be set by the camera. When I first received the camera the focus was a bit stiff, but a few days use has loosened it quite nicely.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is fairly standard for cameras of this age. There is a split image rangefinder style focusing aid in the centre, a micro-prism ring around that, and then a fresnel screen which makes up the rest of the viewing screen. The shutter speeds are shown down the right hand side with LED’s to show the selected shutter speed.

Specs

  • Mamiya ZM Quartz 35mm SLR
  • 2 sec to 1/1000 + B
  • Flash sync at 1/60
  • Aperture priority exposure
  • Manual exposure
  • Electronic self timer
  • +/- 2 stop exposure compensation in 1 stop steps
  • Flash hot shoe
  • AE Lock facility
  • ISO range 12 to 3200
  • Coupling for motor drive
  • Tripod bush
  • Powered by two SR44 batteries
  • Ser No V214049
  • Lens Ser No 61421
  • 52mm filter thread

As I said above I have a reel of FP5 in the camera at the moment and once I have it developed I’ll post the pictures to the blog.

http://wp.me/pZ9bl-1Fe This Mamiya ZM Quartz fitted with an E series Mamiya-Sekor 50mm f/2 lens is the latest addition to my vintage camera collection, and I have to say it’s a step above the usual camera’s I manage to pick up on ebay for a few pounds.

This is a review of a Pentacon 200mm f/4 preset telephoto lens when used on a Sony Nex 6 APS-C mirrorless camera.

I’m not exactly sure of the history of this lens regarding when it would have been made. I would guess that it must be sometime around the start of the 1970’s because if it was before 1968 it would have had the maker named as Meyer-Optik Gorlitz since Meyer-Optik, the manufacturers, were taken over by the Pentacon company in 1968. If it had been much later it would not be a pre-set lens, it would have an auto diaphragm and an actuation pin in the mount. So I would guess between 1968 and 1973?

In design it’s a large heavy lens with a maximum aperture of f/4.0 and a minimum apature of f/22. There are an almost unbelievable 15 blades in the aperture which makes it just about perfectly round as it closes. Being a pre-set means that there are no other controls (such as auto/manual switches etc) apart from the aperture ring and the focus ring which makes it a very simple lens to use. On the Nex there is no need to use the Pre-set mechanism – I just set the pre-set stop at f/22 and adjust the aperture as required for the exposure.

It’s possible to pick up an example of this lens from between £15 to £50 on ebay in fully working order – I paid £25 for mine. Because they are simple there is little to go wrong with them, so as long as they haven’t been physically damaged and don’t have any fungus issues they should be ok. The unit I bought had a small amount of dust inside but I managed to clean most of that out with a blower pushed into he gap at the back of the lens when the focus is set to minimum distance.

There certainly seems to be a coating of some sort on the lens surface because the reflections have a purplish hue to them. I suspect that they are not multi coated however so the flare reduction may not be up to todays standards.

  • Focal length 200mm
  • Effective focal length on APS-C 300mm
  • Minimum Aperture f/4.0
  • Maximum Aperture f/22
  • Mount M42
  • Minimum focus 2.5 meters
  • Preset aperture
  • 15 blade aperture
  • Ser No 8552354

Use

In use this is a heavy lens to attach to a camera as small and light as the Nex 6. I have to support the lens barrel with one hand because I don’t like to put the whole weight of the lens onto the lens mount. Because the aperture has no click stops it’s also difficult to know which aperture you are shooting at although in many cases that isn’t a particularly important piece of information when the camera is giving you a live view of the picture.

I know that pre-set lenses were designed so that you can rapidly move from fully open to the pre-set aperture, but on the Nex that isn’t really the best way to work because you don’t tend to meter a shot and set the exposure. I found I was using shutter priority mode a lot and leaving the ISO on auto. That way I could adjust both the shutter speed with the camera thumb wheel and the aperture on the lens and let the camera set the ISO to suit. As long as I kept an eye on the ISO it was ok. For video the click-less aperture would probably be an advantage.

Other than the weight issues, the use couldn’t be simpler and achieving focus using focus peaking was simple but you have to be aware of the focal length and take all normal precautions against camera shake. Basically never set the shutter speed below about 1/250th and you are probably ok.

Pictures

This is a gallery of images I took in the last few days around Stevenage with this lens attached to my Nex 6 with an Nex to M42 adapter. I’m slightly disappointed with this lens all round. For some reason I expected it to be a brilliant performer but although it is respectable, it’s not a outright star. I suppose it could be my copy however – the biggest problem levelled at the East German manufacturing, like the Russian, was the inconsistency of the quality control.

http://wp.me/pZ9bl-1Ev This is a review of a Pentacon 200mm f/4 preset telephoto lens when used on a Sony Nex 6 APS-C mirrorless camera.

This is a short review of this vintage lenses which is another I inherited from my Dad who used to use it on a Zenith B camera in the 1970’s or 1980’s.

Description

It’s a 135mm M42 mount lens with an auto/manual switch and a f/2.8 to f/22 aperture range.

There is an in-built lens hood which slides over the front element when required, although on my copy this is so loose that it won’t keep in place if the lens is pointed upwards. The aperture has 6 blades and operates quite smoothly in half stop clicks apart from the final one-stop click from f/16 to f/22.

The focusing ring is also smooth in operation, and is nicely damped. It is certainly easier to turn than the takumar 135 f/3.5, which if anything I find a bit too stiff. According to the focusing scale, the closest focusing distance is about 5 feet, so this would not be a natural choice for macro unless you use an extension tube or close focus attachment lens.

My copy has quite a bit of internal dust and also some scuffs on the inside of the back element which I haven’t bothered to try to remove. Sometimes on old lenses there is a small gap at the back near the mount which you can use to force air in with a blower and clean the internal dust out, but this lens is completely solid round that area, and the gap between the lens body and the internal focusing section is too small to use. I haven’t taken the lens apart to try to clean it although these type of lenses are normally of simple design so that is a possibility sometime in the future if it becomes necessary.

Vivitar lenses were made by a variety of different manufacturers, and the serial number of mine (28809118) indicates that this lens was made by Komine (because of the 28 starting serial number). The 8 as a third digit suggests it was made in a year ending in 8 which was probably 1978, since I would guess that by 1988 there wouldn’t be many M42 lenses being made.

Although I inherited my copy from my Dad, it is possible to buy a copy of this lens reasonably easily. A quick search on ebay uk reveals a price ranging from £30 to £50 on a ‘buy it now’ deal. That sounds quite expensive to me – I would expect to probably pay about £25 to acquire one in an auction.

Bokeh

The pictures below show some concrete bears which sit in my garden at home, used as a portrait subject to show the level of background defocus with the lens set from f/2.8 to f/22

Macro

As I said above the close focus distance of 5 feet doesn’t make this a natural choice for macro photography, but the shots below were all taken using a small extension tube fitted to the camera. This  reduced the closest distance to about 2 feet and at least qualifies these pictures as close-up if not macro.

General Pictures

These are some general pictures taken with the lens in my Mum’s garden. I think they show a reasonable performance once the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 which puts this lens in the ‘certainly worth the money but not a super star’ class.

http://wp.me/pZ9bl-1pn This is a short review of this vintage lenses which is another I inherited from my Dad who used to use it on a Zenith B camera in the 1970’s or 1980’s.

This post is another in my series of posts describing a camera in my growing 35mm camera collection – this time a Minolta camera, the X-300.

This is a manual focus camera from the early 1990’s from one of the ‘big 5′ camera manufacturers of the time who were Pentax, Nikon, Minolta, Canon and Olympus. I would guess that it’s an entry level camera but it has some nice touches. In the pictures below it looks quite grubby, but this is mostly because the pictures emphasis the dirt – it’s actually not that bad when held in the hand, however I think I’ll give it a good clean!

The body of the camera is fairly lightweight and seems to be made of a silvered plastic rather than metal. It’s quite a minimalist design with only a main switch, iso selection dial and rewind lever on one side of the top plate and shutter release, film advance lever and shutter speed dial on the other side. I think that Minolta were very good at design. I found on my Minolta Dynax 5 that all the controls were easy to get to whilst the camera was at your eye and this camera is the same.

Exposure Modes

The camera has three exposure modes :

  • Aperture priority mode – This is entered by turning the shutter speed dial to ‘Auto’ and setting the aperture to the value you want.
  • Program mode – To go ‘fully auto’ the shutter speed dial is set to ‘Auto’ and the aperture is set to f/22 and then locked in place with a small lever on the lens
  • Manual mode – Set the shutter and aperture to the exposure you want and you are in manual mode

There is no exposure compensation dial but there is an exposure lock switch so it’s possible to use the ‘meter on the area you want, lock the exposure and re-compose’ trick instead.

The exposure information is displayed in the viewfinder as a list of the possible shutter speeds with an led illuminated next to the selected speed. When switched to manual mode these led’s change to show the metered value as a steady led and the set value as a flashing led. By adjusting the speed / aperture combination so the flashing led matched the solid one, you can set the exposure as close to the metered value as you want. The metering works over the range of 12 – 3200 in 1/3 stop steps, which covers every film I’ve ever seen, and is powered by two SR44 cells.

Other features

Other nice touches on this camera are the touch sensitive shutter button, which turns the exposure system on as soon as your finger makes contact with the button, and the electronic self timer which, like modern cameras, flashes to let you know it’s started it’s countdown.

  • 35mm film SLR
  • Minolta SR/MD bayonet mount
  • ISO range 12 to 3200
  • Fully automatic exposure mode
  • Aperture priority mode
  • Manual mode.
  • Touch activated exposure metering
  • AEL lock
  • Electronic self timer
  • Flash hot shoe and sync socket.
  • Split-image rangefinder style focusing aid and micro prism in the viewfinder
  • Power winder accessory available
  • Rapid film advance lever

Lens/Camera performance

The lens fitted to this camera is a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 multi-coated unit with a plastic Minolta SR/MD bayonet mount. Although it doesn’t look anything special I’ve used this lens on my Sony Nex 6 with an adapter and it’s a pretty solid performer. I’ve included the shots here as well in the gallery below.

Since the lens is a major part in determining the quality of a picture in 35mm photography (well all photography but with 35mm photography all cameras could have the same film loaded so the lens and exposure system really defined the camera) these pictures are a useful indication of how well the camera would perform.

 

 

http://wp.me/pZ9bl-1Df This post is another in my series of posts describing a camera in my growing 35mm camera collection - this time a Minolta camera, the X-300.

I said in a recent post that I remember taking some pictures around central London in the very early 1980’s and I’ve now found the slides and duplicated them. I can’t remember exactly when they were taken but I remember that Margaret Thatcher had only recently become Prime Minister so it must have been pretty early in the 1980’s. I moved from my home town of Fakenham in Norfolk to Harpenden in Hertfordshire in Oct 1978 and I remember that it was a little time after that that I ventured into London to take these pictures.

I specifically remember taking the photographs of 10 Downing St (not that I was a fan of Margaret Thatcher) because it is a contrast to today when you can’t enter Downing street as a member of the public. I think this was a different day to the day I took pictures in London Zoo but since it was about 35 years ago I can’t be certain.

These pictures aren’t particularly interesting from a photographic point of view (they were taken with an inexpensive camera by a very amateur photographer) but I find them immensely interesting from a historical point of view.

Central London pictures c1980 I said in a recent post that I remember taking some pictures around central London in the very early 1980’s and I’ve now found the slides and duplicated them.

This is a brief review of the Praktica B100 electronic 35mm SLR camera.

This camera was manufactured in East Germany in about 1981 by the Pentacon company and is an early example of a common modern phenomena – an all automatic camera. Well – sort of. The camera is fully automatic in it’s choice of shutter speed once the lens aperture has been set.

The lens mount is a Praktica PB bayonet mount which is similar in diameter to the Pentax K mount although the registration distance of the Praktica is a bit shorter. When I bought my camera it had a 28mm f/2.8 lens fitted and I also have a Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 and a Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 lens in PB mount, so if I ever decide to put a film through this camera I’ve got quite a nice little kit ready! I would guess that the lenses are of the same basic design as the equivalent Pentacon M42 mount lenses although I haven’t had need to take any apart so far so I can’t confirm that.

Although small, it’s quite a heavy camera to carry about, which possibly indicates that it’s is made of mostly metal components. The vertically operating shutter is certainly metal, and there is quite a heafty ‘clunk’ when an exposure is made. This was obviously not the camera to use for street photography or anything where you didn’t want to be noticed.

As I said above, the camera has a fully automatic shutter speed setting – it’s not possible to select the shutter speed yourself, other than by changing the aperture to shift it. I would imagine this camera was aimed at the beginner photographer who wanted a ‘point and shoot’ camera. While this is fine if you use the PB mount lenses, any Praktica owner with a collection of M42 lens would have also needed to purchase the M42 to PB lens adaptor if they bought this camera as an upgrade. I’m not sure how this combination would work however since the camera would not be able to read the aperture?

There is an exposure compensation dial fitted around the film rewind crank which allows up to 2 stops either side of the metered exposure value, and a small button next to the dial to keep it locked in place. I find it quite fiddly to push this button and adjust the compensation dial and I certainly couldn’t do it with the camera held to my eye. The metering is carried out ‘through the lens’ at full aperture and is powered by a PX28 battery fitted in the bottom of the camera. The lens has electronic contacts which allow the metering circuitry to read the aperture value set on the lens so all the composition, focusing and aperture selection is carried out with the brightest view possible and the aperture stopped down only at the moment of exposure.

The viewfinder is typical of all 35mm cameras – bigger and brighter than most modern APS-C cameras, but of course with very little of the information which is found in modern cameras either. There is a needle on the right hand side which shows the shutter speed selected, and the aperture which the lens is set to can be seen in a small window at the bottom of the viewfinder (this is an optical view rather than any electronic view, there is a little window in the prism housing allowing you to see the top of the lens). In the centre of the viewfinder is the normal micro prism ring around a 45 degree split rangefinder focusing aid.

A full run down of the spec is:

  • Praktica PB bayonet mount lens
  • Full electronic shutter selection
  • Flash hot shoe and sync socket
  • Vertical metal focal plane shutter
  • Open aperture metering
  • 45 degree split focusing aid
  • ISO range 3200 to 12 ASA
  • +/- 2 stops exposure compensation with lock
  • Self timer (broken on my example)
  • Motor drive contacts and drive thread fitted
  • Shutter lock button
  • Shutter button threaded for cable release
  • Film info slot fitted to film chamber door
  • Tripod bush
  • Ser No – 4651554
  • Lens Ser No – 1050486

http://wp.me/pZ9bl-1BA This is a brief review of the Praktica B100 electronic 35mm SLR camera. This camera was manufactured in East Germany in about 1981 by the Pentacon company and is an early example of a common modern phenomena - an all automatic camera.