Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Classic Film RangeFinders & Other Classics > SLRs - the unRF

SLRs - the unRF For those of you who must talk about SLRs, if only to confirm they are not RF.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Best East Germany made SLR?
Old 1 Week Ago   #1
Doddle
Registered User
 
Doddle is offline
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 7
Question Best East Germany made SLR?

Living in Germany I see a ton of Dresden made stuff on second hand markets.. I rarely buy any because I am just plain ignorant when it comes to DDR-made cameras and so I never took the plunge.

But lately I am starting to get a taste for German glass so I'm wondering what would be some good SLRs to keep an eye out for. Anything on par with Nikkormats or early Pentax? I mostly use sunny 16 so fully mech without battery is fine (actually I prefer it)

Cheers,

Dan.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #2
Kai-san
Filmwaster
 
Kai-san's Avatar
 
Kai-san is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Norge
Posts: 135
In my opinion the Exacta Varex cameras are the best 35mm SLR's. If you want to go for medium format the Pentacon Six is a very nice shooter. You can get a lot of nice glass for these two, both Zeiss and Schneider-Kreuznach. None of them have light meters, but you can get a prism finder for the Pentacon Six with an in-built meter.
__________________
Kai
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #3
Waus
Registered User
 
Waus's Avatar
 
Waus is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 260
Don't know about the cameras, I'm in the market for the DDR Carl Zeiss Jena (zebra) glass. This great website is just a treasure trove, with lots of info on lenses and camera's: http://zeissikonveb.de/
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #4
johnf04
Registered User
 
johnf04 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Age: 69
Posts: 369
L series Prakticas - I have an LLC I bought new in 1973, and apart from a dead meter, it works fine.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #5
xayraa33
rangefinder user and fancier
 
xayraa33's Avatar
 
xayraa33 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,886
I too would go with the L series Prakticas....they never have let me down.

My experience with the classical 35mm Exaktas has not been very good... via reliability and ergonomics , although they can look kind of cool.
__________________
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #6
p.giannakis
Pan Giannakis
 
p.giannakis's Avatar
 
p.giannakis is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Stafford - UK
Posts: 2,423
Exaktas are beautifully made cameras but they need servicing as the lubricants tend to dry and seize. I had a VX1000 and was a nice camera,



I also recommend an L-series Praktica. In my experience, the LTL, LTL1, LTL2 and LTL3 are the most reliable.

__________________
Regards,
Pan


The Monochrome Archives
Instagram



  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #7
johnf04
Registered User
 
johnf04 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Age: 69
Posts: 369
One of the advantages of the Prakticas, is that you can use both the East German lenses made for Praktica and Contax SLRs, and the West German lenses made for Edixa SLRs.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #8
Moto-Uno
Moto-Uno
 
Moto-Uno's Avatar
 
Moto-Uno is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: The Wet Coast
Posts: 1,670
I'm one to second the Pentacon Six . Great selection of glass and it's kinda
cheap too ! Peter
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #9
Sarcophilus Harrisii
Brett Rogers
 
Sarcophilus Harrisii is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,691
My Praktinas have been very good to me. I realise some owners have had some issues with theirs but mine have been trouble free, and their build and finish is superb. I'm fond of Exaktas, too, and they can be reliable, but need to be purchased with care because they're easily damaged by owners too stupid to read and follow the instruction manual.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #10
Pál_K
Cameras. I has it.
 
Pál_K's Avatar
 
Pál_K is online now
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Gig Harbor
Posts: 164
My vote is for Exakta. I have three VX Exaktas, a VX IIa, and an Exakta 500 (Exa II).

I've had them for close to 10 years, have used all of them, and, with the exception of 1/1000 capping on the VXIIa, all the shutter speeds work, plus slow speeds, plus the delayed speeds.

I now have a plethora of really nice Exakta mount lenses from 28mm to 180mm.

These are amazing cameras. I claim to be the only person who photographed the 2017 total solar eclipse with an Exakta!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG6464~2.jpg (24.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG6513~2.jpg (13.8 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg IMAG9403-1-1.jpg (26.2 KB, 9 views)
__________________
"Great photography is about the visual effect upon the viewer, not sharpness." - Stephen Gandy, Cameraquest
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #11
Out to Lunch
Registered User
 
Out to Lunch's Avatar
 
Out to Lunch is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 5,585
I'd go for a Praktica. In its day a big seller. There must be tens of thousands of them around today.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #12
DanskDynamit
Registered User
 
DanskDynamit's Avatar
 
DanskDynamit is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 440
the Pentacon Super with its Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 yummy.
__________________
DanskDynamit
  Reply With Quote

Praktica IV And V Models
Old 1 Week Ago   #13
PAN F
My CZJ 5.8 f2 Biotar.
 
PAN F's Avatar
 
PAN F is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: "Somewhere over the rainbow"
Posts: 65
Praktica IV And V Models

I recommend the Praktica IV and V cameras, particularly the Praktica IVF and the Praktica VF, the 'F' indicating that they are fitted with the much brighter Fresnel focussing screen. Don't buy the later 'Nova' series cameras they are very unreliable and not up to the build quality of the earlier Praktica IV and V cameras.
I also recommend the 5.8cm f2 Biotar (M42), especially the 17 blade early manual model (as shown below) which gives superb 'Bokeh'.


__________________
REGARDS, PAN F


Leica II (1940) - 5cm f3.5 Elmar (1941).

Samsung NX11 - Early manual Carl Zeiss Jena 5.8cm f2 Biotar ( Rare 17 blade version) Circa 1948/49 - Serial No.3277937. - and Samsung 30mm f2 Pancake lens.


  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #14
Russell W. Barnes
Registered User
 
Russell W. Barnes is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by PAN F View Post
'I recommend the Praktica IV and V cameras, particularly the Praktica IVF...'
I use a Praktica MTL3, bought in a fit of nostalgia as one of these was my first SLR. I thoroughly enjoy using it with its Pentacon f1.8 50mm lens.

I recently acquired an IV-F and whilst it is a lovely, solid, well-made camera, you should be aware that you can't look through the viewfinder to compose a picture unless the shutter is cocked!
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #15
santino
eXpect me
 
santino's Avatar
 
santino is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Autriche
Posts: 1,069
Praktica L series. Inexpensive, reliable and a nice industrial design. The shutter is loud though..
__________________
Vivent les télémétriques ! -
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #16
David Murphy
Registered User
 
David Murphy's Avatar
 
David Murphy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: California
Age: 63
Posts: 2,472
I favor the Praktina myself. The lenses made for these are good to outstanding.
__________________
Canon L1, Leotax S, Bessa R2C, Konica Autoreflex, Canon FX, Pentax Spotmatic, Minolta SRT-101, Nikon F, Exakta VX, Miranda Automex II, Leotax K3, Yashica Mat LM, Leotax S, Pen FT, Rollei 35S, Ricoh Singlex TLS, Kowa Six, Pentax K1000, Canonflex, Praktina, Voigtlander R2C

http://legacycamera.wordpress.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #17
hilltime
Registered User
 
hilltime's Avatar
 
hilltime is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 164
My first collectible SLR was an Exakta VX because it was cheap and looked so cool. I found a plenitude of lenses, Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer, Schacht, Steinheil, Schneider, the occasional Kilfit and Angienieux to use and most were very affordable. Today, 25 yrs later some of these great German lenses that I paid $25-$50 for, are now selling for $2, 3, 5 hundred dollars.

I have taken some of my profit and invested in Praktina with mostly Carl Zeiss Jena lenses. My prize possession is a 75/1.5 Biotar in Praktina mount, which I got very reasonably, and had it completely CLA'd, and now is in pristine condition. Other lenses from 24/4 Enna to 180/2.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar I have purchased and only very recently made the plunge to get a camera I had always read about, but never could afford: the Pentacon Super.
Now I still can't afford the legendary 55/1.4 Pancolar but must make do with some Zebra Zeiss screw mount lenses which I don't think will be bad.

I am certainly glad I started with the Exakta range as many of those early lens purchases turned into the ability to move beyond and experience some of these other great German SLRs.
But let's not talk about the other German SLRs from the West, the Contarex..... my latest passion.
Who ever said collectors are not addicts?
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #18
Nokton48
Registered User
 
Nokton48's Avatar
 
Nokton48 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,365
Darkroom Print 3 Hot Rodded Pentacon Six by Nokton48, on Flickr

Back in the day this was the hottest Pentacon Six to be found anywhere. I sent two P6 identical bodies to Pentacon Dresden and they upgraded it to full Exakta 66 MK2 mode. Note in the digipix the EX66 Film Advance Lever. Notice also the EX66 Cradle for the Neckstrap of your choice, I selected Domke Wide Gripper Straps for my P6s and EX66s. The body was then covered with "Rollei SL66 Anniversary Diamond Rubber" which I procured from the Rollei factory. At the time I was using P6 gear for selected professional assignments.

Photograph made in my studio by direct flash. Hasselblad 100mm F3.5 Planar, 70mm Kodak Surveillance Film, processed in ADOX Borax MQ.

Silver gel print on RC paper
__________________
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
― Mark Twain
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #19
markjwyatt
Registered User
 
markjwyatt's Avatar
 
markjwyatt is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Southern California
Posts: 650
I will add a vote for Prakticas. I have an LTL3 (my favorite, but has small light leak and meter does not work) and an MTL5. The MTL5 is almost fully functional (no self timer switch, but I do not care), and the meter is accurate. Here is a picture of the MTL5 fitted with a Zeiss 50mm f1.8 Ultron (shot with a Zeiss Ikon Contax iia w/Zeiss Optron 50mm f2 Sonnar). They are some of the nicest mechanical SLRs I have shot. The fast winding mechanism is really nice, and I like the shutter release on the front. I am a fan of the vertical travelling metal shutters. They feel good in my hands.


Praktica MTL5 & Zeiss Ultron by Mark Wyatt, on Flickr
__________________
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/markjwyatt/
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #20
Pentode
Registered User
 
Pentode's Avatar
 
Pentode is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 210
I’m a fan of the Exaktas, especially the early VX and VXlla, but they are extremely quirky to use. Very well made but quirky nonetheless.

The Pentacon F and the Praktina FX are two other cameras I really like. Bear in mind that none of these have an auto-return mirror. They’re all too early for that. They were extremely advanced for their time but they’re slow and cumbersome by today’s standards regardless of how beautifully they were made.

If your goal is to take advantage of all those great East German lenses from that era you might consider that they were all available in m42 mount (originally introduced by Contax, I believe). That means you’re not restricted to using a DDR body. You could just as easily use all that wonderful glass on a Pentax S1 or similar and you would probably have a more reliable outfit in the long run. I love my DDR SLRs but they don’t feel as solid to me as an old Pentax.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #21
Sarcophilus Harrisii
Brett Rogers
 
Sarcophilus Harrisii is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pentode View Post
I’m a fan of the Exaktas, especially the early VX and VXlla, but they are extremely quirky to use. Very well made but quirky nonetheless.

The Pentacon F and the Praktina FX are two other cameras I really like. Bear in mind that none of these have an auto-return mirror. They’re all too early for that. They were extremely advanced for their time but they’re slow and cumbersome by today’s standards regardless of how beautifully they were made.

If your goal is to take advantage of all those great East German lenses from that era you might consider that they were all available in m42 mount (originally introduced by Contax, I believe). That means you’re not restricted to using a DDR body. You could just as easily use all that wonderful glass on a Pentax S1 or similar and you would probably have a more reliable outfit in the long run. I love my DDR SLRs but they don’t feel as solid to me as an old Pentax.
I'm happy to use my Praktinas as they are but, if the spring motor is attached it converts the operation of the mechanism to instant return mirror.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #22
johannielscom
Ich bin ein Barnacker
 
johannielscom's Avatar
 
johannielscom is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Universitas Terre Threntiae
Posts: 7,371
Cheating! Get a Chinon re-badged as a Revueflex, there’s some earlier models around that are really nice!��
__________________
Gegroet,
Johan Niels

I write vintage gear reviews on www.johanniels.com |

flickr | instagram |
  Reply With Quote

Old 5 Days Ago   #23
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,588
Of the Exaktas, I've found the VX500 to be the best of the lot, in user terms. Ihagee quality started going down the tubes when the VXIIB came out, and got worse with the VX1000. When they were rolled into VEB Pentacon, the quality improved a bit and the VX500 and the last of the VX1000 cameras are actually pretty decent shooters. But the VX500 does away with the intricate self-timer/slow speed mech, they're lighter and more robust because of it. The VXIIA and earlier cameras exhibit a nicer fit and finish than the later cameras, but the shutter curtains are made from a material that self destructs with age - and in any event all of them should be cleaned and lubed before use - it's just the cost of replacing the curtains on top of that can make the older Exaktas quite pricey. The VX500 is simple enough that it an be opened up dusted out, and oiled, at home by anybody with the right tools and mechanical finesse. I've never even had to mess with the shutter tension on any VX500 I've opened, just clean and lube and it's good as new.

The early Prakticas I generally stay away from. They're loud, crude, and huge. Then the Novas come and are supremely unreliable. The revised Novas (that is with the modern shutter dial instead of the old lift-and-set type) are serviceable... but the shutter times can be all over the place even if the camera sounds like it's working correctly. The later L series cameras are a better bet.

My favorite? The Exas. It's rare to find one that doesn't work perfectly. I've encountered just a few problems through the dozen or so I've had. The original series cameras have a light seal behind the mirror made from the same self-destructing material as the Exakta shutter curtains. This seal cannot be replaced. It's rare that it happens, but sometimes you get a light leak here. It can be painted over with fabric paint for a simple fix though. Shutter capping is another issue, caused by dried out lubricants, this is a simple fix, open the camera up (no special tools are needed, just flathead screwdrivers) clean out the old grease and oil, and relube - the Exa will be good for another 60 years.
  Reply With Quote

Old 5 Days Ago   #24
PAN F
My CZJ 5.8 f2 Biotar.
 
PAN F's Avatar
 
PAN F is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: "Somewhere over the rainbow"
Posts: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell W. Barnes;
I recently acquired an IV-F and whilst it is a lovely, solid, well-made camera, you should be aware that you can't look through the viewfinder to compose a picture unless the shutter is cocked!
Russell,
The Practika V-F has the instant return mirror.
__________________
REGARDS, PAN F


Leica II (1940) - 5cm f3.5 Elmar (1941).

Samsung NX11 - Early manual Carl Zeiss Jena 5.8cm f2 Biotar ( Rare 17 blade version) Circa 1948/49 - Serial No.3277937. - and Samsung 30mm f2 Pancake lens.


  Reply With Quote

Old 5 Days Ago   #25
ChrisPlatt
Thread Killer
 
ChrisPlatt's Avatar
 
ChrisPlatt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Queens NYC
Age: 58
Posts: 2,858
I've had good luck with several 1980's bayonet-mount Praktica bodies.
Features and handling are competitive with their Japanese contemporaries.
Since it's a "dead" lens mount some nice lenses can be reasonably priced.

Chris
__________________
Bring back the latent image!
  Reply With Quote

Old 5 Days Ago   #26
santino
eXpect me
 
santino's Avatar
 
santino is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Autriche
Posts: 1,069
The B200 is a great camera. Small, quiet and inexpensive good lenses.
__________________
Vivent les télémétriques ! -
  Reply With Quote

Old 3 Days Ago   #27
ChipMcD
Registered User
 
ChipMcD is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: East Coast USA
Posts: 485
Not exactly on point, but a testament to Exactas. My father was an entomologist. He had a colleague who had a side gig making and selling macrophotographs of insects on slide film (it was the 70s), and he made enough from his photo sales to be able to afford and acquire top-of-the-line Nikon and Hasselblad bodies, lenses and macro bellows of the day. His workhorse outfit was an Exacta, probably because that is what he could first afford. The other gear was for hobby and vacation photography. Unusual choice, perhaps, but it worked for him, and the proof was in his sales.
  Reply With Quote

Exakta Varex (VX)
Old 2 Days Ago   #28
raydm6
Registered User
 
raydm6's Avatar
 
raydm6 is online now
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North Central Massachusetts (USA)
Posts: 515
Exakta Varex (VX)

For the longest time, I have wanted an Exakta but not sure which model. I did a lot of research and came across this beauty.

For under $500 USD, I acquired this beautiful condition and CLA'd Exakta Varex (VX) (version 5) w/Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 lens, German Heliopan 49mm x 0.75 lens filter and included the various finders shown below in the original ad.

The camera functions wonderfully and - given all it's idiosyncratic operations - is an exquisite example of German engineering.


Exakta Varex VX by rdc154, on Flickr


Exakta Varex VX
by rdc154, on Flickr
__________________
flickriver
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:34.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.