Useful Tips

Twelve 35 mm cameras for those who want to start filming


Most likely you (like me) began your acquaintance with the world of film photography with Soviet technology, and in particular with the Zenith camera, but this will not be about him. With Zenith I will compare a series of German Praktica cameras. This article applies to most cameras in the L series (those with the letter L in the name) using my Praktica LTL3 as an example. The camera was developed by Pentacon in 1975 in the GDR. Description will go from external to internal.

The camera was equipped with optics from Pentacon or Carl Zeiss Jena from the factory. Thread 42 also allows the use of Soviet optics, there is a drive for the “jumping” diaphragm.

A few words about the shutter, which is a nice feature and at the same time a weak point of the camera. Shutter lamella: consists of two curtains, each of which consists of three iron lamellas. The shutters in the shutter move from top to bottom. There is no need to tighten the shutter - it works out evenly at all shutter speeds. On almost all Zeniths, I pulled the shutter. The shutter is not subject to aging because there is no fabric or glue in it.

However, the camera has drawbacks. In my experience with Praktica cameras, the weakest point is the shutter mechanism. Carefully check all excerpts 2 times, because they can work in 60% of cases and at first it seems that everything is fine. For example, on my camera at a shutter speed of 1/1000, about half the frames, one curtain catches up with another. There is no way to notice this on a simple external audit, but there is still such a flaw.

The price of a working carcass is 1000-2000 rubles ($ 15-30), the older MTL models are slightly more expensive than the rest.

Method 1 Preparation

  1. 1 Insert the battery if it is not already inserted. The battery cover is located on the back of the camera.
    • Insert the coin into the slot on the battery cover and turn it counterclockwise (a British 5 pence coin, or the American quarter fits well here). If the camera has not been used for a while, it may take some effort to ensure that the coin does not pop off the slot and damage the edge of the slot. A 5 pence British coin or an American quarter is good for opening the battery cover.
    • Dismantle the old battery, if it is in place, and insert the PX625 in the designated place, with the "plus" facing you. Insert the PX625 into the space provided. "+" Should be directed up.
    • Replace the battery cover. You must press her so that she herself could not free herself. Do not over tighten it. You risk that the coin will slip and round the edges of the slot, which may lead to the fact that you can not then remove the cover.
  2. 2 Attach the lens.
    • Remove the cover, if any, by turning it counterclockwise (looking at it from the front). MTL3 with cover removed.
    • Place the camera on a flat surface, face up, and align the thread of the lens with the thread in the lens barrel. Grasp the lens gently with the aperture ring or focusing ring and begin to gently rotate. Do not apply any pressure down, you can break the thread of the lens barrel or the lens itself. Align the lens thread with the lens barrel thread and gently rotate
    • After a few turns of the lens, it will be able to rotate faster. Continue to rotate the lens until it can no longer rotate, then apply a little force to ensure that the lens is fully seated. Continue to rotate the lens until it takes its place, the numbers on the circle of the aperture will look at the top of the camera.
    • If your lens has a switch with positions "A" and "M", set to "A". This will allow you to focus and shoot in the widest aperture, you only need to stop the lens in a meter. The A / M switch for the Pentacon 50mm f / 1.8 is set to "A".

Method 2 Refill the film

  1. Raise the rewind button. 1 Raise the rewind button. It is at the top of the camera, on the left, if you look at the back of the camera facing you.
  2. . and pull a little further. The back cover opens with a spring. 2 Pull a little further and the back of the camera will open with a spring.
  3. 3 Place the 35 mm film cassette in the camera on the left side. The end of the cassette will point up.
  4. 4 Slide the rewind button all the way down. It may turn out that you need to turn it a bit so that the inserted cassette touching the button fits completely in its place. This is normal.
  5. Pull the film from the cartridge until it touches the end of the index mark (2), ensuring that the film is caught by sprockets, as shown in the photo (1). 5 Pull the film from the cassette so that the end is on the green index mark on the right side, next to the bobbin tensioner. Make sure that the film is properly gripped by sprockets as indicated in the image.
  6. Close the back cover of the camera. 6 Close the back cover of the camera.
  7. Press the shutter button and cock the shutter. 7 Press the shutter release button, then load the film. The shutter might not work the first time, if it has not been cocked, of course, in this case, cock the shutter.
  8. The frame counter MTL3 shows 1. 8 Repeat the above step until the frame counter shows 1, as shown. Do not start the shutter as soon as the counter shows 1, this is the first frame on your film.
  9. The film speed is set to ASA 100 for Kodak Ektar 100 film. Lift the silver ring around the shutter speed switch and set it to the desired ASA position. 9 Set the film speed on the speed switch. The film speed switch is located in the same place as the shutter speed switch; these are silver switches around the outside, which can move independently. To change the speed of the film, pull the silver ring around the shutter speed switch up. While holding it this way, turn the switch until you set the desired film speed. Note that MTL3 has both DIN and ASA settings, modern films usually give their ratings in ASA (which are called ISO on digital cameras). (For example, Fuji Velvia 50 - ASA 50, not 50 °, DIN, later equivalent to ASA speed like a clap.)

Method 3 Shoot

  1. Look through the MTL3 viewfinder, with a fuzzy unfocused picture. 1 Look through the viewfinder. You will notice the following:
    1. The triangle is on the left. It appears only if we did not cock the shutter.
    2. "Needle on the right side. This is a meter reading. Take into account +, O and - labeling to scale, we will refer to them later.
    3. Three circles in the center of the imagewho are your focus assistants.
  2. Note that the split image in the center shows the straight lines broken when they are out of focus. 2 Focus. Turn the focusing ring of your lens until you have a clear image. You have three focusing tools to help.
    • Split image in the center. Straight vertical lines seem to be halved if they are out of focus, but they will rejoin when they are in focus. Sometimes half of this image will be painted over in black, for example with slow lenses (f / 4 and slower).
    • The ring of microprisms outside the “that” will flicker when the subject in that area is out of focus and becomes clear when it is in focus.
    • Circle frosted glass that helps you if the aforementioned focusing tools do not help in your shooting conditions.
  3. 3 Set the exposure. The MTL3 is a fully manual camera, but it's hardly much harder than doing the same operation on a digital SLR in manual mode.
    • Press and hold the measurement button on the front of the camera. The viewfinder may darken when you do this. This is normal. MTL3 must stop the lens down to measure how much light will penetrate through the lens at a given aperture (this is called a "stopped down measurement"). Press and hold the measurement button. This is a large black button next to the shutter button that turns on the camera meter.
    • Look at the needle. If it is in the middle of the “O” mark, then you have the correct exposure. Otherwise, adjust either your shutter speed or the aperture ring on your lens until it is correct. A more complete explanation of the role of aperture and shutter speed is beyond the scope of this article, but you can see the article How to Understand Camera Impact. MTL measuring needle at work. From left to right: indication of underexposure (needle to mark -), indication of overexposure (needle to mark + ) and an indication of approximately correct exposure (the needle is close to O label).
  4. 4 Shoot! Press the shutter release button all the way down, you will hear a good, assuring click of the shutter.
  5. 5 Bring the film to the next frame and shoot until you hit the end of your film reel.

Method 4 Unloading Film

  1. Rewind release button on MTL3. This will allow you to rewind the tape. 1 Press the camera-based rewind release button.
  2. 2 Pull out the winding handle on the rewind button.
  3. Rewind the tape in the direction indicated by the rewind knob. 3 Rewind the film in the direction indicated on the wind-up rewind handle (looking at the camera from above, turn it clockwise). Continue to wind until you feel that the film has come loose from the factory mechanism (it will become much easier to wind), then turn it a few more times.
  4. 4 Open the back cover of the camera by removing the rewind button, as you did previously, to load the film.
  5. 5 Remove the cassette, then close the camera cover.
  6. Photographed on a Praktica MTL3 and Pentacon 50mm f / 1.8. 6 Take your tape to work and show the results to the world!

Method 5 Using the Self-Timer

It is generally not advisable to use the self-timer on the old Praktica MTL3 mechanical camera. The mechanism, if it has not been used for a long time, can create congestion, requiring either a qualified camera technician or brute force (which will require even more expensive services from the camera technician) to remove it from the state of congestion. However, if you really need to:

  1. 1 Make sure the shutter is cocked.
  2. << <2> >> 2 Locate the self-timer lever. This is to the left of the lens barrel if you are looking in front of the camera. Not all MTL3s are equipped with self-timers, so if you don’t have one, rejoice: you just saved yourself from going to a qualified camera technician.
  3. << <2> >> 3 Lift the lever (clockwise, looking from the front of the camera) to the top of its path, this will lock it in place.
  4. Press the silver button in the middle of the self-timer lever. 4 Press the silver button in the middle of the center of the self-timer lever. The timer will run for approximately 8 seconds and then the shutter will release.