|Praktica BC1 (Pentacon) , 35mm SLR camera, c1985|
The Praktica BC1 is an East German made 35mm compact SLR that first arrived in 1984, and adhered to the trend of predominantly black bodied cameras of the era. The body is a typically robust metal casting with a polycarbonate top and prism housing. The body was quite slim line, also in keeping with the trend. The BC series Prakticas were automatic exposure aperture priority, though easily switched to manual and very intuitive in use. Lenses hailed from the Zeiss stable, and results ought to reflect this heritage. Competitively priced as they were, Praktica BC series deserved to sell in more numbers than they did, as Praktica cameras were usually competent instruments. The shutter was classic noisy Praktica, a noise like a small car crash emanating from the body on release, accompanied by a tinny clang, did rather give the impression of poor build quality, even if this wasn't the case. This little used and exceptionally clean example was donated to the collection in May 2009, by Mr. T. Hoffman, as part of a complete kit, including Pentacon 70-210mm Zoom and a 28mm wide angle. All it needed to get it working was a new battery.
The history of Praktica is complex to say the least, but Praktica is just the name applied to the camera, the company behind it was an amalgamation of many of Dresden's long standing optical factories. Dresden was the centre of much of Germany's fabulous camera production prior to World War 2. This was thrown into turmoil, first by the war itself, then allied bombing all but destroyed the city and finally what was left became part of East Germany, occupied by Soviet Russia who put camera factories back to work. This caused a few legal issues as some Zeiss factories ended up in East Germany, whilst others remained in the West making closely related products. The various famous Dresden camera makers were gradually amalgamated by the Soviets and by 1964 the conglomeration was known as VEB Pentacon Dresden. The name Pentacon being obtained by combining the words Pentaprism and Contax. The expertise and some of the surviving staff of Zeiss, Ihagee, Certo and others would wind up making Prakticas. Consequently the Prakticas were well made, often displaying elements of their pre Pentacon history. Pentacon went on to build thousands of popular and well selling cameras up to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Sadly Pentacon couldn't survive in market driven reunified Germany, unable to compete, the Praktica silently faded away in 1990.
For a specialist Praktica site click here.
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