|Praktica Super TL (Pentacon), 35mm SLR Camera, c1968|
The Praktica Super TL arrived in 1968, enjoying a reasonably long production run until 1976 from VEB Pentacon's Dresden facility, during which over half a million were produced. Even by 1968, the Super TL, like its Nova sisters, still showed significant styling and mechanical influences from its Zeiss Contax ancestry. In consequence, the Praktica family was always a well made range of cameras, though curiously often ridiculed. The Super TL shares much commonality with the Nova B, and production ran in parallel for some years. The principle difference being through-the-lens metering (hence TL), using a CdS sensor via the pentaprism. The readout is via a match needle in the viewfinder, and is activated only when the large button beneath the shutter release is pressed in, which also stops the lens down simultaneously. The film speed setting is now co-located with shutter speed and the slow speed mechanism modified. The Super TL is classic Praktica, sturdily built, with the shutter release in the old Contax position, 42mm screwmount lenses, and cloth shutter blinds with the distinctive Praktica clap during release. Film advance, like the Novas, is a fairly stiff and slightly gritty experience.
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 the 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.
This example was donated in working order by J. Hallum in January 2013
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Body No. 186118
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