VEB Kamera-Werkstätten VVB Optik first presented Praktina at the Photokina exhibition in Cologne in March 1952. At the Leipzig exhibition in September 1952, the presentation of the Praktina camera, along with many accessories, marked the birth of the first professional 35mm SLR.
The new camera has generated a lot of interest due to its innovative features. The lens, finder, focusing screen and rear camera cover are interchangeable. In addition, in the lower part of the camera body there is a coupling for connection with a winding device (spring or electric). For attaching lenses to the camera body, there was gatenaya system. The camera was equipped gatefocal plane horizontal travel with fabric shutters and shutter speeds from 1 to 1 / 1000s, self-timer and optical viewfinder.
Shortly thereafter, a prototype with semi-automatic aperture control was presented. lens... SLR cameras from that period were equipped with lensmi with manual preset. The difficulty of focusing and then adjusting the aperture to the desired value was one of the weak points of DSLR cameras. The practice has overcome this problem. A mechanism is built into the camera body thanks to which diaphragm automatically closes when descending shutter.
The final version of Praktina was presented at the Leipzig Fair in September 1953. The 1952 prototype has been modified and improved. The three single pole flash connectors were replaced by two coaxial PC connectors, the name was changed from “Praktina” to “Praktina FX”, the KW logo and the word “Germany” were engraved on the top cap, and the 1952 eye level viewfinder was replaced with a new type.
KW developed a camera that required special lenses to allow semi-automatic aperture control lens... Unfortunately, Carl Zeiss Jena only provided these lenses in 1954. Due to the lack of them, Praktina was sold for about a year without an internal trigger.
Prototypes of Praktina cameras. Source: German magazines, 1952-1953
Prototypes of Praktina accessories at the Leipzig Fair, September 1953 Source: Die Fotografie, October 1953
Praktina FX cameras
Praktina FX - first generation
At the Leipzig show in September 1953, VEB Kamera-Werke Niedersedlitz presented the PRAKTINA FX in its final form and with minor modifications compared to previous prototypes. The camera has an automatic shut-off mechanism to the preselected aperture of semi-automatic lenses and two coaxial PC connectors for lamps and electronic flashes.
The Praktina FX was the first 35mm SLR camera in the world to feature the following technologies:
• control mechanism for closing to the selected aperture (semi-automatic lenses)
• single-axis non-rotating dial with shutter speed settings from 1 "to 1/1000"
• the possibility of using an electric or spring motor
• the ability to use a 17-meter roll for film with a capacity of up to 450 shots. Praktina, with its high specs, was an outstanding camera compared to other DSLRs available on the market at the time, such as Asahiflex, Exakta Varex, Exa, Zenith, Alpa, Rectaflex, Praktica, Pentacon, Wrayflex and Contaflex.
It took seven years to see the new Nikon F SLR camera with the same professional features.
Praktina FX - second generation
This model lacks an automatic aperture closing mechanism, as well as a contact for lamp flashes.
Praktina FX - third generation
In September 1954, at the Leipzig trade fair, Kamera-Werke presented the third generation of Praktina cameras with a pusher mechanism for semi-automatic lenses from Carl Zeiss Jena. Externally, the case is identical to the 2nd generation model. In this model, the inner drive pin moves forward when the release button is pressed shutterand diaphragm closes automatically to the preset value. The aperture will remain closed as long as the shutter button is pressed shutter.
Since 1955, Kamera-Werke has offered for sale a full range of accessories including an eye level finder, shaft finder, 6x shaft finder, bellows mount, macro rings, filters, hoods lens, motor drive, spring-wound, rear magazine cover for 17-mm film, stereo viewfinder and lenses from 35 to 500 mm supplied by Carl Zeiss Jena and Meyer-Optic Görlitz.
Praktina FX - fourth generation
This model has improved flash sync.
Praktina FX - fifth generation
In the fifth generation of Praktina FX, important changes and improvements have been made. The Praktina FX SA2 and SA3 models exported to some Western markets were specially marked. The body, viewfinders and rear of the camera are painted and engraved with the words "GERMANY EAST" or "GERMANY USSR" or "GERMANY USSR OCCUPIED". The “KW Germany” logo on the top of the camera is covered with a label containing only the “KW” logo, and the “Germany” lettering on the viewfinders and lenses is milled.
Praktina IIA - sixth generation
The sixth generation was presented in February 1958 at the Leipzig Fair under the name Praktina IIA. The case is very similar to the FX case, but there are important improvements inside. The shutter now has shutter speeds from 1 to 1 / 1000s, the camera has fully automatic aperture control, only one connector for FP-FX flash sync.
The new Flexon 2 / 50mm lens, renamed Pancolar, replaced the old Biotar 2/58, and a viewfinder with an exposure meter photocell was released for all Praktina cameras.
In 1960, KW introduced new accessories: a bellows modified for automatic lenses, a 17-meter rear magazine with frame counter, a quick-winding lever and automatic extension rings.
Practina IIA - seventh generation
The seventh generation allows you to control the iris of automatic and semi-automatic lenses. There are two mechanisms inside the mirror box. The first on the left engages the pin of the automatic lenses, and the second on the right engages the pin of the semi-automatic lenses, which must be mounted on the camera rotated 120 ° counterclockwise.
There are other useful improvements to this model. The dials for setting the speed and type of reminder film are 2,5mm thick to improve grip and make the discs easier to rotate. All previous models are 1,5 mm thick. This model has a rewind crank and a new film reminder disc with ASA 6-1600 / DIN 9-33 settings.
Practina after 1960
As reported from various sources, VEB Kamera- und Kinowerke Dresden ceased production of Praktina cameras in May 1960, but Praktina's story ended four years later when these cameras finally disappeared from the market. The following information applies to Praktina from 1960 to 1964:
- The Praktina IIA has been on sale in the United States since 1960. The importer was Standard Camera Corporation, a distributor of Praktina cameras since 1956.
Modern Photography magazine publishes Praktina IIA in its December 1960 issue.
- In 1961, some advertisements in West German magazines indicated Praktina IIA Modell 1961 and the Pentacon logo was replaced by the Berolina logo.
- The West German magazine spiegelreflex praxis publishes the Praktina IIA test in the August 1961 issue. Tested camera - Model 61, which allows the use of automatic and semi-automatic lenses
- In the news of the Leipzig Trade Fair held in September 1961, the East German magazine fotografie reports that the Praktina IIA was shown on display at the Kamera- und Kinowerke stand in Dresden
- The Western magazine Berolina-Spiegel, issue 19, 1962, published by Berolina Kino-Optik GmbH, contains an 8-page article on Praktina IIA and its automatic lenses.
- The last Praktina IIA brochure is dated 1963 and does not contain any references to VEB Kamera- und Kinowerke Dresden. On the back of the brochure there is the Berolina logo and a link to Berolina Kino-Optik GmbH as the exclusive distributor for the Federal Republic and West Berlin
- The latest Berolina Kino-Optik Gmbh price list is dated 1963/64
- In February 1964, Photo Magazin publishes the news that the Praktina IIA and its accessories are available again.
Corbina, Hexacon Supreme, Porst reflex, Texographie T2
Four Praktina cameras with different names
|Market||on the US market|
|Note||The name CORBINA is engraved on the front of the camera. The various versions of this camera are known for the specifications of the M, SA1 and SA2 models.|
|Camera name||HEXACON SUPREME|
|Year||November 1956, XNUMX|
|On the wound
||in the US market from Peerless, New York|
|Lens||preset CZJena 1: 2 F = 58mm (no name lens)|
|Prospector||Eye level sensor and matte screen|
|Price||US $ 139,50|
|Note||This is a Praktina FX model SA1 camera with a “HEXACON SUPREME” sticker on the front panel. The KW logo is scratched on these cameras.|
|Camera name||PORST reflex|
|In the market
||on the German market from Porst, Nuremberg|
|Number of produced||unknown|
|Lens||Jena T 2.8 / 50 submachine gun|
|Prospector||Eye level viewfinder, matte screen|
|Note||It is a Praktina IIA model A camera with the “PORST Reflex” label, with a flash shoe mounted above the “KW” logo and a different cover on the back of the camera.|
|In the market
|Lens||preset Enna Lithagon 3.5 / 35 or preset Isco Westron 2.8 / 35|
|Prospector||Mine viewfinder and matt focusing screen with a crosshair in the central circle of transparent glass|
|Note||It is a Praktina IIA model DA camera with the “Texographie T2” designation on the front panel.|
Practice N, prototype
|Manufacturer Name||VEB PENTACON DRESDEN Kamera- und Kinowerke|
|Factory designation||Praktina N.|
|Year||November 1964, XNUMX|
|Number of produced||piece|
|Source||Spiegel Reflex Kameras aus Dresden, Richard Hummel|
Pentacon Super - heir to Praktina
The Praktina N project will develop a new camera and a new system. VEB PENTACON DRESDEN unveiled the Pentacon Super prototype at the Leipzig Fair in September 1966 and the final version there in September 1968. The Pentacon Super provides professionals and academics with a superior camera that is the culmination of 40 years of experience in single-lens reflex cameras. This camera flew in space with Soyuz-4 in 1969.
|Manufacturer Name||Combine VEB PENTAKON DREZDEN|
|Factory designation||PENTACON super|
|Prototype presentation||Leipzig Trade Fair, September 1966|
|In the market
||Leipzig Trade Fair, September 1968|
|Production period||October 1968 - January 1972|
|Number of produced||less 5000|
|Lens||Pancolar 1.4 / 55 or Pancolar 1.8 / 50|
- Vertical traveling metal focal gate, providing exposure from 10 sec. up to 1/2000 sec. and B.
- Synchronization for electronic flashes up to 1/125 sec., Connection of F and FP flashes is also possible.
- Measurement through the lens with a beam splitter and a double CdS cell built into a detachable prism; readings are taken at the current aperture value.
- Standard lenses with bayonetohm M42: Zeiss Pancolar 55mm f1.4 or 50mm 1.8 with fully automatic aperture.
- Line of interchangeable Zeiss and Meyer lenses with focal lengths from 20 mm to 1000 mm; (20mm, 35mm, 135mm with fully automatic diaphragm and two-contact control; 180mm and 300mm with semi-automatic diaphragm).
- Interchangeable Zeiss viewing screens and shaft viewfinder.
- Display of the exposure meter arrow in the viewfinder, current aperture value, shutter speed, ready-to-action indicator.
- Possibility of installing a cassette for 17 meters (450 frames) of film with an electric drive (two frames per second) and an electromagnetic trigger for remote control of the camera.
Prices for Practina
O. Hedler, Distributor West Germany, Price List August 1954:
- Body, mine viewfinder, split image rangefinder, standard Tessar 2,8 / 50mm lens - 660 DM
- Body, mine viewfinder, split-image rangefinder, standard Biotar 2 / 58mm lens - 745 DM
- Body, eye level finder, split image rangefinder, standard Tessar 2,8 / 50mm lens - 730 DM
- Body, eye level finder, split image rangefinder, Biotar 2 / 58mm stock lens - 815 DM