This a a review of a Praktica LB camera, manufactured in the early 1970’s fitted with a Meyer-Optik Domiplan lens.
I bought this camera some time ago, and the lens which was fitted to it was a Carl Zeiss Tessar 50mm f/2.8 lens. However, that lens was very gummed up with old grease and a sticky aperture, and although I got it apart and cleaned it the focus adjustment was still quite poor with ‘soft’ spots as it was adjusted. Although I don’t often put film through the cameras in my collection, I like them to be ‘ready for film’ so to speak, so I replaced it with another lens which is of a similar vintage, the Meyer-Optik Domiplan which I had also cleaned and re-lubricated but with a bit more success!
The Praktica LB is an early 1970’s camera made by the Pentacon company and one of the things I noticed about this camera is its resemblance to another camera I own which was also made by Pentacon – the Exakta RTL 1000. The mechanics of both cameras are pretty much identical and I would guess that they shared many parts. As far as I can see the major difference between them is the fact that the Exakta had a replaceable viewfinder and could take both an eye level and a waist level finder. One reason I found this interesting is that my Exakta has a problem with the shutter. As soon as the film advance nears the end of it’s travel, the shutter fires and jams. In order to release it I need to push the mirror up and pull forward the aperture actuation lever as I depress the shutter release. I will probably try disassembling the Praktica to see how to fix the exakta.
Anyway – back the the LB which is a pretty standard camera for its vintage. There is a non-coupled light meter which works by matching a needle with a fixed circle in the light meter view window and reading the shutter speed/aperture combination to use. The lens is focused and the picture composed at full aperture with the camera stopping the lens down at the time of exposure with the normal actuation pin which protrudes from the bottom of the lens mount. As always on Praktica cameras of this vintage, the shutter release is fitted to the front of the camera and falls within easy reach of your first finger on your right hand.
- Praktica LB 35mm SLR
- 1sec to 1/1000 + B
- Meter ISO range 6 to 1600
- Non coupled exposure meter
- ‘Hot’ accessory shoe for flash
- Cable release attachment point in shutter release
- Vertical Focal Plane shutter