Praktica MTL 5B 35mm slr

The Praktica MTL 5B was one of the later ‘traditional’ models of 35mm slr made by the Pentacon company in Germany. In design it is very similar to other  Praktica cameras with the signature front mounted shutter release; stop down lever for the metering; square, boxy look and M42 lens mount.

These pictures can also be viewed in full size here.

My Praktica MTL 5B Camera

This camera was purchased simply to add to my collection of Praktica cameras. I bought it in an unknown condition for £4, and as far as I can tell (I’ve not yet film tested it) everything seems to be working as expected.

Cosmetically the camera is clean and tidy with only one slight issue which is a large lump of dirt on the focusing screen in the outer middle circle. I’ve tried blowing air from a puffer around the side of the focus screen but I can’t dislodge it so I guess at some point I’ll need to get the prism off and clean the screen properly.

With a new battery fitted, the stop down metering is responsive and seems to be accurate which is quite a novelty – on most cameras of this age that I own the metering is one of the things you can almost guarantee will be faulty.

Praktica MTL5B description

I find it really difficult to describe many of the Praktica cameras of this vintage because they are all so similar. Or, to be more accurate, I find it difficult to find their distinguishing features.

I suppose the most attractive distinguishing feature of this camera is the fact that it uses an SR44 battery in the metering circuit rather than the mercury cell that the original Praktica metered models used. Since this battery is still readily available, it makes the camera much more instantly usable than some of the earlier models.

I also find the covering material of these later models nicer. It’s a softer grip, and to my mind has a more ‘up market’ look than the ‘square’ material fitted on units like the Super TL3.

Another nice aspect is the viewfinder on this model, having a diagonally split image focusing aid, but instead of the usual single line split it is a complete ‘wedge’ which moves as the focus ring is rotated. That makes the MTL 5B one of the best manual focus cameras I’ve used.

Other than those things, the camera is a stock Praktica model with the spec shown below.

Praktica MTL 5B specifications

  • Praktica MTL 5B 35mm manual camera
  • Vertical travel focal plane shutter
  • 1sec to 1/1000sec + B
  • Auto zero frame counter
  • M42 lens mount
  • Stop down, TTL match needle metering
  • Film speed 12 to 1600 ASA
  • Flash hot shoe synced at 1/125 for electronic flash & 1/30 for bulb flash
  • Mechanical self timer of about 10 seconds
  • Angled shutter release with thread for cable release
  • Full aperture focusing with stop down at point of exposure
  • TTL lever also acts as Depth of field preview
  • ‘Ready to shoot’ indicator in viewfinder
  • Diagonal split image rangefinder
  • Freznel screen & micro prism focusing aids
  • Modern SR44 battery in the metering circuit
  • Tripod bush
  • Manual available online here

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