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Say Hello To My Praktica LTL 3 Film SLR

Praktica LTL 3 29mm F2.8OK, OK, I'll admit it. Whenever I go to the car-boot sale these days I've got my eye's peeled for old film cameras, and if the price is right (under a tenner) and it seems to work, I'll splash the cash!

It's not even that I shoot lots of film, I've still got half a roll left in my Minolta SRT 101, I just like the look and feel, and this year I'm going to get some Black and White Film to see what it's like to shoot with that.

Anyway, I've done a short video showing the LTL 3 to introduce you to my new East German camera.

The Praktica LTL3 is a chunky little work-horse, but I'm not sure if it'll replace my Minolta X-300s or SRT101 in my camera bag. The reason is the metering.

With the Praktica you've got to press the Depth of Field Preview button to get an exposure reading. This is OK in bright conditions, but if it's a little bit overcast this "stopping down" makes the view-finder very dark.

Also there's no mirror lock-up facility, so the older SRT 101 is a better specified camera, and although the X 300s also can't flip up it's mirror, it does have Automatic Exposure in Aperture Priority Mode, and it's a lot lighter too.

Having the Praktica does give me a lot more lens options though - the M42 screw type lens mount has thousands of old lenses on eBay, so if I see some bargains, the LTL 3 may well see some more action.

Still a worthy bargain, so look out for this, or similar models at your local Sunday car-boot sale.

Cheers, Rob.

Praktica LTL 3 29mm F2.8

Reader Comments (12)

Have you got a 'Vitamin A' deficiency?

Sorry Rob, just kidding. I know at first the 'stop-down' metering seems to be a pain. Just do as you would when entering a darkened room - wait for your eyes to adjust. If you're trying to shoot at night, don't bother, the meter isn't sensitive enough in the first place. I love the metering method on my old Prakitica, lets you check the Depth Of Field for starters. Wide open - focus, stopped down - exposure and focus depth. If you have the standard split-prism viewfinder screen it can be a pain that the centre goes black, but then you should already be focused anyway. When you get used to it you'll start to moan that other SLR's don't have the DOF preview!

Oh, and that's a 'hot-shoe', (because the trigger is sent from the shoe - that little circular contact in the middle.) A 'cold-shoe' is blank and is just a mechanical mount for a flash gun where you use the 'synch fly-lead' to connect to the trigger. (Usually a seperate connector around the lens.)

Loved the video, made me go into the darkroom to dig out my Praktica and have a 'wind and clunk'!

All the Best,


January 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

Hi Victor,

I guess I should have thought about the "Photography Workflow" before writing off the Praktica's metering system - you're right, you'd focus and compose wide open, then stop-down to take the light reading and check the depth of field, no more difficult than any other system.

It's time for you to scan some of your black and white images and get them up on Flickr so we can all be inspired!

Cheers, Rob.

January 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

I used stop down metering for years. First with my Mamiya/Sekor DTL and then with a series of M42 screw mount cameras that had full aperture metering...but only with the manufacturers own lenses. So I usually wound up with a combination of full aperture and stop-down lenses. I usually wound up metering first, then opened up the aperture, focused and fired. Seemed easiest to me. However, I am sure you will develop your own workflow.

January 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterC0mdrData

Hi COmdrData,

Great advice,

Cheers, Rob.

January 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

Hi guys,

I recently got my hands on a Praktica LTL from a car boot, but I don't really know what I'm doing. I've taken some good snaps with it, however I've also taken a lot of bad quality ones.

When taking a picture does the needle have to be dead centre in the little circle? I've just used it as a guide sometimes and have taken a picture when it's not be dead-on in the middle.

A friend was asking me the other day whether I keep the light meter button depressed while I press the shutter button. I don't do this, but now I wonder if I'm supposed to!

If anyone could give me some feedback I'd be most grateful. I love this site, and the little video!

Best wishes,

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

Hi Thomas,

Near the centre is ok. What you've got to watch out for is camera shake if your shutter speed get too low, say below 1/60th of second. If it does, open up your aperture (a smaller number) to let more light in, or use a tripod or some sort of support.

Cheers, Rob.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

How many effective pixels does the LTL 3 have?

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRicky Narito

Hi Ricky!

Ha! Good one!

Cheers, Rob.

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

What is it's image ratio?

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRicky Narito

Ha! 35mm film!

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

Great lens... and a very reliable camera! I use an old Prakrtica LB from '90 and it is still 100% working!

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdavide

Hi, I have a LTL 3 with no batteries and it seems it has engaged in a mirror lockup..... I know it doesn't have that function but mirror just became stuck in the middle of the film. Any ideas how to save it?! Respond by mail, please.


August 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAzzQim

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