Praktica Super TL

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

I was just in Bratislava, Slovakia with my wife Michaela, visiting her family. Michaela was born there and lived there until she was about 10, but hasn’t been back in something like 15 years… This was my first trip to Slovakia and the first time meeting her family over there. They couldn’t speak much English and I can’t speak a word of Slovakian, but one thing they could figure out with out talking to me, was that I was into photography. After Michaela’s uncle saw the little red logo on my Leica D-Lux 3, he could tell I was into cameras.

After a lot of pointing and translating from Michaela, her uncle had pulled out a few old cameras. One was a medium format Flexaret camera that used to belong to Michaela’s grandfather and the other was a Praktica Super TL 35mm camera. Both cameras are not really worth that much, but if you know me, you know I’m into old cameras, especially if they have family history. I didn’t have any medium format film with me, but I did have some 35mm, so I loaded up the Praktica and headed out for a day of wondering. I had shot a bunch of digital photos in Bratislava the day before, but I really wanted to get some film shots and I was also very curious to how the photos from the Praktica would turn out.

Praktica cameras were manufactured by Pentacon in Germany and the Super TL model came out in 1968. I’ve been doing a little research and through Wikipedia I discovered that “Pentacon is the modern-day successor to Dresden camera firms such as Zeiss Ikon, and for many years Dresden was the world’s largest producer of cameras.” Also Praktica was the first to introduce a 35mm single-lens reflex camera in 1936!

From my one day of shooting with the Praktica I felt pretty comfortable with it. It is setup very similar to any other 35mm SLR and it even has a Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.8 lens on it. The one big difference to other 35mm camera’s I’ve used is the light meeter is triggered by a big button on the front of the camera, just to the right of the lens. The in-camera meter worked great, but due to the different placement of the metering button, I often found my self shooting with out adjusting the settings, just because I’m so used to pressing the shutter half way down to get a reading.

At the end of the day, I winded up my roll of film and handed the camera back, never expecting to shoot with it again. I’m not sure if it’s because the camera never gets used, or they could tell how much I was into it, but the following day, they brought the camera back and told me I could have it! They also had the original manual to go with it! I was extremely excited and very happy to have another wonderful addition to my random camera collection.

Below are a few shots that I took during my trip, as well as some photos of the camera and the manual.

If you are interested, you can find these cameras for pretty cheap on ebay!

The photos.

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

The Camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

praktica super tl 35mm film camera

The manual.

praktica super tl manual

praktica super tl manual

praktica super tl manual

praktica super tl manual

praktica super tl manual

15 responses to “Praktica Super TL”

  1. colton says:

    love it, man i just love these posts. really really inspiring.
    My friend lent me his Cannon AE-1 and shot with that all summer and now I have to use it for a class in school, lots of fun. super motivating.

  2. kaspars says:

    Old cameras for the win. I’m using Zenit 11. Not the best of series, but it’s mint and i’m used to it. Love it.

  3. LandonP says:

    Good stuff as usual, these old film camera’s are awesome! I picked up a little Minolta AF2 for $1! takes great photos

  4. DavidLang says:

    I guess all that extra money you paid for the little red logo was worth it huh? hehehe

  5. Sean Zubek says:

    I definitely need to get my hands on one of those… Awesome photos man!

  6. Harrison says:

    thanks guys! Colton, the Canon AE-1 is a rad camera! and Landon, your Minolta shots are rad… crazy that you got it for $1.. haha.

  7. Dunk says:

    Cool story man 🙂

  8. Andrea says:

    Great shots! If you don’t mind my asking, what type of 35mm film did you use for the Praktica photos?

  9. davide says:

    Great analog tones!

  10. Julian Haas says:

    its very funny that i found this article because of the lots of similarities to my camera story:
    my girlfriend is also from bratislava, she gave me a flexaret for christmas and i just got a praktica from my grandfather. and the first image i saw on your page is the one from the two trashbins, the same shot that i took last year 🙂 i am looking forward to shoot with the praktica, my first analog slr. so have a nice day and good light 🙂
    julian from innsbruck

  11. luís says:

    Hi, recently my uncle gave me a praktica super TL. I`m exciting to experiment this wonderfull camera (at least for tha physical status)… I am reading several articles and stories about this camera…
    Could you please give me your opinion about this on?

  12. Theresa says:

    Hi, I got a new camre – praktica super TL but im just a beginner. I found this article because I find instruction manual. Do you have this manual in czech ? Please let me know on my email..

  13. Ben says:

    Hi there! I’m from Belgium and I just found an old Praktica Super TL in my father old stuff box… It is not in a such good condition than yours but…. Seems it works! I have to clean it up. It comes with the leather cap just as your and a couple of lenses (Pentacon 50mm 1.8, a zoom and a macro lense.) I actually use a Nikon D7000 now, but I found very funny to try out this old SLR. Seems that the meter is not working, I tried with another batery from Kodak but the meter doesn’t seem to react. any tip? See you|!

  14. Quinn says:

    Monetary advisors enterprise is people enterprise.

  15. Jens Knappe says:

    Die Super TL ist in der Fotopraxis eine sehr schöne Kamera. Sehr praxisgerecht ist der extern vorneliegende Meßknopf.
    Der Verschlußvorhang ist noch aus Tuch, das ist gut, weil die Auslösung leiser ist als bei späteren Prakticas.
    Leider wird die Super TL im Netz häufig in einem Atemzug mit der Super TL 2 genannt. Dabei ist das eine komplett andere Kamera.
    Gehäuse, Verschluß, Belichtungsmessung, Sucher, alles grundverschieden.
    Aufgrund des Alters treten bei den gebrauchten Kameras gerne elektrische Defekte auf, das heißt, die Belichtungsmessung ist dann ungenau oder geht nicht, ich nehme an,das oft Korrosion im Spiel ist. Man muß bedenken, dass diese Kameras die allerersten im SLR – Markt mit Innenmessung waren, so wie die Spotmatics. Davor gab es nur Kameras mit Aussenmessung, also außenliegende Selenzelle oder man musste einen externen Belichtungsmesser nehmen.
    Das Gehäuse und der Verschluß sind aber oft noch gut intakt.