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Praktica logo
IHG Dresden - final inspection of an Exakta Varex camera

Praktica is originally the brand name for a series of SLR cameras from the manufacturer Kamera-Werke Dresden-Niedersedlitz ("KW"), which was taken over by Pentacon , Dresden-Striesen . The cameras manufactured in the GDR were also exported abroad and, for example, sold in West Germany by the Quelle mail-order company under the brand name RevueFlex . A total of around 9 million Prakticas were produced between 1948 and 2001.

In 1991 the Treuhandanstalt did not return the Praktica brand name to the heir of the former owner of the Niedersedlitz camera factory, John H. Noble . Instead, it was added to the Pentacon division , which today belongs to the Dresden-based PENTACON GmbH Foto- und Feinwerktechnik (a company of the Jos. Schneider Group, Bad Kreuznach). In 1994 there was a legal dispute between Noble and the Schneider Group over trademark rights.

Binoculars and compact cameras have also been branded PRAKTICA since the 1990s . In 2001 the production of DSLR cameras of the Praktica brand was discontinued. The Praktica brand digital cameras have been around since 2002 , and the Luxmedia product range was launched in 2004 . Optics are also produced for Polaroid , for example . On June 30, 2015, the trade in Praktica cameras was discontinued.

The owner of the Praktica brand has been PRAKTICA LIMITED, SL9 7HJ, Gerrards Cross, GB, since September 16, 2015 (see German Patent and Trademark Office Ref.DD646601, 003418944 and 010904605).

History and Development

The camera works in Niedersedlitz were originally founded in 1919 as camera workshops Guthe & Thorsch GmbH by Benno Thorsch and Paul Guthe in Dresden- Niedersedlitz . As early as 1938 - two years after the Kine Exakta from Ihagee - the Praktiflex 35mm mirror reflex camera was presented. Forced to emigrate , the company was handed over to the German-born American entrepreneur family Noble. The company was headed by Charles A. Noble and his son John H. Noble , who prepared the Praktiflex for its market launch in 1939.

After 1945 the Nobles were expropriated by the Soviet occupying power , deported to NKVD camps and the company was nationalized ( Camera Works in Niedersedlitz ).

The first Praktica camera was then constructed on the basis of the Praktiflex by Siegfried Böhm in 1948 and (again) presented in 1949. A camera intended for professional use, also developed by Böhm for the Niedersedlitz camera factory, was the internship .

Together with a number of other Dresden camera companies, the Niedersedlitz camera works were incorporated into the newly founded VEB Camera and Kinowerke Dresden in 1959 . From 1964 this company traded as VEB Pentacon , Dresden. Therefore, the Praktica appears in more recent documents as a Pentacon trademark.

Product history

Praktiflex - the forerunner

Praktiflex, 1st generation, with Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 1: 2 lens f = 5 cm

Praktiflex cameras were produced by the Niedersedlitz Camera Works ("KW") between 1939 and 1951. The rare M40 screw thread was used for these cameras , to which only Praktiflex lenses ( normal lenses from Schneider Kreuznach : Xenon 1: 2 F = 5 cm, or from Carl Zeiss Jena : Tessar 1: 3.5 F = 5 cm) fit. The Praktiflex is of historical importance because after the Kine Exakta from Ihagee and the camera Sport (Спорт) produced by the Russian company GOMZ, it is the world's third series-produced single-lens reflex camera .

There were several model generations during the production period (differentiation, for example, by the writing Praktiflex either in cursive or in block letters ).

Praktiflex cameras are considered to be the forerunners of the Praktica cameras produced with M42 lens thread from 1948 onwards .

First generation

The M42 lens thread was used in the first generation of Praktica cameras from 1948 onwards. The successor to the first Praktica, the Praktica FX , presented in 1951 , had synchro sockets and thus mastered flash synchronization for the first time .

Cameras produced by Pentacon were also exported outside the Eastern Bloc under other names as Praktica , sometimes as commissioned work for companies that sold the models under their own names. Some of these brand names or clients were Jenaflex, Kawenda , Hanimex , Revue (photo source) and Porst . For the distribution of the original products in West Germany had Beroflex an exclusive distribution agreement.

The first generation of cameras includes:

Praktina FX with stereo attachment

Second generation

The second generation of cameras manufactured at VEB Pentacon Dresden include:

Third generation ("Praktica L" series)

The third generation cameras also used the M42 screw thread . The following models belong to this generation:

Sliced ​​Praktica L2
Praktica LLC with pancolar 1: 1.8 / 50mm lens removed: Auto-iris contacts visible
Opened MTL 5 B, easy to see: the PL system
Praktica EE2 with Pentacon electric 1: 1.8 / 50mm lens

In the type designations of the third generation (L models), the letters and numbers had the following meanings.

First letter:

L = lamellar focal plane shutter (to differentiate it from the previous models with cloth focal plane shutter ), V = variable viewfinder system (with a choice of light shaft, prism viewfinder and macroocular), P = built-in prism viewfinder (to distinguish it from otherwise identical V models), D = light-emitting diodes to display the Exposure measurement instead of the pointer instrument used otherwise, M = measuring mechanism adjustment (with bridge circuit to stabilize against voltage fluctuations in the battery).

Further letters:

TL = indoor exposure measurement with the shutter button, LC = indoor exposure measurement with the aperture open with electrical aperture value transmission, B = outdoor exposure measurement, EE = indoor exposure measurement with electronic control of the shutter speed.


2 (or 3 ) = second (or third) variant of the model, 500 (or 1000 ) = shortest shutter speed 1/500 s (or 1/1000 s), 50 = variant of the MTL with light emitting diodes instead of a pointer instrument to display the exposure .

Fourth generation ("Praktica B" series)

Some Praktica models

The fourth generation of the Praktica SLR cameras was presented with the Praktica B 200 in 1978 at the Leipzig trade fair and manufactured from 1979 to 1990. A major innovation was a modern design for cameras and lenses ( Prakticar ) as well as the replacement of the M42 connection with the Praktica-B bayonet connection (also called PB mount ). For the first time, zoom lenses and later auto focus lenses were also presented.

Since the B-System was very expensive for customers in the GDR, the more affordable M42 camera line was continued to be produced on a smaller scale, contrary to plans. Later there were technically upgraded and therefore cheaper to produce model variants especially for the GDR market (see Praktica BCC and Praktica BCA ). Conversely, special model versions were produced for the British, Dutch and French export markets, which only differed from the underlying original types in terms of design elements and naming (see also Praktica BCX , Praktica BC auto , Jenaflex AM-1 , Jenaflex AC-1 and Praktica BC3 ).

Since the PB bayonet was an in-house development that was not compatible with other bayonets, the use of lenses was restricted to bayonet lenses with PB bayonets that could be bought new. This reduced the acceptance of the system in the market. Praktica itself found a remedy and produced an adapter that allowed the M42 lenses to be connected to the B bayonet.

Praktica BC 1 on the bellows device with macro lens Prakticar 55 mm f 2.8

The B camera series includes the following models:

BX series (manufactured between 1987 and 1990):

BX model series from the post- reunification period (manufactured between 1991 and 2001):

More cameras

Praktica DPix3000 digital camera

See also


  • Herbert Blumtritt: History of the Dresden Photo Industry . Lindemanns, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 978-3895062124 .
  • Herbert Blumtritt: The intern. Lindemanns, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 978-3895062346 .
  • K. Hartmann: Pentacon practice. 1st edition, Fotokinoverlag, Halle 1960.
  • Richard Hummel: SLR cameras from Dresden - history, technology, facts. (first expanded and revised reprint), Edition Reintzsch, Leipzig 1995, ISBN 978-3895061271 .
  • W. Mesow: Small book on the Praktica. 1st edition, Fotokinoverlag, Leipzig 1980.
  • Franz Pangerl: The Praktica book. Heering-Verlag, Seebruck 1967.
  • Roger Rössing : Photography with the Praktica 1st edition, Fotokinoverlag, Halle (Saale) 1959 (12th edition 1977).


Web links

Commons : Praktica  - collection of images


  1. ^ VEB Pentacon Dresden , German Museum of Technology Berlin , 2008
  2. Praktica - scramble for a Saxon trademark. In: Berliner Zeitung . October 8, 1994, accessed June 15, 2015 .
  4. : Sir John H. Noble in portrait ( Memento from July 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) , MDR , Riverboat editorial team , February 11, 2005
  5. Wolfgang Mesow, Heinz Kuhn: Photography: 150 years of cameras from Dresden . Publisher: VEB Pentacon Dresden, 1988
  6. a b Praktiflex - 1st generation , page on, accessed on August 9, 2019.
  7. Praktiflex , page on, accessed on August 15, 2015.
  8. Information on the identical construction of the Photo-Porst models comes from Josef Seidl ( Memento from January 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ),
  9. Praktica nova-models. Retrieved February 8, 2018 .