A very serious player! Praktica LTL3


This is a solid piece of a manual SLR 35mm film camera manufactured by East German VEB Pentacon from Dresden, and produced from November 1975 to March 1978. Prakticas in general are well-designed and built to last.

Camera image from flickr

This is the last of the LTL series, and while it lacks some of the refined feel of the MTL3 it predates, it’s a great user and said to be an improvement of the previous LTL.

Like other Prakticas it has what I think is an innovative film loading system (“PL”): the wind spool has two spring-loaded bars on it that clamp down on the film as it turns, just like the guard bar on a rollercoaster. All you do is line up the sprockets, wind on, and close the back. No threading at all! Very nice. You do have to make sure to slip the leader over a little guide at the bottom of the film plane, you’ll see it.

I should probably mention if you couldn’t tell from the picture that the shutter release is on the front of the camera rather than the top. Very ergonomic. And here’s a good one – there is a reminder tab in the viewfinder that pops up to indicate that the shutter needs to be cocked!

As with the other later Prakticas, this camera’s best feature is the super-strong shutter. It’s a vertical focal plane metal blade shutter with a very unique and sturdy wind stroke. It’s hard to describe without doing it for yourself but let’s say it feels like a mechanism that knows exactly what it’s supposed to do and does it. With feeling.

Nevertheless, this camera is mentioned by many elder and experienced photographers as “a solid workhorse” and “a serious player”, so it has been recommended (to me and everyone else) as a perfect starting point for someone who wants to learn how to shoot good photos. And I can surely say it is, mostly because it’s very demanding in a sense you have to be in constant control and always check all settings, but the final result makes it all worth it. Personally, I still haven’t put the battery in, so I set everything manually. But this experience is exactly what taught me basics and everything one should know about analog cameras. That, and my great friend, of whom some may already know – Klickovic – she gave me my very first Praktica.

And off course, this camera is meant only for the strong; the special ones who can carry the weight of this classic piece. After all, it weights almost one kilo! Imagine that hanging around your neck! So, if you are serious as this player, bring this camera along and make extraordinary photographs. If you are into flawless sharpness and great depths – this camera should be your choice.

Special thanks to Klickovic, Lomography and Matt Denton Praktica review.

written by lazara on 2009-06-27 in #reviews #lazara #35mm #vintage #praktica-ltl3 #pentacon


  1. dogtanian
    dogtanian ·

    i have an original praktica ltl that belonged to my grandad, its a champion!!

  2. adbigmilk
    adbigmilk ·

    Congrats for your article !

    in deed, a very intersting camera, loves the greats depths of your shots. I also like a lot your #20 pics.

  3. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Very good article, very good camera, excellent photos. I have a sort of Japanese copy of a Practica, a Vivitar 220/sl, works good, steel vertical shutter, heavy. I found it cheap at a swap meet.

  4. lazara
    lazara ·

    Yeeeey! Thank you so much! This is my first published article on lomography! My camera was bought at the market for most likely 3 euros. And it works perfectly! :)))))
    Hvala Ivana!

  5. lazara
    lazara ·

    by the way, shouldn't I earn some piggies for this article?

  6. klickovic
    klickovic ·

    great article lazara :))) and thanx a lot!

  7. klickovic
    klickovic ·

    great article lazara :))) and thanx a lot!

  8. stouf
    stouf ·

    Great review ! Superb gallery ! I love the short depth of field in your portraits !

  9. magdalenagabriela
    magdalenagabriela ·

    congratulations on your first review! great pics selection - apart from The Cat photos, #19's my fav!

  10. anarchy
    anarchy ·

    Very nice and well-written review! Good job!! Love the gallery =))

  11. stefandms
    stefandms ·

    Odlichan review. Samo napred!

  12. caroni
    caroni ·

    great camera articel and pictures.

  13. luplik
    luplik ·

    I have one too. It's very precious!

  14. freefire
    freefire ·

    very similar to another article i've read - www.mattdentonphoto.com/cameras/praktica_ltl3.html

  15. chocochipcookie
    chocochipcookie ·

    I have a Praktica LTL3 too! I inherited it from my Great Uncle who was stationed in Germany in 75'. It's seen it's usage, it's in good hands. I still haven't put a battery in it either. Great pics!

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