When you really want to feel you’re carrying a camera, one that goes click in a loud, proud voice, one that you could use to beat up a robber that tries to take it from you, the MTL3 is your number one choice. This metal and glass machine is the opposite of all those newfangeled plastic baby cameras.
Let’s start with some technical info. The Pentacon MLT 3 is an SLR with shutter speeds from 1 to 1/1000 sec, plus B setting. It´s got a battery powered light meter integrated in the mirror consisting of a needle in the viewfinder that can point to + (overexposed), 0 (correct exposure) or – (underexposed). It was produced between 1978 and 1984.
This is my default SLR. I have a few more (when everyone switched to digital, you could get them for next to nothing at the better flea markets, which is how I got mine), but this is my favourite one. No particular reason, it just is. It’s a bit light-leaky (I keep meaning to fix that, but never get around to it. Come to think of it, it might just be that I just don’t attach the lens properly sometimes), but otherwise in perfect working condition. It’s heavy and solid like a tank, and I love the loud CLICK! it makes when I take a picture. Not a camera for stealth photography, this one. It has a light meter, but since the battery is flat, I haven’t used it. If you have a separate light meter, or if you’re good at guesstimating your exposure time, you don’t need it anyway. Personally, I think it’s a great advantage if you don’t need a battery in your camera. Saves you the drama when it runs empty just as you were about to take that perfect shot.
The fun bit about an SLR is of course that you can switch between lenses. Lenses that fit the Pentacon are pretty easy to find and I have several of them:
- a Pentacon 1.8/50 lens: this is my default lens and goes from f1.8 to f16, and can focus from 0,33m to infinite.
- a Domiplan 2.8/50 lens: f 2.8 to f22; 0,27m tot infinity
- a Meyer Optik Oreston 1.8/50 lens: f1.8 to f16, 0,33 to infinity. A friend gave it to me. It’s got a slightly tinted B&W filter attached that I can’t get off.
- a Pentacon 1:1.2.8 f=28 wide angle lens: pics with this lens tend to be unsharp. I don’t know if it’s just me, or the lens. Probably me.
- a Pentor 1:28 135mm zoom lens: f2.8 to f22; 1,4m to infinite.
- a Soligor 1:6.3 400mm tele lens: f6.3 to f32, 6,5m to infinite. Another flea market find. It’s about 30cm long, quite heavy, and almost impossible to use without a sturdy tripod (which I haven’t got). It does look extremely cool.
I also have several filters that fit one or more of these lenses. UV, B&W, yellow, green, and two close up filters (2x and 3x). I haven’t really gotten around testing all the filters, but after reading these two articles by @adam_g2000 sure make me want to try tham all out. That’ll be a different article I guess…
I’m pretty hopeless with lenses. I’ve read about the differences a hundred times (I edit photography books for a living) but it doesn’t stick. I can tell the difference between zoom, wide angle and regular, and that’s about it. I usually just stick to my default lens, which takes nice pictures.