Solid, chunky, angular and made of proper materials like metal, wood and leather and the Praktica MTL 5 is no exception. Just look at it! None of your ill defined, overly ergonomically designed and sculpted dull shaped modern DSLRs look as proper as one of these.
So simple. No nonsense. Even opening up the thing is easy enough. Just pull up the film rewind (even my Nikon FM you have to a bit of finger gymnastics with an extra lever to open it).
The idea is you pull the film leader to that green mark at the bottom then get it caught on the teeth on the spool on the left. Then you feed it under the metal pole which it is suppose to go back on itself when the film is wound on. The first time I did this the film didn’t catch and was not winding on (though I should have noticed the film rewind dial not moving though). Only noticed after I developed the film and it was mainly blank except for the leader (which gets exposed when you first load the film).
Another slight niggle is the film advance lever doesn’t automatically snap back when you wind it on.
Luckily enough it’s easy enough to get it back with a single finger. Then you’re ready to shoot. Also when you advance it on it gives such a lovely satisfying mechanical click. None of your nasty whiny electrical motor noises that a lot of modern cameras offend the ears with.
The shutter button is in quite a unique place being on a jaunty angle off the front of the camera instead of on top. I love the look of it and using the camera two handed it works fine but doing it one handed is awkward as sin. One advantage is the depth of field preview/metering lever is conveniently next to the shutter. Even on it’s own the lever is so easy to operate with being big enough to be unmissable and giving just the right amount of resistance when you press. It seriously puts the poxy little one on my Nikon FM to shame (shame on you Nikon).
One really significant thing I really don’t like about the camera is the damn lens mount. It’s a screw on instead of a bayonet! This means it takes 3 millennia to change lenses and also end up accidently unscrewing when removing filters or even focusing. Unlikely you’ll completely remove it off the body but when you’re trying to snag that chance shot faffing with the lens is the last thing you want.
This takes the form of a little triangular notch on the left of the view finder to show you’ve not wound the film on. Wind it on and the notch goes away. The view finder is clear and bright with a split image range finder in the middle surrounded by a micro prism screen. Only odd thing is the corners of the view finder are rounded. Very odd.
It’s so satisfying to see such a simple elegant no nonsense camera after all the digital excess of today. Just a couple of chunky dials is all I need. If you find one dirt cheap with an F/2.8 nifty fifty lens with it then I say worth getting it.