Praktica LLC

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The Praktica LLC was introduced in 1969 as one of the two top models (the other one being the VLC with removable pentaprism) in the long-running (1969-1989) in the Praktica L-Series. The LLC belongs to the first generation L-Series cameras and thus share the same small shutter button and body finish with the pioneer model, the Praktica L. It also has the same strong and durable metal-blade vertical-run shutter and the simple yet highly practical easy-loading system. However, it does not have the beautifully engraved Pentacon tower and logo (the chrome version does) on its pentaprism of the L and the focusing screen is just as dim and without split-image focusing aid.

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The most distinct feature of the LLC is its open-aperture TTL meter system, an extremely high-tech feature at the time of its introduction in 1969. Moreover, it is possibly the only one that uses electronic data-transfer (a set of resistors, not digital) for aperture values instead of mechanical linkage between the lens and the body like other manufacturers in the same era. The photo above shows the electronic contacts on both the body and the lens. Although this system is electronic in nature, the camera remains fully functional without battery because the shutter itself and the stop-down mechanism are both mechanical. In other words, just like the Pratkica MTL5, the Pentax K1000 and the Ricoh KR5 Super in my previous posts, the battery is only needed for the meter.

For your info., the first 35mm SLR that offers open-aperture TTL metering (also the first in TTL itself) is the Topcon RE Super introduced in 1963. A few others SLRs that also offer open-aperture TTL metering, beside the Praktica LLC, during the same era are: Nikon F Photomic T(1965), Minolta SRT-101(1966), Canon F1(1970), Olympus FTL(1971).

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The open-aperture metering of the LLC requires the use of an “electric” lens (the right one in the photo above). Such lens is basically an automatic (auto only, no M/A switch) diaphragm M42 mount lens with the necessary electronic components to communicate with the body metering system. The lens also has a stop-down button on its side which make it backward compatible with the other bodies that use stop-down metering. And of course, it will also fit bodies with no metering like the L or with non-coupled external meters like the LB. Optically, I believe the Pentacon Electric 50mm f1.8 that comes with my LLC should have the same Oreston formula (by Meyer) as the non-electric 50mm f1.8 MC from my MTL5 (the lens on the right). There is also another electric 50mm f1.8 based on the Pancolar formula by Carl Zeiss Jena. Beside the standard lenses, Praktica offered a few other “Pentacon Electric” lenses to be used with the LLC and other later models with the he same metering system.  Two examples are the Pentacon Electric 29mm f2.8 MC and 135mm f2.8 MC.

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The “advanced” open-aperture TTL metering of the LLC does come with a price. It needs to be powered by a 4.5V battery instead of the usual 1.5V button cells. This battery, namely a V21PX, is extremely rare and I am still in the process of looking for one locally without expensive shipping (since I am not sure if the meter of my LLC will work or not). Until then, it will serve as a nice display item in my cabinet.

The Story behind my Praktica LLC…

This black LLC is the third Praktica L-Series SLR in my collection (the chrome one was bought after it). It is also the first Praktica I bought that comes with an original ever-ready case. Except for meter, which I cannot test without a battery, the camera is in working order although the usual light-seals repair might still be needed. The lens itself is pretty clean and was protected with a cheap filter (“cheap” because its rim is plastic!) but the diaphragm is extremely sluggish and thus would need a thorough cleaning.

Status: Sold

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7 Responses to Praktica LLC

  1. Hilton Davis says:

    I once owned a Praktica L with Pentacon auto f1.8 50mm. This lens was the renamed Meyer Oreston 50mm as suggested here. Great camera that never let me down, in those days I was happy to use a separate exposure meter. There were not as many black bodied LLC’s around, most were chrome – so it’s nice to see the black version here. Another nice model was the LTL, a friend bought one with the Ziess Pancolar standard lens… great times

  2. Jim McGarry says:

    Enjoyed reading your article on the LLC. I have had a black LLC with every ready case and flash for mount, which I stopped using when some friends gave me a digital SLR about 7 seven years ago. I’m looking for a battery for it, and for someone who would like it. .

  3. Tony Briselden says:

    Have just acquired an LLC for my collection. The battery is still in it and is PC1A which I presume is the equivalent to the V21PX. It measures 4 volts but appears to have no action upon the lens nor can I get any movement of the needle when I change the aperture manually so maybe there is a problem with the lens. Not a great issue as it is not for real use so as a collection item it satisfies me.

  4. Von Knudson says:

    I just bought a PRAKTICA LLC for $17.50 US. It’s a chrome in great condition EXCEPT the mirror behind the lens is broken in half. I haven’t taken it to get cleaned up yet. It also came with the lower half of the leather case and strap. Any ideas on replacing the mirror and is it worth it to get cleaned up. Also there are quite a few internet sights that sell an industrial version of the 4.5v battery.

    • Whether you want to glue back the mirror in one piece (if that is possible) or replace it with another one scavenged from another L-series body, it is recommended that you keep the mirror sitting flat on the holder frame. Otherwise, your focus would not be correct.

  5. Samuel Tang says:

    Sorry for coming in late as I just found this page.
    In case you have yet to get the lens attended to: the versions of the Oreston/Pentacon 50/1.8 lens after the “zebra” and before the “Multi Coating” versions are the easiest to repair even with the most basic of tools. Compared to the other versions they were sensibly designed with no hidden traps anywhere; from your description, it is pretty much certain that the helicoid grease has its lighter component evaporated and recondensed all over the iris assembly, which is easily reached by removing six slot-head screws. Contrary to some online tutorials, do not remove the three small screws holding the rear lens group to the cylindrical rear cell, integral to the ring that hold the iris assembly together, or you would lose the precise optical alignment set at the factory. It is also a good idea to clean the focussing helicoid and focussing ring thread of the old grease and replace with new grease.
    Also, there is no need to look into light seal foam replacement as it uses the old-style black yarn for the purpose, except for the patch right behind the back hinge.

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