Praktica Super TL
KW / Pentacon Praktica Super TL
Some camera models keep me puzzled, whereas there are few information sources to chew upon, printed or online. The Praktica Super TL is a sterling example. Made by Pentacon in 1968, it has a tiny Pentacon symbol at the bottom; perhaps they knew there was nothing here to brag about.
The camera seems to be a transitional model, away from the earlier slick and well-built V models, in line with the Nova models. It is the first Praktica with TTL measuring, yet an old CdS technology.
The Super TL was rebranded in Germany by Photo Quelle and Photo Porst; and in the US under Hanimex and Cavalier; see below. I am sure there are more siblings around that I missed.
A few further models use the Super TL name: the Super TL 2 and the Super TL 3. Neither carry any resemblance to the Super TL. Both models seem identical to the Praktica MTL 3, an entirely different camera of a later generation. Others are Super TL 1000 and Super TL 500, I think name variants of the MTL.
The Praktica Super TL is not a great camera. It is still an old concept Praktica, made of punched sheet metal, unlike the later models that were cast and machined. The intestines do not seem to be better. I have three units on my bench, each differently crippled; I could barely make one to work out of it.
- The battery cover is (very) tough to remove. It is not stuck; just made too tight. I had to grind a large screwdriver to fit the odd-sized slot.
- Winding is rough on all three, which seems to do with the film’s easy-load system that gets in the way.
- The trigger knob seems unfinished, with a knurled end. It is made so on purpose, as a turn locks the trigger.
- The winder travel is long. Being used to shorter travel, I tended to stop halfway and then push it to the end. Guess it takes getting used to it. Further, once the shutter is cocked, the lever is still freewheeling. Not sure if it is a fault, as all three bodies behave this way.
- A toy-like bubble at the front, under the trigger, activates the meter and, with an ‘auto’ lens, stops down the aperture.
- Underexposure marked by a triangle on the viewer’s left, the shutter would not fire.
Not many Super TL units were sold on eBay; the few that were had either a better lens or had gone at a meager price.
|Brand||KW / Pentacon|
|Model||Praktica Super TL|
|AKA||Cavalier STL-1; Pentor Super|
|Weight||610 gr, Body only|
|Class average weight||620 gr, Body only|
|Lens make||Pentacon Auto|
|Filter size||49 mm|
|shutter||Focal plane cloth horizontal|
|Light meter||TTL, lever activated|
|Lock||Yes, on trigger.|
|DOF preview||Yes, with ‘auto’ lens|
|Shoe||No, accessory available.|