Buying cameras online, I prefer dealing with charity sellers. The altruistic reason is there, supporting a cause. The practical reason is that charities see the item as an object that becomes useful only once converted into cash. Other sellers estimate an item by it’s (perceived) value and mark it accordingly. This is the reason that so many items are being offered for sale on auction sites, just to be relisted over and again till the end of days. Same at ‘antique’ stores where I once saw a Nettar in a local “antique” store, more of a glorified junkyard, where the owner insisted on $200. A year later it was still there and I had it for $40.
Some years ago I saw on eBay a Praktiflex by a charity shop, didn’t look much and bought it on the cheap. Once arrived I set it aside for better days. A year or two later I got a camera bundle, including another Praktiflex which became a roommate to the early one.
Recently I got to deal with them. Lo and behold, both were catatonic. Further, one had the rewinding knob missing and was replaced a nut. It could have passed, save for the fact that the nut has been 1/4 NC rather than M6, which didn’t go well together. To revive the two bought two donors on the hoof on eBay and was ready to go. Needless to say that one of the newcomers had the same button missing and a torn curtain.
Thanks to Rick Oleson, the Grand Cardinal of camera repair, I managed to dismantle the cover. See his recommended spanner to remove the speed selector knob. Note about the spanner, First I made one neatly filing 1mm brass sheet. It opened one camera but got bent on the other. I made a second spanner using a 1″ putty knife using a Dremel cutting blade. It takes experience and a steady hand, and needless to say proper eye protection.
By now I have two working camera and little appreciation for the East German ability. The punched parts were badly made, using well-worn dies. The machined parts are hardly interchangeable; where the worse was a pin that transfer movement from the top of the camera to the bottom part. It had been drilled for a cross pin, and in one of the cameras it was badly off-centre so I found it already broken. Further, the holes in the covers of two identical cameras were not identically positioned, it required some filing to fit.
Current Praktica prices:
Praktica FX open viewer