The Praktica MTL 3 is an East German SLR made by Pentacon, using the 42mm screw mount. It was produced in high numbers between 1978 and 1984. It is said to be based on the LTL 3. It's a solidly made camera with some rather crude and advanced features. The camera's successor is the Praktica MTL 5 .

The shutter[]

This is the best part about this camera. The MTL 3 has a very robust metal curtain shutter. It moves vertically and is likely to work some 35 years after its production. (I have one that appears to be in full working order today in 2018) Speeds are B, then from 1 to 1/1000 sec. It has a separate position for use with electronic flash units; this is "about" 1/125 sec according to the camera's manual. It's metal curtains are not known to get punctured easily as cloth shutters often do.

Metering and Viewfinder[]

The MTL 3 has a metering system that is integrated in the mirror. This makes it important to handle the mirror with care, or rather, never to touch it at all. A needle on the right side of the viewfinder indicates the correct exposure; "o" is correct, "+" means overexposed, "-" underexposed.

This metering system is the only battery-dependent system in the MTL 3. It takes a single 1.35v PX 625 mercury cell; without it, everything but the meter will continue to function. (The modern day replacement for the obsolete mercury battery is the MRB 625, available from WeinCell and other manufacturers.) A switch next to the shutter release button stops down the lens and switches on the meter. This way, no battery power is wasted when the camera is not in use. A black wedge on the left of the viewfinder indicates that the film has not yet been transported.


The standard lens supplied with the camera was a Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 lens. It has a m42 or Pentax thread. There's a switch on the lens to use it on auto or manual. The auto option allows full aperture composition even when the aperture ring is set to, say f/8. The lens is multicoated and has a 49mm filter thread.