For one, this camera had a all-metal vertical travel focal plane shutter curtain with flash sync-time of 1/125s, which beat the Spotmatic, OM-1, Minolta, and many cameras even following, which had a horizontal traveling cloth shutter curtain, which has a much slower flash-sync time of around 1/60s. Take the Canon AE-1, or Pentax K-1000 cameras, which both have a 1/60s shutter sync due to the longer travel of the shutter curtain.
This meant narrower apertures for fill flash outdoors.
The thing is, this camera came in under the radar, pretty much unnoticed in North America, but recognized for its German robust construction, and the M42 mount which was very versatile and had some amazing variety when it came to lenses. From mediocre to divine... to some of the best lenses.. In the world!
The Pentacon lenses were amazing. Super sharp, and based off the Meyer-Optik designs, which are still highly sought after lenses.
The aperture was actually limited to prevent diffraction, and as German optics go, not surprising.
The thing about this camera is that it looks very German. Cold, chiseled, and plain. Perhaps this is why it never caught on to be imported into Japan, but sold well in the UK. Unlike other cameras that were being made at the same time, this camera had not a single spot of electrical control on it, aside from the hot-shoe.
This meant that it would always operate. In the highest temperatures of the Sahara and Arizona desert, to the freezing arctic and Serbian winters. There would be no stopping this camera from operating at its fullest potential in any climate. The thing is, unless you knew how to meter by eye, or wanted to hand-hold a meter, it was very limited. When the FTb was a fully mechanical camera, but had a built in meter, same as the Nikon F2, it was overshadowed by these two facts.
Or was it?
Sure, it's nice for the amateur photography to have the Auto-Everything Point-And-Shoot ease of the Canon AE-1Program where you just pointed, focused, and tripped the shutter (the camera did the rest) but what good is that when the battery runs dead?
Or you're using a non-dedicated flash? It's no good at all! The Praktica L2 didn't have that worry at all. It was built for one purpose, and one purpose only. To take stunning photographs.
From Transparencies, to B&W, to Colour Negatives and prints, it was good for everything! Incredible optics, big bold and brilliant viewfinder (some may argue about the focusing screen being hard to read) and a little arrow in the viewfinder that would remind you to advance the camera to the next frame as the shutter has been fired.
Yes it was a very good camera, and still is today.
I would say it is a Mechanized Mechanical Masterpiece that was Masterfully built. Solid, tough, and bold.
Pentacon made some of the "FIRST" cameras in the world. From the Exaka, which featured the first 35mm SLR with interchangeable lenses, to the Praktica LLC, the first TTL camera that could do wide-open metering by reading through a coupling on the mount and lens.
Why not be one of the only manufacturers that made a NON-TTL camera when everyone else was making TTL cameras. Back to the basics, when shooting film wasn't just a hobby, but a form of art...
The Praktica L2 SLR... Your everyday camera... Then... Now... And Tomorrow!
Metal Curtain Vertical Travel Focal Plane-Shutter 1s to 1/1000s +B
24x36mm frame size (Full 35mm Frame)
1/125s Flash X-sync
Mechanical (No batteries)
M42 Mount for a wide-variety of lenses, from preset to auto-aperture
ASA reminder on speed select knob
Threaded shutter release
Until next time, keep those shutters firing!