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Film Camera Review, Praktica B100 Electronic 35mm MF SLR Film Camera

Praktica B100 Electronic 35mm SLR Film Camera Review
An interesting and easy-to-use AE (Automatic Exposure) 35mm SLR film camera from Pentacon in Dresden.

The very handy and compact-sized Praktica B100 Electronic, an iteration of the B-series 35mm SLR film cameras manufactured by Pentacon in Dresden, Eastern Germany, is an interesting and easy-to-use AE (Automatic Exposure) 35mm SLR film camera. The camera, built for the same target sector enthusiasts as the Pentax MV and Canon AV-1, is an aperture-priority 35mm SLR film camera with minimal control and an electronically controlled stepless shutter with a speed range from 1 sec. to 1/1000 second.

The camera is fitted with a vertical travel metal shutter and has a shutter speed dial with only three settings - automatic, flash, B, and a battery check option. Flash sync and mechanical shutter speed are 1/90 seconds, metering is open aperture TTL (Through the Lens), and the camera accepts films with an ISO speed rating from 12 to 3200, and exposure compensation is from 2V to + 2V. The Praktica B100 is also fitted with an 8-second delay self-timer with a starter button.

Praktica B100, Pentacon Prakticar 50mm 1:2.4

The standard issue lenses for the Praktica are the Proktica B-mounts, which are fitted with three-point electronic contacts to allow the exposure system of the camera to read the aperture set on the lens. The Praktica B100 is typically sold with Pentacon Prakticar 50mm 1:2.4 as a kit lens.

Other models of the B-series from Pentacon include the Praktica BCC (1979 - 19900, Praktica B200 (1979, Praktica B100 (19810, Praktica BCA (1983 - 1990), Praktica BC1 (1984), Praktica BC3 (1987 - 1988), and Praktica BMS (1989).


Basic Camera Features

While looking clunkier with shaper angeled corners and top, the Praktica B100 shares the characteristics of the Canon AV-1 both in body size, weight, and battery requirement. The cameras are slightly short of 700 grams in weight with lens and battery installed, and use a 6-volt 4LR44 battery to power their electronic operation.

Praktica B100, Front

A simple front. Aside from the lens mount housing located almost central on the front of the camera body, the left panel is occupied by the self-timer and switch lever located adjacent to the mount, and the lens release button is located on the vertical of the lens mount. On the right vertical of the lens mount is a single flash sync socket. An aperture readout window sits squarely in the middle front of the pentaprism, just above the camera name decal.

Praktica B100, Top

On the far left of the top plate of the B100 is the film rewind crank/film back pull-up release lever, sharing the same axis with the pull-up and turn film ISO speed dial, and the push-button to adjust exposure compensation dial. On the flat top of the pentaprism is the hot shoe, and to the right of the top plane is the cluster of shutter selector dial, shutter release button, shutter lock, film forward crank, and film counter window.

Praktica B100, Back

The back is equally plain with only the viewfinder eyepiece located at the back of the pentaprism hump, and a film memo tab located centrally on the hinged film back. The film back is not interchangeable.

Praktica B100, Bottom

The bottom plane looks slightly more active with the motor-drive contacts, guide pin, and coupling located towards the left end of the plate, the film rewind release button next to it, the tripod socket almost central to the plate, and the battery chamber and cover located above it, just under the lens mount housing.

Praktica B100, Film box

The film box is of similar configuration as found on other 35nn SLR film cameras of that era, with the film canister chamber, shutter window, film sprocket gear, and the film pickup spool laid from left to right.


Film Loading and Rewind

Film loading on the Praktica B100 is the standard manual procedure of opening the film back, placing the film canister into the canister chamber, pulling the film tab across the film box, and inserting the film tab end into one of the slots of the take-up spool. The film should be tensioned towards the inner side of the take-up spool as the film is wound emulsion side up.

Once the film back is closed, do the two blank shots sequence to bring the unexposed part of the film properly to Frame 1 before commencing with exposures for the rest of the film roll.


Viewfinder Readout

Praktica B100, Viewfinder readout

One of the bonuses of a film camera, a trademark of the manual focus 35mm SLR film camera of the 80s, is a huge and wonderful viewfinder, which one will never get any better than that.

The same can be said for the Praktica B100, which is fitted with a Fresnel focusing screen with a triple rangefinder wedge, truncated microprism screen, and ground glass ring, with a 95% viewfinder coverage. The viewfinder is also fitted with a needle pointer shutter speed display on the right vertical and an aperture readout window on the horizontal below the screen.


Shooting Mode

Praktica B100, Shutter speed dial

As mentioned, the aperture-priority Praktica B100 operates only one shooting mode, with the shutter speed dial set to 'automatic', and the lens aperture opening set to a specific aperture value (f-number). Metering, to set the shutter speed for the correct exposure, is activated when the shutter is half-pressed and the exposure setting is fully executed when the shutter is released.

Except for when shooting with a flash, where the shutter dial is set to the flash icon, and bulb exposure, where the shutter dial is set to 'B', no other shooting mode options are available.

when the battery quits on you, or when you really want to be creative with a fully manual setup on a single shutter speed but with adjustable aperture openings.


Battery and Camera Body Weight

Praktica B100, Battery installation

The Praktica B100 requires a 6-volt LR44 battery to power its operation.

The camera's body weight is 530 grams without batteries.


Instruction Manual

The Instruction Manual for the Praktica B100 is available for download from buktus.org



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