One thing Ireland isn’t short of (other than pubs) is pilgrimage sites and general Saint Patrick related places of interest. One picturesque site is Lough Derg in County Donegal, just outside village of Pettigoe which like the Brexit vote, is half in the North and half in the Republic – and hence the EU.
Lough Derg has a nice walk around the lakeside, a visitors centre and a church but is mainly used for the boat crossing over to the Station Island of retreat – St Patrick’s Purgatory. This isn’t available to non-pilgrims but it’s a nice spot for a walk and a photo. I had the chunky Praktica L from this post with APX100 and being in Donegal, guessed exposure with Overcast 8. Or 5.6.
There are basic cameras and there is the Praktica L, a large block of East German utilitarian metal introduced to consumers and comrades in 1969 as the first camera in Praktica’s L-line. The previous PL Nova range cameras were basic enough with some models having metering, and the whole range having some curves, bevels, lines, circles and a bit of a retro look, even for 1960’s cameras.
With the L range, Praktica embraced modernity, sort of. No lines, curves – just a big heavy functional camera, and to these eyes, a thing of beauty.
The Praktica L has no meter, no split focussing screen, no battery – nothing other than a shutter button, speed dial and a winder. My model has a slight deviation from conformity. A small number of the L’s had the Pentacon logo etched on the prism housing and a small ‘L’. I was delighted when my £8 eBay purchased arrived with this decal.
The winder doesn’t even have the black covering present on many later Praktica L ranges, obviously far too decadent. The shutter speed dial is the usual with a flash hot shoe sync at 1/125, a fastest speed of 1/1000th and an ISO indicator. Just as a reminder as there is nothing electrical in this camera.
The viewfinder is bright and bare. There is a wee pointer which disappears when the shutter is cocked. There is also no focussing aid like a split screen – which can make focussing a bit trickier than usual. So nothing to distract from composition..
Which brings me to the lens – the much derided Domiplan 50/2.8, a lens with a pretty poor reputation out there.
It looks nice with the ‘zebra’ markings, it’s extremely basic in construction and, yes – a bit soft. But it’s not terrible and with metering by sunny 16 it did ok. These shots were taken in changing weather in County Donegal on a roll of Agfaphoto APX100.
Like a lot of old cameras – and basic cameras – there’s a lot to enjoy using without a meter and focussing aids, and using a pretty crappy old lens while getting half decent results. And of course using one so aesthetically pleasing.