Introduction to the Praktina System

The design of the Praktina cameras was developed by Siegfried Böhm in the factory of Kamera-Werkstätten, a German Company located in Niedersedlitz near Dresden. A prototype was shown in 1952 with the name Praktina and the Praktina FX was introduced on the market in 1953. An improved version was introduced in 1958 with the name Praktina IIA. In May 1960, Kamera-Werke stopped the production of Praktina. The reason is to be found in the high manufacturing costs, in the lens mount too expensive and less common of M42 thread and in the strong competition of Japanese manufacturers of SLR.
This camera is of great historical importance and represents a milestone in the development of the 35mm single-lens reflex cameras. Praktina was the first 35mm single-lens reflex camera with the full interchangeability of lens, viewfinder, focusing screen, camera back and also the connection for a motor drive.
With its lenses and accessories the Praktina is the first example of a professional 35mm SLR camera system. It has held for some years an outstanding position into specialized applications due to its original accessories as electric motor drive with remote control, spring winder, 17m magazine back and others scientific devices.

Praktina FX, the first model of 1953

Praktina IIA, the last model of 1960

The Praktina models

Kamera-Werke put on the market two series of Praktina, the first with the name Praktina FX and the second with the name Praktina IIA.
A close investigation has revealed several changes made in both of the two series during production. So the production of the Praktina has been divided into seven generations and the cameras coded as models FX-DS, FX-M, FX-SA1, FX-SA2, FX-SA3, IIA-A and IIA-DA.

Estimated production

Richard Hummel, in his 1995 book "Spiegelreflexkameras aus Dresden", reports the number of Praktina produced between 1952 and 1960 year by year: 4266 (1952), 8662 (1953), 11320 (1954), 15120 (1955), 15070 (1956), 14975 (1957), 15220 (1958), 11071 (1959), 6152 (1960) for a total of 101.856. Furthermore Hummel classifies the production of Praktina in three groups: Praktina (code 108) with 10,041 cameras, Praktina FX (code 109) with 66,967 and Praktina IIA (code 110) with 24,848. The first group is an error (only few prototypes built) and this quantity must be added to the second group.
A personal search on serial numbers, performed by collecting data from cameras offered for sale, publications and information received from other collectors, records Praktina FX with numbers between 20,000 and 77,055 and Praktina IIA with numbers between 100,000 and 128,100, with some cameras in the range 68.000-75.000. They are a total of 85,155 cameras. This result does not agree with the Hummel's data and the difference is big, not easy to explain. The Hummel's quantity of model FX drops from 77,008 to less than 57,055 while the quantity of model IIA increases from 24,848 to more than 28,100. Based on the search result my opinion is that the production of Praktina cameras indicated by Hummel is overestimated.

Date of production

There is little information and a lot of confusion about the production of the various models. As already mentioned, Kamera-Werke never highlighted the changes made to the cameras during production. The presentation of the Praktina and its accessories was made on the occasion of the fairs held in Cologne and Leipzig. The Cologne fair was biennial, in spring in 1952 and 1954 and in autumn in the following years. The Leipzig trade fair was held twice a year in spring and autumn. The knowledge of new models was therefore conditioned by the dates of these fairs and could be in advance of the actual production and marketing date or could take place with the camera already on the market. The presentation of a model at these fairs can be useful but does not necessarily represent the best system to date the production or the marketing of different Praktina models.
Basic information on production dates can be found in the book "DER VEB PENTACON DRESDEN" by Gerhard Jehmlich: Praktina (prototypes) approx. 07/1952 - 07/1953, Praktina FX approx. 09/1953 - 07/1958, Praktina IIA 06/1958 - 05/1960.

Praktina Model and Version Identification

The 'Model Identification' pages can be used to easily identify the Model and Version of your camera.

Praktina Serial Numbers

I am seeking information on Serial Numbers. I would be grateful if you could tell me the model, version and serial number of your camera. Many thanks.

Changes in the 2022 revision

• 'Praktina Prototypes' page revised • 'Praktina pre-production' page added • 'Praktina for Questar' page added • Various improvements and corrections • New e-mail address


To contact me send an e-mail to: praktina@yahoo.com
Any information or correction is welcome.



Last update January 2022
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