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THE PRAKTINA SYSTEM

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 a year later the final version with the name Praktina FX was released. An improved model was introduced in 1958 with the name Praktina IIA. In May 1960 Kamera-Werke stopped the production of Praktina cameras due to high manufacturing costs.
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 to have not only the interchangeability of the lens, viewfinder, focusing screen and camera back but also the possibility of mounting 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 the electric motor drive with remote control, the 17m magazine back, the special viewfinders and others scientific devices.



Praktina, the first model of 1953


Praktina, 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 long investigation has shown that in each of the two series there are cameras with different features. For this reason the Praktina cameras have been classified into seven different generations identified as models FX-DS, FX-M, FX-SA1, FX-SA2, FX-SA3, IIA-A and IIA-DA.
On the Praktina Model Classification page, the codes currently used for the classification of the various models are compared with the codes used up to 2015. This allows the rapid conversion of the old codes into the current ones.

Estimated production
Richard Hummel, in his 1995 book, reports the number of Praktina produced between 1953 and 1960: 77,008 of type FX and 24,848 of type IIA for a total of 101,856 cameras.
I don't agree with these numbers for two reasons. The first reason is that the number of Praktina FX seems to be overestimated by 20,000 units and the second reason is that the number of Praktina IIA does not seem to take into account the cameras produced as DA model.
If we accept the assumption that the numbering of the cameras was sequential and without interruption, we can estimate the production of Praktina FX in about 58,000 cameras, as the known numbering is between 20,000 and 78,000, and the production of Praktina IIA in about 28,100 cameras, as the known numbering is between 100,000 and 128,100, for a total of 86,100 cameras.
To be precise however, there is a correction to be made to these two figures because the numbering of the first version of the Praktina IIA is included in the numbering of the last model of the Praktina FX. Probably about a thousand Praktina IIA have the numbering mixed with that of the FX.

Date of production
There is very little information about the date of production of the different models. In many cases the presentation of a model was much in advance of its appearance on the market. The same can be said of the accessories.

Praktina Model and Version Identification
To identify the Model and Version of your camera you can use the Model Identification pages.
I am seeking information on Serial Number of Praktina cameras. I would be grateful if you could tell me the model, version and serial number of your camera. Many thanks.

What is new in this edition
• 'Praktina Advertising' page added • 'Model Specification' page added • 'Classification of Praktina models' page added • 'Praktina Prototypes' page revised and improved • Improved photo documentation of Praktina cameras• Improved navigation between site pages • Various improvements and corrections

Contacts
To contact me send an e-mail to: taccheo.alberto@tiscali.it
Any information or correction is welcome.

   

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Last modified: December 16, 2019
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