M42 Screw Mount Lens for Praktica LTL?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Ricochetrider, Aug 16, 2021.

  1. Hi all,

    IIRC the screw mount for my Praktica LTL is an M42 screw mount.

    I am looking for suggestions on a longer (75mm? 90mm?) lens for this lovely camera. I’d prefer something from Soviet Era (Russian?) or from behind the Iron Curtain.

    Any & all comments are welcome and if anyone has anything to sell or pass on, please PM me

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. 135mm? Looking around at Schneider Kreuznacht (sp?) lenses. Anybody used these?
  3. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    The 'correct' lens for a Praktica would be Carl Zeiss Jena or Meyer, wouldn't it? .. but the world and his dog all made M42 lenses.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
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  4. Pentacon 135mm f2.8

    Will try to find an example photo tomorrow, but it's a classic Zeiss Sonnar formula.

    Or the Jupiter 9 85mm f2, but the Pentacon is more 'correct' for the Praktica.
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  5. Dustin has the basics of it.

    The "right" (historically consistent) lens for your LTL would be generally any M42x1- mount lens from eastern Germany (the DDR, well before your LTL was around).
    The mount was originally offered after the end of WWII by Praktica. The LTL is one of the later series, and I personally think the L cameras are among the cream of the DDR-cameras (see Mike's Praktica Home in all its glory, then Praktica L-Line for the L).
    The LTL was made from December 1970 to November 1975 and 373,490 of the LTL proper were made.
    There was a full range of focal lengths, but because of various copyright disputes, the lenses actually contemporary with your body were often marked "aus Jena" since the wessies had glommed onto the Zeiss brand outside the Warsaw Pact area. Anyhow, if historical correctness is not your goal, any lens marked "Zeiss Jena" should be good.

    There are lots of Zeiss Jena long lenses from 75mm up to 1000mm.:)

    Meyer was essentially the 'budget' line but most of them are at worst "okay". Problems do occur with the Meyer 50mm lenses, but that's mechanical, not optical.

    Of course the Japanese and everyone else also made M42x1 lenses - at the time some people called it the "universal mount"
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
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  6. Richocetrider said :
    The silver Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 135/3.5 is one of the most beautiful lenses I own, and it's a great performer that I frequently use for botanical work. With it's multi-bladed iris it produces exquisite OOF backgrounds. Sample below. You have to pre-set the apertures, which can be a drawback.

    The Meyer Optik Orestor 135/2.8 with the pre-set aperture consisting of 15 blades is probably the classic 135mm lens for the Prakticas, also rebranded as the Pentacon version. The 135mm f/2.8 Auto Pentacon is also a fine lens, and more convenient to use, but it doesn't created the same unique bokeh of the earlier lens. It depends upon your work flow and your choice of subject matter, but I tend to use the Orestor because of it's lovely OOF effects.

    Primula copy.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  7. Thanks, guys!
    I was told by someone ( I THOUGHT in the f@ceb00k Praktica group but for the life of me I cannot find the post/comment) that my lens, marked "Carl Zeiss" was consistent with my story of the camera (as told to me by the person who gave it to me) having been bought on the black market in Poland- That person said lenses marked Carl Zeiss were reserved for non export market (DDR/GDR) sales & lenses labeled only as "Zeiss" were for the broader market outside the DDR or Soviet Bloc? IF I recall that correctly?

    Not certain of the difference between "Aus Jena and "Jena Pancolar" tho... just looked at my camera tho and the lens is labeled "Carl Zeiss Jena DDR" on one side of the lens body and also, "Pancolar 1,8/50" with the number "8918079". Nowhere on the body can I find a serial or manufacture number.

    MEANWHILE, I am looking at a Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar, "Zebra Edition" 3,5/135 lens... which of course would seem to "match" -visually at least- my "Zebra" 1,8/50... What does everyone think? Should I leap? :D
  8. I have saved a 135mm lens from Schneider Kreuznach- it's in Japan but not the silver body style... SO far away and asking (USD) $289.16 with free shipping... so NOT inexpensive by any means. Assuming this is a photo of the actual lens, it looks to be in very nice condition.

    It's the Exida-Tele-Xenar 1:3,5/135

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  9. Richochetrider said :
    Obviously a later lens than the example I have, and one I've no experience with. Here's a pic of my Xenar, in Exakta mount.

    Schneider Pnet.jpg
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  10. SCL


    You might find useful info on the site I've linked below. Although it pertains mostly to Exakta mount lenses, there is a plethora of info on lens manufacturers during the era you are looking for. Captain Jack's Exakta Lens Page
  11. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    That price sounds quite high, even if it is in nice shape. If you look around at auction you should be able to find this lens for $100 or even less, if you are willing to wait a while. Also, the Edixa screw-mount lenses use a slightly different standard to work with Edixa SLRs, so that if you use them on other makes of camera, they may mount off-center (but may still work OK).

    Just a note that Fujinon ST M42 lenses should not be used on the Praktica L series cameras, like the LTL. The aperture coupling tab rubs against the outer rim of the lens mount on the Praktica, just preventing the lenses from focusing to infinity.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  12. Isn't there also a potential issue where some, I think, Super Takumar (Pentax) lenses can jam when mounted on a non-Pentax body? I may be remembering incorrectly though, it's been a very long time since I used anything other than preset M39/M42 screw mount lenses.
  13. And yes, that price sounds a little insane, especially considering that there are very few 'bad' 135mm lenses, even the lesser manufacturers made a pretty decent job of this focal length.
  14. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Yes, the SMC/Super-Multi-Coated Takumars (and a few late Super-Takumars) have an extra pin on the mount that, when depressed, enables the auto/manual switch when mounted on cameras other than the Pentax ES, ES II, and Spotmatic F. They should not be used on Zenit SLRs, as this pin can get caught in the screw holes of the mount. I haven't come across any issues mounting them on other M42 cameras (so far).

    Another note for Ricochetrider: The rear element of the Tele-Xenar may hit the mirror of the Praktica.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
  15. Hi Rick, also, not sure what means to have a preset aperture? All my cameras feature manual lenses. All the Zeiss MF lenses have all functions on the lens but my 35mm cams have ISO presets on the camera body. My 40mm FLE lens has a pre-focus setting with approximate ranges in meters
  16. Thanks again everyone. Now the ebay seller offered 25.00 off the Zeiss Jena Sonnar so I will probably buy that one.

    Will follow up at some point.
  17. AJG


    Pre-set lenses do not have a connection between the camera body and the lens, so you have to turn a ring on the lens to stop it down to taking aperture after focusing but before you actually press the shutter release. With most of these lenses there are two rings marked with f/numbers--one with click stops to indicate where to set the aperture you want to use to make the exposure (for example, f/11 on an f/2.8 lens) and the other to actually stop down the diaphragm. It is better than having to count clicks or take the camera away from your eye to set the f/stop (like all of my Zeiss lenses for my Contax RFs), but it isn't as convenient as fully automatic diaphragms that close down when you release the shutter like most SLR lenses since the 1960's.
  18. AJG covered it very well above. Pre-set lenses have the two rings, for rapid stop down to the taking aperture, there are also non pre-set lenses, where you set the aperture first, which makes focussing difficult and the screen dim, or do a dance of focus, set aperture, compose, shoot.

    Worth noting that the pre-set lenses work just fine on mirrorless digital, some automatic stop down lenses, not so.

    Dave, thanks for confirming my suspicions, I started with Zenits, so that explains why I filed that little snippet of information away.
  19. Yes, to amplify some comments above, there are many, many very decent 135mm lenses in the M42x1 (42=diameter, x1 = pitch of the screw) mount. The Spiratone company, for example, offered a lot of different telephoto and other focal lengths. Except for a few special lenses, most of these are still dirt cheap. A nice 180mm to 200mm is also handy at these prices.
    Many of these will be fully automatic aperture with the LTL, Others are "preset" as explained above.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
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  20. hmmm, never heard of this. All my lenses are manual but it’s set it & shoot.
    Meanwhile, here is my “new” lens...


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