This 35mm compact with fixed focus arrived in my second lot of camera’s for 99p lot. Of the useable camera in that lot, it was arguable is the most advanced with motorwind, DX coding sensor and fill in flash button. But is at technological triumph or let down compared to more simple cameras like the Kodak 35EF
Praktica has a long history as a brand name of VEB Pentacon in Dresden and is best known for its range of SLR camera. Pentacon as was wound up during the German Re-unification in 1991 but following it’s demise the name and some office space was bought and Pentacon GmBH still sells cameras under Praktica branding abet ones made in the far east (usually S Korea). The SP301 was part of the sport series of compacts. Mines was in a Gunmetal grey finish but silver and champagne versions exist.
It’s a quite small for a motorised cheap compact. The viewfinder is surprisingly bright despite it’s anti-glare coating that adds a slight blue tint. This feature well marked bright line frame finders with a parallax correction. The lens is protected behind a clear plastic cover (never really understood the point of this as the cover is just as likely to get damaged). To turn on the camera turn a rugged ring around the lens to open position. This uncovers the light sensor and unlocks the shutter. If light is too low a warning LED appears on top. You can then trigger flash with switch at side or if you need for fill in flash hold a button on the otherside (this also doubles to turn on a red beam for red eye purposes). The film counter is on top but I find too small and hard to read. A rewind switch is on the base which you’ll need as this doesn’t auto rewind.
Praktica Sport SP301 Specs
- Lens: 28mm
- Focus : Fixed
- DX Coding: 100 or 400 ASA
- Shutter: Unknown
- EV 100 : Unknown
- Exposure: Auto
- Battery : 2 x AA
And that’s it. DX coding seems just to delineate 400asa or faster films and the limited info on the web would suggest it sets for either 100 or 400 ISO.
In terms of focus things aren’t great. As it’s fixed your best bet is things a few metres away as you can see in the shot above it is okay at the 1-3 metre mark but step back 5 metres or more and as below things are pretty awful as you can see below
In bright light things improve a bit but the focus is best in centre shot becoming smeared at the edges. The lens cover makes this cameras really prone to lens flare
This camera arrived with the Kodak 35EF which despite being technologically limited, is a much better camera.
Why Buy ?
- Compact rugged styling
- Manual flash control
- Takes AA batteries
- Image quality not great
- Pointless plastic lens cover
What it Cost, came with and what happened to it
- 20p + £1.60 (part of a 99p + £8 joblot)
- Unbranded case
- One for the charity shop
- Kodak 35EF – sharp but basic 80’s fixed focus
- Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim – 21st century fixed focus fun
- Halina Micro 35 – fixed focus with flash, the Hong Kong lomo
- Set of shots by Saturated Imagery on Flickr