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Best metered M42 body which doesn't take an obsolete battery?

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Kitchen10, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member


    As much as I love them, I'm getting a bit tired of lugging around my Praktica L and my old Sony compact (to use as a meter) and I'm now looking for a metered M42 body that doesn't require a Wein cell/adapter to use silver oxide type batteries. I would prefer a body with a top speed of 1/1000th or above. I'm on a fairly low budget of around £30 and I don't really care about the brand so long as it isn't a Zenit - I have a TTL with a broken meter and 2 B's which I never use because I get fed up of the exposure counters getting knocked. What do you recommend?

    Henry :)
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Praktica MTL50 or a later MTL5b - both use LR44 cells and are L series models, so very familiar for you. The 50 uses LEDs for the meter, the 5b a needle.
  3. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Or one of the B series and an adapter. They seem to be cheaper than the screw bodies at the moment.

  4. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I've got my eye on an MTL 5b now - I prefer a needle readout for manual operation.
    Thanks. If I were to buy a B-series model and an adapter on fleabay, it would cost me more than buying an MTL 5b and I've heard that the build quality of the B-series leaves much to be desired. Is this justified or have I been misguided?

    I've heard good things about Cosina and Chinon models - does anybody have any experience with their M42 bodies?

  5. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Have a BX20 and BC-1, both fine, no problems. I prefer the BX, Nick prefers, the BC, but that's just personal choice.
    You could probably pick one up with lens[es] for <£30.


    ps Pete Elgar has Cosinas and Chinons, I think. Have a look on youtube for his videos.
  6. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    The Cosina and Chinon cameras were somewhat looked down on in their day but were reasonably good in reality. I seem to remember Cosina made a latter day Voigtlander with a screw mount on the premise that there were those who had screw lenses who would like a new and reliable body, I am unable to recall the designation though.

    A quick Google tells me it was the Bessaflex TM. The black and chrome variants had different top plate designs.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016
  7. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    Cosina make lenses and bodies for many other manufacturers.

    Here's a snippet from Wikipedia.

    "Cosina is also well known for manufacturing 35 mm SLR cameras to the specifications of other manufacturers and distributors, such as the Canon T60, the Yashica FX-3 (1979), FX-3 Super, and Super 2000, the Nikon FM10 and FE10, the Olympus OM2000, Konica TC-X, and various Vivitar models. A Cosina design, the 1982 Cosina CX-2, was copied by the Russian optical firm LOMO as the popular Lomo LC-A.

    Cosina manufac
    tures manual focus SLR lenses for Carl Zeiss with Leica (ZM),[2] Nikon (ZF), Pentax (ZK), Canon EOS (ZE), and M42 screw mounts (ZS)."
  8. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    The preview/metering switch was even worse than that of a Spotmatic, but it worked.
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The Chinon CS was a basic but reliable model, but used a mercury battery. The old Cosina CSM/CSL/CSR range were pretty well-made cameras - the CSM is pretty basic, but by the time you get to the CSR there's spot or averaging metering, and a servo attachment that gives aperture priority. But they tend to be less reliable than Prakticas.
    Spotmatics are fine, but use mercury batteries - as do many other M42 bodies.
  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I've examples of every B series model except the very rarest ones (BX10 and BX21). The first model, the B200, is really nice but fairly hard to find working these days, they seem to have had electronic problems. The last model, the BX20s, is horribly plastic. The manual-exposure only models are still entirely battery dependent - all B series models are - and IMO aren't as nice to use as the L series M42 bodies.The auto-only bodies tend to be ridiculously cheap and are ok, but really the best models are the aperture priority/manual ones. The BX20 has the best features, but doesn't feel as well-made as the BC models, being more made of plastic. However, fact is they have survived intact, so it's a matter of perception rather than reality. I just prefer the feel of the BC models, even though they're not quite as feature-rich - the BX20 having proper dedicated flash, for example. But if you're going down the adaptor route, the world's your oyster.

    My favourite Praktica is the VLC 2 or 3, with interchangeable viewfinders and screens in an L series body - problem with them is that the battery, although not a mercury one, is pretty tough to track down.
  11. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    My Praktica Super TL1000s are going strong with V625U batteries in them.

    As far as I know, Pentacon in Dresden are still able to repair various Praktica models but, since a few years have passed since I needed their services, I may now be wrong.

  12. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Or even a Pentax MZ - body and adapter? Adapters are about £8 and body + K lens often well below £20.

  13. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

    Wow, lots of replies!
    I was thinking more along the lines of an earlier Cosina/Chinon - bear in mind that I have a £30 budget.

    I'd prefer a body which takes silver oxide cells seeing as my diode soldering skills leave much to be desired! Spotmatics are a bit out of my price range.

    I think I'd rather not risk the electronic shutters - I've had a few bad experiences with them over the years. As for the VLC models, I've never seen one go under £60 (way over my budget)

    Are the meters accurate enough for slide film with alkalines? I find the idea of Pentacon still repairing Praktica models somewhat amusing!

    I'm not a big fan of using plastic bodies - if I just wanted to use my M42 lenses, I have my old EOS 500 which I could adapt them to. However, I despise using it because it feels so cheap and plasticky. Furthermore, I prefer manual wind as motorised winding irritates me (not that Praktica shutters are particularly quiet :D).

  14. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

  15. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

  16. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Match needle and open aperture with electric lenses or stop-down otherwise, but only if your lens has an auto-manual switch underneath.

  17. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Some of my lenses are automatic only, so I guess that's the PLC series out of the question :(
  18. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    What lenses have you?

  19. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

    A couple of Helios 44 series lenses, a Hanimar 135mm f2.8 (low end but does the job, auto/manual switch broken) and a Pentacon 50mm f1.8 MC. I'm looking out for a 28mm as well. Maybe a Super Tak f3.5.
  20. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I've just dug out my old Bessaflex TM. It uses a couple of LR44 or a single DL1/3N. I've also looked on Ebay at prices being asked; they are obscene.
    They are asking more for these Cosina ersatz Voigtlanders than real Nikon FM2n s. I certainly know which I would use to shoot a roll of film assuming that I did not require the 300mm f4 Takumar.
    Kitchen10 likes this.

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