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Created 4 April 2009 ... Updated 26 April 2009

Pentacon Electra

Pentacon Electra Plastic fantastic from the 1960s. Although it looks like this camera is made from metal, at least the front plate does, it's actually made fully from pastic, pretty strong black plastic actually. Of course the advantage is that it weighs next to nothing and still looks nice, from a distance but when you pick it up, it just looks and feels cheap, very cheap.

Film for this camera had the same size as standard 35mm film, but it was spooled in SL-Film Cartridges. ORWO's Schnelllade Kasetten (Rapid load cartridge) was the East German answer to Agfa Radid film system, which in itself was the answer to Kodak's Instamatic. With this system the film would be wound into the take up cartridge and removed without respooling. This way the film would wind from the new cartridge to the empty cartridge in a similar way as with 120 roll film. The main advantage was that film loading went a lot faster. As history shows however, none of these systems, neither ORWO, nor AGFA nor KODAK's survived on the market, which is at least in part due to the cheap built quality of the cameras using this system.

The Pentacon electra was presented as the master piece of all SL cameras. Which might have been true at the time as not many cameras with automatic exposure were available. Nearly 50 years however, this camera does not look like a master piece :o)

Manufacturor  :  VEB Pentacon, Dresden
Model  :  Pentacon Electra
Type  :  view finder camera
Produced  :  1960
K.D. Müller Reference  :  K 108510
Film  :  ORWO SL-Filmcartridge
Picture size  :  24 x 36 mm
Made in  :  GDR, Eastern Germany
Material  :  plastic - so much that you start wondering if the shutter is made from plastic too :o)
Well ok, the sides are covered with real aluminium, probably to make it look expensive or something...
Lens  :  Meyer Optik Görlitz Domiplan 2,8 / 45
Focusing  :  Manual, using focussing scale
Focus range  :  1 meter - infinity
Viewfinder  :  on top
Shutter  :  automatic
Aperture  :  markings for Sunny, Hazy, Overcast and Dark
Self timer  :  none
Film speed settings  :  50 and 100 - slider under the viewfinder
Exposure  :  Semi automatic (aperture priority) with manual shutter override (only 1/30 and 1/125)
Exposure meter  :  CDS Cell
Battery  :  2x AA
Flash  :  two settings: auto or on
Flash Contact  :  hot shoe on top
Film Advance  :  wheel
Film Rewind none, the system uses ORWO SL Cartridges
Dimensions  :  126 x 74 x 45 mm (W x H x D)
126 x 74 x 69 including lens
Filter thread  :  none
Body serial number  :  No 6722141
Collection status  :  to be sold
Pentacon Electra

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997 - 2009

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