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Hi my praktica mtl 50 slr as a loose fitment on the top were the flash gun slides in its the bit thats silver on top and black sloping plastic under it can i take the top of the camera of to re tighten it,are there any plans or instructions that show you how it comes appart,-regards-SB.

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You can repair this by removing the camera top plate and re-fixing the hot shoe from beneath, but it's not without risk to your camera.

The MTL 50 has more electronics than the MTL-5 which it was based upon, and it's possible to damage them when you remove the top plate of the camera. If they are damaged they're still basic and usually easy to fix if you're familiar with basic electronics. Or if damaged you could revert to using a handheld light meter which you can pick up very cheaply as the electronics are only for metering purposes.

If you're not confident of the repair, then don't attempt it. You can get a separate flash bracket very cheaply which screws into the tripod hole and the flash can then connect to the pc socket on the lower right hand side of the lens mount as viewed from the front. This will also give better results as the flash is mounted off-axis just like professional photographers do. The flash bracket is not only the most conservative option, but it's the best one simply from a photo-taking perspective. Most of the kind of flash guns which fit your camera have a pc socket for off-camera use and usually come with a short lead for the job. If your flash gun doesn't have this facility then most used camera shops have loads of perfectly functional but utterly worthless basic units in the trash. (If you're in the UK I'll even send you one for just the postage costs, just add a comment to let me know and I'll be in touch).

If you want to go ahead you'll need to start by removing the film winding lever. The black disc on top of the lever unscrews with a reverse clockwise thread. Sometimes it will undo simply by pressing your thumb down on it and twisting clockwise whilst holding the lever from moving, but more often you'll need to press a pencil eraser firmly on to it and twist clockwise. Once the screw is off the lever should lift away.

Next, you need to remove the film rewind crank. Under the rewind lever is a screw and again this usually has to be turned clockwise to undo it. After removing the screw, the rewind crank lifts off.

Next, remove the two securing screws on the front of the top-plate and the two at the rear. It's been a while since I've done this so you might find there's also a screw at each end, they all undo anticlockwise as normal. Set the shutter speed dial and film speed to a convenient position which you're confident of being able to return it to, you may also want to put a bit of tape across the top to hold it where you've set it. The top of the camera should now come off, but be careful: there will be wires going up to the underside of the hotshoe and you don't want to strain or break them. You should be able to see how the hotshoe fixes to the camera and effect a repair. Try not to disturb anything else, but if you notice any gooey black foam then you need to decide whether to remove it. If you leave it then it's corrosive and will eventually damage at least the black paint on the pentaprism and spoil your viewfinder image, but if you remove it without knowing what you're doing then you'll damage your camera. If in doubt, leave it. Film SLR's and lenses are now ten a penny and folks are even giving them away so you may choose to use your camera until it breaks and then get another for peanuts.

Once you've completed your repair, reassembly is in the reverse order. Just be careful not to overtightebn the screws and you may want to apply a little liquid thread lock to them after cleaning the threads.

I hope this has helped and given you a few options, if so please return the favour by rating my answer.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009

  • Obertelli
    Obertelli Jul 17, 2009

    Now that I've checked my own MTL 50 there are a couple of corrections to what I've written above:-

    Film advance lever: the black disc on the MTL 50 pops off if you use a thin bladed screwdriver. Beneath it is a small circlip which you need to remove and then use a pin wrench to undo the securing screw which comes off anticlockwise. Basically the circlip is there to prevent the screw from loosening when you use the level.

    Film rewind lever: The MTL 50 does not have the screw I mentioned, instead you need to look up at the lever from beneath to see a hex fastener. Use a small spanner on the hex and grip the rewind lever button with soft jawed grips and unscrew clockwise. A scrap MTL 50 I've found unscrews anticlockwise but uses threadlocking compound to keep it secure so Practika clearly changed it during the production run.

    Both of my MTL 50's had the loose hotshoe and if you're careful you can glue it back on without dismantling the camera using a thin epoxy resin and a syringe. Superglue won't work as it won't hold the type of plastic (HDPE) which forms the base of the hotshoe. If you glue it I'd expect it to eventually fail again as HDPE is poor with most glues, but epoxy should last long enough unless you're a frequent strobe user.



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