Germany 1940 – Compact – 35 mm – Very rare.
The Praktiflex, launched by Kamera-Werkstatten (a.k.a. KW), made its debut at the 1939 Leipzig Fair and would generate excitement almost immediately. Demand for the new Praktiflex was so great, that the company had to quickly relocate into a former candy factory in Niedersedlitz in the suburbs of Dresden.
It is not a particularly pretty camera but it does hold an interesting historical value, also because it opened the way for its successor, the Praktica, which became one of the most popular 35 mm brands for several decades, beginning in the 1950s.
The Praktiflex was a pretty basic camera but marked its time as it was one of the first 35 mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras ever made, preceded only by the Kine Exakta and the Russian Sport. Other interesting features were a fixed waist level finder, an interchangeable 40mm lens mount, and the world’s first quick return reflex mirror.
The Praktiflex series are divided in pre-war and post-war, and it is estimated that a total of 55000 units were ever produced. Unlike many other German manufacturing companies, it appears that KW was allowed to continue making cameras throughout the war and that their factories escaped the allied intense bombing of Dresden thanks for their location in Niedersedlitz rather than in the city center.