Only Just Vintage – The Praktica BX20


Previously, I wrote about the Praktica MTL5 that I had purchased on a whim. I was so impressed that I have been looking into other cameras from this manufacturer – some older, some newer.

This is all about a newer model, the Praktica BX20, produced between 1987 and 1990. They were suppled with a variety of lenses (50mm, 35-70mm and 135mm).

What attracted me to this model was the fact that they could be used in full manual mode, aperture priority mode and fully automatic. Okay, there is no auto focus but it is reasonably well specified and, in my opinion it joins the ranks of a camera well suited to someone that wishes to dip their toe into film photography and to learn the basics beyond ‘point and shoot’.

I recall that Prakticas was always marketed as a cheap camera in the UK and I believe that these were predominantly marketed by the retailer, ‘Dixons’. They were frequently derided by those with deeper pockets! I am coming to think that this was unfair in most cases.

Their low price tag is still the case and they can be obtained on auction sites for a relative pittance. I bought min in October-November 2021. I have two. Both have a f3.5-f4.5 35mm – 70mm Prakticar zoom lens fitted. I paid £12.50 and £33 for them respectively. There is a story behind how I came by two which I won’t bore you with at this time! 🙂 I should add that both are fully functional although the cheaper one is not cosmetically perfect. I have run film through both and everything appears okay. The automatic exposure setting seems pretty accurate.

The BX20 is a small SLR compared to some and I guess many would say that it lacks something when it comes to aesthetics but it functions well and is comfortable to use.

It must be said that although, it is small, it would be hard to recommend for discrete street photography simply because the shutter is noisier than most of my medium format cameras! 🙂

A Summary of the BX20’s Specifications:
Aperture priority functionality
Shutter speeds from 1 sec. to 1/1000 sec.
NB. stepless automatic speeds between 40 sec and 1/1000
LED shutter speed indicator in viewfinder
TTL flash measuring
Flash synchronisation 1/100sec.
EV compensation from -2 to +2
AEL switch
Self timer, 10 sec.
Fresnel focus screen with microprism (95% coverage)
PB (Praktica Bayonet) mount
Exposure measuring through Cadmium sulphide photo-resistor
Powered by 6V PX28 battery
Size: 141x88x49mm
Weight: 510 gr (with 50mm lens).

I have attached a selection of images of the camera and some photos taken with the BX20.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.