Praktica BCA
On line manual

Posted by Alex Albu 12-19-'02

This manual can be used as a reference for many Praktica "Auto" cameras
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Praktica BCS / BCC (clone of BCA w/small differences.  German language )


The PRAKTICA BCA you now own is a reliable SLR camera offering latest technical features and guaranteeing ease of operation as well as excellent sharpness. Enjoy it.

Pease follow the instructions contained herein. Improper camera handling may result In damage not covered by our guarantee. Further development of the PRAKTICA BCA may lead to minor deviations from the details given here.

Single lens reflex camera for frame size 24X 36, through-the-lens light metering with open aperture, electronic aperture value

-- Manual compensation of exposure data in the range of ± 2 exposure factors
-- viewfinder image shows approximately 95 per cent of the picture sides
-- electronic flash synchronization at 1/60s
-- PRAKTICA bayonet (flange focal length 44.4 mm, inner diameter 48.5 mm)
-- self-timer (about 8 s delay) with release button
-- connection for motor winder
-- film information holder on camera back
battery condition indication in viewfinder -
-- power source: 6 V primary battery
-- light sensor: CdS photo resistor
-- metering and control range: 1 ... 19 EV
-- dimensions of body: 138 mm x 87 mm x 49 mm
-- weight (body without battery): 520 g

1. Film speed and compensation dial

2. Rewind button with crank

3. Window for aperture indication

4. Cocking lever

5. Frame counter

6. Self-timer cocking lever

7. Self-timer release button

8. Lens unlocking key

9. Filter thread

10 Aperture setting ring

11 unlocking

12 Film speed/compensation index

13. Hot shoe with center contact

14. Contact for dedicated computerized flash unit

15. Mode selector automatic, B, s, battery check

16. Shutter release

17. Cable release connection

18. Release lock

19. Lug for carrying strap

20. Lens positioning mark

21. Depth-of-field scale

22. Focusing ring


23. Eyepiece with accessory holder

24. Shutter

25. Film cartridge compartment

26. Film

27. Film take-up spool

28. Camera back



29. Battery compartment lid with locking screw

30. Contacts for motor winder

31. Catch for motor winder

32. Coupling for motor winder

33. Rewind release

34. Thread for tripod

35. Film information holder


  Inserting the battery

A 6 V source is required to power the whole electronic system. It may be an alkali-manganese, silver oxide or lithium battery. Four button cells (e. g. LR 44) kept in a battery sleeve (identification no. 961 363) may also be used.

Under normal conditions, a fresh battery lasts for about 2 years. To insert the battery, turn the locking screw of the battery compartment lid (29) counterclockwise until the lid can be opened. Wipe the contacts in the battery compartment and those of the fresh battery with a dry cloth. Press the plus pole of the battery against the spring contact (polarity marks are provided on the lid) and tip the battery in. Close and lock the

It is advisable to check and clean, if necessary, the battery and battery compartment contact points from time to time. The battery is sensitive to low temperatures and should be protected in a suitable way if they occur.

Remove the battery from the camera if the latter is not used for an extended period.

Checking the battery

Lift the mode selector (15) and turn it to, check" (the shutter must be cocked). The battery still has a sufficient power reserve when the red LED lights up at symbol or the green LED at 1000/60 and no other LED lights up after a check time of 2 to 3 s. Reset the mode selector (15) to "auto" after the check.



Opening the back

Pull the rewind button (2) up as far as it will go to unlock the back. Open the back completely; the frame counter will automatically return to the starting position. Insert the film cartridge into the cartridge compartment (25). Press the rewind button back in all the way, turning it if

Insert at least 1 cm of the film leader into the slit of the take-up spool (27). Then turn the spool by the knurled base towards the middle of the camera through about one revolution. See that the teeth of the film sprocket (26) engage in the perforation of the film. Check that the film is advanced properly by carefully operating the cocking lever (4).



Before loading, set the mode selector (15) to "60" as a slow shutter speed may be formed in the "auto" position. The cocking lever can be operated only when the shutter cycle is completed. Do not use force. A slow shutter speed can be cut short by changing from "auto" to "B". It may also be formed in the "auto" position when the shutter is released without a lens mounted on the camera.

Closing the back

Press the middle of the lock side of the back against the camera body until the lock is heard to engage.

Preparing to shoot

The cocking lever (4) can be swung out a little way without starting film winding. This "ready" position increases handling reliability when taking rapid picture sequences. Swing the cocking lever as far as it will go, return and press the shutter release (16). Repeat this procedure until the automatic frame counter (5) indicates frame 1.

When the film is properly advanced, the rewind button (2) is seen to rotate when the cocking lever (4) is operated.


Setting the film speed

Press the unlocking key (11) and turn the dial until the ISO/ASA film speed as indicated on the film pack matches the index (12). See also the ISO /ASA and DIN film speed table on page 26. The flap from the film pack can be put into the film information holder (35) as an additional aid to the memory.

Automatic shutter speed control

In the "auto" mode, the PRAKTICA BCA operates automatically in a stepless shutter speed range from 1/1000s to 1s. The shutter speed is electronically controlled in line with the lighting conditions, the pre-selected aperture and the film

The LEDs on one side of the viewfinder image indicate the controlled shutter speed (when the shutter is cocked). The speeds between 1/1000 s and 1/60 s are indicated by a green LED and those between s and 1/30 and 1s by a yellow one. A red LED at symbol indicates that the mode selector has been set to "B". Overexposure causes a red LED to light up at symbol , underexposure results in one lighting up at symbol .

The centre-weighted TTL metering takes automatically into account all factors influencing the exposure such as focal length of the lens, filter and extensions. The light is metered with the aperture fully opened. The value of the pre-selected aperture is electronically simulated and so transferred into the camera. The automatic stop-down system makes the lens diaphragm stop down to the set aperture only for the time of the exposure.

If lenses with the M 42x1 PRAKTICA thread are used with an adapter, the light is automatically metered at working aperture (stopped down).

Operating range

The automatic exposure system of the camera operates at full aperture within the ranges specified in the table on page 33. These ranges depend on the film speed. The operating ranges are restricted when the light is metered at working aperture.



Aperture pre-selection

Turn the aperture setting ring (10) to set the desired aperture against the mark on the lens mount. The set aperture is displayed at the bottom of the viewfinder



Operating ranges with open-aperture TTL metering (shutter speeds in seconds)


Shutter release

After checking the shutter speed range in the viewfinder, operate the shutter by fully depressing the shutter release (16). When pressure is removed from the shutter release, the electronics are automatically switched off. With slow shutter speeds the removal of pressure from the shutter release does not affect the exposure procedure. In this case the electronics are switched off only when the shutter cycle has been completed.

If the yellow LED lights up, the camera should be suitably supported or a tripod be used

If the camera is not held at eye level during automatic operation (e. g. with tripod shots), push the eyepiece cover which comes with the camera into the holder immediately after checking the shutter


Exposure compensation

If there are high contrasts in the subject, the shutter speed can be individually varied. Such corrections are necessary e. g. with dark objects in front of a light background (overexposure + 1; + 2) or bright objects in front of a dark background (underexposure --1; --2).

In these cases, lift the film speed and compensation dial (1) and set the index (12) against the desired compensation value. The dial can be set to half factors. At the borders of the film speed range - 12 ISO/ASA and 3200 ISO/ASA (12 DIN and 36 DIN) -- compensation by two factors is also possible. The compensation cannot extend the shutter speed range beyond the speeds of 1/1000 s and 1 S.

Remember to return the dial (1) to the zero position following exposure-compensated shots.


Flash photography

If the available tight is insufficient for hand-held shots (e. g. indoors), a flash unit should be plugged on. All electronic flash units can be

Push the flash unit onto the hot shoe (13) to make the electrical connection between the camera and the flash unit without a cable.

1. Use of dedicated computerized flash units Set the mode selector to position "auto". The camera and flash unit are ready for flashing if a green LED lights up in the viewfinder (beside the f symbol) when the shutter release is gently pressed. Do not release the flash unit if the object is so bright that simultaneously a red LED lights up at symbol A. In this case, set the mode selector (15) to "60" and proceed as described under 2.

2. Common electronic flash units with or without computer control
Set the mode selector "60" = constant fixed time of s (take into account the guide number and film speed). If the red LED at the symbol lights up, the object is so bright that flashing may lead to overexposure. If, with the mode selector in this position, a dedicated computerized flash unit is used, the green LED at the 5 symbol in the viewfinder will light up as soon as the camera is ready for flashing as is the case in position "auto".


Changing the lens

Press the unlocking key (8) and turn the lens counterclockwise as far as it will go. Remove the lens from the camera. Insert the PRAKTICAR lens in such a way that the red markings (20/8) on the camera and lens are opposite each other. Press the lens against the camera body and turn clockwise until the locking pin is heard to

By using the PRAKTICA adapter all original PRAKTICA lenses with the M 42x1 thread can be connected.

The PRAKTICA BCA also works automatically with the screw-thread lenses, the only difference being that the light metering is made with working aperture.



Focusing is possible using the triple wedge system, the microprism ring or the ground glass ring.

I. Triple wedge
This wedge system allows highly accurate focusing. Optimum sharpness Is achieved when the contours and lines flow naturally. Incorrectly aligned edges indicate that the image is out of focus.

2. Microprism ring
The image is correctly focused when the Image inside the grid Is clear and flicker-free.

3. Ground glass ring

The ground glass ring Is especially useful in macro and micro photography and when using lenses with a small relative aperture (f-number larger than 4). The image must appear clear and sharp In the ground glass ring.

Infrared photography

Infrared photography requires a slight correction to the focusing: match the distance determined in focusing with the infrared mark on the lens.

Depth-of-field indication

The limits of the depth of field for the selected aperture can be read off from the depth-of-field scale (21) on the lens. Example for a standard lens with a focal length of 50

distance 3 m - aperture 8

depth of field from around 2 m to 5 m

Shutter release

For ease of operation several functions have been combined in the shutter release.

When the camera is cocked, gentle depression of the shutter release until pressure is felt switches on the automatic system and the LEDs for the shutter speeds and flash readiness (with computerized flash units). Further pressure will release the shutter.

Locking the shutter release

Accidental exposure and unnecessary use of power as a result of unintentional pressing of the shutter release when the camera is cocked or not can be avoided by turning the release lock (18) clockwise to block the shutter release. To unlock turn in the opposite direction. Do not lock the shutter release when it is depressed.


Cock the shutter and swing the self-timer cocking lever (6) all the way down. Release the self-timer by pressing the release button (7). The delay period is approximately 8 s. Do not cock the shutter while the delay mechanism is running. To avoid incorrect metering in the automatic mode, push the eyepiece cover over the


Changing the film

The frame counter (5) indicates the number of frames which have already been exposed on a film when the shutter cycle is completed. If all the frames on a film have been exposed (red marks at 20 and 36), change the film. Press in the rewind release (33) until it locks, fold out the rewind crank and turn moderately quickly in the direction of the arrow (clockwise) till increased resistance followed by easy movement indicate that the film has been fully rewound. Pull the rewind knob all the way up to unlock the back. The film cartridge can now be removed. Do not change the film in bright sunlight.

If more frames have been exposed than are indicated on the film pack, it is possible that the cocking lever cannot be swung all the way. Do not use force but wind the film back and then swing the cocking lever fully



Protect the camera from impact, dust and moisture.

Clean the cartridge and spool compartments, the film track and the back from time to time with a soft brush.

Do not use any organic solvents such as spirit or varnish thinner to clean the camera.

Do not expose the camera or lens to aggressive vapors.

Remove fingerprints from the lens and eyepiece surfaces with lens cleaning paper.

Do not touch the mirror, field lens or shutter blades; dirt on these can only be removed by a service workshop.

Use an optical brush for dust removal, or blow out.

Do not expose the camera to very high or low temperatures for lengthy periods. Avoid, for example, placing the camera in a car window in direct sunlight. Protect the camera and especially the battery suitably from extreme cold.

When using the camera near the sea or on the beach, protect it from salt water, spray and sand.

Avoid sudden changes in temperatures. These may lead to the formation of condensation and thus to corrosion damage.

Never attempt to make your own repairs to the camera. Consult a service workshop where necessary.