Leitz Diaprojektoren

[German version]

Apparently Leitz's slide projectors are more affordable than their cameras, otherwise I couldn't have afforded three of them.

Nevertheless they belong to the best of their kind. I dare go further at this point, because I don't know my way too well around slide projectors, but the benchmarks in the relevant discussion groups usually seem to be Leica and Kodak.

I mostly use my projectors to view my slides at home. Occasionally I also show some for an audience, so no regrets it when I, virtually simultaneously and against all expectations, won two e*ay-auctions for two near-identical Pradovit Colors.

The Pradovit Color is rock solid technology from the 1970's. It functions perfectly, but doesn't have the gimmicks you find on more modern projectors. Still it has a cable remote control for transport and focus and a switchable pointer beam. And it has a mechanical timer with intervals from 3 to 30 seconds. There was also a 250 Watt model, that even today fetches quite high prices, and one with autofocus. The projector is compatible with standard DIN trays, not with LKM, CS, or Paximat magazines. A dissolve utility could be added by the factory, I don't know if they or anyone else still do it today.

The entire casing and all components in the light shaft are of metal, plastics are few and far between, and where present, they are of such high quality that thirty years after the fact, they still look like new.

The projector has a protective case of plastic and a handle to the side, a jerk to the handle fixes the protective case, so that the projector becomes its own transport case. Quite nice.

The 150 Watt halogen bulbs (24V) are still readily available in well-assorted stores.

The lens is a Colorplan 90mm f/2.5, which is top notch and to my knowledge is even today, with unchanged formula (but different mount AFAIK), the "better" standard lens for Leica projectors. There was also a "CF" (curved field) lens available to cope with the curved surface of glassless slides. Not too much of a problem in everyday use if you ask me.

There's no autofocus, but that's absolutely no problem. The commonly feared phenomenon of "plopping" of glassless slides normally occurs before the slides move into the projector beam. Why? The residual heat of the lamp is convected through the metal casing onto the "waiting" slides, so that there's no temperature shock during projection. I've made it a habit to park the next magazine onto the projector.

When something needs adjusting, that can be done, as noted, by the remote.


I bought the Prado 150 with Hektor 8,5 cm f/2.5 for its beauty. The combination of black bakelite, black paint, nickled steel and green hammertone finish is somewhat archetypical for fine mechanical technology of the 1950's. The projector still functions perfectly, but the single slide insert by hand is somewhat uncomfortable and besides that I also fear that the bulb will break and I won't find a new one.

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Last modified March 16, 2010