Pentacon Six System
The History of
the Pentacon Six
inspiration for the “T-shaped”
Medium Format SLR
Before we look at KW’s Medium Format SLR,
we need to see what developments from other
manufacturers helped to inspire the design of KW’s
medium format camera in what has sometimes been referred
to as the “T”, as opposed to the “cube”, shape.
Some writers refer to the shape of these cameras when
viewed from above as being (very approximately!) similar
to a capital letter “T” (upside-down and with a very
short vertical line!). The “cube” design is
epitomised by the Hasselblads and subsequent similar
designs (from Bronica, Mamiya, Kiev Arsenal, etc).
|In 1935 the
Noviflex Medium Format SLR was advertised, and I
have handled and photographed two examples of
this camera. The Noviflex was produced in
Germany. Hummel states (p.95) that the
Noviflex did not enter serial production,
although there is evidence that it did. He
clearly did not have access to the relevant
pre-war production information and located as he
was in communist East Germany, he is not likely
to have had access to documents from
“capitalist” countries such as West Germany (as
it was at the time) and the UK.
Noviflex had a focal-plane shutter with
speeds from 1/20 to 1/1000 sec (on the camera
illustrated on the right the
1/20th marking is obscured by a mark on
the shutter speed dial). This one
is fitted with a f/3.5 7.5cm Victar lens
from Ludwig in Dresden. Focussing
on the Noviflex is unusual, since the
lens is not in a helical mount;
instead, it is focussed by a large
knurled wheel on the side of the mirror
The Noviflex was also
available with a Meyer Görlitz 7.5 cm
The Noviflex had a
fixed waist-level finder, the front of
which was made of metal, while the
other three sides were cloth on a wire
frame, as was then standard practice
for viewfinders on many cameras.
Film advance was via a
knob at the left-hand end of the top
plate. The Noviflex shown here
with the Ludwig Victar lens weighed
1lb 15oz (c. 880 grs) and measured (W
× D × H with finder closed and lens at
infinity) 6" × 3 5/8" × 3 3/8" (152 ×
92 × 87mm).
The “T-shaped” design can
be easily seen from above.
Here the focussing wheel can be clearly seen.
This Noviflex has the Meyer Trioplan lens.
Noviflex has the straight film path that
was adopted by the Reflex Korelle and
eventually by the Pentacon Six.
This is the first version of the Noviflex.
Note the direct-vision wire frame finder, which
folds down neatly over the front of the camera.
Two years later, the Noviflex
II offered interchangeable lenses. A
150mm f/5.5 Meyer Tele-Megor was reportedly
available. The 1970 SLR Yearbook quotes
the price when originally sold in the thirties
as ranging from £10 10s 0d with an f/3.5 lens
to £16 10s 0d with an f/2.9 Trioplan (£10.50p
to £16.50p to our younger readers!).
The Noviflex had a short life, but it
played a part in the development of the camera which can
be considered the grandfather of the Pentacon Six.
To go to the Bibliography, click here.
To go on to the next section, click
07 The Reflex Korelle
To go to the beginning of the history
section, click here.
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© TRA August 2010, Revised September 2017