Pentacon Six Mount Cameras
by TRA

Flash photography with the Pentacon Six

The accessory shoe


How do you mount a flashgun onto the Pentacon Six?

The easiest – although not the best! – way is to fit an accessory shoe onto the prism.
 
The Pentacon accessory shoe

There were two accessory shoes for Pentacon Six prisms, and both of them are rarely seen.  One was marketed by Pentacon, and at the rear it has a “big ears” socket.  It screws into the thread that is recessed within the eyepiece opening of the prisms.  This thread was originally designed to take a retaining ring to hold eyesight correction lenses. (see below)

To the right, two versions of the Pentacon accessory shoe, one with the locking ring anodised black and the other (from the following year) with a plain metal finish.  “Für sämtliche Kameratypen” means “for all types of cameras” – i.e, the Praktica 35mm cameras of the time as well as the Praktisix and the Pentacon Six.


A Pentacon Six accessory shoe in the box in which it was supplied.
The screw thread with which it is mounted onto the prism eyepiece is arrowed.
[pentshoe.jpg]


This illustration comes from a 1967 Pentacon Six catalogue.
[Steckschuh67.jpg]

This illustration is from a 1968 catalogue
of accessories for Pentacon cameras
(35mm as well as the Praktisix/Pentacon Six)
[Steckschuh68.jpg]
The Beroflex accessory shoe

The other accessory shoe was marketed by Beroflex, the distributors of East German cameras and lenses in West Germany.  It is not an original Pentacon accessory and was marketed as being “for Praktica”.  This refers to the older 35mm Praktica cameras that had the “big ears” accessory connection on the viewfinder.also incorporates an eye-cup.  It has the “big ears” male mount and a “big ears” female socket on the back.  It was sold to me in 1978 in West Germany as being “für die Pentacon Six” (“for the Pentacon Six”), and it does fit onto the Pentacon Six prisms.


[PrakStek3.jpg]                                                                                           [PrakStekJ.jpg]

On the left:  The mount on the Beroflex accessory shoe.  Next image: the country of origin of this accessory (arrowed)


[PrakStek2.jpg]
The camera illustrated on the packaging is one of the Praktica 35mm cameras from the mid to late 1960s, apparently either a PRAKTICAmat, a PRAKTICA nova or a PRAKTICAsuperTL.
These three 35mm cameras all had a fixed prism with the “big ears” mount and no accessory shoe on the body.  The new “L” series of 35mm cameras, which were being marketed in West Germany by 1971, had straight vertical slots on the viewfinder eyepiece to enable the angle finder with its revised mount to be slid down into place.  The “L”, the “LTL” and the “LLC” cameras all had a built-in accessory shoe anyway, and the “VLC” had a specially-designed accessory shoe that slotted over the rewind knob.  It would seem that the West German camera shop will have been pleased to shift this unsold item of old stock in 1978!

Later prisms produced for PRAKTINA 35mm cameras also had the “big ears” mount.  (Earlier prisms for this camera had the screw-thread socket for accessories.)

Here is the Beroflex accessory shoe, mounted on a Pentacon Six metering prism.


[C312-34A:  The Pentacon Six with the Beroflex viewfinder eyecup and flash shoe mounted onto the TTL prism.]

This accessory also fits the Pentacon Six non-metering prism, although it will not mount on the Exakta 66 TTL prism, which is fractionally taller, nor even on the slightly smaller Exakta 66 non-metering prism for the same reason.

The accessory shoe for the two Exakta 66 prisms appears to be based on the original Pentacon accessory shoe, but with straight upright edges.  It is taller than the Beroflex shoe.
 
 

Also, instead of using the two “big ears” of the standard Pentacon Six viewfinder accessories, it has a fine thread that screws into the eyepiece on either of the Exakta 66 prisms – or even on the two Pentacon Six prisms.

[C372-20A: The Exakta 66 accessory shoe]
This shoe does have on its rear face the “big ears” socket to receive further Pentacon Six / Exakta 66 accessories.
[C372_AccShoe.jpg]

To see the accessory socket on the back of the Pentacon prisms, click here and scroll down.

Eyesight correction lens retaining ring
 
The fine thread within the prism viewfinder eyepieces is designed to receive this ring, which will hold an eyesight correction lens in place.  Such lenses were not provided by Pentacon but could (apparently) be obtained from one’s optician.

This retaining ring is labelled in the 1968 Pentacon accessories catalogue as being “Für PRAKTICA-Typen, PENTACON Super, PENTACON six / PRAKTISIX” (“For Prakica-type [35mm cameras], PENTACON Super, PENTACON six / PRAKTISIX”).  In German it is called a “Korrekturglasfassung”.

This retaining ring, with the same thread, was previously available for the Praktina 35mm cameras made by KW between about 1952 and 1961, and the Exakta 66 accessory shoe shown above screws in perfectly to the eyepiece socket of the prism on a Praktina FX camera that was made in the first half of the 1950s.  Later versions of the Praktina prism had the “big ears” accessory socket referred to above.  One must bear in mind that the prism found today on a camera that is 50 or more years old may not be original to that body.  Thus, I have seen a later Praktina, the IIa, with a prism that does not have the “big ears” mount.


[KorrFass68.jpg]

 
 


[C372-21A]
When the accessory shoe is mounted on the Exakta 66 metering prism, access to the push button that turns the meter on (indicated by the red arrow) is difficult, but possible, especially from the left-hand side of the shoe.

No doubt the designers thought that people using the bracket to mount a flashgun would not need to use the camera’s light meter on most such occasions.

Here is the Pentacon Six with a flashgun mounted on its own the accessory shoe:
 

[C312-35A:  You can just see the end of the flash cable
in the locking socket, below the lens on the left.]
The location of the flash socket and the size of the camera mean that the cable on most small flashguns will be too short, and you will need an extension lead – you can see the join between the flashgun cable and the extension lead in the picture on the left.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

However, for most purposes this is about the worst place to put your flashgun, unless it has a tilt or swivel head to enable you to bounce the flash off a convenient nearby neutral-coloured ceiling, wall or other surface.  Direct flash from a position so close to the lens will give you virtually no modelling, and the infamous red-eye.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

[C372-24A] With a convenient white ceiling
bounce flash can give excellent results.
This gun also has a small fill-in
secondary flash to reduce the shadows.
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© TRA April 2002, December 2011