The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Lens Data Summary

Novoflex & Astro Lenses


The (West) German company Novoflex marketed over many years at least two lenses in the Pentacon Six mount.  Both of these lenses incorporated the Novoflex Follow Focus system, a spring-loaded pistol grip that is squeezed to focus.  Here are the details (again, from Gillespie):

Lens name Max aperture
& focal length
(feet & inches)
(pounds &
Novoflexar f/5.6 / 240 9' 3" 3 lb 6 oz
Tele-Novoflexar f/5.6 / 500 38' 9" 5 lb 8 oz

When I tried out one of these lenses a few years ago, I did not find it easy to use, as it is a pre-set lens, so one has to open to maximum aperture for accurate focussing, and then
  • squeeze the trigger to focus
  • stop down the lens
  • fire the shutter.
Doing three things at once with only two hands was anything but easy!  It certainly did not speed up operation for me, compared with the standard Carl Zeiss Jena/Pentacon lenses (but I was not able to test it on a tripod, only hand-held, in a camera fair).

I now have the 500mm Tele-Novoflexar, and plan to test it in the spring and then write a report for this website.

I believe that Novoflex also sold some of their bellows lenses in the Pentacon Six mount, namely the:

  • Novoflexar f/4 / 200mm
  • Novoflexar f/4.5 / 240 mm
  • Novoflexar f/5.6 / 300mm
All three of these lenses were designed to give both infinity focus and macro focussing.
The 500mm Tele-Novoflexar


The Astro company was apparently located in Berlin and is usually known as “Astro-Berlin”.  The lenses are reported to have been designed and originally sold in the 1930s.  We must remember that the superb Carl Zeiss Jena f/2.8 / 180mm Sonnar was designed in 1936, so we should not dismiss such lenses.  However, Astro lenses have been described by an experienced user as “not meeting today’s quality” and “in the league with Kilfitt or less, not Zeiss Jena”.  (Sam Sherman in Old Bridge, New Jersey)

Lens name Max aperture
& focal length
No of
Color-Astrar f/2 / 150 5 2.2
Astro-Tachar f/2.3 / 150 4 2.2
Astro-Tachar f/1.8 / 150 (1) 4 2.2
Astro-Telestan f/3.5 / 200 4 2.5
Astro-Telestan f/3.5 / 300 4 3.5
Astro-Telestan f/4.5 / 500 4 7
Astro-Fernbild f/5 / 640 2 10
Astro-Fernbild f/5 / 800 2 16
Astro-Fernbild f/6.3 / 1000 2 25
Astro-Telestan f/10 / 2000 4 45
(1) This is incredibly fast for a lens of this focal length.  It is a very large and heavy lens!  It has appeared on eBay, where it sold for a very high price.

All these lenses are reported to have had a “click-stopped diaphragm (not pre-set)” – Gillespie, 1975.

This data is based on published sources.  I do not have any Astro lenses.

To go on to the next section, click below.
Next section (Other manufacturers)

The Astro “Noctron” Tachar f/1.8 / 150mm lens
on a Praktisix IIA
My thanks to the collector who let me photograph this item

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© TRA May 2002, January 2011