Should I buy a Pentacon Six or an Exakta 66?
Q: Do you feel there are any advantages with the new Extakta 66 over the old Pentacon Six?
A: The Exakta 66 has a much more modern design and appearance, which may or may not be relevant to you.
The Exakta 66 has a better advance lever than the Pentacon Six (even in Mk I version, but better still from Mk II).
It also has (from Mk II on) a spring lock on the back to prevent accidental opening. (But if you use the Pentacon Six in its case, this will never be a problem.)
It has a switchable pressure plate for 120 and 220 film (which was not considered necessary on the Pentacon Six).
It is likely to be a lot newer than most Pentacon
Six TL cameras (made 1968-1990).
I have heard reports that the film advance mechanism in the Exakta 66 is better than in the Pentacon Six, but I do not know if this is true. In any case, if you load the film correctly, this will not be a problem, unless the camera is faulty.
You might get an excellent export-quality Pentacon Six
a doubtful quality Pentacon Six made for the East German market. It is
impossible to know. (However, even in communist times, the East Germans
were proud of the quality of the cameras they produced, which were (in
my opinion) way better than anything produced at the time in the USSR.)
The Exakta 66 metering prism is linked to both the shutter
speed on the body and the lens aperture (on Joseph Schneider lenses
only), providing fast full-aperture metering – though
the stop-down method that I use on the Pentacon Six with its TTL prism
is almost as fast.
You could consider the Exakta 66, the ultimate “upgrade”
to the Pentacon Six, made in West Germany by Schneider using the chassis
and some parts of the Pentacon Six.
I am very pleased to have both cameras, and do in practice use the Pentacon Six more than the Exakta 66! Why? It cost less, is easier to replace, and is protected by its case if given a bit of rough handling.
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© TRA November 2005