The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Books on the Praktisix and the Pentacon Six

Unsurprisingly, several books on this German camera system were written in German.


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“Praktisix Buch” by Dr W. G. Heyde, published in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1964 by the State-owned publisher VEB Fachbuchverlag Leipzig.
The subtitle, “Praxis mit der einäugigen Spiegelreflexkamera im Mittelformat”, means “Real-Life Experience with the Medium Format Single Lens Reflex Camera”.
Hardback clothbound with dust jacket
Approximate dimensions: 150mm × 218mm
5,000 copies printed.
As the camera was renamed two years after publication of this book, there was no re-print, but Dr Heyde re-wrote the book for the new Pentacon Six.
224 pages
Printed on high-quality paper with many illustrations, some in colour.


This book is recommended for readers who know German, and in consequence of its many illustrations and some information in tables, will be of interest to many who are not familiar with this language.


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“Pentaconsix Praxis” by W. Gerhard Heyde, published in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1974 by the State-owned publisher VEB Fotokinoverlag Leipzig.
The subtitle, “Fotografie mit der einäugigen Spiegelreflexkamera im Mittelformat”, means “Photography with the Medium Format Single Lens Reflex Camera”.
Hardback clothbound with dust jacket

Approximate dimensions: 150mm × 218mm
First edition
4,000 copies printed.
295 pages
Printed on high-quality paper with many illustrations, some in colour.

As with Dr Heyde’s previous book, this one is recommended for readers who know German and will be of interest to many who are not familiar with the language.


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“Pentaconsix Praxis” by W. Gerhard Heyde.  Second edition published in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1975 by the State-owned publisher VEB Fotokinoverlag Leipzig.
The rapid publication of a second edition shows that the first edition was quickly sold out, which is quite remarkable, considering that at the time the population of East Germany was about 17 million, not all of whom will have been passionate enough about photography to buy a book on a Medium Format camera.  (Some copies may of course have found their way to West Germany or other German-speaking countries, but I doubt if this book was officially marketed outside the GDR.)
Hardback clothbound, apparently originally with dust jacket.

Approximate dimensions: 150mm × 218mm
5,000 copies printed.
295 pages

Printed on high-quality paper with many illustrations, some in colour.

This edition was sent to me by East German friends in 1978.  It would appear that by 1978, the second edition had also sold out.  This copy was second-hand, and came without a dust jacket.  It does, however, give an indication of style of the front cover of the book, in all three editions.
Some of the photographs, including some of those that are in colour, are different from those in the first edition, but there are no other obvious differences.


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“Pentaconsix Praxis” by W. Gerhard Heyde.  Third edition published in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1980 by the State-owned publisher VEB Fotokinoverlag Leipzig.
Hardback clothbound with dust jacket.
Approximate dimensions: 150mm × 218mm
10,000 copies printed.  This large print-run on such a specialist subject again shows the popularity of this camera system.
250 pages
This is a revised edition of the book. 
Printed on high-quality paper with many illustrations.  It contains 20 pages of colour photographs.

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“Pentacon Six” by Ursula Petsch.  Published in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1986 by the State-owned publisher VEB Fotokinoverlag Leipzig.
Hardback with paper cover glued to the binding.
Approximate dimensions: 142mm × 218mm
20,000 copies printed.
216 pages.
Printed on good-quality paper, with the photographs, many of them in colour, on high-quality glossy paper.


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“Mittelformat »Ost«” by Stefan Scheibel would appear to be the first book published  on the Pentacon Six system and related cameras after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and subsequent collapse of the GDR, followed by its reunification with West Germany.
Published in Stuttgart by the former West German company, by then “German” company Lindemanns Verlag in 1993, with a second, slightly revised, edition in 1994 and a third printing in 1996.
Hardback with paper cover glued to the binding.
Approximate dimensions: 145mm × 215mm
Size of print runs not stated.
Printed in black and white on high-quality paper.

This book appears to be based principally on publicity literature for the different cameras featured, and on the whole limits itself to reproducing illustrations from that literature.
It contains some minor errors of detail – but then the state of knowledge on these systems in 1993 and the accessibility to equipment was not as good as it subsequently became.

Many other books contain references to the Pentacon Six or the Praktisix, and we may include information on some of them in the future.


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© TRA August 2018 Revised September 2018