Pentacon Six System
viewfinder should I use with the Pentacon Six?
In March 2016 I received the following
Q: “ I have
read your site and still confused. At first I thought I
needed to buy a camera with just a waist-level finder.
But then considered a prism finder but read they are not
good and that Kiev prism finders are better but need
adapter. Then read about the Kiev waist-level finder but
it needs an adapter, too.
Cannot sort this out. Are original finders and
prisms inferior? I don't want to buy a relatively
inexpensive camera I can't use.....or worse have to send
to Europe to be modded..”
A: This is
one of the many e-mails that I receive from people who
are buying a Pentacon Six (+ TL) for the first
time. Here is the reply I sent:
Thank you for your e-mail. The trouble is that there is
almost TOO MUCH choice, and I try to cover all of it.
I’ll tell you my preferred set-up and
would encourage you to copy it. It's easy and
straight-forward, with no complications:
Pentacon Six TL with an original (Zeiss-made)
Pentacon Six metering prism, as seen on all my
metering videos on YouTube (links via the instructions page on my
a focussing screen
I replace the original focussing screen,
which is not very bright, with a much brighter screen.
You have a choice of three, all of which are of about
similar brightness to each other:
1) The screen that was fitted as standard with the
Exakta 66 Mk 2 & Mk 3: the Rollei MKPG screen, which
I think is the best. See here: http://www.pentaconsix.com/screens.htm
It is the most expensive of the three and needs to be
purchased with the retaining wire kit. It is generally
available from http://baierfoto.de/
and costs 90-99 Euros.
2) The original GDR Fresnel screen,
featured on the same web page. It is generally quite
cheap (perhaps 25 Euros), but is not seen frequently, so
may be hard to find. There is a screen available on eBay
that may be it, but from the description I am not 100%
certain if it is the fresnel screen. It also seems to be
lacking the special retaining wire and clips that it
requires. See that wire and the clips here: http://www.pentaconsix.com/ViewAids.htm
3) A Kiev screen originally designed for
the Kiev 60 but available cut down to the Pentacon Six
size. I describe it here: http://www.pentaconsix.com/kvscreen.htm
It is available direct from http://araxfoto.com/,
who are good people to deal with, and the price is low
-- either direct from them or via their sales on eBay.
If you don’t want to invest the
extra expenditure in the Rollei screen from
Baierfoto, the Kiev screen from Arax is probably the
best way to go.
The image will be at least as bright and easy to focus
as with any Hasselblad analogue SLR, brighter and
easiser to focus than with many of them (and I have
owned and used various Hasselblads over many years).
I hope that this makes the choices clearer for you.
Prisms are much better than waist-level finders and the
Pentacon Six prism is the best of the lot, in spite of
the slight cut-off round the edges of the viewfinder
image, which is in fact a really useful safety factor.
My website explains how to change the
focussing screens, here: http://www.pentaconsix.com/scrnchng.htm.
The main rule is not to touch either surface of the
screen with your fingers, just hold it by the edges,
change it in a clean environment (probably a kitchen
table or office desk) and have some tweezers to hold the
tiny screws and suitable small screwdrivers. It’s a job
that only needs doing once -- or an “old-fashioned”
camera repairer should be able to do it for you in less
than 10 minutes.
Enjoy photography with this great outfit!
“Mr Pentacon Six”
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© TRA First published: March 2016 Minor
revisions: May 2020