The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

The Novoflex Bellows Unit
for the Pentacon Six

The highly-regarded firm of Novoflex, located in what was at the time West Germany, made its bellows available with the Pentacon Six mount.

[C436-36]  The Novoflex bellows, on the right, next to the bellows produced by Pentacon

This smart unit has an integrated focussing slide.  The lens mount at the front and the camera mount at the back can be exchanged for other mounts, facilitating the use of Pentacon Six lenses on other cameras and lenses with other mounts on the Pentacon Six – naturally for macro work only, especially if one is using lenses designed for 35mm-format cameras.

The Novoflex bellows on the Pentacon Six, using the 80mm Biometar lens, metering prism and angle finder, which with its dioptre correction and extra magnification facilitates accurate focussing, which is always particularly difficult to achieve in macro work with any camera and lens.


The bellows unit made by Pentacon has a lever – seen at 8 o’clock in the top photograph  – that presses on the lens aperture pin, to maintain the aperture at maximum, which is really essential for focussing on moving objects in macro work – especially as a very small aperture is usually desirable to increase depth of field as far as possible. 

As explained on the Pentacon bellows page, here, a double cable release automatically stops down the lens just before the shutter fires.

There is no such aperture pin lever with the Novoflex bellows, making the use of the Pentacon aperture control ring (also illustrated on the Pentacon bellows page) highly desirable.  Naturally, this increases the minimum extension of the bellows.
Here is the same outfit, with the aperture control ring and double cable release added.

The double cable release that came with the Novoflex bellows is also of West German design.  It works well, but has a long rigid end section that screws into the aperture control tube.  This section fouls the aperture ring on the 80mm Biometar, making installing the cable release and changing the aperture difficult.  Using the original, East German, double cable release avoids these problems.

Of course, older lenses without aperture automation from other manufacturers can be used (via a suitable mount) on these bellows.  In that case, no double cable release is required – but users must remember to stop down the lens manually before firing the shutter!

You can see the results of using an old Schneider-Kreuznach 150mm f/4.5 Xenar lens here.  (Scroll down to near the end of the page.)  The results are truly outstanding!

Slide copying

One of the great plusses of the Novoflex bellows is the slide copying attachment that Novoflex made for it.  This magnificent accessory makes the copying of Medium Format (or smaller) slides easy.


An impressive set-up capable of producing professional results of the highest quality.

[C436-29]  The supplementary bellows attach to the slide copier and the front of the lens,
ensuring that no light can enter and degrade the image.

The observant among you may have noticed the name “Hasselblad” on the slide copier.  This outfit, here supplied with the Pentacon Six mount, was at the time of manufacture the best in existence for Medium Format macro work and slide copying.


Novoflex bellows for the Pentacon Six are hard to find and usually fetch a very high price.  A newer version than the unit illustrated here has bright blue knobs but in other respects appears identical (from photographs of it that I have seen).

I am grateful to Martin Grahl of Novoflex for the following publicity photograph from the company archive.  It shows the bellows mounted on a Praktisix camera, an early version of the 80mm Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar lens, the supplementary bellows and the slide copier.  Martin comments:
the TISBIG-bellows together with the Novoflex version of the BIGSON bellows lens hood. ... The CZJ Biometar 80mm ... accepts the BIGSON lens hood w/o adapter ring, when set at the near focusing range.

We note that in this photograph the supplementary bellows (or BIGSON lens hood) for the copier have a square section, as opposed to the octagonal-section bellows that can be seen above.

Other publicity photographs taken at the same time show the bellows with the
Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 180mm and the Xenar 150mm.

It all looks very easy, but I personally would not hand-hold the copying set-up (even though movement should not cause problems such as blurring or lack of sharpness, as everything would move together).  I would also prefer a background that had a neutral colour, such as a brightly-illuminated white wall (which, like the background here, would be completely out of focus to the camera lens).  Nevertheless, the photograph is very informative and very attractive.  It will no doubt have attracted the attention of photographers in the 1950s and 60s.

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© TRA August 2007  Latest revision: June 2018