The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Lens Data Summary

Novoflex Lenses and Focussing Grips for the Hasselblad
& other Medium  Format Cameras

The Novoflex Fast-Focus grip and lenses on a Hasselblad 1000F or 1600F
Dimensions for using the grip and lens heads on other Medium Format cameras
are shown in the table below the drawing.

Tispigriff Dimensions & Potential Camera Mounts

In August 2019 I received from Martin Grahl of Novoflex further fascinating information on the Novoflex fast focus grip and lenses for medium format cameras.  A company drawing shows the dimensions for the pistol grip and its camera mount.

The diagram at the top of this page shows the dimensions of the Pigriff 6×6, along with the necessary depth for the camera mount.  In the drawing, the 500mm Tele-Noflexar lens (here labelled “KS - 500”) is shown in its pistol grip focussing mount mounted onto a schematic representation of a Hasselblad 1000F or 1600F.  Dotted lines show how far forward from the grip the 240mm Noflexar lens (here labelled K-240”) would extend.

The key dimensions are:
  • The distance from the rear surface of the Pigriff to the film plane.  In order to achieve infinity focus, this remains constant, regardless of camera, at 105mm.
  • The distance from the film plane to the front flange of the camera.  This varies dependent on the design of the camera and in the diagram it is labelled as “K” for “Kamera” although above the list of cameras below the diagram, the word “Spiegelreflexkamera” is used.  This literally means “Mirror Reflex Camera”, the standard German term corresponding to the English “SLR” or “Single lens reflex”.
  • The distance between the front flange of the camera and the rear surface of the Pigriff.  In the drawing this is labelled as “AR” for “Anpassungsring”, which means “Adapter ring”.
Since, for infinity focus, K + AR must always equal 105mm, the greater the depth of the camera, the thinner the adapter ring must be.  The minimum-possible depth of the bellows that could replace the adapter ring and go between the rear surface of the pistol grip and the front surface of the camera is apparently in the region of 30mm.  If the depth of the camera results in an “AR” dimension that is lower than 30mm, then the bellows cannot be fitted (without permanently losing infinity focus).

Of all the cameras listed, only the Praktisix is marked with a note.  The English translation of that note is:

“Instead of the adapter ring the 6×6 bellows unit mounted upside down can also be used.”  In the event, Novoflex decided to redesign the bellows, which would no longer need the extra two rails at the bottom with the focussing slide.  (You can see the standard Novoflex 6×6 bellows here.)  In the Novoflex marketing, these special bellows received the name “TISBIG–U”.  The company internal name was “BAL–U 6×6”.

Martin Grahl comments, “The attached drawing shows us that in fact the Praktisix has been the only camera for which it was feasible to build these special bellows. Even though there have been cameras with a slightly shorter flange distance.”  Of course, lenses and bellows that fit the Praktisix also fit the Pentacon Six.

A Novoflex Follow-Focus Grip for Hasselblad 500C and other Medium Format Cameras without a Focal Plane Shutter?

We said here the following:

Novoflex lenses and Follow-Focus grips did not have a built-in shutter, and they were therefore only suitable for SLR cameras with focal plane shutters.  Since the 1960s this has included nearly all 35mm-format SLRs.  For Medium Format cameras, only those with a focal plane shutter could use the Medium Format Novoflex system.  This included the Praktisix, Pentacon Six, Norita, Bronica, Asahi Pentax 6 × 7 and the Hasselblad 1600F and 1000F, but of course not the Hasselblad 500C, which was introduced in 1957, after which the 1000F was discontinued (the 1600F had been discontinued earlier).

However, Novoflex company records reveal that there was a proposal to make a Novoflex Follow Focus version of a long lens with a built-in leaf shutter.  This would have been suitable for the Hasselblad 500C, the subsequent Hasselblad 500C/M and other camera bodies from Hasselblad and possibly from other manufacturers that did not have a focal plane shutter in the body, and so required a lens with a built-in leaf shutter.  (Decades later, Hasselblad gave to this range of cameras the designation “Hasselblad V-type cameras”.)

A Novoflex Follow-Focus grip for the Hasselblad 500C!
© Fotografenmeister Andreas Marx, 2022 

What a pity that this Novoflex version of the lens never entered serial production!  It would have been appreciated by users by various medium format camera brands.
Martin Grahl of Novoflex reports:

The Leaf Shutter Follow Focus Prototype Lens for Hasselblad V-type cameras.

As to my knowledge, only one prototype of the Leaf Shutter lens has been made. Our company archive contains letters that went back and forth between NOVOFLEX, Hasselblad in Gothenburg, and Zeiss in Oberkochen, as well as a lot of design drawings.

In a meeting between NOVOFLEX chief designer Ferdinand Kellner, and Hasselblad employees Stålfors and Tenne in Oberkochen that took place in December 1979 (most likely at the Zeiss premises), NOVOFLEX made the suggestion to modify the Hasselblad version of the Zeiss Tele-Tessar 8/500 to incorporate the NOVOFLEX Follow Focus technique. Inquiries [received by Novoflex] about a Follow Focus Lens for Hasselblad cameras without a focal plane shutter always had to be answered negatively.

After this meeting, Zeiss made design drawings for the lens available to NOVOFLEX.

Since Zeiss was unable to provide a Hasselblad-version of said lens in time, NOVOFLEX apparently received one from Hasselblad

The modification seems to have been made in the months thereafter. Apparently, the prototype has been handed over to the Hasselblad-people at Photokina 1980.

In a letter from Gothenburg, sent to NOVOFLEX on the 23rd of April 1981, Hasselblad wrote that the lens had been loaned to several photographers to gain experience and to receive input. Positive comments were received for the Follow Focus technique, but not on size and weight.

In the next paragraph of said letter, Hasselblad mentions that a new model of the Tele-Tessar 8/500 with internal focussing (which will be introduced gradually in the coming months) will eliminate most disadvantages of the previous model.

The prototype had been sent back to NOVOFLEX with this letter.

This concluded NOVOFLEX's trip into developing a Follow Focus Lens with a built-in leaf shutter.

Clicking on the image will open a larger copy of it.

The PIGRIFF-C System

However, the lens heads for the subsequent fast-focus systems, PIGRIFF-C and D versions, had a large enough image circle to cover the 6×6 format so this newer system was offered for some medium format cameras that had focal plane shutters.  Unfortunately, by that time the Pentacon Six was no longer being marketed in Western countries and people in communist bloc countries, including East Germany, would never have obtained the Western currency necessary to buy these items in the West, so NOVOFLEX does not appear to have offered a Pentacon Six mount for the new grip.

I am grateful to Martin Grahl of Novoflex for the information given here and the images and text reproduced below.  I give my translation below.


Translation of the above text:
“The Novoflex 6 × 6 C f/5.6 400mm fast-shooting lens on the Rollei-SL-66.  With this, many friends of Medium Format can also use the advantages of a fast-fire lens.”

Translation of the text to the right:
“The Novoflex 6 × 6 C f/5.6 400mm fast-shooting lens in use on the Hasselblad 2000 FC.”

“[These lenses] can be supplied under the following code words with fixed mounts for various 6×6 and 4.5×6 cameras:
HAPIGRIFF 2000-C for the Hasselblad 2000 FC
ROLPIGRIFF-C for the Rollei SL-66, focussing range from infinity to 2.5mm (27×27 cm)
for Mamiya 645 with swing to vertical and horizontal format
for Pentax 645 with swing to vertical and horizontal format (no connection to 35mm cameras possible)

For Medium Format cameras like the newer models from Rollei and some other cameras, which do not have a focal plane shutter, there are no fast-shooting lenses from Novoflex.”

For more details of the PIGRIFF-C system for medium format cameras, see the publicity sheet reproduced below.


Novoflex leaflet on PIGRIFF-C courtesy of Martin Grahl of NOVOFLEX, Memmingen
The lens advertised here is the 400mm f/5.6 triplet.  It is shown with the Hasselblad 2000F, which has a focal plane shutter.  Unfortunately, for the reasons indicated above, this lens and grip were never offered with a Praktisix/Pentacon Six mount.

We see here the official NOVOFLEX English-language terminology for these lenses: “Rapid-Follow-Focus-Lens”.

Click on the image to see a full-sized version (approximately A4).

To go back to the review of the 240mm Noflexar, click here.

To return to the overview of Novoflex lenses, click here.

To go on to the next section, click below.
Next section: Literature on Novoflex

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© TRA  February 2022  This page includes some information that was previously elsewhere on this website.