The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Lens Data Summary

East German lenses for the Pentacon Six


Two East German companies manufactured lenses for the Pentacon Six: Carl Zeiss, Jena, and Meyer-Optik, Görlitz, which later became part of the Pentacon group, after which the lenses were given the manufacturer name “Pentacon”.  Carl Zeiss Jena is justifiably considered to be one of the best lens manufacturers in the world.  The Meyer-Optik/Pentacon lenses in the Pentacon Six mount are also capable of excellent results.

Carl Zeiss, Jena
 

Lens name Max aperture
& focal length
Type Angle
of view
degrees
Closest
focus
m
Front
filter
thread
Length
mm
Weight
g (1)
Zeiss Flektogon f/4 / 50 FAD (2) 78 0.5 M 86 × 1 87 480 (3)
Zeiss Flektogon (4) f/2.8 / 65 FAD 64 0.75 M 86 × 1 89 480
Zeiss Tessar (5) f/2.8 / 80 FAD . 1.0 M 58 × 0.75 50 240
Zeiss Biometar (6) f/2.8 / 80 FAD 54 1.0 M 58 × 0.75 51 260
Zeiss Biometar f/2.8 / 120 FAD 41 1.3 M 67 × 0.75 87 550
Zeiss Sonnar (7) f/2.8 / 180 FAD 24.5 1.7 M 86 × 1 122 1100
Zeiss Sonnar (7) f/4 / 300 FAD 15.5 4.0 M 86 × 1 224 2070 (8)
Zeiss Spiegelobjektiv f/5.6 / 1000 Mirror 5 16.0 built-in 512 14000

Notes
(1) Various versions of most of these lens have been produced.  As well as cosmetic changes and addition of multi-coating, some newer versions have a different body shape and/or are lighter in weight.
To see some information on design changes, click here.
(2) FAD = fully automatic diaphragm
(3) An earlier version of the 50mm Flektogon weighed 620g.
(4) The 65mm Flektogon was based on the five-element Biometar/Planar/Xenotar design, with a deeply curved additional element added at the front.
(5) Several thousand 80mm f/2.8 Tessars were produced for the Praktisix between 1956 and 1958.
(6) Data in this table refers to the 80mm Biometar as produced for the Pentacon Six.  A newer version produced for the Exakta 66 has different dimensions and weight.
(7) The final version of the 180mm and 300mm Sonnars, produced from approximately 1981 onwards, incorporates a connector for a special adaptor which transfers the aperture set on the lens to the electric metering on Praktica LLC, VLC and PLC 35mm cameras.
(8) A new version of the 300mm Sonnar produced from approximately 1981 onwards is 204mm long and weighs 1550g.

Most of this data is based on published sources.  I do not have examples of all of these lenses (!), and I have not measured or weighed all those that I do have, although I can confirm the accuracy of the filter dimensions given.

For further details of the lenses – number of elements and grouping of elements, variations of the lenses, etc, I refer you to Nathan Dayton's excellent website, www.commiecameras.com

Most of these lenses are illustrated and tested in the Lens Test section of this website.  To go to the lens test section, click here.

The 80mm Biometar and bokeh

To see a report on how the 80mm Biometar performs at wide apertures and how it handles out-of-focus highlights (known as "bokeh"), click here.

Zeiss design variations and serial numbers

Zeiss lenses in the Praktisix/Pentacon Six mount were produced during a period of 35 years: from 1956 to 1991.  Over this period of time, various changes were made to the lenses.  Fortunately, it is possible with the help of the serial number to date most of the lenses that Zeiss produced.  To see more information on this, click here.

Meyer-Optik, Görlitz / Pentacon

Meyer-Optik, Görlitz was previously known as Hugo Meyer, and later as Pentacon-Feinoptisches Werk Görlitz.
 

Lens name Max aperture
& focal length
Elements/
Groups
Angle
of view
degrees
Closest
focus
m
Filter Length
mm
Weight Notes
Primotar E f/3.5 / 80 4 / 3 . 0.8 49 × 0.75 47 260 (1) (2)
Primotar f/3.5 / 135 4 / 3 . . 55 × 0.75 . . (1) (3)
Primotar f/3.5 / 180 4 / 3 . 2.2 67 × 0.75 153 800 (1) (3)
Telemegor f/5.5 / 250 4 / 2 . 3.5 . 135 (4) 460 (5)
Telemegor f/4.5 / 300 4 / 2 16 3.3 82 × 0.75 198 (6) 1680 (1) (2)
Orestegor/Pentacon f/4 / 300 5 / 4 16 3.6 95 × 1 189 (7) 2180 (8)
Telemegor f/5.5 / 400 4 / 2 . 5.5 82 × 0.75 256 1580 (1) (3)
Orestegor/Pentacon f/5.6 / 500 4 / 4 10 6.0 118 × 1 370 3500 (8)

Some of the information on the Meyer-Optik lenses was obtained from Michaels_Photo at members.tripod.de (no longer available at that web address).
 
Notes
(1)  For the Praktisix (the predecessor of the Pentacon Six)
(2)  For the Praktisix II
(3)  Only at the beginning of the production of the Praktisix
(4)  135mm without lens hood (measured from base of P6 mount).  165mm with factory lens hood attached
(5)  This lens was apparently first available for Medium Format cameras in the 1930s, but was not produced for many years in the Praktisix mount.  It would appear to have been available in the Praktisix mount from 1957, but by the time of the 1963 Meyer lens catalogue it is no longer listed.
(6)  Michael’s website said 196mm.  This dimension can be found in some Meyer literature.  My 300mm f/4.5 Telemegor is 198mm long.  This is without the lens shade that was normally supplied with the lens.  Adding that results in an overall length of 252mm, according to Meyer literature from the 1960s.
(7)  Michael’s website said 198mm.  I think that this was a transposing error.  My Orestegor is 217mm long with the hood, which is normally left in place, but 189mm without the hood.
(8)  For Praktisix, Pentacon Six and Pentacon Six TL.  Produced until 1990.

All of these lenses except the 80mm Primotar E were manual pre-set lenses only, having no automatic-aperture pin.  The Primotar had an FAD pin, plus a pre-set ring on the front of the lens.

Michaels_Photo said that only the two Orestegor/Pentacon lenses are significant for users. “They are excellent telephoto lenses what were built until 1990 in several versions”.  Before the introduction of the Orestegors, Meyer produced other telephoto lenses with the name “Telemegor”.  These are of an older and different design from the Orestegors.  Telemegors were last listed in the Meyer catalogue in 1966.

Image to the right: the seldom-seen Telemegor f/5.5 400mm lens in Praktisix/Pentacon Six mount, pictured with its original case.
Both the lens and the case are in excellent condition.
Image courtesy of Kenneth Loen
[telemegor400_3_s.jpg]

Michaels_Photo also listed another version of the Primotar, an f/3.5 85mm lens with 4 elements in 3 groups and a filter size of 40 × 0.5.  This lens can be seen on a Praktisix on the cover of the book “Mittelformat Ost”.  However, the serial number of that lens pre-dates the introduction of the Praktisix, so it is obviously a privately-made adaptation of an older lens, possibly from a Meister Korelle mount.


The 250mm Meyer-Optik Telemegor

I am grateful to Kenneth Loen for these pictures of the seldom-found 250mm Telemegor in the Praktisix (or Pentacon Six) mount.

L to R: 250mm f/5.5 Telemegor, 300mm f/4 Pan-Tele-Kilar, 300mm f/4 Zeiss Sonnar
The more modest maximum aperture of the Telemegor resulted in a much smaller and lighter lens.  It is shown here with its lens hood fitted (and the Sonnar has the later, smaller, hood that does not require the 95 to 86mm adapter ring).
To see a detailed review of the Kilfitt Pan-Tele Kilar, click here.

The Telemegor with its lens hood removed.
This lens was produced at a time before the East Germany régime decided that the phrase “Made in the G.D.R.” or “DDR” had to be used on all manufactured goods; it merely states, “Made in Germany”.

The 300mm lenses

As indicated above, the Telemegor was discontinued after the production run(s) for the Praktisix and Praktisix II.  It was replaced by the Orestegor, which was half a stop faster.  Later on, the Orestegor was re-named “Pentacon” when the Hugo Meyer factory was absorbed into the State-owned Pentacon organisation.


[C436-21]  Four 300mm lenses in Pentacon Six mount.  From left to right:
Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar (the only lens in this picture with automatic aperture operation), Meyer-Optik Telemegor, Meyer-Optik Orestegor, and the Soviet Tair-33.
The Sonnar lens hood can be seen to the left of the lens and the Hugo-Meyer cap is in front of the Telemegor.
The Orestegor was supplied with a shallow hood, illustrated off the lens, plus a cap (out in front).  In practice, most users leave this hood on the lens at all times, and the cap fits it.
The Tair has an etremely shallow retractable hood and a screw-in metal cap.

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© TRA May 2002
Latest revision, February 2017