Pentacon Six Mount Cameras
by TRA

Flash photography with the Pentacon Six

Press comments on Synchronisation speed

All cameras with focal plane shutters have flash sync only at speeds where the whole of the frame is uncovered at the same time by both the shutter curtains.  With the larger size of the medium format frame (compared with 35mm), this is limited to a speed in the range 1/30 – 1/90 sec, depending on the camera.

Those who have set out to criticise the Pentacon Six and the Exakta 66 have complained about the low flash sync speed.  Thus, it has been common through the years to see these cameras slated, while the Pentax 6 × 7 (which has a similar design and the same flash sync speed!) is praised.

A case in point is the December 1992 issue of the U.K. photographic magazine “Practical Photography”, which in its review of Medium Format cameras praised Schneider lenses but said of the Exakta 66:

“… Unfortunately the backs are fixed and the flash sync speed is limited to a slow 1/30 sec. …”

The same article said of the Pentax 67:

“Handling rather like an over-sized 35mm SLR, the Pentax 67 offers all the advantages of medium-format photography in an easy-to-handle package.  The back is fixed, but will accept both 120 and 220 films and there’s also a range of finders including a metering head.”

All of this could have been said of the Pentacon Six, the Exakta 66 or the Kiev 6C, and most of it applies to the Kiev 60, where the only difference is that this camera only accepts 120 film.

The same review said under the heading “Kiev 60TTL”:

“It … looks and handles rather like the Pentax 67, although viewing is done through a waist- level finder.”

 – this in spite of the title, and the accompanying image, which showed the camera with the metering prism in place!

One cannot help wondering what motivated such biased reviews, and what effect they had on the sales of each camera.

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© TRA April 2002, February 2011