The Pentacon Six System
The Pentacon Tripod
The Pentacon tripod in its case
One accessory in the Pentacon catalogue is often neglected
by those interested in the Pentacon Six: the Pentacon tripod. However,
a tripod is essential for some sorts of photography, and Pentacon’s offering
merits serious consideration.
The leg extenders were an optional extra, but I would not
advise anyone to buy one of these tripods without them.
|This tripod is usually supplied in a leather
case with a strap for carrying it by hand and an extension that converts
this into a shoulder strap. When packed, it is quite small, and will
even fit inside some backpacks. That was how I carried it for a number
of days in Berlin in 2006.
However, unpacking the case reveals a number of components:
The complete outfit. At the back is the carrying
The bag on the left fits inside it, and takes the three
leg extenders, which are in the middle.
On the right is the basic tripod and to the right of
it the extension section for the carrying strap.
This gives an idea of the size of the Pentacon tripod
when it is packed away in its case.
The basic tripod
Without the leg extenders, at minimum extension you have
a lovely table-top tripod
that is 32.3 cm / 12¾" high.
There is a rising centre column that increases this height
to 45 cm / 17¾".
In this picture, the centre column is here seen partially
Heights of course depend on how far out the lenses
All height measurements on this page were made with the
angle of the legs as in picture ptpd10.jpg (see picture below in which
the red floor tiles are visible).
For the other measurements, the angle of the legs was
even though this may not necessarily always correspond
exactly to the angles
seen in the accompanying pictures.
|Extending the legs on this “mini tripod” and raising
the centre column to its maximum height, you reach a height of 60.5 cm
But if you examine the bottom of the legs carefully, you
see a knurled ring just above the rubber feet. Does this take the
rubber off and reveal spikes? No. It extends the legs even
With only the small legs, the tripod now
reaches a height of 76.7 cm / 30¼".
(See image to the right)
The leg extenders
However, it is with the leg extenders that this “mini
tripod” becomes a full tripod. Unscrew the three legs, screw the
extenders in their place, and screw the original legs on the end of the
extenders and you have a tripod that has a minimum height of 64
cm / 25¼", with the legs fully collapsed and the centre column down.
(See picture below)
With the leg extenders, but all sections collapsed.
The basic tripod at maximum height
|The leg extenders do themselves extend (only once, as
far as I can see!). With the leg extenders extended, and the original
legs extended just once, the tripod reaches a height of 1m 19.5 cm / 47",
with the centre column raised.
(See image to the left)
When the original legs are extended a second
time and the column is raised,
the tripod reaches a height of 1m 36cm / 53½".
The tripod will no longer fit on my studio work surface,
with the sloping ceiling above.
(See image to the right)
But the flexibility and versatility of this tripod does
not end here. Two further features extend its potential considerably:
the centre column can be reversed, so that the camera can
be attached under it
the legs can be spread out almost to horizontal.
In this position you can copy documents and photograph
other two- and three-dimensional items, even if you don’t have a copying
The tripod head
Getting down to work. Here the tripod has been
set up to enable the Pentacon Six to photograph a tiny plastic toy.
But it could be a bug, a flower, a frog or anything that
This can be rotated horizontally, raised and lowered.
That’s all. There is no ball head, no tilt and pan levers, no complicated
multi-locking; just one lockable bolt. However, in practice, this
provides virtually all the flexibility that one could want with a 6×6
|How does one shoot vertical shots with a 35mm
camera, using this tripod?
Raise the centre column, at least a little, swing the
head over so that the mounting surface is vertical. Turn the camera
into vertical orientation and attach it to the tripod head. It needs
to be attached tightly, or the front of the camera may sag, especially
with a long lens. You will probably then need to turn the centre
column (or the whole tripod), so that you are back pointing where you were
(See image to the right)
Switching between horizontal and vertical is fiddly,
but it works. All such problems are of course avoided when using
a 6×6 camera like the Pentacon Six!
This really is 1950s technology at its best: simple, solid
and strong, with virtually nothing that can go wrong. I have found
this tripod more than adequate for general photography with the Pentacon
Six. When everything is tightened up, it is solid and stable.
It should be fine with lenses up to 300mm, perhaps even up to 500mm, though
I have not yet tried that. If you plan to use the 1000mm mirror lens,
see a more suitable tripod for that lens here.
Just remember to check that the leg extenders are
included before buying one! (These are called “Beinverlängerungen”
To return to the accessories page, click here.
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© TRA November 2010, December 2010