The Pentacon Six System
Lens Data Summary
Noflexar Lenses & Grips for the
Praktisix/Pentacon Six Close up:
Two Pentacon Sixes, each with a Noflexar 500mm lens,
but what is the difference between them? See below.
Clicking on the above image opens a larger copy of it.
As stated on the page on the 500mm Noflexar, a possible disadvantage in some situations is the limited minimum focus. I have measured the minimum focus with the 500mm head and the standard pistol grip at 12580mm, measured from the focal plane of the Pentacon Six. That is over 12½ meters or a little over 41 feet! Gillespie gives the distance as being 38' 9", which probably comes from Novoflex literature. For many situations, this will be much farther away than is desirable.
With the 240mm Noflexar lens, minimum
focus is a much more normal 2895mm (nearly 2.9
meters) / 9½ ft.
For both lens heads, the minimum
focus can be reduced (i.e., you can get closer to
the subject) by replacing the short tube that
connects the pistol grip to the camera with the
special bellows which were offered by Novoflex but
are rarely seen in the Pentacon Six mount. The
grip that incorporates the bellows has the
manufacturer’s code “TISBIG-U” and Dieter Gabler
states in his “Vollendete Spiegelreflex-Fotografie
mit Novoflex” (1973 edition) that the pistol grip
(code name “TISPIGRIFF”) has to be returned to
Novoflex for this to be fitted (p.77). (See information on books
on the Novoflex system here.)
As an alternative, one could purchase the grip itself with the bellows already mounted onto it. This had the manufacturer’s code name “TISPIGRIFF-U”. This appears to be equally rare in the 21st century.
|Bellows for closer focus on 35mm cameras
||The picture to the left
illustrates the principle with a 35mm outfit. The
camera shown is a Praktina, to which the spring-powered
“motor-drive” has been added. For focussing on
closer objects, the bellows are set at a convenient
intermediate point in the desired focussing range and the
trigger is then used in the standard way to obtain the
When the bellows are extended in this way, infinity focus is not possible, but with them closed, the unit operates exactly as with a standard camera mount, and provides infinity focus when required.
Image courtesy of Martin Grahl of Novoflex, to whom I extend my thanks.
The bellows are mounted with the focussing track at the top, the opposite of the normal orientation for bellows. I surmise that the “U” in the grip names “TISBIG-U” and “TISPIGRIFF-U” comes from the German word “umgekehrt” (“inverted”) or the German word “umgedreht” (“turned round”). In English, we would probably say “upside-down”.
© Andreas Marx 2022 Used with permission
||From the founding in 1964 of
the German distributorship for Minolta cameras and
photographic equipment, Dieter Gabler worked as a
phototechnical advisor for this major world brand.
He was also a convinced user of Novoflex equipment, so it
is no surprise that Minolta and Novoflex subsequently
collaborated when Novoflex produced automatic macro
bellows for the Minolta SR T 101 camera, one of the most
advanced 35mm SLR cameras at the end of the 1960s and in
the first years of the 1970s. The Novoflex bellows
for macro photography maintained automatic operation of
the lens aperture and automatic transmission of the chosen
aperture value from the lens to the metering system in the
camera, when the lens was mounted on the bellows.
This was a major innovation at that time.
Here we show not those macro bellows but a Novoflex Follow Focus lens mounted onto a Minolta SR T 101, via a Novoflex pistol grip that incorporates bellows mounted upside down between the lens and the camera. This beautiful picture was taken by Andreas Marx of Novoflex. This picture also appears in the book by Andreas Marx and Martin Grahl “Novoflex: 70 Jahre Innovation & Ideen aus Memmingen” (p. 75), where more information can be found. (For information on the automatic macro bellows for Minolta, see pages 62-63 in the same book.) For more information on the book, see here.
You can see information on Novoflex books by Dieter Gabler here. You may notice the Minolta SR T 101 in both pictures on the front cover of the first edition of his Novoflex book, and in some of the pictures inside the book.
Clicking on this image opens a larger copy of it.
|I have great pleasure in reproducing
below some further excellent photographs of a TISPIGRIFF-U
that were kindly sent to me by Martin Grahl of Novoflex.
After more than a decade of searching, in 2022 I have at last been able to buy a TISPIGRIFF-U! The camera on the right in the top picture on this page shows a Noflexar 500 lens head in a TISPIGRIFF-U pistol focussing grip, although the difference between this and the standard grip is not very obvious from the view in that picture.
The TISPIGRIFF-U with the 240mm lens head
The 500mm Noflexar lens head mounted onto a Pentacon Six via the TISPIGRIFF-U pistol focussing grip.
Clicking on this image opens a larger copy of it.
|Position of the TISPIGRIFF-U bellows
focussing rails: on the top of the grip or on the
From the pictures of Novoflex bellows for Follow Focus lenses on 35mm cameras, above, we see that the bellows were mounted upside down on the top of the fast-focus grip, which is no doubt the origin of the designation “BALU”, presumably for “BALGEN UMGEKEHRT” (“bellows inverted/upside down”), yet in the Pentacon Six images above, we see the bellows positioned with the focussing rails on the side of the pistol grip. Why?
In August 2019 I received from Martin Grahl of Novoflex further fascinating information on this seldom-seen product. Inventory cards show the numbers produced, and the dates. Martin Grahl has sent me a photograph of the inventory cards for the “TISBIG–U” / “BAL–U 6×6”. He tells us “these old inventory cards ... tell us how many pieces of the front and rear standards and the front mount came to NOVOFLEX’ parts depot.”
|The results of tests with this
lens (on the standard grip) can be seen here.
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© TRA January 2022 This revision: February 2022
This page includes some information that was previously
elsewhere on this website.