The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Lens Data Summary

Wiese Shift & Shift/Tilt Lenses



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Towards the end of the 1990s and in the early part of this century, a company called Wiese Fototechnik from Hamburg in Germany advertised a range of medium format cameras and lenses which all appeared to be based on products from the Arsenal factory in Ukraine.  The company still has a website, which can be found here: http://www.wiese-fototechnik.de/Website/Startseite.html  They still specialise in photographic equipment.  However, few of the products offered at that time are now advertised on their website.


The shift lens shown above and in the image to the right here has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 and appears to be based on the Mir 26B wide-angle lens from Arsenal in the Ukraine.  Near the base (back) of the barrel appear indented into the barrel side the words “MADE IN UKRAINE”, which have not been filled with paint.  This is just visible in the image to the right, a short way after the 0.5 M on the focussing ring.

The Arsenal lenses formerly bore the letters “CCCP” for “USSR”, so this lens was completed in the Ukraine subsequently to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.  It should therefore probably be referred to as an “ARSAT” lens, the name that the Arsenal factory adopted for its cameras and lenses in the early 1990s.

Examination of the focussing scale on the lens barrel and the depth-of-find marking on the index ring behind it reveal that this is, indeed, a Mir 26B lens.  However, the index ring has been moved further forward than on the unmodified version of the lens, presumably as part of the steps taken to allow space for the shift ring while not preventing infinity focus.  The consequence is the bottoms of the focussing scale numerals are slightly covered by the index ring, although this is not enough to cause any difficulty in reading them.  The ribbed focussing ring is also narrower on the Wiese lens.

More information on the Mir 26B wideangle lens can be found here.

WARNING: This image shown here on the right has been made from two separate photographs, so the size comparison may not be completely accurate!  However, it does facilitate comparison of some of the similarities and differences between the two lenses.




The Wiese 45mm PCS compared with the Mir 26B 45mm lens.
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Three shift lenses photographed together to enable the relative sizes to be compared.
From left to right: 45mm Wiese PCS, 55mm Arsat PCS and 65mm Hartblei PCS.

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No serial number can be seen on this lens from Wiese.  This number is probably covered by the shift ring or was removed when the shift ring was installed.  As can be seen in the above image, this ring is extremely large.  It is located near the back of the lens.


The shift ring can be rotated to give a variable amount of shift from 0 to 12mm.  These are indicated by a 0 and even numbers between 2 and 12, with a dot between each pair of numbers.  The 12mm position and the dot before it (11mm) are marked in red, presumably to indicate that there will be some vignetting of the image at the opposite end from the shift, if the full 6×6 format is used.  The ring rotation to achieve full shift covers an arc of 90°.  There are no détentes in the ring to indicate the millimetre positions.  Movement is smooth but not as silky as the focussing on the 80mm lens from Wiese.  See information on that lens here.

We note that on the Hartblei 45mm Super-Rotator tilt/shift lens the 11mm and 12mm shift positions are marked in red and just after them there is the indication “4.5×6”, also in red, to show that these two positions should only be used when shooting for the 645 format (or when one plans to crop a 6×6 image accordingly), to avoid vignetting entering the image area.

There is more information on the Hartblei Super-Rotator here, here and here.



The Wiese 45mm PCS shift lens next to the Hartblei 45mm Super-Rotator tilt/shift lens
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Test Results

Here are a couple of test shots taken with this Wiese 45mm PCS shift-only lens.  They are of the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Saffron Walden, which does reveal some of the problems encountered when photographing the exteriors of large historic buildings.  The church has an impressive and extremely tall spire at the front, but the building is hemmed in by other buildings at the front, and it is not possible to get far enough back to get a shot that I considered reasonable, even with the 45mm wide-angle lens, without tilting the camera up at an acute angle and so ending up with a massive amount of keystoning.  Even with this shift version of the lens, the spire was too high and the available distance from it was too short to get the sort of picture that I wanted.  I therefore went round the back, and discovered another problem: after a few yards, the land drops down steeply, so that even though one can get further away, one ends up having to tilt the camera up even more!  When the church was built in the thirteenth century, the architects clearly did not take into consideration the needs of architectural photographers in the 21st century!

(In fact, the present form of the spire only dates back to 1832, a handful of years before the invention of photography.  For more information on the history of the building, see the church’s website, here: http://www.stmaryssaffronwalden.org/about/history-and-guides/   Church website visited on 17th October 2018)


So here are the best shots that I could get, both shot on my usual Pentacon Six, with Fuji PRO160NS negative film at 1/125 sec at f/11.

Here I ignored the red warning markings on the lens, and shifted it up by 11.5mm, which is not advised for 6× 6 cameras.
The resulting vignetting (darkening) in the top corners is obvious.  In other respects, the image is reasonably satisfactory.

However, in the limited space available, I was not able to avoid converging verticals.
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For this next shot, I slightly changed my position, but this only took me lower down the slope at the back of the church!
Nevertheless, I reduced the shift up to 10mm, still at the limits of what is advised for 6 × 6 cameras.
The vignetting is only slightly reduced.

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I think that it is fair to say that with both shots the image resolution with this lens is perfectly satisfactory.  I could easily print either image more than a metre wide, without any obvious chromatic aberration (although it is present and visible at silly levels of magnification).  With a slight vertical crop, most of the vignetting could be removed, especially with the image on the right, where the shift up was 10mm.  In other images with a 9mm shift up, no vignetting is obvious.  Visitors to this website wishing to evaluate this lens with a view to purchasing one will be able to decide whether the vignetting at 10mm shift and more is acceptable or not – always assuming that they wish to shoot in full 6 × 6 format, since vignetting will not be present in 6 × 4.5 format, even with extreme shift.

As I explain elsewhere (here), with some images a degree of converging verticals may be acceptable or even appear more normal than when they are completely eliminated.  The same page also shows a picture taken with the 45mm Hatblei shift-only lens.  Further results of tests with the 45mm Hartblei shift-only lens can be seen here.




The 45mm Wiese PCS, 55mm Arsat PCS and 65mm Hartblei PCS seen from higher up.  The numerals that show the amount of shift on the Wiese lens are not visible in this picture.
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The shift ring and the shift mechanism are very similar in size and general design to that which is found on the 55mm f/4.5 Arsat shift lens and the 65mm Hartflei shift lens.


Rear view of the same three lenses, fully shifted
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From left to right: The 65mm Hartblei PCS shift, the 45mm Wiese PCS and 45mm Hartblei PCS Super-Rotator.
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All of these shift lenses can rotate through 360° in relation to their camera mount, with 24 locking points, i.e., every 15°.  On the two Hartblei lenses in the above picture, some of the degree references for the rotation can be seen towards the back of the barrel.  On the Wiese 45mm PCS, there are no such degree markings, although the lens can be rotated fully in exactly the same way.

It is thus possible to shift down, sideways or in any other direction.  The rotation lock is released by pushing backwards (towards the camera body) a little tab that is located at the base of the lens when it is in its default setting, i.e., with the focus and aperture index markers at the top of the lens.  On the Wiese 45mm PCS, accessing this tab is difficult when the lens is in 0 shift position.  The design of this tab
and the 360° rotation with détentes every 15° is also very similar on the Wiese and the Arsat lenses.  However, the Arsat lens is bigger, on the whole bulkier (though smaller at the front) and slightly heavier – see pictures higher up.  The 55mm Arsat lens also benefits from a pre-set mechanism that can be operated by a stop-down ring or by a double cable release.  Details of this can be seen here.

On a Pentacon Six with a metering prism, the lens can be shifted fully up without the shift ring hitting the metering prism, even though this projects forwards of the camera top plate.


This lens can be mounted on an Exakta 66 with its metering prism, but shift movements are extremely limited because of the forward overhang of this prism and its contact points.  The lens cannot be shifted up because of the prism, nor down, since the tab which permits rotating the lens is also blocked by the prism.  So, it can be shifted sideways, and the camera can be rotated for shifts in other directions.  (Up is the direction most often needed, to cope with tall buildings, etc.)


The red arrow shows the lens tab which enables it to be rotated, in order to change the shift direction.
As will be clear, it can hardly go any further up (rotating anti-clockwise), and if we try to rotate to the right (clockwise), the lens’s own shift ring will foul the front of the metering prism contact points cover.
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In the above image, the Wiese 45mm PCS can be seen mounted on an Exakta 66 with the metering prism in place,  The lens is fully shifted 12mm to the left, as viewed from the front of the camera
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However as – along with all non-Schneider lenses in the Exakta 66/Pentacon Six mount – this lens from Wiese has no contacts for the Exakta 66 metering prism, if it is desired to use it on an Exakta 66, the best solution is to remove the metering prism and use instead the plain prism or the excellent waist-level finder.


The lens name ring bears the letters “MC”, and examination of the lens confirms that it is indeed multi-coated.

Focussing when the lens was received was smooth and the aperture ring clicks through its détentes exactly as the previous “Soviet” version did, with détentes at half-stop and full stop positions between f/4 and f/11, and then at full stop positions to f/16 and f/22.  There is also a détente between the maximum aperture of f/3.5 (which is itself a half-stop position) and f/4.  Like the vast majority of shift lenses, this one has no aperture stop-down pin, so operation of the aperture is entirely manual.  Shift lenses are best used on a tripod and for such photography, operating with a manual aperture lens is not a problem, provided that the photographer remembers to stop the lens down before firing the shutter.

The front of the lens is threaded for 82mm filters (0.75 pitch, the same as the Mir 26B) and when I received this lens it had on it a slimline Hoya Super HMC PRO1 UV filter.  I am a great believer in protecting the front element of lenses with a filter whenever possible, and a slimline filter is definitely advised for any wide-angle lens, and even more so for a shift lens, to avoid any possibility of it causing any vignetting.  (With the Hartblei 45mm shift-only lens, I found that even a slimline filter led to vignetting in some shift positions.  See here.)


Two 45mm shift lenses: the Wiese PCS on the left and the Hartblei Super-Rotator on the right
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Rear view of the Wiese and the Hartblei Super-Rotator lenses, both with zero shift
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Rear view of the same lenses at maximum shift
The tabs that permit rotation of the mount are clearly visible in this image,
with the one on the Hartblei lens helpfully marked “PUSH” to show the direction of movement in order to release the rotation lock.  (Helpful, at least, for users who know this word in English!)
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When we stand the Wiese 45mm PCS and the Hartblei 45mm Super-Rotator face down (whether shifted, as here, or not), we can see that the rearmost element projects beyond the back of the lens mount, slightly more so, in fact, with the Wiese lens than with the Hartblei lens that has (apparently) been made from the same element.

This is not at all surprising with such a wide-angle lens by medium format standards.  However, it does mean that users should never stand either lens upright on the back of the lens without first adding a rear-lens cap, in order to protect this element from damage.



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User's-eye-view of three shift lenses.  From left to right: the Hartblei 65mm PCS, the Wiese 45mm PCS and the Hartblei 45mm Tilt/Shift Super-Rotator

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The Wiese 45mm PCS shift lens mounted on a Pentacon Six.

This lens is compared with the standard Hartblei 45mm shift-only lens here.


Different Wiese 45mm shift and tilt lenses


A 45mm shift lens with a very different barrel design has also been seen with the Wiese name.  Illustrated here to the right, this, too, is a 45mm f/3.5 multi-coated lens and it is reasonable to assume that it is derived from the same Mir 26B elements.  It bears the name “Wiese” and “Technoplan” and I note that the name ring also has “T3”, which has been blacked out.  I wonder if Wiese thought he was getting from his supplier a lens that tilted as well as shifted.  Such a lens was advertised by Hartblei and most of the barrel looks identical to this one.


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To the left, a Hartblei 45mm Shift and Tilt lens.  You can see more information on this lens here.  The spindle-shaped control at the bottom of the lens in this picture provides the tilt, which is not included with the Wiese shift-only lens described above nor with the one illustrated here to the right.

I also note that two holes have been drilled in the name ring on the Wiese lens illustrated to the right.  This is usually done by a repairer who wishes to remove the name ring (perhaps in order to disassemble the lens for service), but who does not have the rubber grip of the right diameter to remove the ring.  This sort of “bodged” repair always spoils the look of a lens, in my opinion.  It must be assumed that these two holes were not drilled by anyone at Wiese Fototechnik.




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From other angles, this Wiese Technoplan shift lens also reveals other similarities with the above Hartblei lens.


The two upward-pointing tabs are for turning the aperture ring.  They are very similar to the tabs on the 45mm Hartblei Super-Rotator tilt-shift lens, illustrated above, and analogous to the round tabs on the 65mm Hartblei shift lens.
   
The rearmost “scalloped” ring sets the amount of shift.  Note that here, as on the Super-Rotator, above, the 11mm and 12mm settings are marked in red and followed by “/ 4.5×6” in red.
   
This particular lens was supplied in the type of soft bag that was commonly used from the end of the 1990s onwards for lenses from Kiev.

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Wiese also marketed the lens that we know as the Hartblei 45mm Tilt-Shift Super-Rotator lens.

He called it the “Wiese Shift Technoplan – T2”.  This image reveals the beauty of the multi-coating.

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The lens was supplied with the special, shallow lens shade and the usual Ukrainian soft case.

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See features of the Wiese 45mm shift lens, compared with the Arsat 45mm shift lens, here.


You can see a report on an 80mm lens from Wiese – and a camera – here.


It seems reasonable to assume that other lenses in the Pentacon Six mount were marketed under the Wiese name.

Where did these specialist lenses come from?  To see an attempt at discovering the background, click here.

To go to the data page on shift and tilt lenses, click here.
 

To go back to the beginning of the Lens Data section, click below and then choose the range of lenses that you want to read about.

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© TRA January 2016  Latest revision: October 2018