The Pentacon Six System
The History of the Pentacon Six
The Arax 60 and the Arax 645
Date: 2002 –
The Arax 60 MLU.
From about 2002 a company in Kiev known as Arax started
selling upgraded and modified versions of Kiev medium format SLR cameras.
The Arax 60
The Kiev 60 was upgraded by the addition of much-needed
flocking in the camera throat, to eliminate the reflections caused by the
shiny interior camera surface. The Arsenal factory appeared to carry
out no quality control of its cameras, many of which left the factory with
faults. Arax stated that it carried out this quality control and
made any adjustments that were necessary. The chrome areas were painted
black and a new name plate was added. The result was the Arax 60.
Top plate. The camera is fitted with the new-style metering prism
that incorporates automatic switch-off.
Bottom plate, showing the spool holder levers, the tripod socket and
the button that must be pressed to open the back.
|Mirror Lock Up (“MLU”)
As an optional modification, a mirror pre-release, or
“Mirror Lock Up” could be added to the camera.
The small silver button above the flash socket in the
right-hand picture above is the mirror pre-release button.
This is much easier to operate than the MLU on the Pentacon
Six and Exakta 66 (1980s-2000).
A simple name bar on the camera back shows that this is the MLU version
of the camera.
A more-modified version of the Kiev 60 was also offered:
the Arax 645 provided 16 vertical frames with a nominal format of 4.5 ×
6 cm, with or without the mirror pre-release.
Inside an Arax 60 MLU camera
Inside an Arax 645 MLU camera. A lot more than changing the size
of the film gate has of course been done; the spacing mechanism and
the film counter have also been changed.
At the time of writing (August 2010), these modified cameras
are still available new from Arax.
|Other Arax Cameras with the
Pentacon Six Mount
Arax also offers various versions of the Kiev 88 CM, which
has a Pentacon Six compatible mount, but in my opinion this range of Arsenal
Kiev cameras is by design inherently less robust than the Kiev 60 design.
MLU and non-MLU versions are available.
Arax will also supply their cameras with leatherette in
a range of colours, as well as other textiles and textures – worth exploring,
if one wants a truly unique camera.
The Kiev 88 CM, modified and upgraded by Arax.
This particular camera is shown with the newer spot/averaging light
I am grateful to Gevorg Vartanyan of Arax for permission
to reproduce on this page pictures from his website, which you can find
To go to the Bibliography, click here.
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32 The Kiev 90
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© TRA First published: June 2010 Revised: August