Medium Format Lenses with the Pentacon Six Mount
A comparative test
by TRA

The cameras and films used for the tests

[C373-27A: A comprehensive Kiev 60 outfit:
Back row from L to R: 600mm mirror lens, 500mm mirror lens, Kiev 60 with metering prism & 80mm Volna lens,
250mm Yupiter f/3.5, 250mm Telear f/5.6
Middle row from L to R: 2 extension tubes, 30mm Zodiak, 45mm Mir, 65mm Mir, 120mm Vega, 150mm Kaleinar, Waist Level Finder
Front row from L to R: carrying strap, 45mm Super-Rotator Tilt/Shift, 65mm Shift, 1.4× converter, 2× converter]

The Carl Zeiss Oberkochen lenses were tested on a Hasselblad 500C. All the other lenses were tested on a Pentacon Six TL, with a few shots for the longer lenses taken on an Exakta 66 Mk I, which was loaded with 400 ISO Fuji NPH400 film. The Pentacon Six and the Hasselblad were loaded with 160 ISO Fuji NPS160 film. Using a 7× magnification loupe on 8 x 8" prints, I could not see any difference in film grain between the two types of film used.

The films were processed by a professional lab specialising in medium format, and 8" x 8" prints were produced. In spite of this, there was an inevitable (?) variation in the colour and density of different prints.


Although this is a function of the camera, not the lens, it deserves a mention here. I prefer to use stop-down metering on my Pentacon Six, Kiev 60 and Kiev 88-6 Ė and also on the Hasselblad 500C, using a Kiev 88 metering prism. This is because it is the fastest way of working:

1.  Select the shutter speed most suitable for the type of photography you are undertaking, and set it on the camera shutter (or on the lens shutter, in the case of the Hasselblad!) and on the meter.
2.  Turn on the meter
3.  Press the stop-down lever on the lens or camera body (Kiev 60), and rotate the aperture until the meter shows the correct exposure
4.  Fire.

This is quicker to do than to describe. But there is one problem: most Arsenal lenses do not have a stop-down lever. On the Kiev 60, this is not a problem, as there is a stop-down lever on the body that operates all lenses. On the Pentacon Six and Exakta 66 it is possible to fold up the diaphragm lever in the cameraís lens throat, so that the lens stops down by just turning the aperture ring. This works fine for metering, but of course prevents the automatic diaphragm operation.

On the Kiev 88 in the version that I have, I canít see a way to do stop-down metering with lenses that donít have a stop-down lever.

On the Exakta 66, I use full aperture TTL metering with the Schneider lenses.

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© TRA January 2002, November 2008