Lens Data Summary
The most prolific of the other
manufacturers to have produced lenses in the
Praktisix/Pentacon Six mount was probably the Heinz
Kilfitt Optical Works of Munich in former West
Germany. Here are details of their lenses
available in the USA in 1963, as reported in Al
Gillespie’s Pentacon Six Newsletter No 2 of April 1975.
All of these lenses have a pre-set
aperture. I have not found a way to mount the
150mm and 300mm Kilars/Tele-Kilars directly onto a
To these lenses must be added the Kilfitt variable converter, the Multi-Kilar. For details, see here.
Al Gillespie reports that the Kilfitt firm was acquired by US-based Zoomar Inc. In 1975 they were still selling the 90mm Macro-Kilar, the two 300mm lenses and the 600mm lens, now called “Tele-Kilar”. They also manufactured the following lenses:
The letters “SPI” in the mirror lens
codes must stand for German “Spiegel”, which means
“Mirror”, while the “F” no doubt comes from the German
“fünfhundert”, which means “five hundred” and the “T”
must stand for “Tausend”, German for “Thousand” – or of
course these letters could be derived from the English!
The full name of the zoom lens is “Rapid-Focus-Tele-Zoomar”. Its code “RAFTE” must be derived from “RApid-Focus-TEle-Zoomar”. It was the first Medium Format zoom lens and is very highly spoken of. Like the other lenses, it was available in mounts for a range of cameras, and a Norita mount version is known to exist. A review of it in Pentacon Six mount can be seen on this website – see here.
There was also another Kilfitt Medium
Format zoom lens:
World-wide, this was the second
Medium Format zoom lens to be produced.
f/2.8 is a very fast aperture for a zoom lens, any zoom
lens, and even more so for Medium Format. This
lens has a full 2× zoom range. It would appear to
be quite rare and I do not currently have any further
information on it. It is not mentioned in Pont’s book
(see below). The code must be derived from “RApid
As an independent manufacturer of
photographic lenses that were designed for use on
cameras from a wide range of different manufacturers,
Kilfitt offered interchangeable mounts for its lenses
and in theory, any lens could be mounted onto any camera
of that format or smaller. For instance, via a
suitable adapter, lenses designed to cover the 6×6
medium format could also be mounted on 35mm (24×36mm
format) cameras. Obviously, lenses could (or
should) not be mounted on cameras of a larger format
than the one for which they were designed, since the
image that they project onto the film will not cover the
larger format (and almost certainly will not focus to
Kilfitt’s mounting system normally
consisted of two components:
Over the years, Kilfitt developed its
interchangeable mount system, and I am aware of three
different systems that he/the company used.
The base for each system had a different
The camera mount would be attached to the
base, which was permanently or semi-permanently attached
to the lens. “Semi-permanently” means that a user
or a technician with a small screwdriver and a steady
hand could remove the base and replace it with something
different. However, this is not a job to be done
“in the field”, nor normally to be done by the user.
Thus, the full name of the
Praktisix/Pentaconsix camera mount for the WE base is WESI.
With three base systems, dozens of camera
manufacturers and dozens of Kilfitt lenses (each of
which had its own unique code), the number of Kilfitt
codes ran into the hundreds. Most of them (over 350
codes!) are listed in the book by Patrice-Hervé
Pont, although he states (p. 98) that his list is
certainly not complete.
Kilfitt/Zoomar lenses have serial numbers
in two parts:
The two parts of the serial number are
separated by a hyphen: –
When different versions of a lens were
produced over time, the prefix number usually changed
between each version.
There is an extremely interesting and fairly comprehensive book on Kilfitt and Zoomar by the French photography writer Patrice-Hervé Pont:
“Kilfitt Zoomar Imageurs et Objectifs”, published by the French Club Niépce Lumière (in French, naturally).
Next section (90mm Macro-Kilar Lens)To see a detailed review of the 300mm Pan-Tele Kilar, click here.
To see an introduction to the 500mm Kilfitt/Zoomar Reflectar, click here.
To go back to the beginning of the macro section, click here.
To go to the lens test section, click here.
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© TRA May 2002, latest revision: January 2022