The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Lens Hoods (Shades) for Pentacon Six Lenses

Part 1

The “Problem”

The Roman amphitheatre at Tarragona, Spain, with the Mediterranean in the background. 
Pentacon Six with Arsenal Mir-69 45mm lens with no lens hood. 
Fuji NPC160 1/500 f/22

The sun was definitely in the “wrong” place when I arrived at this amphitheatre one February near mid-day.  It was almost within the image, which I have cropped to improve compostion and exclude the greatest flare.  However, the hexagonal shape of the aperture blades is clearly visible within the shot. 

Of course, there may be artistic reasons for leaving flare in an image.  We have become accustomed to seeing flare in some images, and may therefore even expect it in some circumstances.  In fact, Photoshop even has a tool to enable users to add flare to their images.  However, we definitely do not see the shape of a lens diaphragm when we look at a scene, even if direct sunlight may cause flare, which we often try to compensate for by shading our eyes.  It is therefore natural to seek to obtain images without flare, often achieving this by shading the lens.  I have never found a lens hood or shade for the rare Mir-69 45mm ultra wide angle lens. 

The Solution

To get the maximum contrast from any lens, non-image-forming light should be kept from reaching the front of the lens.  For instance, the sun may be to your left and just forward of the front of the camera.  It is not in the image, but direct sunlight is striking the front of the lens.  Some of it will penetrate all of the subsequent lens elements and bounce around within the mirror box (the “throat” of the camera).  A properly-designed matt mirror box will prevent the light within the mirror box from bouncing back onto the film and degrading the image.  To achieve this, a Kiev 60 needs additonal “flocking” – see here.  The Pentacon Six does not require additional flocking in my experience. 

But even with an optimal mirror box, the unwanted light within the lens elements will degrade the image.  This is not a defect with the Pentacon Six or its lenses; it is a fact of optical life, with any camera and any lens.  That is why all the top manufacturers recommend that photographers always use a suitable lens hood (UK English) or lens shade (US English). 

In this section we will look at hoods (shades) for some lenses with the Pentacon Six mount, and plan to increase the number of lenses included over time. 

Lens hoods are particularly important for two groups of lenses: 

  • wide-angles
  • zooms.
This is because these lenses have the greatest number of elements, and each group of elements provides two surfaces from which stray light, as it is often called, can bounce to and fro and be re-directed to other areas of the image, reducing contrast at least and sometimes even introducing ghost images.  Unfortunately, these are precisely the lenses for which it is hardest to provide a suitable shade. 
  • For wide-angle lenses it is extremely difficult to design a lens hood that is effective without intruding into the edges or corners of the image.
  • For zoom lenses, a hood that does not vignette at the wide-angle end will not shade to the maximum at the long end of the zoom.
For best shading with zoom lenses, a variable shade is required.  These are often known as compendium lens hoods. 


The Hasselblad compendium shade on the 600mm Arsenal mirror lens.  Here it is extended to the maximum extent and in most circumstances this would provide more than adequate shading for the lens.  However, when shooting against the light, more precise shading is obtainable by adding a suitable mask to the front of the shade.  Here you can see the masks for 120-150mm and 250mm lenses (according to Hasselblad’s calculations).  It would not be difficult to make masks for other focal lengths.  The bar at the bottom of this shade has markings for a range of focal lengths, starting at the ultra-wide 40mm.  You can read more about this shade here.  Many users speak highly of LEE compendium lens hoods and filters, although I have no personal experience of these.  A web search will soon reveal more information and suppliers.

30mm lens
This is one of very few lenses with the Pentacon Six mount that have a lens hood permanently mounted on the lens.  It really provides very little shading, but anything larger would cause vignetting with this ultra-wide-angle lens.

Perhaps its real purpose is to protect the front element of the lens from damage, and to provide four firm points to which the deep front cap of the lens can be attached.  You can see that front cap here.


40mm lenses

I am not aware of the existence of any shade for the ultra-rare 40mm Curtagon lens (described here). 

A bulky rubber shade was available for the Carl Zeiss West Germany 40mm Distagon for the Hasselblad.  This gives the impression of virtually doubling the weight of the already-heavy lens, and often gets left at home in consequence!  See images to the right and below. 



45mm lenses

There are two standard 45mm lenses, and various shift and tilt modifications of these.  I have never seen a lens hood for the commonly-available Mir-26 nor for the rare Mir-69 (both described here). 

However, one user recommends a Mamiya 645 lens hood for use on this lens.  This is what it looks like, mounted on the lens:


Another user, Rick Denney, comments: 
“Pentax makes a clip-in lens hood for the 45mm 6x7 lens that also has an 82mm thread. It’s the lens shade of choice, in my view, for the 45mm Mir. It’s rectangular hard plastic.” 

Here is a picture of the Pentax shade, provided by Kevin Ing:


Super-Rotator lens hood

Shading a shift lens effectively without vignetting is difficult.  However, to my surprise a lens hood is supplied with the Hartblei 45mm Super-rotator.


Rick also uses the Pentax hood described above on the shift lens.  This is what he writes: 
“On the Hartblei shift lens, I turn the long dimension of the rectangle along the shift axis (assuming that it’s orthogonal to the frame edges). It is a more effective shade than the Hartblei metal shade that you pictured, which I found was little better than having no shade.” 

While I have no experience of this particular Pentax lens hood, I certainly agree that a correctly-designed square (or rectangular) hood will provide the most efficient shading without vignetting.

To go on to the next section, click below.
Lens hoods, Part 2

To go to the beginning of the lens section, click here.

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© TRA October 2008, Revised: May 2017