The Pentacon Six System
by TRA
Novoflex Literature

Books on the Novoflex System

Over the years, various books on the Novoflex system have been published.  The first one was apparently Friedrich-W Voigt’s “Novoflex Taschenbuch” in 1961, with further German editions in 1964, 1966 and 1970 and English and French editions in 1963 (titled “Novoflex Pocket Book” and “Livre de Poche Novoflex”, respectively). 

To the right, the original German edition, title: Novoflex Taschenbuch © 1961 by Heering Verlag GmbH

My thanks to Martin Grahl of Novoflex for supplying the image of the German edition, which was available in 4 consecutive editions, in 1961, 1964, 1966 and 1970.

In the middle, the English edition, which was published by Focal Press of London and New York in 1963.

Far right: the French edition, "Livre de Poche Novoflex", published by Heering-Verlag, 1963




Next came the books by Dieter Gabler, which were published by Novoflex itself.  People seeking information on the original Novoflex Medium Format systems, especially users of the Pentacon Six and Praktisix, are recommended to consult the first edition of Dieter Gabler’s book, published in 1973.

Those who are familiar with the Minolta SR-T 101 will recognise that it is the 35mm camera shown on the front cover of the 1973 edition both at the top of the cover with a Novoflex slide-copying setup and at the bottom with a Novoflex fast-focus long lens.  This is not surprising, as Gabler was an adviser working for Minolta-Camera in Germany when he started a voluntary collaboration with NOVOFLEX in 1966.  This resulted in the development and production by Novoflex in 1967 of an automatic bellows unit for the Minolta SR-T 101 with automatic operation of the lens diaphragm, for Minolta, Japan.

However, in 1973 the Novoflex Medium Format system that is described on this website was still part of the Novoflex product range.

In 1978 a second, revised edition of this book was published.  It does still contain details of the Medium Format system (on pp. 77-83), and the TISPIGRIFF pistol grip for Praktisix and Pentacon Six is still mentioned, but the references to the TISPIGRIFF-U (the pistol grip with the built-in bellows) and the TISBIG-U (the bellows that could subsequently be built onto the TISPIGRIFF) have disappeared.

By 1980, none of the components for the Pentacon Six appear to have been available directly from the company.

Maximum aperture of the Tele-Noflexar 500mm lens

Further examination of the second edition of Gablers book reveals two interesting developments:
  • a new grip had been introduced for Mamiya 645 cameras – the MAMPIGRIFF
  • the 500mm f/5.6 Tele-Novoflexar featured on this web page has been re-designated “500mm 1:6,3 Tele-Noflexar”.  This was in consequence of research that had indicated that the maximum aperture of this lens was not a full f/5.6.
In fact, among many manufacturers, advertised maximum apertures and even focal lengths were frequently inaccurate – even if they were engraved on the lens itself.  There was commercial pressure to produce lenses of certain focal lengths and with certain maximum apertures.  Thus, if a company designed a lens for a 35mm-format camera that actually had a focal length of 29mm or 30mm, they were likely to label it “28mm”, which was a focal length that was frequently sought after.  If they produced a “standard” lens that had an actual maximum aperture of f/3 or f/3.1, they were likely to label it “f/2.8”.  Such “rounding up” or “rounding down” was the industry norm, and in fact probably still is.  It is to Novoflex’s credit that they re-designated the maximum aperture of their 500mm lens when research showed that it was not a full f/5.6, but half a stop slower.

The 1973 edition of Gablers book

The 1978 edition of Gabler’s book

The 1980 edition of Gablers book

Other books on the Novoflex System

I am grateful to Jan Decher for information on a further book about the Novoflex system.  It is “Makro Fotografie und die superschnellen Tele – Das Neue Novoflex Buch”, by Harald Zeyss.  (“Macro photography and the superfast telephoto lenses – The New Novoflex Book”)  The cover also bears the words “Alles über das Diaduplizieren” (“Everything about Slide Copying”).
Jan tells me that it has no date, but that it was probably published in 1989.  The publisher was vfv Verlag.
Jan gives a summary of the contents:
  • “Discussion of C-System Fast-Focus lenses.
  • Introduction of the short-lived Novoflex-Tamron 2.8/300 mm and 3.8-5.4/60-300 mm.
  • New 6×6 C System Medium Format Fast-Focus grip for Hasselblad 2000 FC (HAPIGRIFF-C), Rolleiflex SL66 (ROLPIGRIFF-C), Mamiya 645 (MAMPIGRIFF 645-C) and Pentax 645 (TAXPIGRIFF 645-C) to be used with the standard 400 mm lens heads only.
  • Adapters to use these Medium Format grips on 35 mm cameras (HARING, MAMRING) and BALROL. 66 → 35mm bellows adapter for ROLPIGRIFF-C.
  • Car window clamp and ball head.
  • Discussion of Metz tele flash attachment and professional flash 60 CT-4.
  • Introduction of Canon EOS AF and Minolta AF bellows.
  • New heavy duty macro rail
  • New large repro (copy) stand (MACRO-S)
  • Double flash holder system (Macroblitz-Set).”


Zeyss, apparently 1989

Subsequently, there have been books by Richard Hünecke, published by Laterna magica.  I have seen Hünecke’s “Das Novoflex Telesystem Makrosystem: Ein Color Foto Buch”, 1989, and “Das Novoflex System Makro und Tele”, 1994.  However, I haven’t spotted in Hünecke’s books any information on the original Novoflex Medium Format lenses, described on this website.  His 1989 book does describe the PIGRIFF-C system (referred to below) and his 1994 book describes the PIGRIFF-D system, but in a quick browse of these two books I haven’t spotted any information on using these grips and their associated lens heads with medium format cameras.

Hünecke 1989

Hünecke 1994

In 2018 Novoflex published a book to mark the 70 years of the company since its founding in Memmingen in 1948 by Karl Müller.  This attractive hardback book is over 100 pages long.  It contains a brief history of the company plus a selection of beautifully-photographed highlights of equipment designed and produced by Novoflex over the 70 years.  The book was produced by two leading Novoflex people, Andreas Marx and Martin Grahl.

The book is in German with captions in German and English.




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© TRA  January 2012  Latest revision: January 2022