The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Pentacon Six Lenses

The Kilfitt/Zoomar Pan-Tele Kilar Versions 1 – 3
 

 
The three versions of the 300mm f/4 Kilfitt Pan-Tele Kilar lens
Clicking on this image opens a larger copy.
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One of the most highly-rated of the Kilfitt lenses was the Pan-Tele Kilar.  It is described in detail hereThree versions of this lens were produced, and of course mounts were available for almost all makes of Medium Format, 35mm and ciné cameras.

An excellent source of information on the Pan-Tele Kilar – and indeed on Kilfitt/Zoomar in general –  is Patrice-Hervé Pont’s “Kilfitt Zoomar Imageurs et Objectifs”, published by the French Club Niépce Lumière, and some information on this page is taken from that book.


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Version 1 

Pont states that version 1 of the Pan-Tele Kilar was available from approximately 1957 and until 1966.  It is the version that is described and illustrated in detail on this website, here.

The manufacturer’s code name for this version was PANTE and Pont reports that the serial number prefix was 250, which is confirmed in the case of the lens that I have.  For more on Kilfitt serial numbers, see here, near the bottom of the page.

The camera mount system base that I have seen consists of the AN base, and Pont says that the lens was also available with the KI base, which was essentially for 35mm cameras and smaller.  On the base section of the lens mounts, see here.

The lens name ring has “Heinz Kilfitt München” and “Pan – Tele – Kilar”.  (Obviously, the non-red text on the lens name ring is in white.)

A rotatable ring on the lens gives the exposure compensation factors for different focussing distances.  This is designed as an aid to the photographer when choosing the correct exposure.  Turning this ring does not change any settings on the lens.



Pan-Tele Kilar Mark I
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Version 2 

The lens name ring has “ZOOMAR MUENCHEN” and “Pan – Tele – Kilar” (all in white lettering).


Pan-Tele Kilar From L to R: Versions 1 – III
Clicking on this image opens a larger copy.
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Pont states that version 2 of the Pan-Tele Kilar was available from 1966 to 1979.  So when version 2 entered production, version 1 ceased production.

The manufacturer’s code name for this version was PANSO and Pont reports that the serial number prefix was 271
, which is confirmed in the case of the lens that I have.

This version has an all-black finish.

The camera mount system base that I have seen consists of the WE base, which is confirmed by Pont.

The second version of the PTK retains the two focussing mechanisms of the first version:
  • The rectilinear focussing controlled by either of the two side wheels, onto which a now shorter lever can be attached. 
    The focussing wheels are much smaller than on the first version of the lens.
  • The helical focussing, as in the lenses from most manufacturers.  In the case of the Pan-Tele Kilar, this is effected by rotating the front section of the lens barrel.
This version has a tripod socket on the lens, with both ¼" and 3/8" sockets, as in Mk I, but it no longer rotates, so any levelling or other adjustments can only be mode on the tripod.  For the square format, this is not a significant problem, but if the lens is to be used on a non-square format, such as 6×7 or the so-called “645”, this is an inconvenience.  The 645 format was of course not on the market when the Pan-Tele Kilar was designed and during most of the years that it was marketed.  For 35mm cameras, there was space on the lens mount adapter for a rotating tripod platform, and some mounts did have this feature.

Version 2 focusses closer than Version 1.  (See data below)  Focussing distances, exposure compensation factors and image ratio are recorded on the focussing ring of the lens, in the style seen on the Makro Kilar (see here).  The helical focussing ring locks, or clicks, in the infinity position, which prevents it from being turned inadvertently when using the rectilinear focus.

Its WE base mount includes a slot for a filter, which is not present on the AN mount on Version 1 of the lens.

The version 2 Pan-Tele Kilar that I have came without the original wooden box.  The overall diameter if the main section of the barrel is slightly smaller than in the first version, so the lens fits comfortably in the box in which version 1 was supplied, with a little bit of spare space at each side, plus the usual space at the back end for a mount for a 35mm camera.

Version 3 

Unexpectedly, the lens name ring has the legend “Kilfitt München”, as well as “Pan – Tele – Kilar” (all in white lettering).

Pont states that version 3 of the Pan-Tele Kilar was available from approximately 1966 and until approximately 1977.  This version was thus available at the same time as version 2, over most of the years that version 2 was available, as an alternative form of the Pan-Tele Kilar.


The underside of Pan-Tele Kilar Versions 1 – III
Clicking on this image opens a larger copy.
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The manufacturer’s code name for this version was PANO and Pont reports that the serial number prefix was also 271 with this version, which is confirmed in the case of the lens that I have.

Like version 2, version 3 is all in black.  As with Version 2, the f
ocussing distances, exposure compensation factors and image ratio are recorded on the focussing ring of the lens, in the style seen on the Makro Kilar (see here).

The camera mount system base that I have seen consists of the WE base, which is confirmed by Pont.  It is clear that Kilfitt/Zoomar had three aims in producing this version of the Pan-Tele Kilar:
  • to reduce the overall size
  • to reduce the weight
  • to reduce the cost.
These aims were not achieved without a negative impact on some features of the lens.

The third version of the Pan-Tele Kilar abandons the rectilinear focussing, along with the associated focussing wheels and focussing lever.

Focussing is only achieved by rotating the front section of the barrel.  In spite of this, the minimum focussing distance is better than in Version 1, although not as good as in Version 2.

Like Version 2, the Version 3 Pan-Tele Kilar has a WE base mount that includes a slot for a filter.

Version 3 loses the very useful tripod socket, something that is in fact virtually essential with such a heavy lens.  Just mounting a camera with this lens on it onto a tripod is likely to put a considerable strain on the camera tripod socket and/or on the camera lens mount.  This makes the use of a lens cradle virtually essential.  See here.

Pont states (p. 62) that the third version of the lens
(“PANO”)  could subsequently be converted to the second version (“PANSO”) by means of a modification for which the code word was (“PAUM”).  I guess that this was a German abbreviation for “PANO-PANSO Umbau” (“PANO-PANSO conversion”, “PANO-PANSO rebuild”,  “PANO-PANSO modification” or “PANO-PANSO upgrade”).
 
We realise that when the Pan-Tele-Kilar Version 3 is mounted on a 35mm camera, the extra length of the camera mount adapter allows space for a tripod mount platform on the adapter.  However, on this website our main “focus” (!) is on the use of lenses on the Pentacon Six medium format camera.



The Pan-Tele Kilar Mk III with a mount for a 35mm camera, in this instance, M42.
We note the presence of a tripod platform, although it does not rotate and it is further back on the lens than would be desirable in order to obtain good balance.
It has the usual Kilfitt two tripod screw sockets, for ¼" and
3/8".
The adapter also has a further slot that could take a second filter.
Clicking on this image opens a larger copy.
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The three versions of the Pan-Tele Kilar, each at their closest-focussing distance
Clicking on this image opens a larger copy.
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Here are some key statistics on the three versions of the Pan-Tele Kilar:

Pan-Tele Kilar
Version 1
Version 2
Version 3
Closest focussing distance
1.8 m
1.4 m
1.7 m
Ratio to original subject
1:4
1:3
1:3,5
Approximate weight according to Pont
2000 g
1900 g
1560 g
Approximate length with Pentacon Six mount and Kilfitt front and rear caps
255 mm
256 mm1
255 mm
Maximum barrel diameter by my measurements,
not including focussing rings or lever, nor the tripod mount platform, where present
The same Kilfitt front lens cap fits the front of all three versions of the lens.
100 mm
this is the rotating ring
that holds the tripod mount
and its locking wheel
93.5 mm
93.5 mm

1 The difference here may merely be due to the thickness of the front cap.

The Cases in which Pan-Tele Kilar lenses were supplied


On the left: Case for the 1st Version (“PANTE”); on the right: Case for the 3rd Version (“PANO”)
The difference in size is clear.
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Further information on the sample picture on the right here
Pentacon Six with Fuji PRO160NS.  Metering with Pentacon Six TTL prism
Pan-Tele Kilar Version 3
(“PANO”) Closest focus 1/250 f/8 hand-held (windy day!)
A smaller aperture would have been desirable in order to achieve greater depth of focus.
Clicking on the image opens a larger copy.

   
Sample picture taken with Pan-Tele Kilar Version 3 (“PANO”)


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For information on using the Pan-Tele Kilar with the Kilfitt Multi-Kilar lens converter, and results obtained with this combination, see here.

For the results obtained with the Kilfitt 150mm Tele-Kilar used with the Kilfitt Multi-Kilar variable converter at the 2× setting, see here. 

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© TRA January 2022