Pentacon Six Review
Here is a short Pentacon Six Review after getting myself a Pentacon Six TL on eBay! Soon after the purchase I was buying P6 lenses and that lead to the next camera, the P6 lens mount ARAX-CM (a modified Kiev 88 camera)
Model (Katie) trying my Pentacon Six TL camera!
My Film Photography
First – Contax 645
I started to get into film properly in the autumn of 2012. I decided to buy a Contax 645 medium format 6×4.5 film camera to obtain super shallow DOF using the Carl Zeiss 80mm f2 T lens. The original plan was to purchase a digital back until I saw the cost. I realised that the film look is more to my taste than the sterile digital look and it would save me adding aging textures to my photos to get the looked I desired. After looking at more and more film photos on Flickr I decided within about 2 weeks of ordering the Contax that I already wanted more.
Next – 6×6 Film Love
The Contax had not even arrived I was starting to develop a love for the 6×6 square format of Hasselblads (and other brands). The long late nights of research commenced once again. Back to the forums, Flickr, YouTube and then of course finally…eBay!
Pentacon Six Ebay- Cheap!
I could not get over the Pentacon Six eBay prices. So cheap compared to the Contax 645 I had just bought and the Digital D800/D700 I was used too. It was about the same price as a spare film back for the Contax 645! I had to get one to try. I knew enough that there would be a lot of rubbish on eBay and some Pentacon Six overlap issues and the like so I bought a ‘mint’ condition one and hoped it worked OK.
“Proper” film camera! – Arrival!
Arrival! When it arrived it felt and looked like a ‘proper’ film camera and not like the DSLR-like Contax. I loved the lack of electronics and the waist level finder. It is both quite weighty and large but feels solid to hold. The lens it came with was a standard Carl Zeiss Biometer 80mm/f2.8 which equates to around 50mm on a 35mm sensor.
Pentacon Six Film Loading / Test Roll
Test roll! I had planned to lab develop my film and C41 processing was the cheapest so bought 10 rolls of Ilford XP2 Super C41 B&W film. I had read many reviews on how to load film correctly so watched a YouTube video to remind myself as I did so. I had also read that you can get 13 exposures from a 120 film so took that into account also and loaded the film with the arrow perhaps 2 inches before the arrow marker. I’m a Model Photographer so tried the Pentacon Six first on a shoot with Katie near Reading. Here are some samples:
Pentacon Six Flickr Portraits
Katie also tried using the Pentacon Six to get a photo of me taking a photo of her with my Nikon D800!:
I thought I had shot the entire roll so opened the camera film back to see it was not actually finished so closed it back up again. As a result light got in (as you saw above) but also more so here:
Pentacon Six Film Overlap
The overlapping also resulted in a few interesting images!
I was keen to solve the overlap issue so spoke to an old camera shop in Liverpool that a Flickr friend recommended. The guy on the phone suggested I tried taping 3-4inches of backing paper to start of each new roll before loading the film so the spool has more film wrapped around to ‘bite’ on. I did so and had no further overlap problems.
Pentacon Six Lenses (P6 Lenses)
Over the next few months I bought more lenses. See examples with each:
Pentacon Six TL + Carl Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f2.8 – for super shallow DOF:
Pentacon Six + Russian Mir 26b, 45mm f3.5 a wider view:
I kept buying lenses but also cameras and the next chapter in my Film Photography began.
Arrival of the 6×6 ARAX-CM (Kiev88) aka ‘Hasselbladski’!).
*ARAX-CM and Contax645 reviews (plus others) coming soon.
**Pentacon Six TL now for sale. It comes with a mint condition leather case and 80mm f2.8 Biometer lens (stuck open at f2.8).
I bought it like this and like to always shoot wide open so was great for my needs.
Pentacon Six Review Summary
I enjoy using the Pentacon Six TL camera and especially the P6 mount lenses but found buying the ARAX-CM (Kiev 88) killed it off a little. The ARAX-CM has the same Pentacon Six mount (P6 lens mount) but has all the benefits of a Hasselblad styled camera design. The ARAX-CM became my go to camera for the next few years.
More Film Photography Articles
- How to Process Film through to Digital (Develop, Scan, Edit)
- How to Develop Film at Home (Step by Step Guide)