Kowa, Pentacon, Pentax and mirror slap question.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by DSindrey, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. DSindrey

    DSindrey Member

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    Hi,
    I've been shooting with a few Kowa Six's for the last couple of years and I recently purchased a Pentacon kit. From everything I've read, I thought that the Pentacon should be fairly easy to hand hold down to about 1/30th (with the 85mm lens), but it feels like the shutter in itself shakes the Pentacon quite a bit compared to my Kowa's (leaf shutters in there, so that's a win, but the Kowa should have more mirror slap I thought?).

    I'm wondering, in the Pentacon, is the mirror slap the biggest problem or is the shutter itself a big part of the problem? If I put the Pentacon on a tripod (middle of the road Manfrotto) and set the self timer, when the shutter fires the whole camera visibly shakes.

    I ran into another APUG member the other day who was shooting with his Pentax 67 II, and I shot a frame, and that camera felt much more steady (in my hands anyway) than the Pentacon Shutter. I had read often that the Pentax had terrible mirror slap, so I'm wondering if anyone here who has experience with these cameras can tell me if the Pentacon should be easier to hand hold than either the Kowa or the Pentax, because so far I think the Pentacon is fairly difficult?

    I'm now looking at the RZ67 as well as a 'blad C/M, mainly because in theory I think that with leaf shutters I should be able to more easily shoot without a tripod. I'm sure I am missing some knowledge about this, so any input on these cameras appreciated as well.

    I've been lucky with the Kowas in terms of hand holding. I think the leaf shutter helps a ton and also on the Kowa's there is a sort of built in delay on the shutters which I think helps with the mirror slap aspect, but not with critical moment timing.

    Any comments appreciated.
     
  2. aparat

    aparat Member

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    From my experience, it has a much weaker (better dampened) mirror slap than the Bronica SQ-B I used to own. I can hand-hold my 180mm Sonnar at 1/125s without any evidence of camera shake. I must add that I suffer from a neurological disorder, so I am do not have the steadiest hands. Frankly, I am really impressed with how well-dampened the mirror is.

    You can also have your Pentacon Six converted to a two-step shutter release whereby the half-press will raise the mirror, and full press release the shutter. This will eliminate mirror slap completely.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG.

    The Pentacon build quality isn't brilliant, I'd guess there a bit of variation between cameras. All MF SLR's suffer some degree of mirror slap, even the best :smile:

    I use Mamiya 645's and hand held isn't too bad, but mounted on a tripod it's incredible how much difference the Mirror up/Lock makes. A leaf shutter is only a slight help.

    Ian
     
  4. DSindrey

    DSindrey Member

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    two step shutter

    Thanks for the info on the two step shutter. I'll look into that, sounds like it might make things quite a bit simpler..
     
  5. DSindrey

    DSindrey Member

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    Thanks Ian..

    Yes, the Pentacon, seems tough but "rough" when compared to even the Kowa, which really doesn't have that great of a reputation.

    In the kowa's when you use the self timer, the mirror goes up and then 30 seconds later the shutter fires, so really there is no mirror vibration I would guess. I'm guessing that if I end up with a system that does not have a leaf shutter, that I will need MLU.

    Thanks again for the welcome..:smile:
     
  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    My two Pentacon Six TL cameras have one of the smoothest and quietest shutters of all my Medium Format SLRs. I had no problems shooting hand held with these cameras with lenses up to and including the 180mm 2.8 Sonnar.

    For tripod shooting with the 300mm and 500mm lenses, I had Pentacon Service in Dresden fit the EXACTA 66 mirror pre-release to both of my Pentacon Six TL cameras , and I am pleased with the results. While making the mirror pre-release upgrade, Pentacon Service CLA’D each camera.
     
  7. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, if you want to stick with the Pentacon 6 lenses, Kiev 60s use that mount, and they can be modified to have MLU features. (They don't ship from the factory like that, though.) This might be better or worse than the 2-step shutter modification for the Pentacon 6 that aparat describes. I've noticed much more vibration with my Kiev 6S than with any of my 35mm SLRs, but I can't compare it to any other MF SLR, I'm afraid. I have gotten what I consider to be perfectly acceptable hand-held shots with my Kiev, but whether that's because my shots are better than yours or because I've got lower standards I can't say. Perhaps a TLR would be a better choice if this is a real issue for you. The Mamiya C-series looks very nice, although I've never used one myself -- just drooled at the eBay listings! :wink:
     
  8. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    The Kiev 60 cameras, as mentioned above, use the same lensmount, have interchangeable viewfinders including a very nice prism that shows more of the frame than the Pentacon prism does, and can include a light meter built into the prism. There are at least a couple of after-market vendors that rebuild the Kiev cameras and install a mirror pre-release, and the cameras with this mod are very economical to purchase. the Kiev 60 is a bit heavier, which helps hold it still. Your lensmount is also available on the Kiev 88 camera, which looks "just like" a classic Hasselblad, with interchangeable film backs and prisms. It is even a more robust feeling camera. For this camera you can get Polaroid backs, multiple film magazines in several formats, waist level and 2 different prism finders (one with meter). This Ukrainian built equipment is all very economical to purchase in new or reconditioned state. There are also some very interesting lenses in Pentacon 6 mount from Kiev, including a couple of "shift" wide angle lenses, good for architecture.
     
  9. DSindrey

    DSindrey Member

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    Mamiya 330

    Funny you should mention the Mamiya. I actually have one. I had a different one 4 years ago that I sold, and it had a fairly sharp lens. The lens in the one I have now is not very sharp..so I'm currently looking to replace it. The C330 is a great camera, but the lenses don't have the "look" of the Zeiss on the Pentacon. Anyway, I'm doing some research on the modified Kiev bodies and may end up with one of those. I'm also really looking at my technique to see what room there is for improvement there.
     
  10. DSindrey

    DSindrey Member

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    Thanks for the response. I'm going to investigate the Kiev 88 as well as the 60. It would be nice to have removable backs if the camera is reliable enough.
     
  11. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    The shutter on my Pentacon 6TL is quite smooth and very well damped. A lot better than my friends Pentax 67 (which is also load enough to wake the dead :surprised:) I've not noticed any shutter induced lack of sharpness.

    Speaking to the guy that did the CLA on my camera, he claims that the P6 is generally well damped with a mirror brake, and generally does well without MLU. He also said that the Kievs really do need a MLU, as they generate much more vibration.
     
  12. kman627

    kman627 Member

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    My Kiev 60 has very little slap, it sounds loud, but the camera stays relatively stable. My Bronica SQ-B was decent, but my RB67 has an excellent system with virtually no slap.
     
  13. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    Kowa mirror

    If I remember my trivia correctly, the Kowa's (maybe just the Super 66) mirror moves up and out of the way with a bit of a built-in delay before the leaf shutter fires, allowing the vibrations to settle down before exposure. Does this ring a bell with anyone?
     
  14. DSindrey

    DSindrey Member

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    yes it does..

    Hi Mike..
    I've got 3 Kowa Six bodies and yes, the mirror does move up and there is a few milliseconds delay before the shutter fires. I do think this helps a bit when shooting hand held with it. The Kowa is a nice system overall. The only draw back is how hard it is to get them serviced..
     
  15. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I regularily shoot my Pentacon Six handheld. If your P6 is shaking the tripod, maybe something is wrong with it. I have shot some 35mm slrs that were louder. Maybe I just got lucky with my P6. It's never given me any trouble (oops.. shouldn't have said that). 13 perfectly spaced shots on a roll of 120, and 27 shots on a roll of 220.
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Can't say on your camera if the shutter or mirror cause the problems. Since my Rolleis have leaf shutters, I know where the problem lies. One solution I use for hand-holding a 6000 style camera is to increase the polar moment of inertia for upward rotation from the mirror slap. Also, I decrease the rotational angle of the scene on the film (ie: wide angle lens). Adding the viewing prisim and the monster 40mm Zeiss lens (old style) and the pistol grip lets me shoot at 1/30th without mirror pre-release.

    In comparison, with the camera tripod-mounted, waist level viewer and 80mm lens mirror pre-release is required for anything less than 1/500th (for 'critical work')
     
  17. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The only way to tell is by comparing the pictures to others shot with the mirror locked up. I have an old Bronica S2A. When you release the shutter, it sounds like a cannon going off, and the camera jumps in your hands. But the pictures are sharp, so the shock and vibration must all happen after the exposure. A friend shoots with a Pentax 67 and almost always has to lock the mirror up to get the results he wants. That big mirror has a lot of inertia and creates quite a shock when it moves out of the way. My Pentax 645, with a mirror about a quarter that size, has no problems.