Need advice on Pentax 6X7.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by f/16, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    Hi guys. I have a Pentax 645 and want to go a little bigger-no I'm not interested in LF camera, so please don't suggest that :smile: I am interested in the earliest model with MLU. So I guess this would be the second version?? Is this a good choice? Are they reliable? And there are several finders available. Will any finder fit any 6X7/67, or do certain finders only fit certain versions of the camera? I wanna get a non metered prism for the challenge and to give my Sekonic meter some use.
     
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  2. ccross

    ccross Member

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    Hi Bill,

    I'm not really a gear-savvy kind of guy so I can't offer any technical advice, just an opinion. I have, more or less, the setup you are asking about; 6x7 body with MLU and non-metered prism. I love shooting with it and especially love the looks on peoples faces when the shutter fires. Been very happy with the lenses I have accumulated (the 55mm and the 75mm seem to get the most mileage). It is a handful, especially if you put bigger lenses on it, but for me it is still manageable to hand hold for a lot of the stuff I do.

    It's the only medium format camera I have used (other than a Holga) so admittedly I don't have anything to compare it to, but I would quite happily recommend it.

    Good luck,
    Craig
     
  3. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    Thanks Craig. Something else I wanted to ask. Is MLU necessary for a sharp pic? Is mirror slap bad with the 6x7?
     
  4. dorff

    dorff Member

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    It will certainly help, especially for shutter speeds below 1/125 handheld. It is a big mirror and shutter. I think the shutter down slap as it opens also causes significant motion. For landscapes etc you really have to use a strong and sturdy tripod.

    About viewfinders: I am not sure whether all viewfinders fit all of the original bodies, but the mk II definitely has its own set.
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Yes, MLU is necessary. Not for every shot, but a significant portion of the time.
     
  6. ccross

    ccross Member

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    Hi Bill,

    In my experience, the MLU is definitely a nice to have (as polyglot mentioned, it gets used a fair bit) and I second the sturdy tripod for the slower shutter speeds.

    Craig
     
  7. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I would get a body from a reputable source. They are very old and complicated machines that can have issues. Maybe find a prism with a broken meter, which should be cheap.

    They take amazing pictures.
     
  8. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    I was planning on getting one from KEH. About 40% of the 35mm bodies I got from them had issues, but they'll never hassle you about returning or exchanging something. About using MLU handheld, I never thought of that. I was going to use the 6X7 on a tripod all the time. It will be used with an Induro AT413, which is sturdy, and heavy. And the lens I want to get is the Takumar 135 f/4 SMC macro. Does it have good image quality? If so, why is it so inexpensive? That will make a good 1st lens for me because I like short telephotos over wides or standards. And I really like lenses that focus close.
     
  9. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    KEH is first rate and is usually very conservative on their ratings. BGN at KEH is what most sellers sell as EXC. I have eight lenses for my 6x7's and that includes the 135mm f4 Macro. The 135mm is a nice, sharp lens, but I don't think I'd recommend it as a "first" lens if you had to settle on one lens. While mine is sharp, it's not as sharp as my105mm 2.4 or does it have as good of contrast. Still, if that's what you want and don't need the faster f2.4 f-stop then go for it. Oh, if your into the Bokeh thing the 105mm wins hands down. JohnW
     
  10. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    What about the 165 ls lens? I really like that one too. Does the leaf shutter in it work with all variants of the 6X7 cameras?
     
  11. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    I like the 165mm f4 LS better than the 135mm Macro myself, but that's just me. I had the 90mm f2.8 LS for years and then a year or so ago I got a really clean 165LS that wasn't working. I thought I might be able to fix the shutter and if not at least use it without the shutter. Well, to my surprise I fixed the darn thing and then had a like new 165mm LS at a bargain price. Happy ending? Nope! I used the lens a few times and then the shutter did the same as before. It wasn't until I got on this forum that I discovered I was using the lens wrong and it is a whole different beast compared to the 90mm LS. If you get the 165mm LS make sure you follow the manual on how it operates. Oh, I ended up going into it again and it's now still working like a champ. Live and learn! I know there is no bad Pentax 6x7 lenses, but some are just a little more likeable than others. JohnW
     
  12. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    Will the 165 LS work with any model 6x7/67? And what's the fastest flash sync with the leaf shutter?
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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  15. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    A close friend of mine owns a Pentax 67 with mirror lock up. He always uses a tripod and he uses the mirror lock up. He makes some really nice sharp images.

    The funny thing is that he owns the 165 LS. He hates flash and he doesn't shoot portraits. Just likes the focal length I guess.
     
  16. dorff

    dorff Member

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    +1. My lenses are 45/4, 55/4, 75/4.5, 90/2.8, 135/4 Macro, 200/4. All of them excellent. The 135 is the one I "like" least, but end up using quite a lot in any case. The 105/2.4 would have been nice to have, but I haven't seen them lying around these parts lately.

    Whatever you decide to buy, make sure it is mechanically sound. As others have said, these cameras and lenses can be rather old. The lens filter threads should be good, as with B/W you are going to use filters. It is very frustrating to struggle getting filters on and off, and you end up stripping the thread sooner or later. And do not buy anything with fungus inside. A good guideline is not to buy from places with high humidity year round. Our South African east coast has a subtropical climate, and the few times that I was buying jumble sales from places like Durban, on every occasion the lenses came with fungus inside, and the camera seals were decayed. It is not always worth the effort to get such gear cleaned and re-sealed. Sometimes the damage cannot be undone.
     
  17. Kyon Thinh

    Kyon Thinh Member

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    Pentax 6x7 is sure fun to use, and cheap as well. KEH is a place to check.
    I got one P67II with broken advance mechanism, a 6x7 with MLU and 4 lens ( 55/4, 75/4.5, 105/2.4 and 200/4), all for 400 EUR. The lenses are Ugly rated from KEH, uh oh it works well.
     
  18. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    dorff, I have the very same lens line-up plus the 105mm and 165mmLS and agree 100% that they are all excellent. There are NO dogs in the 6x7 Pentax lens kennel! If you learn to use the camera correctly (tripod it as much as you can), use the right film and lighting you won't even think 4x5. I haven't touched my 4x5 in a long, long time. Of course the type of shooting I do now is just things I want to do and that makes a difference as to what I'm using. I second a search on KEH's site also. JohnW
     
  19. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    I went to the local camera store where KEH is buying this weekend. Sold a couple of lenses and went home and ordered 6x7, non metered prism, 135 macro, and 165 LS lens from KEH. I forgot to ask-what type battery do I need to get? Is there a lithium battery available?
     
  20. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Congratulations! Two good lenses to start, but now watch for a 55mm f4 (either the 2nd or last version are fine) 'cause you're more than likely going to want something a little wider for landscapes and tight spaces. I have the 45mm and the 55mm (2nd version) and if I had to pick just one it would be the 55mm for sure. Your battery needs are covered by a 544 or PX28 battery, but the PX28L is the way to go. "L" means lithium. Hope you have a sturdy tripod and a steady hand! Have fun, JohnW
    Oh, I forgot to say that you can now us the nice 165mmLS on your Pentax 645 with an adapter also.
     
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  21. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    Thanks. I will get a battery this weekend. Lenses I want to get in the future are 105 2,4 and 75 shift. I've never had shift capability before.
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    These cameras are famous for their durability, and there are some pretty amazing bargains out there right now with the exception of a couple of late rare lenses like the 75/2.8 and 300EDIF, which are likely sell at astronomical prices. You need mirror lock, but any P67 without that feature is old indeed. The old series of lenses are called Takumars, but are usable on any of the P67 camera. The next generation of lenses are superior in my opinion, and a couple of my favorites for speed and sharpness are the 165/2.8 and the 105/2.4. What you do need to be aware of is that the finders are not wholly interchangeable - those which fit the later P67II differ from those which fit all the older cameras. The mirror lock on the II also has less battery drain than the previous cameras, hence it is coveted by astrophotographers who take long exposures. Otherwise, I don't think the added bells and whistles are all that big a deal. It's basically a no-nonsense system resembling an oversized manual SLR. A tripod is strongly recommended unless you're shooting normal to wide lenses at relatively high shutter speeds. It
    makes an excellent aerial camera, and at one time an underwater housing for it was also made.
     
  23. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    The 75mm shift lens is on my want list and has been on it for some time now. I just don't want to spend the money, but if one fell in my lap at a good price I'd snatch it up. I've had Canon, Nikon and Minolta shift lenses for 35mm and while they are no view camera they are pretty neat and fun to have. I'll second everything Drew said except maybe the "superior" part about the later, better coated lenses over the Takumars. A little better, slightly better, slightly more contrast, a little more contrast, maybe, but I, myself, don't think they are superior. Of course I have never used the 300mm ED or the 400mm ED and I might be missing that later Pentax lens superiority. I did get a chance to try the 165mm f2.8 against my 165mm f4LS and I still have the 165mm LS 'cause I didn't want to spend the extra money and the 165mmLS is plenty good enough for me. This is just from my experience with the lenses I have so I could be missing something. JohnW
     
  24. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    MLU is available on both the early Honeywell/Asahi Pentax and later Pentax bodies. In some rare examples, a factory-fitted (not DIY!) multi-exposure facility is available (which I have) which can add an extra fun dimension with multiple exposures and juxtapositions. The prime use of MLU is to reduce the risk of vibration from the mirror with Pentax's humungous telephoto lenses. However, MLU is exceptionally useful with all lenses when tripod shooting as it will virtually guarantee the best lens performance and thus show this through on the lightbox. Mirror slap together with shutter whack can ruin handheld pictures; there are many who will tell you a tripod isn't necessary and that a 67 can be hand-held to 1/60 with no evidence of vibration. Fine, then show me the print at 10x and we'll prove them wrong! :smile: Handheld or tripod, a refined technique will bring out the very, very best this quite large image size is capable of delivering.

    Finders are freely interchangeable. However, be aware of an idiosyncracy of design that dictates how you mount a finder and a lens in order to avoid breakage of the aperture coupling chain (which is used for the TTL metered prism. The standard TTL metered prism is a 90% field of view so you need to train yourself to watch for the extra 10% around the edges (not hard with experience). A chimney finder and waist-level finder are available, both presenting their own minor challenges of use.

    On the TTL meter, the midline is the exact point between a 5-stop exposure range, thus a needle in the middle upper area will be over-exposed and conversely, in the lower middle area, under-exposed. Up top or down the bottom will be 2.5 stops under- or over-exposed. First roll of exposures should be done using transparency film, hand-held metered along with TTL metered, and the results critically examined. Shutter speeds are electronically controlled and can lose their accuracy if the shutter remained cocked for an extended period of time.

    A shift lens is best left to the geeks. It is of no real use unless shift is combined with tilt (tilt or swing, a la large format) or in the smaller 35mm where advanced control of perspective (not just position) contribute a lot more than a shift function alone. The shift lens is also a borderline slow lens at f4.5. Invest in wide and tele lenses — there are an excellent variety available, some much better than others, with the 45mm and 55mm lenses sitting at the top tier, closely followed by the squat telephotos of 104 and 90mm, some at f2.8. A little below that is one of Pentax's jewels: a 75mm f2.8 AL lens that still commands a very steep price new. Leaf shutter lenses (the 165mm LS and 75mm f2.8 AL are still made by Pentax) are heavier than the non-LS equivalents, and require careful observation of correct use and out-of-use (springs-relaxed) storage. The 90mm LS lens can be used with mirror lock-up, but not the 165LS — which incidentally begs for MLU to get the best results it is capable of. LS is only really of use for flash exposures, which present a somewhat old-fashioned throwback compared to the bells and whistles TTL flash metering of the smaller 35mm brethren. If studio work is your forté and you have a light set up for portraiture, the 165 would be a beaut choice.

    Many older 6x7 bodies are well getting on now. I would skip over these often battered, bruised and wonky examples unless you have the facility to accurately get to the bottom of any problems that develop which are age-related. Excellent to mint condition newer 67 bodies are the bombs, but you will need your wits about you: examine the film advance, shutter curtain and battery compartment (often corroded out on very old bodies — can be replaced from scavanged parts). The wind-on mechanism is a potential trouble spot on bodies that have been roughly handled: it has an arcane internal mechanism that can be stripped with rough winding technique (which is one firm continuous swing and not several). Try and have a through touchy-feely of any body you are interested in, or at least ask many pointed questions of it if you cannot get to see it in person.
     
  25. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    So the 165 LS can't be used with MLU? Do you mean when leaf shutter is used or at all? I mean can it be used with MLU when you're using only the camera's shutter?
     
  26. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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