Pentax 6X7

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by sanking, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I am trying to gather some information on the Pentax 6X7 camera. (The big SLR versions that look like a 35mm SLR on steroid.) There appear to be several versions of this camera, incluidng the original model, a latel model with mirror lock-up, and a more recent 6X7 II model.

    Can anyone tell me what are the advantages of the newer models viv-a-vis the older ones? Or point me to a souce of information on these cameras?
    Anyone with personal experience with these cameras?

    Sandy
     
  2. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I've gone from one extreme to the other: I had one of the original non mirror lockup models, and now have the latest 67II. I'd avoid one of the early non m/u versions, as parts are getting hard to find. The last time I had mine into Pentax for servicing they told me that was the last time it could be serviced, as parts were getting scarce and Pentax wasn't making parts anymore.

    The reason I chose a 67 was I shoot a lot of trains and its the only affordable MF camera that has 1/1000 shutter speed. Handling is nice and fairly intuitive if you're used to a 35mm SLR.

    The new 67II offers a lot over the earlier versions, especially if you have the metering prism, which I recommend. That offers spot, partial and matrix metering, as well as aperture priority. The earlier versions didn't have any of this. Flash sync is still 1/30, but I rarely use flash so this wasn't important to me. It's silly a large, chunky camera, but the lenses are excellent, especially the two zooms. I have both and their optical performance is first rate. They are quite modern, I think came out in 2002 and 2003, so the optics are new. The zoom has replaced the 105 as my standard lens and the negs are a bit contrastier I think.

    It's an excellent camera at a great price, and the sheer amount of glass out there in the used market makes them very affordable.
     
  3. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Hi Sandy,

    I have shot with 67II for several years. I think the mirror lockup is a must. The thing has recoil if you don't! I also liked that they handled the 220 film. I shot plus x pan through it for years. I liked that stuff.

    I used a large number of lenses, I bought the 135 for macro and it was inexpensive. I also had the smaller zoom which I liked very much, but for most of my shooting of landscapes it was the 45mm. What a great lens.

    I had mine sent in and modified at the factory to have 1/3rd stops setup and some of the other things they did.

    I liked it very much for windier days, it's heavy, hard to vibrate, much less so than the 12x20's :wink:

    At the hight of the craze, I had 3 bodies but when I had a bunch of the stuff lifted, I used the replacement money to buy the new 8x10 as my grandfathers was nearly twice my age.

    All the optics are coated now days and the 45mm lens has an 82mm filter, if you get one, I have some filters you might like.
     
  4. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I've got the 67II. The AE prism finder is very accurate. You can easily pull it off it you want 100% view or when shooting from low angles. The 67II can/could be modified at Pentax for 1/2 stop shutter speeds and in turn also gives longer shutter speeds in to the seconds. I have seen a page somewhere explaining the different models. 6x7 models then 67 then 67II being the latest i believe is the order. Pentax is discontinuing this in case you haven't heard.
    Here's a link about the lenses.
    http://members.aol.com/dcolucci/p67ss.htm

    vinny
     
  5. darr

    darr Subscriber

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    I have been using the 67II w/metering prism for two years. I have in the past 25 years used these handheld medium format cameras: Hasselblad 500CM, Mamiya RB, and Mamiya 7II. I let go of the RB because I did not like the way the camera handled. I still have a Hasselblad and a Mamiya 7II. I am finding as time goes by, the Pentax 67II is replacing the Mamiya 7II as my street camera. I absolutely love the 67II. For me the metering is top notch and it handles like my Nikon F3, just a bit bigger. I have been very pleased with it and would recommend the newest version for a few reasons:

    1. metering system is superior
    2. easier mirror lock-up system which for my shooting styles is necessary
    3. 67II's body is easier for me to handle than prior version; I do not use a grip.

    I am a 5'3" female that has no problem handling this big camera. Here are a few shots from the 67II:

    hand-held shot #1
    hand-held shot #2
    tripod shot with mirror lock-up employed: 60-120 seconds
    tripod shot with mirror lock-up employed: 60-120 seconds
     
  6. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Hi Darr,

    Thanks for your comments.

    That third image you posted is to die for!! Absolutely georgeous.

    Sandy



     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Hi Vinny,


    Do you get automatic exposure setting with the 67 II and the AE prism? I assume AE means autiomatic exposure?

    Sandy

     
  8. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Yes. just set the shutter speed dial to A and you've also got the option of +or - 3stops exposure compensation.
     
  9. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    With the way prices are now, the only sensible choice is between a 67 and a 67II. The non MLU 6x7 should be avoided, mainly because the winding mechanism is weaker and prone to breakage. If broken it CANNOT be repaired as there are no parts available. I have been told that this was upgraded when MLU was added, but I have also been told it happened with the switch from 6x7 name to 67 name. Given the extremely long lifespan of this camera it is likely that a lot of incremental changes were made so it may not be that simple.

    If you are looking at a 67 you might as well get a nice looking one as it probably won't make a huge difference to the price. To get the most out of a 67II you really need the AE prism and it seems cheaper to buy them both as a package deal.

    FWIW, I have both versions of the non MLU 6x7, both non-working and now used as book ends. I also have a very scarred 6x7 MLU and a quite nice 67 both of which work fine. My lenses exhibit similar amounts of wear but also work just fine. They are built to professional standards. I wish I could justify a 67II but am in the midst of a 4x5 phase at the moment.
     
  10. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Paul, I justified my setup because of those norther Michigan windy days. Every time i go home to shoot, it's too windy for the 4x5. Now you've got an excuse.

    vinny
     
  11. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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  12. Rick Olson

    Rick Olson Member

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    Like Craig above, I use the Pentax 67II primarily for rail photography. The Metering prism incorporates matrix exposure control and aperture-priority capability in addition to average and spot. Exposures are usually right-on and the handling is exceptional. It is very possible to get very sharp handheld images practicing proper technique. When trackside chasing trains you don't often have the luxury of setting up a tripod. For color, I use Provia pushed to 200 and also shoot Ilford HP-5 at 800-1000 and send it off to DR-5 in Denver for transparency processing. It's a great camera!

    Rick
     
  13. Russ Young

    Russ Young Member

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    Hi Sandy-
    I sold a Hassleblad outfit to buy into the 6x7 in 1983 or '84 and have never looked back. The lenses were equal to or better than the Blads, especially the Pentax 55mm (I was doing a lot of interiors in those days). The variety of lenses represents all you could ever want and they're affordable. The 120 soft focus is without equal.

    As mentioned by many above, you MUST have the mirror-lockup and always employ it at 1/30 second or slower.

    Not mentioned is the fact that as long as the shutter is open, the battery is being drained. Time exposures really eat batteries quickly.

    I have never trusted thru-the-lens metering so the metering prism is a moot issue for me, especially for interiors and night scenes.

    They're also durable. Mine has been in terrible conditions (especially blowing dust/sand) and has travelled probably 200,000+ miles- and suffered the attendant vibration, shocks, and general physical insults. No problems-ever.

    All that said, I also shoot a Mamiya 7, especially on the road when space and weight are important. It's lenses are minor miracles but they'll never have two lenses of the Pentax line that are priceless to me: the 120 soft focus and the 135 macro.

    Russ
     
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  15. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    What's especially attractive at the moment is the price of used lenses. Check out what's available at keh.com (I just bought a 135mm macro from them). That lens now makes a set of four. At these prices I may just end up saving for a used 300mm which is finally really affordable. Up to 11x14 (which is the largest size I've printed) these lenses are amazing. I doubt I'd be disappointed at 16x20 or even a bit larger, but I just haven't made any as yet. I'm sometimes even happier with what they deliver than what I get from my 4x5, albeit I don't have spectacular lenses for it (150 G claron, and a 210 Geronar).

    Great camera (P67 with MLU) and an excellent series of superb lenses.
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Does aperture priority AE work with all of the older lenses?

    And, does anyone know if there is an adaptor that would allow use of Pentacon 6 mount lenses?

    Any comments on the quality of the 50-100mm zoom?

    Sandy
     
  17. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    Yes, AE works with all the lenses. The 55-100 is excellent. I don't have a scanner that can handle 120 otherwise I'd post some pics, but its a great lens. Not fast, and a bit big, but optically excellent.
     
  18. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Two 6X7 Pentax systems have come and gone at our house. There won't be a third. I love the idea but I hate the execution. They are unweildly, heavy, and the mirror finally slaps so hard it just about tips the tripod over. They are nearly useless for hand holding. The one exception is to use an L bracket and do every shot with a Vivitar 283. The optics are really very nice and priced fairly on Ebay. I once tested my 165mm P67 lens next to a Konica 150. Under a loupe the Konica seemed quite better. And they're nearly worthless on the web. As with all my opine's, YMMV.

    The second of the 2 systems I bought to take photos of my grandbabies while they are small. $1500. I replaced it with a $65 Minolta Autocord that is light as a feather around my neck.
     
  19. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Jim,

    Thanks for your comments. I have handled the older model Pentax 6X7 cameras and understand what you mean about heavy.

    But what about a Pentacon 6 to Pentax 67 adaptor? Does such a thing exist? I ask because I have a lot of long focal length Zeiss optics (300mm Sonnar, 180mm Sonnar, etc.) and would like to use this on 6X7 format for a specific project.

    Sandy




     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2006
  20. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Now that I don't know. Hopefully someone else around here does.
     
  21. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I have an old Pentax 6X7 with MLU. Compared the 67II wins.
    IT has a much brighter wievfinder. That is the major drawback on the older model.
    The 67II has better ergonomics. It feels a lot lighter than it really is.
    The 67II has multiexposure capability and the automation mentioned.
    The old 6X7 has a much better sound though :smile:
    Cheers, Søren
     
  22. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I use a 67II for aerial photography, usually on auto and find I get sharp well exposed pictures in what is a high vibration environment (inside a C-152 light aircraft). I'd prefer a shutter priority auto mode to make sure the shutter speed is always on a 1/1000th, but it is fairly easy to ride the aperture to keep the speed up. People tell me that it is a bit of a pig to load, but I don't find it any slower in that respect than any other medium format camera and the fact that it can use 220 film (and manages to squeeze in 21 frames in that format) does at least mean that I only have to reload half as often.

    David.
     
  23. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    I used a 67 for 2 years. weddings, nature and hiking (mont blanc..)
    What i liked was the format, the lenses which where quite payable and the handling like a 35mm.

    My problem was that with weddings you did need a quite large diafragm (F11/13) where you use F5.6 for 35mm for the same DOF. So you need a 400/800iso film to get a 1/60 often.... That's why i went over to the 645. (for nature i use a 4x5 now..)
    I would use the 67 always on a tripod when i would buy it again.

    Loading film is no problem with the 67. I would buy the 67ii which are very well priced at this moment with a super light measurement system just like the 645 has. lenses are good (see www.photodo.com for rates), but i always leave the zooms and buy primes which rate much higher.

    Good luck with your search for the holy grail....
    Willie Jan
    www.foto-art.nl
     
  24. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    Sanking,

    I've been using the P67 II for almost 2 years with a non-metered prism. When I first looked in the finder, it was just pure joy, comparing it to a 35mm cameras. Bright, wonderful and big... Of course it has downsides (as everything) mostly described above, but nothing serious. For a brief time I even ventured to digital, but was disapointed and quickly returned to the P67. It's much more pleasant to work with this camera, something akin to LF - slowing down - it's relatively slow to set up a shot, you have to lug a sturdy tripod...

    OTOH with the 55mm lens, I'm able to handhold 1/30s shots quite succesfully. With the 135mm, I was able to shoot handheld 1/125 and sometimes even 1/60 (but here the success rate is definitively lower). In handholding the camera, the weight is a definitive plus, it just forces you to grip everything more firmly.

    As to hiking with the gear, it's not easy, but well, I've done some 15km to 20km hikes through hilly area with my photo gear totaling around 9kg, tripod around 2.5kg or so, 1.5l bottle of water and some other necessary stuff, and still survive it and even get some shots done and enjoy it :smile: [in such conditions, the water is essential...]

    Would I recommend it? Yes. Is there a "but"? Yes.

    Jiri
     
  25. Tonglen

    Tonglen Member

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    For whatever it's worth, I've noticed on that auction site over the past two
    weeks Helix Photo out of Chicago has been listing a lot of new Pentax 67 lenses and accessories with few bidders. Seems like low starting prices.
    No material interest on my part, just thought you might benefit.
    Brian
     
  26. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Thanks again for all of the information provided to my original question.

    After some pondering I decided to proceed with purchase of a new Pentax 67II with AE prism and 105 f/2.8 lens. At the same time, I purchased a 55mm f/4 and 165mm f/2.8, and a set of extension tubes at a very reasonable price from an add on this forum.

    I would like to add to my outfit at this time some long focal length lenses, 300mm and up, and perhaps a bellows. If anyone has something like this they are interested in selling please contact me at sanking@clemson.edu.

    Sandy