Pentacon Six Mount Cameras
Flash photography with the Pentacon Six
The accessory shoe
How do you mount a flashgun onto the Pentacon Six?
The easiest – although not the best! – way is to fit an accessory shoe onto the prism.
Pentacon accessory shoe
There were two accessory shoes for Pentacon Six prisms, and both of them are rarely seen. One was marketed by Pentacon, and at the rear it has a “big ears” socket. It screws into the thread that is recessed within the eyepiece opening of the prisms. This thread was originally designed to take a retaining ring to hold eyesight correction lenses. (see below)
To the right, two versions of the Pentacon accessory shoe, one with the locking ring anodised black and the other (from the following year) with a plain metal finish. “Für sämtliche Kameratypen” means “for all types of cameras” – i.e, the Praktica 35mm cameras of the time as well as the Praktisix and the Pentacon Six.
This illustration comes from a 1967 Pentacon Six catalogue.
This illustration is from a 1968 catalogue
of accessories for Pentacon cameras
(35mm as well as the Praktisix/Pentacon Six)
Beroflex accessory shoe
The other accessory shoe was marketed
by Beroflex, the distributors of East German cameras
and lenses in West Germany. It is not an
original Pentacon accessory and was marketed as being
“for Praktica”. This refers to the older 35mm
Praktica cameras that had the “big ears” accessory
connection on the viewfinder.also incorporates an
eye-cup. It has the “big ears” male mount and a
“big ears” female socket on the back. It was
sold to me in 1978 in West Germany as being “für die
Pentacon Six” (“for the Pentacon Six”), and it does
fit onto the Pentacon Six prisms.
On the left: The mount on the Beroflex accessory shoe. Next image: the country of origin of this accessory (arrowed)
The camera illustrated on the packaging is one of the Praktica 35mm cameras from the mid to late 1960s, apparently either a PRAKTICAmat, a PRAKTICA nova or a PRAKTICAsuperTL.
35mm cameras all had a fixed prism with the “big ears”
mount and no accessory shoe on the body. The new
“L” series of 35mm cameras, which were being marketed in
West Germany by 1971, had straight vertical slots on the
viewfinder eyepiece to enable the angle finder with its
revised mount to be slid down into place. The “L”,
the “LTL” and the “LLC” cameras all had a built-in
accessory shoe anyway, and the “VLC” had a
specially-designed accessory shoe that slotted over the
rewind knob. It would seem that the West German
camera shop will have been pleased to shift this unsold
item of old stock in 1978!
Later prisms produced for PRAKTINA 35mm cameras also had the “big ears” mount. (Earlier prisms for this camera had the screw-thread socket for accessories.)
Here is the Beroflex accessory shoe, mounted on a Pentacon Six metering prism.
The Pentacon Six with the Beroflex viewfinder eyecup and flash shoe mounted onto the TTL prism.[C312-34a]
This accessory also fits the Pentacon Six non-metering prism, although it will not mount on the Exakta 66 TTL prism, which is fractionally taller, nor even on the slightly smaller Exakta 66 non-metering prism for the same reason.
| I am grateful
to John, who has written to me in May 2019 from
Australia with the following information. He has
bought the eyecup shown here, although his one does not
include the accessory shoe:
“It fits perfectly and as an added bonus the center ring unscrews and accepts a standard 19mm diameter screw in diopter lens (Nikon, Voigtlander, Fuji X-Pro1 and similar will all fit). As I normally need a +1 or +2 for clear viewing this has greatly improved my focusing ability. ... I think it could be very helpful for other Pentacon users who need diopter adjustment.”
Thank you, John, for this information!
|The accessory shoe for the
two Exakta 66 prisms appears to be based on the original
Pentacon accessory shoe, but with straight upright
edges. It is taller than the Beroflex shoe. Also,
instead of using the two “big ears” of the standard
Pentacon Six viewfinder accessories, it has a fine thread
that screws into the eyepiece on either of the Exakta 66
prisms – or even on the two Pentacon Six prisms.
The Exakta 66 accessory shoe
This shoe does have on its rear face the “big ears” socket to receive further Pentacon Six / Exakta 66 accessories.
To see the accessory socket on the back of the Pentacon prisms, click here and scroll down.
|The fine thread within the prism
viewfinder eyepieces is designed to receive this ring,
which will hold an eyesight correction lens in
place. Such lenses were not provided by Pentacon
but could (apparently) be obtained from one’s optician.
This retaining ring is labelled in the 1968 Pentacon accessories catalogue as being “Für PRAKTICA-Typen, PENTACON Super, PENTACON six / PRAKTISIX” (“For Prakica-type [35mm cameras], PENTACON Super, PENTACON six / PRAKTISIX”). In German it is called a “Korrekturglasfassung”.
This retaining ring, with the same thread, was previously available for the Praktina 35mm cameras made by KW between about 1952 and 1961, and the Exakta 66 accessory shoe shown above screws in perfectly to the eyepiece socket of the prism on a Praktina FX camera that was made in the first half of the 1950s. Later versions of the Praktina prism had the “big ears” accessory socket referred to above. One must bear in mind that the prism found today on a camera that is 50 or more years old may not be original to that body. Thus, I have seen a later Praktina, the IIa, with a prism that does not have the “big ears” mount.
|When the accessory shoe is mounted on
the Exakta 66 metering prism, access to the push button
that turns the meter on (indicated by the red arrow) is
difficult, but possible, especially from the left-hand
side of the shoe.
No doubt the designers thought that people using the bracket to mount a flashgun would not need to use the camera’s light meter on most such occasions.
Here is the Pentacon Six with a flashgun mounted on its own the accessory shoe:
in the locking socket, below the lens on the left.
|The location of the flash socket and the
size of the camera mean that the cable on most small
flashguns will be too short, and you will need an
extension lead – you can see the join between the
flashgun cable and the extension lead in the picture on
|However, for most purposes this is about
the worst place to put your flashgun, unless it has a
tilt or swivel head to enable you to bounce the flash
off a convenient nearby neutral-coloured ceiling, wall
or other surface. Direct flash from a position so
close to the lens will give you virtually no modelling,
and the infamous red-eye.
bounce flash can give excellent results.
This gun also has a small fill-in
secondary flash to reduce the shadows.
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© TRA April 2002 Latest revision: May 2020