The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Lens Data Summary


Heinz Kilfitt

The most prolific of the other manufacturers to have produced lenses in the Praktisix/Pentacon Six mount was probably the Heinz Kilfitt Optical Works of Munich in former West Germany.  Here are details of their lenses available in the USA in 1963, as reported in Al Gillespie’s Pentacon Six Newsletter No 2 of April 1975.

Lens name Max aperture
& focal length
No of
Closest focus
(feet & inches)
(pounds & 
1963 price
(US dollars)
Macro-Kilar f/2.8 / 90 4 8" 17 oz 260 Incorporates an
aspherical element
Kilar f/3.5 / 150 3 5' 0" 14 oz 205 .
Tele-Kilar f/5.6 / 300 4 9' 10" 35 oz 230 .
Pan-Tele-Kilar f/4 / 300 4 5' 11" 68 oz 475 Double focusing mechanism:
track & helical
Fern-Kilar f/5.6 / 400 2 32' 10" 62 oz 285 .
Sport-Fern-Kilar f/4 / 400 2 16' 5" 6 lb 515 Track focusing
Sport-Fern-Kilar f/5.6 / 600 2 65' 8" 9 lb 630 Track focusing

All of these lenses have a pre-set aperture.

The Macro-Kilar

The Macro-Kilar is reported to be an excellent lens.  No doubt the others are, too. Note: In the inscription on the lens, “Macro” is spelt with a “k”: “Makro”.

When focussed at infinity, the 90mm Makro-Kilar looks like a reasonably normal, if rather large, standard lens.

However, when at its closest focus setting, it looks quite remarkable. 
No extension tubes have been added here; this massive degree of extension is obtained with the lens alone.

Closest focussing distance: 80mm Biometar and 90mm Macro-Kilar

80mm Biometar at closest-focussing distance 1/4 sec f/8

Makro-Kilar at closest-focussing distance 10 sec f/8

Camera: Pentacon Six TL  Film: Fuji PRO160NS  Lighting: natural daylight (indoors)  Exposure meter: Pentacon/Zeiss metering prism for the Pentacon Six
MLU (mirror lock-up / mirror pre-release) used with both exposures  Tripod: Velbon CX300
Both images scanned on an Epson Perfection V750 PRO, using VueScan software, at 6400 dpi

The longer exposure with the Makro-Kilar is a natural consequence of the much greater extension of the lens, compared with the Biometar.

The tripod (received as a gift for subscribing to a photo magazine several years ago!) is clearly not adequate for macro photography with a medium format camera, as in spite of focussing being spot-on and a total absence of any mirror-induced vibration, neither image is critically sharp (when viewed much larger than on this web page!).  This is a consequence of camera movement during the exposure.  A much sturdier tripod is clearly required for medium format macro photography.  These images therefore can only serve to compare the closest image possible with these two lenses, not the resolution of either of them.

Note the extremely shallow depth of field (the in-focus range of the object in the image) in macro photography.  In consequence of this characteristic, it is common to stop down the f/16 for macro photographs.  This would increase depth of field a little.  At f/16 with the above lighting conditions, an exposure of 1 second would have been required with the Biometar, and an exposure of at least 40 seconds with the Makro-Kilar.

Reciprocity failure

I say "an exposure of at least 40 seconds" (in the above example), as the film sensitivity data stated by manufacturers is generally accurate within a range of exposure times from a few seconds up to a shortest exposure time of 1/1000 sec (or 1/2000 or 1/4000, with cameras that have these speeds).  For exposures that are longer than about ten seconds, a phenomenon known as "reciprocity failure" means that the film behaves as though it were less sensitive, in consequence of which an even-longer exposure is required.  At such long exposures, there can also be colour shifts -- the colour of the image will change, sometimes markedly.

If you plan to do a lot of macro photography, especially if using slide (reversal) film, research "reciprocity failure" and possibly even contact the film manufacturer for further information and guidance.  They may give you factors by which you should multiply the exposure, or suggest colour-correction filters that will bring the colour back to the normal characteristics of the film.

Alternatively, for some subjects a suitably-placed flashgun (or two!) will enable you to avoid reciprocity failure by using the camera's flash sync speed (approx 1/25 sec with the Pentacon Six), and it will still be possible to use a small aperture, the exact value of which will be determined by the light output and positioning of the flashgun(s).


Al Gillespie reports that the Kilfitt firm was acquired by US-based Zoomar Inc.  In 1975 they were still selling the 90mm Macro-Kilar, the two 300mm lenses and the 600mm lens, now called “Tele-Kilar”.  They also manufactured the following lenses:

Lens name Max aperture
& focal length
1975 price
(US dollars)
Zoomar Reflectar f/5.6 / 500 450 Mirror lens
Zoomar Reflectar f/8 / 1000 1,075 Mirror lens
Zoomar f/4 / 170 - 320 875 Zoom

The full name of the zoom lens is “Rapid-Focus-Tele-Zoomar”.  It was the first Medium Format zoom lens and is very highly spoken of.  Like the other lenses, it was available in mounts for a range of cameras, and a Norita mount version is known to exist.  A review of it in Pentacon Six mount can be seen on this website -- see link below.

There was also another Kilfitt Medium Format zoom lens:

Lens name Max aperture
& focal length
1975 price
Rapid-Focus-Macro-Zoomar f/2.8 / 85 - 170 Unknown Zoom

World-wide, this was the second Medium Format zoom lens  to be produced.  f/2.8 is a very fast aperture for a zoom lens, any zoom lens, and even more so for Medium Format.  This lens has a full 2× zoom range.  It would appear to be quite rare and I do not currently have any further information on it.

The above data is based on published sources.  I do not have all of these lenses.

To go on to the next section, click below.
Next section (170-340mm Zoomar zoom Lens)

To see a detailed review of the 300mm Pan-Tele Kilar, click here.

To see an introduction to the 500mm Kilfitt/Zoomar Reflectar, click here.

To go back to the beginning of the macro section, click here.

To go to the lens test section, click here.

To go back to the beginning of the Lens Data section, click below and then choose the range of lenses that you want to read about.
Back to beginning of the Lens Data section


© TRA May 2002, latest revision: July 2015