The Pentacon Six Case
& Straps for the Pentacon Six and the Exakta 66
The Pentacon Six
||The Pentacon Six was usually supplied with a large
leather case, designed to accommodate the camera complete
with its metering prism, and I keep my case permanently on
my camera whenever I am using it. As well as
providing a strap and protecting the camera, it gives me a
place where I can slip a piece of paper (between the
camera back and the case) with notes on what I have
photographed and exposure information (lens used, shutter
speed and aperture).
In this image you can see the Ernemann Tower Pentacon Symbol on the front of the case.
||The only defect of this case is that after a number of
years the stitching disintegrates. Re-stitching the
case (using the original holes!) is the only solution – a
laborious and finger-hurting exercise!
Here is the worst case (!) I have seen – one of mine! (subsequently re-stitched by me and now stronger than when new!)
Getting a perfect fit
|I recently (in 2015!) bought a new
Pentacon Six case. This was for one of my Pentacon
Sixes that came without a case when I bought it.
The new case was, indeed, clearly brand new, but getting the camera into it was difficult. Why?
Firstly, Pentacon Six camera cases are quite stiff when new. My favourite case is the oldest one that I have. It is scuffed and marked, but through use it has become softer and easier to handle.
But that couldn't account for the whole of the problem, so let's look closer, at the underside of the case:
|On the underside of the case there are two
large holes, designed to accommodate the two spool-holder
knobs that protrude below the base of the Pentacon
Six. In fact, most versions of the predecessor to the
Pentacon Six, the Praktisix, did not have these knobs, and
the case was originally designed for the Praktisix!
-- and made out of brown leather, in accord with the style
of the day. You can see
one of those cases here.
When later Praktisix II cameras were made (see here), with the spool lugs
during the later production of the camera, holes were
punched into the base of the case to accommodate them.
That case became the Pentacon Six case, made with a black
On this particular new case, the holes appeared to be in the wrong place -- slightly too far to the right, when looking at the case from this angle. This seems to be an uncommon problem, although in nearly forty (!) years of buying and using Pentacon Sixes I have encountered it on just one previous occasion.
|The best solution seemed to be to use a
sanding wheel on a small craft tool to grind out the holes
in the base of the camera case a little so that they aligned
neatly with the spool-holder knobs in the base of the
To avoid any danger of widening the wrong side of each hole, I made some pencil marks first, with the camera in the case, and then removed the camera and placed it where the dust that would inevitably be created could not reach it.
Widening the holes was the work of a few moments. Then with a craft knife I trimmed the edge of the plush, soft red cloth that lines the case, and the job was done!
||Should you not have, nor not wish to use, the ever-ready
case, a strap is available to fit in the lugs on the front
of the Pentacon Six body. However, I was told by
someone that the metal can cut into the lugs, eventually
causing them to fail. I welcome a refutation of this
from anyone who has used one of these straps on the body
lugs for years.
In practice, I prefer to carry the camera permanently
in the bottom of the case, which has its own strap and
has the advantage of protecting the camera body and
eliminating any chance of catching the back-opening
lever on anything and accidentally opening the back.
|There is a lot more information on Pentacon Six straps here. And, for use with the strap of your choice, there is a detailed report of a test of strap connectors here.|
||The strap lugs are missing from the throat of the Exakta
66, as they would foul the casing of the metering
prism. However, Exakta GmbH came up with a brilliant
solution: a tough carbon fibre cradle to which a broad
woven strap is attached.
The cradle fits to the curved front of the camera, and is held in place by a strong metal nut that screws into the tripod mounting socket and has its own socket underneath. Lugs in the cradle fit tightly into a slot on each side of the camera throat. One of these slots is visible in this image.
In practice, this has proved totally reliable, in my experience over the past 18 (!) years with my Exakta 66.
|Another clever feature of the Exakta 66 strap – pictured
on the left here – is that the two Variogon zoom lenses
have been designed with a diameter identical to that of
the camera throat at that point on the lens where mounting
the strap onto the lens instead of the camera results in
the combination of the camera and the lens being perfectly
balaced, as in this photograph – a stroke of genius by the
Under the strap in this photograph you can see the retaining nut, which acts as a third “foot” (with the two retractable spool holders), enabling the camera to be placed flat on any horizontal surface.
The retaining nut screws through the cradle into the ¼ inch tripod socket on the base of the camera. On its base it has the larger 3/8 inch socket, into which you can screw an adapter bush if required. See more details on tripod bush adapters lower down on this page.
There is only one loss to the camera design with this
cradle: the flash socket locking wheel of the Pentacon
Six has had to be sacrificed, as it would not be
accessible – although a hole in the cradle facilitates
easy insertion of the flash cable. (In reality, I
have never known a flash cable to come out of a flash
socket, which is probably why no other cameras that I am
aware of ever had a flash socket locking wheel.)
Exakta 66 shutter
in front of the waist level finder,
to give an indication of scale
|The designers of the Exakta 66 system decided that the strap cradle might make access to the shutter difficult, so they designed an optional shutter release extension – a little black tube that screwed into the shutter release and could be easily pressed with the forefinger. Another careful detail that was thought of was that this shutter release extension had its own cable release socket. I have one of these extensions, but in fact do not find that the position of the carrying strap cradle causes a problem.|
|A few people (apart from me!) must have occasionally
caught the little catch that opens the back, when removing
their Exakta 66 from a soft bag, as Mk II of the camera
added a spring to the back opening catch, making
accidental opening somewhat more unlikely.
In the images on the right, “A” shows the camera back release catch. With the back open on the Pentacon Six, the catch is in the “down” position, whereas a spring within the locking mechanism of the Exakta 66 Mk II and Mk III back maintains the catch in the “up” – locked! – position. It is unfortunately not possible just to add a spring to the existing catch; a whole new back is needed, which is why my Pentacon Sixes do not have the spring.
However, as I always carry my Pentacon Sixes in at least the base portion of the case, this prevents the back opening catch from getting caught on anything.
In passing, “B” on the same images above shows where the serial number is located on the body of the Pentacon Six and the Exakta 66.
Note that with the Praktisix, Praktisix II and Praktisix IIA the
serial number is not located here. Open the back and look
underneath the camera. You will see the serial number on the
bottom of the base plate in a position that is covered when the
back is closed. With the II and IIA the number is usually
filled with white paint, which makes it easier to see.
|You can find
out a lot more about camera serial numbers here.
For information on straps for the Pentacon Six and Exakta 66,
To go back to the beginning of the Accessories section, click
below and then choose the accessory that you want to read about.
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© TRA February 2002, December 2015