The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Strap connectors for the Pentacon Six


I have suggested (here) the use of Baierfoto strap connectors to attach straps to Pentacon Six cameras.  But if you would like to use an Op/Tech USA strap or dual camera harness, will one of their strap connectors fit this camera?

Op/Tech USA Super Pro B connectors

It looked on paper as though Op/Tech USA’s Super Pro B connectors should fit the strap lugs on the Pentacon Six, so they kindly sent me a pair of connectors to test.  I expected to receive the two little metal connectors in a small envelope, and was surprised when a somewhat larger envelope arrived, containing the Super Pro B connectors already attached to a pair of Op/Tech 3/8" webbing system connector straps – but that is how Op/Tech USA normally supplies the connectors.
 
On the left, the top or outer surface of a Super Pro B connector;
on the right, the underside or inner surface of one of these connectors.
The circular hole enables the connector to fit over the head of the camera strap lug.
Pulling the connector up on the lug makes two things happen:
1) the pillar of the camera strap lug slides into the slot in the lower section of the connector;
2) the top surface of the connector springs down and presses against the back edge of the camera strap lug, to prevent the connector coming off (the constant problem with the Kiev strap connectors!).

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This side-on view of the Super Pro B connector enables us to see the spring-loaded top surface of the connectors (indicated by arrow “A” in this image.)

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Belt and braces
 
Op/Tech USA’s Super Pro B connectors offer a “belt and braces” approach: they don’t just rely on the spring loaded top surface of the connector remaining in place, but provide an extra detail to make it impossible for the connectors to disengage accidentally.

They call this the “plastic locking clip”, and say that “This clip provides an added level of security when the strap is on most cameras.”  It is indicated by arrow “B” in the above image.
 
 
 
 

Here the Super Pro B connector has been attached to the left-hand camera lug (when the camera is in the operating position), but the plastic locking clip has not yet been pushed into place.


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Here, the plastic locking clip is in place.  Inserting it was fiddly, and this is best done by swinging the strap to the front of the camera in order to gain access to the side slots on the Super Pro B connector into which the locking clip is pushed.  The locking clip makes it impossible for the spring-loaded top surface of the connector to move from its position pressing against the back edge of the camera strap lug, and this in turn prevents the Super Pro B connecters from slipping down on the camera strap lug and coming off.

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Op/Tech USA’s fitting instructions

Here is what Op/Tech USA say on their video about fitting the Super Pro B connectors and the plastic locking clip:
 
Pull back the plastic locking clip.  This clip provides an added level of security when the strap is on most cameras.
Flex the metal clip up from the plastic clip and pull the plastic clip back.
Locate the larger portion [the back] of the keyhole opening of the metal clip over the head of the camera strap lug.  Press the clip down to clear the head and draw it back until the upper portion clicks into place behind the head.  Finally, if your camera allows, slide the plastic clip forward once more, making sure to engage it on the two flanges on the underside of the metal clip.  On cameras such as the Hasselblad, you may need to remove the film magazine in order to engage the plastic clip.
The positioning of the lug on the camera body may make it impossible to engage the plastic clip.  Don’t worry if this is the case with your camera; the plastic clip is not required to use the Super Pro system connectors.

(This is taken from their video, which can at the time of writing be seen here: http://optechusa.com/Videos/SuperPro.html)

On the Pentacon Six, it may help to remove the metering prism, if fitted, when pushing the plastic locking clips into place.

Proximity to shutter release button

Here is the Super Pro B connector on the other side of the camera.  The plastic locking clip has not yet been inserted into the connector, 
but there is space for it to go in (with difficulty).
 

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Of more concern is the fact that the Super Pro B connector is resting on the shutter release button.

When the standard 80mm lens is attached to the camera, the body will in fact tilt backwards, as the body is heavier than the lens and so the centre of gravity is further back than the strap lug point.  This will prevent the connector from touching the shutter release, but with some longer and heavier lenses, the centre of gravity will be much further forward, and the connector is likely to press on the shutter release, as here.

It is probably unlikely to fire the shutter, but this is not impossible, and I have, by deliberately twisting the camera and the strap, managed to cause the Super Pro B connector to fire the shutter (it would not have happened otherwise!).  If you walk or climb with the camera round your neck and a longish lens attached, you would be advised to rotate the shutter release lock (the knurled ring underneath the shutter release) to prevent this happening.

However, the clip might in time cause wear marks on the front surface of the shutter release button.  These would be more obvious with the later cameras (like the one in this picture), which have a shiny shutter release button.

The siting of the strap lugs was identified as a problem when the Exakta 66 (1984-2000) was designed, and the problem was slightly alleviated by the design of the Exakta 66 strap cradle, which moved the strap fixing points further away from the sides of the camera mirror chamber (see picture here).  However, the designers of the Exakta 66 felt that there could still be a problem accessing the shutter release, and designed a shutter release extension for this purpose.  (You can see both these items here - scroll down.)

I have one of these shutter release extensions, but do not find it necessary to use it on my Exakta 66 cameras, which always have the Exakta 66 carrying cradle and strap attached.

It would have been better if the designers of the Pentacon Six had sited the strap lugs on the outer front edges of the camera body, as was done by the manufacturers of most other cameras, but the fact is that they didn’t do this, and the designers of the Exakta 66 did not include this change among the modifications that they introduced.

Would the Baierfoto clips be better?
 

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Is the situation better if we use the Baierfoto clips?  Here we have a Baierfoto clip attached to an Op/Tech USA 3/8" webbing system connector.

As we can see, it comfortably clears the shutter release button.  The Baierfoto clips are spring-loaded and of course have been designed specifically for the strap lugs on the Pentacon Six.  They therefore click audibly and positively into place and can’t accidentally slip out.
 

Camera strap lug wear

Some users may be concerned that the camera strap lugs might have suffered exceptional wear in use with a previous strap, making the attachment of the strap less secure.  But in that case, it would be advisable to replace the camera strap lugs anyway.  However, I recently asked Tom Page is he had encountered Pentacon Six cameras with this type of wear of the camera strap lugs.  He has been servicing and repairing Praktisix and Pentacon Six camera for about 40 years has worked on hundreds of these cameras, and he said that he has never encountered this problem, so it sounds extremely improbable.

Conclusion


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This view from a different angle shows the extremely low profile of the Baierfoto clip (again attached to Op/Tech USA’s 3/8" webbing).

In order to use any Op/Tech USA strap or their dual harness, you need to use the Op/Tech USA webbing system connectors, and combining them with Baierfoto’s clips may be the optimal solution if you want to attach the system connectors to the camera.

However, you should bear in mind that when any strap is connected directly to the Pentacon Six, closing top of the camera case is difficult, and carrying the camera by the strap with the case closed is likely to damage the front of the case quite quickly.

My preferred solution is to mount the strap – whether from Baierfoto or from Op/Tech USA – onto the metal loops that are situated at the top of the base of the camera case, at each side.  (See fourth picture down, here.)

This has the following advantages:

  • the bottom half of the case protects the camera
  • it prevents wear to the body
  • it ensures that you can’t accidentally catch the camera back opening latch on anything
  • connecting the strap to the base of the case enables you to close the top of the case when carrying the camera
  • it provides full access to all camera controls.
To do this, one needs neither the Op/Tech USA Super Pro B connectors nor the Baierfoto camera lug clips, but just the strap system of one’s choice from either manufacturer.

It is great that we have two sources of clips and straps for the Pentacon Six, one in the USA (and throughout the world, via Op/Tech USA agents in many countries) and the other in Europe.  Thank you, Op/Tech USA and Baierfoto, for manufacturing these specialist accessories!

But are there other ways to attach straps to your camera?  See another approach here.

To go to introduction to the cameras, click here.

To go back to the introduction to the other accessories, click here.

To choose other options, click below.
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© TRA First published: September 2011, revised December 2011