Pentacon Six Mount Cameras
by TRA

The Cameras

The Pentacon Six lens mount is found on a remarkably wide range of cameras:
  • The Praktisix, which is the predecessor of the Pentacon Six  (More information on this camera here!)
  • the Pentacon Six and Pentacon Six TL  (More information on these cameras here!)
  • In some countries these cameras were marketed as “Hanimex Praktica” or “Hanimex 66”  (More information on this camera here!)
  • The Pentacon Six TLs (More information on this camera here!)
  • The Kiev 6C, which is the predecessor of the Kiev 60  (More information on this camera here!)
  • The Kiev 60  (More information on this camera here!)
  • The Pentasix  (More information on this camera here!)
  • The Arax 60 and Arax 645  (More information on these cameras here!)
  • The Kiev 90 (645 format)  (More information on this camera here!)
  • The Exakta 66 Mk I – Mk III manufactured between the 1980s and 2000+  (More information on these cameras here!)
    (Information on older, non-compatible cameras called "Exakta 6×6" or "Exakta 66" here)
  • various versions of the Kiev 88 fitted either by the manufacturer or other suppliers with a variation of the Pentacon Six mount:
        The "Kiev "B.i.G" from Brenner 
    (More information on this camera here!)
        The Kiev 88 CM  (Brief information  here; more information to be added in due course)

New in September 2021: For information on camera format sizes, see here.

For information about publicity literature on the Praktisix and the Pentacon Six, see here.

For information about books on these cameras, see here.

Articles in German on cameras with the Pentacon Six mount

(Artikel in deutscher Sprache)

For information on some very special P-6 and Pentacon cameras,
see here.

The Pentacon Six is a high quality medium format single lens reflex camera taking 120 and 220 film for 12 or 24 exposures that are nominally 6cm x 6cm (2¼ x 2¼ inches) – actually 56mm x 56mm, as is standard for medium format cameras.  A TTL metering prism (shown on this camera) is available, as well as an enormous range of lenses and other accessories.  The camera and its predecessor, the Praktisix, was manufactured in East Germany (the GDR) between the mid 1950s and 1990.
For guidance on loading the Pentacon Six, click here.

To read about using flash with the Pentacon Six, click here.

The Kiev 60

The Kiev 60 is manufactured by Arsenal in Kiev, Ukraine.  It is broadly modelled on the German Pentacon Six, and uses the same lens mount.  It is shown here with the TTL metering prism.  The previous Arsenal version of this camera was called the Kiev 6C.  It differs by having the shutter release on the left-hand side, and by also accepting 220 film for 24 exposures, as well as 120 film (12 exposures).  The Kiev 60 only accepts 120 film.

The Exakta 66

The Exakta 66 is a (West) German camera based on the (East) German Pentacon Six chassis and also incorporating the optics from the Pentacon prism.  As well as being clad in a tough rubber coating, it incorporates circuits to transmit the selected shutter speed to a TTL prism that works at full aperture. 

A lug on the aperture ring of lenses from Joseph Schneider, Bad Kreuznach, transmits the chosen aperture value to the meter. 

When the Exakta 66 was launched in what was at that time West Germany, shops carrying it displayed an impressive range of lenses and other accessories, in stylishly-designed boxes carrying the logo of the new camera.
The camera is not to be confused with two other cameras (manufactured in the 1930s and early 1950s, respectively) with the name “Exakta 66”.

For instructions on how to use the Exakta 66 metering prism, see here.

The Kiev 88 with Pentacon Six mount

The Kiev 88 has been available for many years, and is in fact a newer version of a range of cameras all inspired, modelled on or copied from the Hasselblad 1600F and its immediate successor, the 1000F. 
The Hasselblad 1600F was launched in October 1948. It had a stainless steel focal plane shutter with a top speed of 1/1,600 sec. Problems with this shutter led to the release of the Hasselblad 1000F (with a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 sec) in late 1953. 
In 1957 Hasselblad abandoned the production of medium format cameras with focal plane shutters, and introduced the 500C, which used lenses with shutters in them. 
However, the orginal Hasselblad “clone” (if that is what it was), produced by the Arsenal factory in Kiev, Ukraine in 1957 and named the “Salyut” was virtually identical with the Hasselblad 1600F and had a top speed marked 1/1500 sec. 
Its lens mount was the same as the Hasselblad 1600F mount, and this is not compatible with the Pentacon Six. 
The Salyut was produced from 1957 to 1972, and was sometimes marketed, at least in the U.K., with the name “Zenith-80”.  In Germany, it was sold by Foto-Quelle with their brand name, “Revue 6×6” or “Review 80”. 
In 1972 this camera became the Salyut-S, with a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 sec.  The Salyut-S was apparently available until 1980, although from 1975 onwards some of these cameras were produced with the name Kiev-80.  From 1980 onwards, the camera was called the Kiev-88.  However, all these cameras had the original Hasselblad 1600F type lens mount, and therefore do not interest us if we are looking for a camera that can use our Pentacon-Six mount lenses.
For more information on the Hasselblad cameras, I recommend: “The Hasselblad Compendium” by Richard Nordin, published by Hove Books.  ISBN 1-897802-10-2 
For more information on Salyut, Kiev and other “Soviet” cameras, I recommend: “Made in USSR The Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras, Second Edition” by Jean Loup Princelle, published by LE REVE EDITION ISBN 2-9522521-1-4

The Kiev 88 begins to be of interest to us from about 1994, when some of these cameras were modified by changing the lens mount to accept Pentacon-Six mount lenses.  As the distance from the front of the camera to the film plane is greater on the Hasselblad and the Kiev 88 than on the Pentacon-Six, this mount had to be recessed within the front of the body, and some of the early modifications did not accept all Pentacon-Six mount lenses.  For limitations on the compatibility of this modified mount, see Compatibility Issues.

The first Kiev 88 with Pentacon Six mount to be readily available in the West was marketed in Germany by Brenner Fotoversand,.  The camera pictured above was supplied by them, and has also been fitted with a wind crank by KievUSA.  In this picture the Carl Zeiss Jena 120mm Biometar is mounted on the camera.

The viewfinder mounting on the Kiev 88 is compatible with the Hasselblad viewfinder mounting, which allows inter-changeability of waist level finders and prisms.  Although the Hasselblad and Kiev film magazines look virtually identical, they are slightly different and cannot be swapped between the two brands of camera.  However, there are also versions of the Kiev 88 that have been modified either by the manufacturers or by others to make the film magazine compatible with Hasselblad.  A good source for this in the past has been Mike Fourman at Kiev Camera, but his website is no longer running at the present time (March 2007), so I suggest that you contact some of the other vendors listed on my Links page.

For a review of the Kiev 88-6 from Brenner shown above, click here.


Not compatible with the Pentacon Six, but for comparison purposes, here is a Hasselblad 500C with the standard Carl Zeiss Oberkochen 80mm Planar mounted on the camera.  This camera is here fitted with an Arsenal metering prism designed for the Kiev 88. 

For the lens tests section of this website, comparison shots were taken with this camera and some Carl Zeiss Oberkochen lenses. 


What do they weigh?

Here are the weights of the three main cameras referred to on this website, with the details of the Norita and the Hasselblad 500C added for comparison purposes:

All cameras except Hasselblad with metering prism, standard lens with filter & cap, take-up spool but no film or case Metric Weight in grams (g) Weight in pounds (lb) and ounces (oz)
Pentacon Six TL 1,710 g 3 lb 12 1/4 oz
Kiev 60 
(including flash bracket with hot shoe adapter, and strap)
2,025 g 4 lb 7 3/8 oz
Exakta 66 (with Xenotar MF lens, cradle, strap & locking nut) 2,015 g 4 lb 7 oz
Norita 66 1,960 g 4 lb 5 oz
Hasselblad 500C with standard Planar lens with cap but no filter, 120 back with take-up spool and dark slide, Maxwell screen and meter prism 52051, no strap 1,830 g 4 lb ½ oz

Note that the Xenotar MF is the only one of these lenses known to have 7 elements, and the Noritar is the only 6×6 Medium Format standard lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.  An early version of the Planar had 6 elements, a later version, 7.  It is not known which this is, but it was first sold in 1967 and appears to be an early version.  The later version might be heavier.

Important note: I do not have scientific scales; all items are weighed on domestic kitchen scales and are valid for comparison purposes only.  The scales give repeatable weights + approx 5 grams.  Weighing components individually and adding these weights may result in a cumulative error.  I therefore consider that the total weights given in this chart are the most reliable.  Note that manufacturers’ published weights of lenses, reproduced elsewhere on this website, will not include filters or caps.

Also remember that most of these cameras and lenses were produced over many years, and there may have been changes in internal components and materials used.  These weights apply to the cameras that I have.  You may obtain different weights with different scales, or with different examples of these items.

And the winner is …

This is easy, with a clear difference from lightest to heaviest:

1) The lightest
Pentacon Six TL 1,710 g 3 lb 12 1/4 oz
Hasselblad 500C 1,830 g 4 lb ½ oz
Norita 66 1,960 g 4 lb 5 oz
Exakta 66 (with Xenotar MF lens, cradle, strap & locking nut) 2,015 g 4 lb 7 oz
5) The heaviest
Kiev 60 (including flash bracket with hot shoe adapter, and strap) 2,025 g 4 lb 7 3/8 oz

Note that the Exakta 66 is the only one of these cameras offered with a choice of standard lens.  It is here listed with the heaviest of its standard lenses.

Is the Pentacon Six “too big”?  See here.

Other Cameras

But why buy the Pentacon Six or Exakta 66?  Why not one of its rivals: other Medium Format SLR cameras in the 35mm style?
The two most obvious rivals are:

To see a review of these camera systems, click the name of the camera.

To see Operating Instructions for the Pentacon Six, click here.

To read “Myths about the Pentacon Six” click here.

To choose other options, click below.

© TRA January 2002  Latest revision: September 2021