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Nick's Classic Corner - No 27 - Pentax 67

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    From the sublime to the ridiculous - having just written about the tiny Minox and fairly titchy Rollei A110, I now move on to something at the other end of the size scale. It's certainly not the biggest camera ever made, but boy does it sometimes think it is! The Pentax 67 has often been described as a 35mm SLR on steroids, and it certainly looks like a scaled-up 35mm model. Very much scaled up... It's one of only a handful of medium format cameras that adopted this style, the Pentacon 6 and relatives being the other best-known example. In fact it also looks like a very, very, very scaled up Auto 110.
    So the camera's a monster - it's big and heavy, and has a huge mirror that's infamous for the slap it produces. This can all make the camera very hard to hand-hold, which begs the question as to why it's that format...
    Even on a tripod, the mirror can induce camera shake. And on the original 6x7, you had to live with it - there's no lock-up. The original model was introduced in 1969, and MLU was only introduced in 1976...
    My model is 1990's updated version, the 67. Not all that updated - the later 67 II is a much more modern camera. However, the 67 has everything you might need to produce excellent pictures. They all use 120 film to produce 10 pictures in a nominal 6x7 cm format. 220 can also be used - the original model squeezed 21 frames from it, apparently, but the later ones just manage 20. However, I've never tried it with 220. I've really only shot Velvia, and a little colour neg film.
    My 67 has another feature to make handholding more possible - the wooden grip. This is a marvellous bit of kit that slides onto a couple of studs on the front left, and engages a small screw. The entire heft of the camera can then be comfortably wielded with the left hand, and there's an accessory shoe on top. The right hand then feels free to wind on and shoot.
    Shutter speed dial (1-1/1000 via a huge focal plane shutter) is on the extreme left of the topplate, and locks into an extension on the TTL prism. The prism is immense, with few frills - just a metering switch. In the finder is a simple match needle, shown underneath a vast acreage of (in my case, gridded) focusing screen. On the right is the shutter button (with locking collar) and windon lever (with integral frame counter). On the right of the body is a 120/220 switch. On the left of the mirrorbox are the flash sync sockets (Pentax as ever providing FP and X sockets) and the lens release button - on the right is the mirror up button.
    The base has the back release catches, the battery compartment (PX28) and tripod bush.
    The lens mount is a double bayonet, internal and external - even the standard internal one is massive.
    Lots of lenses are available for the camera - focal lengths are pretty much exactly double the equivalent 35mm focal length - standard lens is the 105mm f2.4, but I personally prefer the slightly wider 90mm f2.8 Leaf Shutter lens. I also use a 55mm, 200mm and sometimes 2x teleconvertor.
    It doesn't have intechangeable backs, owing to design, but the back can be replaced with an NPC Polaroid back. Personally, I have always tried to use it on a tripod for landscapes, but it can be very effective on a monopod or indeed handheld with care, especially using the grip. Results are gorgeous - a lovely big neg (or positive) from great (and fairly inexpensive) lenses.

    I like this camera - sure, the mirror slap is a pain, and it's just absurdly big, but it handles better than you might think, and delivers some of the best results possible with rollfilm. Great camera.
  2. PeteE

    PeteE Well-Known Member

    I bought the MK I Mirror Up version 18/11/1980 with 105mm,200mm and 75mm all for £755-90 inc 15% VAT and when I looked the 75mm was the 'Shift' version ! Then the PRICES ROCKETED UP due to value of the British Pound going down ( as USUAL ! ) I did a lot of 6x7 slides with it hoping to earn some money from an agency and lugged it all on Aircraft to KENYA with the Pentax Club of Great Britain-- well, all that EFFORT was wasted -- they were taken over by TopFoto and now they have sent back all my transparencies as they no longer want 'Hard Copy' only Digital full frame cameras. I did a couple of wedding shoots but the very slow 1/30 flash synch speed was useless for fill-in flash or even when there was a lot of ambient light around inside. I did a lot of Architectuiral work with the shift lens until that company went broke ( as USUAL ! )
    Kenya 1984 Elephants from hide, Agfa CT18 film, 200mm f4 lens

    Kenya 02 by pentaxpete, on Flickr

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