Gear: Pentacon Six TL

Written by Nasir Hamid on February 13th, 2016

Here are some images from the first test roll through a medium format camera that I picked up recently. The Pentacon Six TL has been on my radar for the last couple of years because of one particular lens, the Carl Zeiss Jena 180/2.8. As luck would have it I came across a nice condition setup for sale last weekend for a reasonable price so I decided it was time to give it a go.

The first thing that struck me was the size of the front element of the 180/2.8 lens, it’s huge! My largest filters are 77mm but this lens requires 86mm filters. The camera is very nice to use, especially with a prism instead of a waist level finder which makes it easier to balance the big lens. The only camera I have that is similar in size and design is a Pentax 6×7 but two immediate differences struck me about the Pentacon Six TL – it’s a 6×6 format camera so you use it in landscape orientation the whole time, also the mirror in it is a lot quieter than the Pentax 6×7 and doesn’t cause as much camera shake. One thing I didn’t realise about the prism is that the viewfinder is not 100%. I’ve got a lot more image in the frame on the film than I remember seeing through the lens. I’m not sure if this is down to the prism or whether you get the same with the waist level finder (which I don’t have).

So far I’ve enjoyed using this camera and lens combo and look forward to seeing more results from it.

[Tech info:] Pentacon Six TL, Carl Zeiss Jena 180/2.8, Kodak Tri-X (expired 2002) developed in Kodak HC110 1+47 for 8 mins.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Marcel Schepers says:

    Did you use a tripod on these shots? I’m asking because of the focal length and weight of the tool at hand.

  2. Urban Hafner says:

    Great portraits, as always! And yes, even with the WLF you don’t see the whole image. I think the non-metering prism doesn’t add much more cutoff but the metering one does.

  3. Steve Reynolds says:


    I have a Pentagon 6 outfit, too – and I really enjoy using it. I have the Kiev metering prism for it – you can by an adaptor bracket from Baierphoto in Germany (Rolf-Dieter Baier). This has a bigger viewfinder image than the P6 prism and is a bit brighter. Most of the Kiev stuff is inferior to the Pentacon, but the prism is one thing they seem to have done a better job of 🙂

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