Pentax 67 – FrankenMonster?

Pentax 67
         

I really don’t know why some people refer to the Pentax 67 as “FrankenMonster”. Yeah, it’s big. But it’s certainly no Fuji 680! Camera and prism weigh around 3.99 lbs. However, to put that in perspective, a Nikon F4s weighs around 3+ lbs with batteries. So, calling it “super big” doesn’t really compute. And the F4s is a 35mm camera. Have you ever compared a 6×7 cm frame to a 35mm frame? The difference is startling. In fact, most people who observe the difference side by side question their continued use of the smaller format. That said, I use both formats.

 

Pentax 67

 

Pentax 67 – Since 1969!

Pentax introduced it in 1969 as the Pentax 6×7. They changed the name a couple of times, (6×7, 67, 67II), and newer models didn’t have the ‘ASAHI’ name emblazoned above ‘Pentax’. While I’ll concentrate on the 67, (most features and cheaper than the II), many professionals have raved about this camera. And for good reason. The 6 x 7 cm format has been considered the “perfect” aspect ratio, combined with perfect size. This has been, and still is, many photographers workhorse. Especially in fashion. At the time it was released, it was about half the price of a similar Hasselblad setup. And with a bigger negative. It also had as many viewfinder variants as the Blad.

 

Pentax 67

 

The upgrades included the Pentax 6×7 MU in 1979 which offered mirror lock-up, the Pentax 67 in 1989 and finally the Pentax 67II in 1998. If you’re not a tripod and waist level finder kind of guy, (or gal), I advise the wooden grip. While it’s not nearly unusable handheld, like a Mamiya RB67/RZ67, it is not an optimal ergonomic experience without it. But when people want me to find a true complaint about the camera,…especially with the 105mm lens, ( and the stellar Pentax f/2.8 90mm!), the only thing I can think of is mirror slap. Holy cow! I know this is an extreme exaggeration,…but have you ever shot a 12 gauge shotgun? Well, transfer that mental image to camera scale.

Still a Cult

Photographers like Tim Walker and Spencer Tunick, plus a bevy of other photographers, are still using this camera. Not quite a 4×5. But most of the convenience and shooting style of 35mm, and as near as large format that you’ll get, without actually going large format.

OK. The viewfinder. It’s fabulous, and as much as it pains me to say it, it’s brighter than my Rollei. And the Hasselblad, too. But there is one thing I don’t like about it. The viewfinder, though very bright, (with Beattie Intenscreen), is only 90% through the pentaprism.  However,…knew there was a ‘however’,…when using a waist-level finder it’s 100%. Go figure.

 

Pentax 67

Top Deck

 

Pentax 67 Model Comparison

6×7

67

67II

Year introduced

1969

1989

1998

Mount

Pentax 6×7 dual bayonet

Pentax 6×7 dual bayonet

Pentax 6×7 dual bayonet

Meter range

2.5 – 19 EV (TTL pentaprism viewfinder)

2.5 – 19 EV (TTL pentaprism viewfinder)

2 – 21 EV (AE pentaprism viewfinder)

Meter pattern

Average

Average

m (6 segment) c s

ISO range

12/01/00

12 – 3200

6 – 6400

Film type

120 and 220 roll film

120 and 220 roll film

120 and 220 roll film

No. of exposures

120 film: 10, 220 film: 21

120 film: 10, 220 film: 21

120 film: 10, 220 film: 21

Data imprint on film

No

No

No

Exposure modes

M, B, X, T

M, B, X, T

Av, M, B, X, T

Exposure compensation

Not applicable

Not applicable

+/- 3 EV

Exposure memory lock

Not applicable

Not applicable

Yes

Shutter speeds (auto)

Not applicable

Not applicable

30 – 1/1000s

Shutter speeds (manual)

1 – 1/1000s

1 – 1/1000s

4 – 1/1000s

Shutter speeds (mechanical)

None

None

None

Half step speeds in M and Tv

No

No

No

Self timer

No

No

Yes

Mirror lock-up

Yes, except for the first year of production

Yes

Yes

Auto bracketing

Not applicable

Not applicable

No

Multiple exposures

No

No

Yes

Winder

No

No

No

Built-in flash

No

No

No

TTL flash

No

No

Yes

P-TTL flash

No

No

No

Sync speed

1/30s

1/30s

1/30s

Flash exposure comp

Not applicable

Not applicable

No

Autofocus

No

No

No

Autofocus sensitivity

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Viewfinder

Exchangeable. Pentaprism 90% coverage, waist level 100% coverage

Exchangeable. Pentaprism 90% coverage, waist level 100% coverage

Exchangeable. Pentaprism 0.75x magnification and 90% coverage, waist level 100% coverage

Viewfinder type

Pentaprism, TTL pentaprism with light meter, folding waist level, rigid waist level magnifying hood

Pentaprism, TTL pentaprism with light meter, folding waist level, rigid waist level magnifying hood

Pentaprism, AE pentaprism with light meter and Av autoexposure, folding waist level, rigid waist level magnifying hood

Diopter correction

No

No

-2.5 – +1.5

Exchangeable screen

Yes (at service center)

Yes (at service center)

Yes

Depth of field preview

Yes (on lens)

Yes (on lens)

Yes (on lens)

Image size

55 x 70 mm

55 x 70 mm

55 x 70 mm

Battery

6V alkaline or silver oxide battery

6V alkaline or silver oxide battery

2c CR123A

External battery pack

Yes, for use in cold temperatures

Yes, for use in cold temperatures

No

Size (W x H x D)

184 x 149 x 91 mm (with pentaprism, without lens)

177 x 150 x 91 mm (with TTL prism, without lens)

185.5 x 151 x 106 mm (with AE prism, wothout lens)

Weight

1290 g, 1750 g with pentaprism finder

1290 g, 1810 g with TTL pentaprisom

1660 g with AE pentaprism finder

Comment

Accepts leaf shutter lens for flash synchronization to 1/500s.
The TTL pentaprism with lightmeter couples to the shutter speed and aperture and provides for manual ‘match needle’ exposure setting

Accepts leaf shutter lens for flash synchronization to 1/500s.
The TTL pentaprism with lightmeter couples to the shutter speed and aperture and provides for manual ‘match needle’ exposure setting

Accepts leaf shutter lens for flash synchronization to 1/500s.
The AE pentaprism with lightmeter couples to the shutter speed and aperture and provides for Av autoexposure and manual ‘match needle’ exposure

 

Excellent Lenses

When using the TTL pentaprism meter, metering is displayed with an analog indicator. (yay!) Film speed is set on the shutter dial and the aperture is set on the lens. Easy peasy. Focus is accurate and easy with the microprism, and apertures click into place firmly. While I’ve only tried the 105mm and 90mm lenses, they are easily as sharp and contrasty as my Rollei Zeiss lenses. Not better. But they do ‘draw’ differently. Although, you do get a bigger negative/positive.

 

Pentax 67

Chimney Finder

 

Well, with lenses attached,…I cannot lie. This is a very substantial, “pit bull” of a camera. While not as bad as some would make it out to be, investing in a shoulder type strap is probably a good idea. Unless you’re just a studio shooter. Or the Incredible Hulk. The shutter, lens focus, crank and spooling, (loading), are smooth as silk. So no issues there. But like the relative “baby” camera I mentioned above, the Nikon F4s, it’s an all metal tank, and makes a great weapon in a bar room brawl. Remember, the weight above is “without” lens. OK, you got the idea.

Main Differences are Minor

The main difference between the 67 and 67 II, (besides they changed a few parts to plastic on the 2), is;

  • AE mode and six segment multi-pattern metering with selectable spot or center-weighted metering.
  • Dial-controlled exposure compensation.
  • Memory lock.
  • Multiple exposure capability.
  • TTL metered auto flash when used with hot shoe on accessory grip.
  • Large LCD data panel.

There are a couple of other things that were slightly moved, etc., but they are both great cameras. I’d probably stay away from the ‘6X7’, because of age, missing features, and the price difference is relatively small.

Manual

   
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