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06-10-2014, 06:57 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Historical tidbit

Mr. Fuchikami lives in my neighborhood and is a mostly retired professional landscape photographer. He helped me a lot when I was first getting into MF film photography. I was chatting with him today and he told me a story about the first release Asahi Pentax 6x7. A friend of his who was also a professional landscape photographer was an early adopter and bought the full system, lenses and all. At the time in 1969 the longest lens was the monstrous 800/4. He asked his buddy, Mr. Fuchikami, to help him try out the new kit. In particular they were suspicious that the 800/4 was going to be hard to stabilize. The went out into the field, found a flat, hard rock and set the camera and lens right on it. Then they put some cushioning on the rig and one of them actually sat on it. Hard to get much more stable than that! Nevertheless, the pictures were showing what appeared to be mirror vibrations; a slight touch of motion blur.

The owner took the camera back to Asahi Pentax and explained his tests and showed them the results. Then he asked them to devise some sort of mirror lock up function. They took his camera back to the lab and added an MLU function that was unique. It was triggered with a shutter release cable. As far as Mr. Fuchikami knows, his friend's camera was certainly the first, and possibly the only retro-fitted MLU version of this particular variety. Soon afterwards Asahi Pentax added the lever actuated MLU function to the camera without changing the model name and the rest is history. Mr. Fuchikami mentioned the name of the photographer but I've already forgotten it... should probably ask him again and write it down. Since then, every Pentax 6x7, 67 and 67ii has included the MLU function and it is a bit of a rarity to find one of the pre-MLU 6x7 bodies any more.

06-10-2014, 07:04 AM   #2
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Fascinating story. I wonder how the other camera manufacturers would have responded in similar circumstances?
06-10-2014, 08:06 AM   #3
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Yeah, the 800mm f/4 was a monster with its 8 inch diameter front element. I have one of the non- MLU cameras, one for the US market. They were labeled Honeywell here but elsewhere, Asahi. I use it for hand held work and big glass bird work.
06-10-2014, 08:49 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
Yeah, the 800mm f/4 was a monster with its 8 inch diameter front element. I have one of the non- MLU cameras, one for the US market. They were labeled Honeywell here but elsewhere, Asahi. I use it for hand held work and big glass bird work.
When I first read your post I thought you meant you used the 800mm f/4 for handheld work - you'd have to be Terry Crews to do that!
I would like to play with medium-format film at some point, eventually.

Thanks, OP, for sharing the story - it's always great to hear manufacturers listen to their customers.

06-10-2014, 09:07 AM   #5
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Put a P6x7 on a really flimsy tripod. Lock up the mirror, lightly put your finger on the side of the camera body and with a cable release take the shot. You'll most likely feel the camera move latterly due to the shutter curtain inertia. So the mirror is not the only contribution when its not supported well.

For shutter speeds faster than 1 second, I usually fold my waist level finder and put my hand on top of of it and push down with a gentle force to dampen that curtain action since I typically use a marginal-size tripod.
06-10-2014, 10:24 AM   #6
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The 800 f/4 can't be hand held at 39 lbs. I use the 600 for birds, sometimes with the 1.4x converter and Provia 400X. The 600 can be hand held for certain animal shots. On the tripod, this lens is extremely affected by the shutter. Speeds need to be high to combat it.
06-10-2014, 11:20 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Put a P6x7 on a really flimsy tripod. Lock up the mirror, lightly put your finger on the side of the camera body and with a cable release take the shot. You'll most likely feel the camera move latterly due to the shutter curtain inertia. So the mirror is not the only contribution when its not supported well.
I wouldn't think that having someone sit on the whole affair to stabilize it would be the best, either. Our bodies are constantly producing muscle tremors.

Very interesting story, though!
06-10-2014, 04:51 PM   #8
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A very interesting story indeed.

06-10-2014, 06:46 PM   #9
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Nice story, thanks. That was the old Pentax; maybe Ricoh will value that. So far, it appears they do.
06-10-2014, 07:41 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Put a P6x7 on a really flimsy tripod. Lock up the mirror, lightly put your finger on the side of the camera body and with a cable release take the shot. You'll most likely feel the camera move latterly due to the shutter curtain inertia. So the mirror is not the only contribution when its not supported well.

For shutter speeds faster than 1 second, I usually fold my waist level finder and put my hand on top of of it and push down with a gentle force to dampen that curtain action since I typically use a marginal-size tripod.
I often shot the 6X7 with my hand dampening the shutter motion.
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