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06-17-2014, 02:12 AM   #1
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Pentax 6x7 questions

Hi everybody My name is Michael and i have been out of photography for years and years, i used to shoot landscapes. I want to get back into photography mostly landscapes, so i need some information. I have looked around the web and i find mixed opionions on the Pentax 6x7, not the 6x7ii . Im looking on eBay to buy a Pentax 6x7 but im not sure if i need MLU Mirror lockup or not. I read there are problems with this camera as far as vibration issues, blured images , etc. I will always shoot on a tripod, so im sure that will help. What is the real story on this camera, do i need Mirror lock up or not and if i have or dont have is blurring photos , or camera shake a problem.


Im also considering the Maymia RZ 67II , but i think its better off in the studio, and i hear that pentax optics are better than Maymia, thanks any information you can give me.


Michael

06-17-2014, 02:54 AM   #2
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Michael,
Much of what you read on the web can be interpreted as circumstantial and in many more places, purely conjectural. Vibration is not so much a problem, but a feature of the big mechanisms at work in these cameras. MLU is useful for 'separating' both mirror movement and shutter 'whack' in situations where you are handholding a long lens (say 165mm), or even for guaranteeing the best imaging quality with tripod-based work.

Most 6x7 and all of the newer 67 bodies have MLU. You don't have to use it but the fact it is there can be useful; I use it by default all the time (and my 67 virtually lives on a tripod) for every image because I print quite large and I'm getting the very best out of what camera and lenses can deliver. Lots of people do this.

MLU on the 67s is battery-dependent, meaning accidental operation (e.g. in the camera pack) will effectively flatten the battery. Good practice is to tape the MLU button before stowage to prevent the dreaded hissy fit of a finding a dead 67 in woop woop and no spare battery to hand (but of course you will have packed a spare battery!!).

There are a number of stellar performers in the SMC Pentax 67 (and older Takumar) lens line up, among them the 45mm, 55mm, 75mm (two versions) leaf shutter lenses (90mm and 165mm) and snazzy super tele lenses (if your budget stretches to several thousands...). I have no quibble at all with Pentax lenses performance-wise. Overall I'd say it is an affordable, very high quality and rewarding system to use. But there is a caution...

...On buying... Try and get as much information as you can about the condition of any 67 you are interested in if buying on eBay -- ask questions, just as you would buying a car. It's true these cameras are now quite old and heavily-used, well-travelled and belted specimens can turn into a liability with repairs not so much a trip to the corner store as scooting about the web looking for a repairer who knows the ins and outs of these Goldilocks machines. The winding mechanism is a frequent source of grief (people winding aggressively or using undue fource), as is a loss of accuracy of the shutter speeds. Battery compartment corrosion is frequently seen in very old, seldom-used cameras. Light seals for the TTL prism (interchangeable with others) are easily replaced, though back cover seals are extremely fiddly and testy. You really do need to get a touchy-feely, hands-on of any camera to ensure you get a good bit of service from it.
06-17-2014, 04:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply i appriciate it. It sounds like the Pentax 6x7 would be a good choice, there are loads of lenses and bodys available on eBay, i will surely pay attention to the condition of the camera. I think im a little worried of buying one and not being able to see it first hand, that worries me a little, but i think it will be ok if i choose wisely.


I been out of photography for alot of years and i used to print my own black and white and now see all this negative scanning talk , i have no idea what that is, so i have alot of catching up to do. I used to use a Bronica GS 1, and a Toyo 4x5 view camera, never really got into the digital age stuff. Im reading that digital stuff still isnt up to par with good medium format film stuff.


I have been bouncing back and forth with the RZ 67ii and the Penttax 67, i think the simplicity of the Pentax is very appealing and i hear the optics are very good and better than the RZ 67II. I think that not having a film back is kinda a major drawback, cant switch between color and BW, but i guess not so so bad. I think the RZ has a back that turns to landscape and portrait mode, kinda nice, so its been a tough choice, but i think the Pentax for landscape wins out.
06-17-2014, 05:16 AM   #4
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One advantage of Pentax is that excellent service and repair are still available. I picked up a 6x7 a couple of years ago on eBay that had a broken linkage chain for the metering prism (it came with non-metered prism). I had it repaired and serviced by Eric Hendrickson (who has been servicing Pentax for decades) and it came back like new. While the 6x7 is more expensive to service than the 35mm models, Eric is still very reasonable.
The results with the 6x7 have amazed me. I've had the film processed and scanned to CD at Dwayne's photo, but I'm now setting up a darkroom that I've had in storage for 25 years. The only issue with the 6x7 negatives is that my Omega B22XL enlarger (that I bought in 1967) only goes up to 6x6.
I still work mainly in 35mm, but have the 6x7 and Hasselblad for 120. (Hasselblads are also reasonable used now, but cost a LOT more for repair and lenses.)

06-17-2014, 06:53 AM   #5
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Buying a non-mirror lockup version means buying the first generation and a really old camera. It's more likely to need service now or in the near future.
06-17-2014, 07:22 AM   #6
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I have my eye on one with MLU on eBay thats in excellent condition, so we will see how that goes. I think it doesnt have the metered prism, so i will need a hand held meter, which i prefer anyway.


I saw some nice landscape shots here on the forum from the 6x7 they look pretty darn good, im really excited to get one of these cameras.


I was considering the Bronica GS 1 which i have used and is a very nice 6x7 camera, but the available lenses are not close to that of the Pentax.
06-17-2014, 07:49 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Califmike2003 Quote
. I think it doesnt have the metered prism, so i will need a hand held meter, which i prefer anyway.
For landscapes, I'd go with a WLF (aka folding hood). You're most likely going to be using a tripod, right? Why not enjoy 100% view and a lighter more compact camera then. And you can do portrait orientation with a WLF pretty easy on a tripod too. Just food for thought. I shoot my P67 with a WLF even for casual walking around. But the beauty is I can always mount a prism if I need it.
06-17-2014, 10:22 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Califmike2003 Quote
I read there are problems with this camera as far as vibration issues, blured images
Yes, I find that vibration can be an issue. So far that is true with the older 300mm dangling from the front and a tripod extended about 4 inches from base and the shutter at 30th and fired with no MLU.

Unfortunately, almost all of the 1st Gen bodies you find today have not been serviced for over ten years due to the parts going obsolete in the late 80's. The common remedies was to upgrade the parts to make them into almost 2nd Gen.
Any bodies that have spent any time in a humid environments are going to have some issues that will make the vibration issues more obvious due to the single foam bumper that is installed on the gear side of the mirror cage. When fresh, it should stand about 3mm high and compress down to about .9mm. I have 4 old 6x7 bodies and they were more 2mm and gooey or dust. Vibrations are certain even at 1/125th speed.

If you land a 6x7 MLU and serviced within the past 10 years and have the correct foam pad installed, it will deliver the best chances of low vibration and long shooting life overall...and solid tripod as well as sand bags can't hurt either.
Certainly a P67 would be the best bet, but not always as hard mileage can still be a factor.
I recently had the chance to look inside the P67 and notice only a few minor differences and the advance gear looked the same, so the bottom line is that the recently serviced 6x7/MLU or P67 body are good choices.

06-17-2014, 11:12 AM   #9
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I certainly dont want to haul sand bags around to make my pictures better. How do i know if its a 1st gen or 2 gen camera. I would hate to buy one that needs the foam pad fixed right out the gate. The one im looking at looks very very clean, its mint condition, but i guess the foam pad could still need to be replaced.
06-17-2014, 02:04 PM   #10
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You won't need sand bags. You just have to know the limitations of each lens at the different shutter speeds. For landscape work, it is doubtful that you will have issues with shutter shake unless you try some 300mm or longer telephoto work at 1/2 to 1/15 sec. For the 35mm to the 200mm, shutter shake is not an issue. If all your work is landscape and you intend to get just one body, get an MLU camera. If however you do handheld work or large telephoto work on a tripod at high shutter speeds, the non-MLU works fine. The non-lockup bodies have a 21 on the side as a film type indicator, while the newer ones with MLU will say 220 (and 120). I use both the MLU cameras and older non-lockup Honeywell. Each has its different purpose. Having two or more bodies serves two purposes. It gives you more film choice (like film backs) and it gives you a backup in case one fails.

The Mamiya lenses are very close in performance to the Pentax. Not enough difference to sway your decision.

Last edited by desertscape; 06-17-2014 at 02:16 PM.
06-17-2014, 03:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Califmike2003 Quote
I certainly dont want to haul sand bags around to make my pictures better. How do i know if its a 1st gen or 2 gen camera. I would hate to buy one that needs the foam pad fixed right out the gate. The one im looking at looks very very clean, its mint condition, but i guess the foam pad could still need to be replaced.
Foam sealing generally needs to be re-done after 10 years or when you notice the prism or any other finder sitting insecurely. The prism foam is a good example and replacement is fairly straightforward albeit a sticky and gooey affair (foam seal kits are available from a fellow in Japan and they are excellent). As I mentioned in my earlier post, back cover seals are truly horrendously fiddly to replace.

It's all very well for people to say repair of a Pentax 67 is easy in the USA, but I suspect you are here in Australia! That said, finding and securing a minty or well-looked after Pentax 67 is all the more important.
Camera Clinic in Collingwood can do repairs to these cameras, but it has to cannabalise an older body for parts because new spares do not exist. Such parts would be those that have a high reuseability index like the thumb winder (not the internal mechanism), rear cover, battery chamber etc.
06-17-2014, 05:51 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
it has to cannabalise an older body for parts because new spares do not exist

That is the trick, 1st gen parts... silver lens release and the rounded film advance and is geared to have 10 and 21 frames... these parts will not fit. Be very careful if you see a MLU body with the silver lens release and a frame count that goes up to 21. These parts are not compatible and I own one of these Franken-cameras and it came from the west coast here in the US.


QuoteOriginally posted by Califmike2003 Quote
I certainly dont want to haul sand bags around
Sandbag joking aside... realistic precautions and a little double check and you see how your copy of the 6X7 will handle vibrations.
My 300 at 60th and MLU activated looked very clean. If you are doing landscape and going 55mm and 45mm as well as locking it all down with a good tripod, you should not worry too much about this.

I've looked at and conversed with some folks that have had much success.

Good foam pad, shutter bounce clutch, straight mirror bed, lubed properly main spring and such... simply, a proper CL and A should give you a good start.
06-17-2014, 11:37 PM   #13
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I really appriciate everybodys feedback on this subject. Im getting a feeling there are alot of opinions on this camera vibration issue, what im reading here, and all the things im finding on the web. When you Google Pentax 67 shutter vibration alot of results come up on the subject and there are people who say when you start to get into large blowups of photos you can see tt in the photos , that is the vibration. Im not planning on anything close to a 300mm lens maybe 150mm or something like that. I just feel when there is a issue like this, some have no problems, others say they have problems, that to me is a sign to look elsewhere for a camera. I think i need to consider the Maymia RZ 67 II more closely.




I take my landscape very seriously and i want razor sharp images the best i can get for the money i have to spend,its seems that could be in question with the Pentax, thaniks for all your valuable info and i will let you know what i decide.
06-18-2014, 12:36 AM   #14
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And, ah, how old is the information that Google is displaying about this subject? And more critically, how experienced as active photographers, are the people posting such commentary, including a few who I notice, quote, "I have never used a medium format camera or a 6x7...". Seems to me the very same people who would complain about the skin on an orange if they weren't told how to peel it. Seriously, speak to people here on the Pentax forum who have many decades of experience.

I have 35 years experience as a photographer, 24 professionally and don't give any credit to a lot of drivel appearing on the web. Yes, I take photography very seriously too and I have suffered vibration in images just once. Since then...? Nothing.
06-18-2014, 01:08 AM   #15
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I dont want to put alot of stock into what i read on Google, even here it seems like its kinda mixed on the vibration. I see you have been in photography along time and i respect your opinin. I guess when i see things like this issue it concerns me, i dont want to drop a grand on eBay and find out what i was reading was true.


Im from California, im now living in Paris France, i would love to get back into photography and try my hand at trying to sell some work here, big market for it. I have never really got into the digital age of photography, i dont like photoshop hacked up photos, i like BW darkroon work, and having a nice lab print my color stuff. I want top quality images and good optics.. I have used the Bronica GS 1 years ago and loved it, i have used a Maymia RB 67 and it was ok, and i have used a 4x5 camera wihich by far is my favorite to use. I dont want to lug around a 4x5 around Paris. I thought the pentax would fit me nicely.


Im not sure what to do at this point, i found a nice , really nice condtion Pentax 67 with MLU and a 90mm lens for a good price, so im not sure what to do at this moment.
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