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01-17-2021, 08:45 PM   #1
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Looking to join the Pentax family with a Pentax 67. Advice needed

Hello! I'm on the hunt for a Pentax 67 and have some questions regarding the many options out there. I've been watching videos, reading blogs/forums and trolling eBay for a couple of weeks now and I think I know what I'm looking for, but was hoping someone here could confirm that what I'm looking for is actually what I want.

I'm coming from (and still have) a Hasselblad 503cx which I primarily use for landscape/travel. I'm wanting a 6x7 format to focus more on portraits, but may still use it for all around general photography as well.

Body: Pentax 67 - Most of what I'm seeing in the near-mint range are going for around $850-1100 from Japan which seems crazy, but I think there is a recent increase in demand for this camera. I want MLU for when I do shoot landscape, but aside from that which I know you can get in a late model 6x7, are there any other major benefits to the 67 over the 6x7? I may get a leaf shutter lens in the future to utilize my strobes, not sure if that matters with the body. I'm just assuming a 67 is likely going to be in better overall shape than a 6x7 due to age.

Prism: My eyes aren't what they used to be, and I want to be able to nail focus on the 105mm wide open. I'm used to metering handheld with the Hasselblad, so I'm thinking of going with a non-TTL prism since it sounds like the TTL version often can't be trusted? Which ground glass would be best for me? I typically prefer split prism for film, as that's what I learned on with my first camera (Pentax K1000!) Also, should I consider getting that flip down magnifier? I do wear glasses.

Lens: 105mm f/2.4 SMC and likely a 45mm f/4. I'll be searching for non-yellowed versions of course.

I'm hoping all of this is doable for at or under $1500 shipped. Is there anything in this plan that can be improved or sounds off? Thanks to those who read all of this!!

01-17-2021, 09:12 PM   #2
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G'day yonder Florida,

QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
I'm just assuming a 67 is likely going to be in better overall shape than a 6x7 due to age.
Yes and no. true and false. But I try and sway people to angle for the Pentax 67, not the earlier models. They are so very old now and frequently turn up in these forums with glitches. The definitive answer though, is how it was used early on in the piece, and how it was used subsequently. The cameras are vulnerable to niggles and faults, exacerbated by brutal handling (especially the winding mechanism), both minor and serious (sometimes requiring repairs that can defeat the purpose). Ideally, fingering a camera of your desire is better than eyeballing it on the web. I just feel, deep within me, this is the best way to do it, even though it is wholly impractical for so many.


QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
Prism: My eyes aren't what they used to be, and I want to be able to nail focus on the 105mm wide open. I'm used to metering handheld with the Hasselblad, so I'm thinking of going with a non-TTL prism since it sounds like the TTL version often can't be trusted?

"My eyes aren't what they used to be" Tell me about that...

If you need specific dioptric correction for the Pentax 67 (the later model is implicit in this designation, as opposed to the 1969-vintage Pentax 6x7) the right angle viewing attachment is a good option (2 available, the 6x7 and 67, one with a handy correction dial which shows just how much to or fro you have adjusted it), though of course it is fiddly and must be removed for transporting the camera. It would be like looking for teeth on a on a galah in the search of dioptric correction lenses to specifically match your eyesight deficit; all manner of experiments have been tried including swapping a Nikon F100 eyepiece. The correction I have is only approximate to my deficit; it works but I use both eyes to focus.

QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
Lens: 105mm f/2.4 SMC and likely a 45mm f/4. I'll be searching for non-yellowed versions of course.
Both are crackers and a good pairing for starting out with the 6x7 system. If you get GAS, the penalty is an ever-increasing gain in portly weight. The camera stuff, I mean.


The 45mm, (82mm filter) if it matters, has a seldom-seen filter clasp at the rear element, in the off-chance you want to tug at the forelocks of a bygone era, and play with gelatin correction filters those slender and occasionally delightfully gooey gelatin filters. It is a very sharp and comfortable lens to use, very well suited to the landscape genre. Slap a polariser on this pup though and you are looking at a significant impediment to focusing, especially in overcast light or low light. Back to the right-angle finder to get around this annoyance.

I do not have the 105mm as the f/ length does not work in my scheme. The SMC Pentax 67-designated lenses will not have yellow-tint (aka Thorium, much loved as a dinner table ping-pong game discussing the perils of deadly radiation poisoning, when a poorly-cooked chicken will more likely poison you and much more quickly...). Be very careful and establish clear and unambigious lines of communication with sellers in Japan. Descriptions are often of the cut-and-paste variety shared amongst a cohort of dealers big and small, never really customised in minutiae for specific listings, so it is very much a case of 'buyer beware'. Ensure you have the option for return of the camera and the seller carries responsibility for the costs of doing so, especially where a fault exists and that fault would have been obvious to the seller. Returning cameras from distant countries to Japan is not at all cheap or economical.
01-17-2021, 11:58 PM   #3
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Many thanks for the quick reply! I hadn't seen that right-angle finder but it looks like that might be the ticket. I did see a video of a guy that mentioned almost selling his 67 until he realized the previous owner had screwed in a Nikon corrective lens into the prism. Is this the Nikon F100 you mention? Are those still readily available, or do you think the right-angle is still the better option?

Regarding the option to hold one of these before purchasing, that's not looking too promising for me here. My local shop hasn't had one in quite a while outside of customer repairs, so it's possible the first time I actually put my hands on one is after spending a small fortune to get it from across the globe.

Lastly, regarding the TTL option, would you trust the 67 TTL meter, or should I continue using my handheld meter (or phone app). I'm sure it can be calibrated, but is it something that needs to be done regularly? If non-TTL is the way to go, is there a specific one that is better than the others (more viewable image area or perhaps slightly brighter?)

Thanks again!
01-18-2021, 02:49 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
Many thanks for the quick reply! I hadn't seen that right-angle finder but it looks like that might be the ticket. I did see a video of a guy that mentioned almost selling his 67 until he realized the previous owner had screwed in a Nikon corrective lens into the prism. Is this the Nikon F100 you mention? Are those still readily available, or do you think the right-angle is still the better option?
There is an interesting thread here on PF somewhere about the undeniably frustrating experiment by a P67 owner trying to get a near-enough dioptric correction lens fitted from a Nikon F100. I think some modification of that (F100) lens would be required. Additionally, the native P67 dioptric lens is encased in a knurled metal ring which would have to be cut open (e.g. with a fine circular-blade Dremel cutter). Something about the thickness of the F100 lens being a sticking point.

I do think a lot of fuss and tedium could be saved by going just for the right-angle finder; ensure it is fungus-free!


QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
Regarding the option to hold one of these before purchasing, that's not looking too promising for me here. My local shop hasn't had one in quite a while outside of customer repairs, so it's possible the first time I actually put my hands on one is after spending a small fortune to get it from across the globe.

It is a risk you will have to take; I understand. It was costly enough way back when I had my P67 shipped from the USA!


QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
Lastly, regarding the TTL option, would you trust the 67 TTL meter, or should I continue using my handheld meter (or phone app). I'm sure it can be calibrated, but is it something that needs to be done regularly? If non-TTL is the way to go, is there a specific one that is better than the others (more viewable image area or perhaps slightly brighter?)
The P67 has a 5-stop range TTL meter (–2.5 / Zero / +2.5) which will give reliable results even with finicky transparency film, where the margin for error is far less generous than negative stock. The Pentax 67 TTL meter, of which plenty are available, including NIB (but again, really, really check this is true if you find one), is a better buy than the ancient Pentax 6x7, or even more archaic Asahi-Pentax 6x7 prisms. The important thing to watch out for is that the meter has not sustained obvious heavy damage (dents, fractures, prolific brassing...) from e.g. persistent knocking about. Your, but preferably the seller, needs to ensure the meter moves rapidly with a changing of aperature and/or shutter speed — with no stalling, flutter, over- or under tops and drops.

All of the TTL meters present the same truncated (95%) view of the scene; alternative finders like the waist-level or chimney finder (with dioptric correction and eyecup) provide for 100% view coverage. Either/both would be used with a separate hand-held meter, remembering of course the P67 only ticks down down to 1 second, after which you have take over (Bulb is what I use a lot of the time). Almost all of my photography is way beyond 1 second (metered with a Sekonic L7585D multispot). Re-calibration of TTL meters (or any meter, even the gas or electricity meter...) is not in my league, but is possible by those with appropriate skills and parallel testing facilities that confirm the meter is measuring correctly.

The native P67 focusing screen can be a bummer in low light; it is grainy and coarse, but not insurmountable. A retinue of tools to fall back on are essential e.g. the right-angle finder (positionable at any place around its orbit), or the central-spot area finder — a somewhat mischievous metal attachment good at bruising foreheads, scratching glasses and poking eyes (I have this device too, purely as an ornament and talking piece about appalling engineering...). Years ago there was an enthusiastic push to remove the native P67 focusing screens and replace them with the much-vaunted Beattie IntenseScreens. The problem though was firstly an accurate fit in the camera and subsequent calibration (3-point focus check), and more critically, the introduction of unpredictable metering errors from the additional brightness and thickness of the screen — something I also experienced (with attendant curses and swearing) with an IntenseScreen installed in my EOS1N decades back,which really screwed the meter's understanding of light values, irrespective of CWA, Eval, Spot or Partial. Summary : AVOID.

01-18-2021, 11:01 AM   #5
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Hi,

I can recommend a trader here in Australia.

His e-mail address is Peter Karanokilas<pertek7@optushome.com.au;>

He is located here in Sydney, Australia and at present has some Pentax 67 equipment for sale.

Let me know if you want his phone number and if you do contact him tell him that Gordon from Cameraholics gave you his contact details.

Regards,
Gordon.
01-19-2021, 02:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
I want MLU for when I do shoot landscape,
I own a non-MLU 6x7 (and MLU ones too) and use it for landscpes successfully. It turns out that the shutter is more of a problem than the mirror as far as vib is concerned. Large tripods are required for this camera, mostly due to its shutter kick. There are still some of these non-MLU cameras available in near mint condition and can be an affordable way to get into this system. Can't recommend the TTL prisms that are this old however, as they do not age well and become inaccurate. The 67 version would be a safer bet, but with a much higher price tag. I would not ignore the non-MLU cameras though.
01-19-2021, 07:07 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
I own a non-MLU 6x7 (and MLU ones too) and use it for landscpes successfully. It turns out that the shutter is more of a problem than the mirror as far as vib is concerned. Large tripods are required for this camera, mostly due to its shutter kick. There are still some of these non-MLU cameras available in near mint condition and can be an affordable way to get into this system. Can't recommend the TTL prisms that are this old however, as they do not age well and become inaccurate. The 67 version would be a safer bet, but with a much higher price tag. I would not ignore the non-MLU cameras though.
I appreciate the insight! At this point I think I'm just trying to take the safer path of hoping that a newer model will get me some extra longevity. As far as prism is concerned, a working TTL is nice, but not required for me. I'm much more interested in whether there are any benefits amongst any of the prisms in brightness or focus. I'm assuming both of those are completely reliant on the ground glass, but I can't seem to find a consensus on what the best combo is, so I'm just looking for a clean Pentax 67 TTL Pentaprism for now and will hope that whatever body I buy has ground glass I can work with.
01-19-2021, 10:07 PM   #8
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The non-metered prism for the 67II is brighter than the ones made for the 6x7 and 67 and will fit on the older models. It has silver reflective surfaces vs aluminum ones. The AE prism for the 67II will not work on the older models. It you are going to get a TTL prism, use a gray card to meter with it.

01-20-2021, 01:13 AM   #9
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If you are only replacing an older TTL meter prism with a more recent incarnation (e.g. Pentax 67 prism), nothing will be gained by way of brightness on ground glass. The real culprit is the inherently coarse native focusing screen. It could perhaps be swapped out for the acute matte, or something like with gridlines (this type of focusing screen is installed in my EOS 1N and invaluable for tilt-shift manipulation).

I have found the chimney finder (it has dioptric correction and an eyecup) gives a perceived brighter view (and actual 100% view coverage), but is awkward to the point of being a nuisance in landscape photography -- mine especially where everything is very often in portrait orientation!
01-20-2021, 11:21 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
The real culprit is the inherently coarse native focusing screen
The brighter finder in the 67II was due to both the new prism coating and the multi-coating used on the focusing screens. The old screens were not anti-reflection coated. The 67II screens are pretty expensive though.
01-20-2021, 07:15 PM   #11
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I'm starting to lean more toward avoiding TTL prisms altogether and possibly saving some money by buying a bare body without prism, or one with a TTL that is listed as non-working. Is there anything inside the viewfinder of a TTL prism that would be considered obtrusive compared to a non-TTL? As-in, would the meter indicator get in the way of any part of the frame, or does it exist outside of the image? I'm looking at a clean 67 for sale now with a TTL viewfinder in good physical shape, but not working. Would it benefit me to spend $100 or so to find a non-TTL prism to replace the broken one, or would the two essentially be the same at that point?

Sorry for the newbie questions, but I honestly don't know what the view through the eyepiece looks like in any of these options.
01-20-2021, 08:18 PM   #12
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There is no intrusion/obtrusion of the TTL meter needle as the indicator is masked and in the very lower central part of the viewfinder, outside the working perimeter of the viewfinder proper.


Find out from the seller why the TTL meter prism isn't working, and determine if he/she has made any attempts to repair it, or if you could (?).
I would personally avoid a non-working prism of any type and get just the body only, adding a fully-functioning prism later, if it so suited me.

You can certainly focus directly on the focusing screen without any sort of viewfinder attached. It will require care and practice though. It's something I do occasionally when I get jack of the dark view of the 45mm f4 lens used with a polariser in marginal light.
01-20-2021, 10:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Find out from the seller why the TTL meter prism isn't working, and determine if he/she has made any attempts to repair it, or if you could (?)
I did ask, and they said it never worked for them. It is an older Asahi Pentax TTL version on a 67, was that combo ever officially released? If not this may be some sort of Frankenstein combo previously put together.

QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
I would personally avoid a non-working prism of any type and get just the body only, adding a fully-functioning prism later, if it so suited me.
I have seen one body without any prism in Near-Mint condition from Japan, and the one I mentioned with a non-functional TTL in close to, if not Near-Mint condition for $100 less (with a 'best offer' option that I'm tempted to try). I figure worst case, I could eventually buy a working TTL version if I wanted that option and still be ahead by $100 with the broken TTL auction, but if I find I still handhold meter going forward, even thr broken one will still work just fine and I save several hundred.

Or I continue to wait... Hate this part...
01-20-2021, 10:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickelphoto Quote
I'm starting to lean more toward avoiding TTL prisms altogether and possibly saving some money by buying a bare body without prism, or one with a TTL that is listed as non-working. Is there anything inside the viewfinder of a TTL prism that would be considered obtrusive compared to a non-TTL? As-in, would the meter indicator get in the way of any part of the frame, or does it exist outside of the image? I'm looking at a clean 67 for sale now with a TTL viewfinder in good physical shape, but not working. Would it benefit me to spend $100 or so to find a non-TTL prism to replace the broken one, or would the two essentially be the same at that point?

Sorry for the newbie questions, but I honestly don't know what the view through the eyepiece looks like in any of these options.
If you go for the non-metered P67 prism then you do not have to worry about the meter linkage chain on your Pentax 67. You can remove the prism or lens in any order. (Note this issue was fixed on the 67ii)

If you want user replaceable focusing screens then the 67ii is the way to go. You can get regular or bright screens for critical focusing. (Theses 67ii screens are getting harder to find are are on the expensive side)

One P67 finder that gets ignored is the folding one and it shows 100% of the viewing area and has built in magnifier. (It does not block stray light very well on sunny days, but is cheaper and very small & light weight)

Lots to ponder....

Phil.
01-20-2021, 10:36 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
If you go for the non-metered P67 prism then you do not have to worry about the meter linkage chain on your Pentax 67.
The seller of the non-working TTL version sent this pic when I asked what ground glass was in the body. Looking closer, I'm not sure I see a chain in there, but maybe. Is this what it looks like when the chain is broken, hence why TTL does not work? If so, I do have a very capable local repair shop that I trust, but any idea what I might expect a chain repair to cost, if that's even possible?
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