Whirlwind tour of the Pentax 67 medium format camera


At the last <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/groups/1223111@N20/“> Saturday Safari </a> (a social get together/ photoshoot) I was lucky enough to run a roll through a beautiful Pentax 67. It was a great experience, although circumstances necessitated I had too shoot the roll very quickly. Nevertheless I liked the result, but I liked the experience even more.

Plenty of people have written about this camera, so with half an hour’s experience, I can’t add much. For real details, I can point you at<a href=”http://photo.net/equipment/pentax/67>a concise but detailed review at photo.net by Hamish Reid</a>.

However, I don’t think many have produced badly sketched annotated illustrations about the 67, so I thought I’d do that. You can print it out and colour it in, kids! Mail it to Pentax with 100 words on why they were mean to discontinue their medium format gear in 06. Be warned, I don’t think they’ll give out any prizes for the best entry.

bad drawing of a good camera

The Pentax 67

So, what did I like about the experience?

The handle, in combination with the considerable heft, just felt perfectly balance. Beautiful to use. If you know the Monty Python sketch about “Tinny” and “Woody” – well, this was as woody as it gets. Quite literally woody.

The pentaprism viewfinder. The field of view was so large it was almost like looking out a window. It contrasted with the experience of manual shooting through a dinky D5000.

The focusing screen had concentric rings of microprisms in the centre. Same system as my Zenit EM, except that on the Pentax it works beautifully and actually does make focusing easier.

I am unsure about about the 6 by 7 ratio. I am more used to square and I think I now prefer it. If part of what film photography does nowadays is to make a virtue of not being digital, then 6by6 is a lot “less digital” than 6by7 – but arguably 6by7 is more distinguished than the 35mm format.

Here are the  photos from the roll.

playing in the creek

more mangroves

still playing in the creek

Thanks for loaning me Zach's camera, Cory!

mangrove network

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About postdigitalblog

Lecturer in Multimedia at CQUni Wrangler of young kids @ home in Yeppoon Otherwise, photographer and digital media type.
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6 Responses to Whirlwind tour of the Pentax 67 medium format camera

  1. linkwize says:

    Loved your little sketch and the note about ‘heft’. I used what must have been the 76 model way back when I was at art school. It seemed like a joke because it looked just like a regular Pentax that had been zapped by an embiginating raygun. Good to see they still exist. The handle grip would be an advantage over the one that I used. It was kind of hard to handle without and so back then I preferred the handling of the RB 67. Plus, as I recall, you couldn’t exchange pre-loaded backs on the Pentax. Has that changed?

  2. Bren Murphy says:

    I don’t think it had a film back, not 100 percent sure, as I only had hold of it for about 20 mins. But that 20 mins made a big impression. And yes, the handle just made it feel so balanced and nice.
    I have a Kiev 60 which is a similar class of camera, although obviously cheaper and rougher. I might go back to the same location and shoot a roll on that to see how they compare. Glad you liked the sketch. I really should take lessons… 🙂

  3. Phil Spencer says:

    Enjoyed this. I took a lot of photos with the old screw mount Spotmatic, and found the microprism focusing much easier than my present digital. Although my aging eyes might have something to do with that too, I was 20 years younger then..

    I’ve seen a very enthusiastic review of the new 40MP Pentax 645D in Jan/Feb 2011 Camera. Still no exchangeable backs, but with exposed digital sensors I (like Camera) think this may be A Good Thing rather than a handicap.

  4. When I have a Pentax 67II & lenses, my kit will finally be complete.

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