Pentax 67II medium format SLR camera looks similar to
and handles just like an oversize 35mm SLR in every respect
so there is minimal learning necessary to switch up to
a far larger format 6x7cm image which is approximately
four and a half times larger than a conventional 35mm
format image. When the 67II is placed next to a "pro"
35mm SLR and you lift both cameras, there is actually
not that much difference in the size or weight especially
when you realize the film format is so much larger.
Photos © 1999, Robert E. Mayer, All Rights Reserved
The recently introduced Pentax
67II medium format SLR camera extensively updates the original model
Pentax 67 which was introduced in 1969 by incorporating today's
technologies. This resulted in improved performance, excellent maneuverability
and reliability while retaining compatibility with existing 67 system
lenses and user-friendly accessories. This medium format SLR is designed
for professionals and advanced amateurs; not only those individuals
who have owned the original Pentax 67 (and still have this equipment)
but also serious 35mm SLR users who seek larger film images. Since the
control layout and handling are very similar to most 35mm cameras, transition
to this far larger image camera is relatively easy. One appealing aspect
of the 6x7 format is it produces almost the same proportions as standard
photographic papers, thus little if any, image cropping is needed when
making 8x10, 16x20, or bigger enlargements. Besides, these large, crisply
detailed, images are well suited to really big enlargements.
The major exterior design change is a large right-side grip protrusion
in the front plus a thumb hook on the back cover for even firmer right-hand
gripping while holding it to the eye for active shooting.
Switching between 120 roll film (10 frames) and 220 roll film (21 frames)
only requires sliding the film pressure plate to the inside marking
for the film type in use when the back is open. A newly designed, thumb-operated
film wind-up lever makes film advance smooth and rapid. A new film transport
mechanism is said to transport the film more smoothly and accurately
than on the original 67, that's why 21 frames instead of the usual
20 can be taken on one roll of 220 format film.
bright winter sun backlighting did not fool the TTL metering
of the Pentax 67II. Interestingly, the crystalline sparkles
on the snow prismatically refracted many different colors
when this chrome was viewed with a strong loupe. (Kodak
Ektachrome E100SW, 105mm f/2.8 lens at f/11, aperture priority
When the accessory hot shoe
grip is attached to the left side of the body you not only have an extra
secure two-handed grip but you also obtain a dedicated hot shoe needed
for TTL metered flash operation. The grip protrudes forward from the body
and is contoured for a positive grip. Since it attaches to the twin lugs
normally used for the neck strap, there are two additional lugs on the
grip itself to support the neck strap. A five-pin dedicated shoe terminal
transmits data between the flash and grip.
In addition to a standard PC terminal there is a four-pin dedicated terminal
for use with the Pentax AF 400T handle-type flash unit without needing
the grip. The Pentax flash units all operate in TTL metered auto flash
mode and manual plus additional applications such as contrast-control
flash, trailing-shutter curtain synch flash, and multi-flash setups.
All of the camera's controls are large and exceptionally well marked
in white on the black body, so you can easily see them in practically
any type of light or situation. All of the various adjustment controls
have very positive detents and/or a separate locking button that must
be pressed in before you can change or adjust the knob away from a primary
Metered automatic on this camera is always aperture priority mode as you
must manually set the aperture you want to use. This is accomplished by
adjusting the aperture ring selecting one of the full or half stop settings.
When the main shutter speed control dial on the body top is set at the
green "A," then the metering system will select the appropriate
shutter speed for the aperture and prevailing lighting conditions. The
shutter speed chosen shows on an LCD panel at the bottom of the viewfinder
and has an "S" that shows up for exposures of 1 sec or longer
that immediately informs you that it is a longer than normal speed.
Potawatomi Indian display included beads in addition to
finished necklaces, old coins, and other items for sale.
Everything was very colorful and sharply detailed by the
105mm f/2.8 lens at f/8 on Fujichrome 100D RDP, aperture
priority automatic exposure.
Changing from six segment to
center-weighted to spot metering is as simple as moving one lever at the
left rear of the meter prism. When this is done, an indicator LCD in the
viewfinder also informs you of which metering mode is in use.
The viewfinder gives a bright full frame field of view of what the lens
sees. There are two central microprism focusing spots that assist in focusing
but the entire matte field also shows the focus so once the diopter adjustment
is made for your eyes, critical focusing is simple.
The LCD panel at the bottom of the viewfinder is entirely outside the
image area and is very easily seen without having to adjust your line
of sight. The shutter speed, metering mode, and frame number all show
there. A bar graph used for manual exposure only illuminates when the
camera is out of "A" automatic shutter speed mode, or when
the exposure compensation is in use when in "A."
The bar graph in the viewfinder is used for setting the exposure when
operating the camera manually (that is adjusting the shutter speed rather
than leaving it in automatic mode). It indicates the proper exposure when
a single illuminated bar appears over the center of a line of the row
of permanently visible bars. Moving one bar on the top indicates a mere
0.3 f/stop variation while the entire bottom graph shows a full +/- 3
f/stops. This same bar graph is also used in connection with exposure
compensation in manual or "A."
The main shutter speed control dial can be rotated through the entire
manual shutter speed range of 1/1000 to 4S to Bulb by simply turning it
while detents hold the speed selected. But to set this dial to green "A"
(Automatic) or red "X" (1/30 sec flash synch) speed you have
to first press in a center button to access one of these settings, or
disengage the setting. Since you don't have any need to change the
dial in either of these two settings, this allows you to shoot away and
not be concerned about any accidental change of the large speed dial.
It takes one full stroke of the wind-lever, which moves about 180°,
to fully advance the film and cock the shutter for the next exposure.
If perchance the wind-lever has not been advanced, and the shutter is
uncocked, then an arrow shows on the body top LCD panel alerting you to
Instead of using alkaline or silver-oxide batteries the 67II uses two
3v lithium batteries (CR123A or equivalent) which are said to provide
longer battery life and more stable operation under very low temperatures.
One unique feature is a PS (Power Saving) time mode. This is used when
making unusually long-time exposures. It is intended for use instead of
conventional B (Bulb) exposure since it minimizes power consumption and
thereby saves batteries.
or location portraits or fashion shots are a natural for
the Pentax 67II. Here JTL J-500 and Excalibur 3200 AC powered
flash units were directed through Westcott diffusion umbrellas.
A Pentax SMC 200mm f/4 telephoto lens used at the "X"
synch setting produced really crisp, colorful images of
my granddaughter Lisa Casarrubias on Fujichrome 100D RDP
Since I had never worked with the original Pentax 67, I got together
with a friend, Gerald Oswalt, who has had a Pentax 67 for nearly 20 years
that he uses primarily for aerial and wedding photography in our community.
We made direct visual comparisons of his early model camera and the brand-new
67II I had. The prime external differences we immediately noticed were
as follows. There is now a protrusion on the front right of the body making
it far easier to firmly and securely hold the somewhat hefty and bulky
camera with just your right hand. The shutter release has been repositioned
so it's on a beveled area at the top front of the new grip making
it easier to operate. The rotary on/off timer switch is now located around
the shutter release.
To release the prism there are still two push buttons, one on either side
of the prism, but they must be first turned before pushing in to unlock
the prism, a far more secure and safe locking method than before. The
earlier camera's meter prism had an extension housing on the left
that coupled with the shutter speed dial and there was but one metering
method. This coupling has been eliminated and there are now three metering
choices. Changing over from 120 to 220 film still requires moving the
pressure pad, while before you also had to move an external lever. Naturally
there was no informative LCD panel on the original model. The camera's
press release said the finder is 60 percent brighter on the 67II so it
was no surprise that the viewfinder was noticeably brighter on the new
camera when the same lens was tried on both bodies.
As is the case with all medium format SLR cameras, there is considerably
more bulk and weight to this camera than is found on a pro model 35mm
SLR camera. This is inherent with obtaining a huge 6x7cm image (actually
55x70mm), which is approximately four and a half times larger than a conventional
35mm format image. This camera handles like an oversize 35mm SLR in every
respect so there is minimal learning necessary to switch up to a far larger
format image. Surprisingly, when the 67II is placed next to a "pro"
35mm SLR and you lift both cameras, there is actually not that much difference
in the size or weight especially when you realize the film format is so
much larger. True, the 67II does not have autofocusing or lots of electronic
bells and whistles that today's 35mm SLR cameras have, but everything
is there, readily accessible, to make memorable medium format images.
During my several months testing of this equipment I exposed many rolls
of Fujichrome 100D, Kodak Ektachrome E100SW and E100S. All of this E-6
process film was competently processed by Accu-Color Lab, Inc., Fort Wayne,
Indiana. Exposures were made inside using the dedicated flash and with
studio flash for portraits and outdoors in all types of lighting and weather.
I think what most impressed me with the results was the unerring accuracy
of the camera's TTL metering system in multi-pattern and center-weighted
modes. All of the daylight and dedicated flash TTL metered exposures were
what I would consider right on the target resulting in transparencies
of excellent density and crisp detailed quality. The Pentax AF-500FTZ
dedicated flash was used on a variety of indoor subjects and it too produced
excellent exposures via the TTL metering obtained with the hot shoe grip.
The spacing between the frames on each roll was consistently even without
erratic gaps between images as I have often encountered on other medium
format cameras having manual film winding mechanisms.
I used the camera on a tripod to make some studio portraits using JTL
J-500 and Excalibur 3200 AC powered flash units through Westcott diffusion
umbrellas using manual exposures determined with a Sekonic L-508 Zoom
Master flash meter. For these subjects I used the borrowed SMC 200mm f/4
telephoto lens and obtained really crisp, full color, images.
The variety of existing and new lenses for this system is extensive. There
are 21 different SMC Pentax 67 lenses ranging from a fisheye 35mm f/4.5
to a 1000mm f/8 reflex telephoto plus 1.4x and 2x tele-converters. Available
lenses include: SMC67 35mm f/4.5; 45mm f/4; 55mm f/4; 75mm f/4.5; 90mm
f/2.8 or 105mm f/2.4 (normal); 165mm f/2.8; 165mm f/4 leaf shutter; 200mm
f/4; 300mm f/4; 400mm f/4 ED (IF); 500mm f/5.6; 600mm f/4; 800mm f/4;
800mm f/6.7 ED (IF); 55-100mm f/4.5 zoom. Four special purpose SMC Pentax
67 lenses are the 75mm f/4.5 shift; 100mm f/4 macro; 135mm f/4 macro;
and 120mm f/3.5 soft focus.
Some of the drawbacks to this particular system include no mid roll change
capability and not being able to use any Polaroid back for rapid proof
images. Changing film spools and loading film is a bit tedious, but like
when using any new device I'm sure some practice would make it easier
to do. When the hot shoe grip is attached, it is a bit more difficult
to plug into the PC contact to the left of the prism when you want to
use conventional studio flash units.
The suggested list prices for this new equipment are: Pentax 67II body
$2432; SMC Pentax 67 105mm f/2.8 lens $1267; AE TTL prism finder $1138;
and the hot shoe grip is $367. It is about as extensive a system of accessories
as you will find for most major 35mm SLR cameras.
Contact: Pentax Corp., 35 Inverness Dr. E, Englewood, CO 80155; (800)
729-1419, (303) 799-8000; fax: (303) 790-1131; www.pentax.com.
What's New About
Quite similar in appearance to the original Pentax 67. The main exterior
design change is a large right-side grip with a thumb hook on the back
cover for even firmer griping while holding it to the eye for active shooting.
Brand new features include:
· 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.
· Extra-bright, user-replaceable, finder screens.
· Repositioned, easier to use, beveled shutter release.
· Rotary on/off timer switch is now around the shutter release.
· Two prism release push buttons must be first turned before pushing
in to unlock the prism, a more secure and safe locking method.
· It does retain full compatibility with existing 67 system lenses
and most system accessories.
Type: 6x7cm ideal format SLR camera with TTL autoexposure
Film: 120 roll film (10 exposures) or 220 roll film (21
Picture Size: 55x70mm
Lens Mount: Dual bayonet mounts (with inner and outer
Applicable Lenses: SMC Pentax 67 and SMC Takumar 67
Exposure Modes: Aperture priority AE (with optional AE
penta-prism finder 67II), metered manual and flash
Shutter: Electronically controlled horizontal-run focal
plane cloth shutter
Shutter Speeds: 1/1000 sec -- 30 sec stepless (auto);
1/1000 sec -- 4 sec (manual)
X-Synch Speed: 1/30 sec Bulb and time exposure available.
Leaf-shutter lenses offer faster synch speeds
Finder: Interchangeable finders (AE penta-prism finder
67II, penta-prism finder 67II, folding focusing hood 67II, and rigid magnifying
Interchangeable Focusing Screens: Natural bright matte
focusing screens (Microprism matte screen is standard)
Viewfinder Image Area: 90 percent with AE penta-prism
finder 67II or penta-prism finder 67II; 100 percent with folding focusing
hood 67II or rigid magnifying hood 67II
Magnification: 0.75x (with 105mm lens at infinity and
** Exposure Metering: TTL six segment multi-pattern metering,
center-weighted metering, or 2.5 percent spot metering
Metering Range: EV2 -- EV21 (at ISO 100 with 105mm
** Exposure Compensation: +/- 3EV in 1/3EV steps, dial-control
system. Memory lock.
** Viewfinder Indication: Exposure compensation, bar
graph pointer, shutter speed, metering mode, memory lock, flash status,
and exposure frame counter. Backlight illumination provided.
External LCD Panel: Battery exhaustion warning, ISO film
speed, film loading confirmation, film-advance indicator, exposure frame
counter, flash status
Film Speed Range: ISO 6-6400
Film Transport: Wind-up lever (with 180° stroke and
10° stand-off angle) with self-cocking shutter. Semiautomatic film
loading with start mark on film paper. Film advance/film end indicator
provided in LCD panel.
Self-Timer: Electronically controlled type with 12 sec
delay. PCV sound. Mid-operation cancellation possible.
Multi-Exposure: Easy set type with multi-exposure switch
Mirror: Swing-back instant-return mirror with mirror
Flash Synchronization: X-synch (PC) terminal and 4-pin/5-pin
TTL auto flash terminals. TTL auto flash sensors built-in.
Flash Synch Speed: Under 1/30 sec and bulb (1/500 sec
max with leaf shutter lenses)
Power Source: Two 3v lithium batteries (CR-123A type)
Battery Life: Approx. 500 rolls of 120 roll film, 250
rolls 220 roll film
Weight: 58.6 oz (with AE penta-prism finder 67II and
** These features are only available with optional AE
penta-prism finder 67II.