Forty years of development have made Pentax 67 a household name in analogue medium format photography. With the ALPA lens module, the lenses of the series remain a safe value and for ambitious photographers new and creative ways will open up.
February 20, 2018
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Pentax 67 was one of the most popular camera systems in the classic medium format. The cameras, lenses, and accessories of the series have been on the market since 1969. The focal lengths of the lenses with the additional names SMC (Super Multi-Coating) and/or Takumar range from 35mm to 1000mm. Introduced under the name Pentax 6X7, Pentax promised photographers an answer to almost every photographic challenge. In 1976, the manufacturer launched an improved Pentax 6x7 model with mirror lock-up (MLU), and from 1989 onwards, the product got a new name with just "67." In 1999, the company introduced the latest series under the name Pentax 67 II. Production was finally discontinued in September 2009.
Shift up to 15 mm
All models of the series continue to impress with their image quality and craft. The camera's body is constructed like a "highly scaled" 35 mm camera, almost indestructible and therefore not lightweight. Other features include the relatively loud shutter and the 6x7 aspect ratio, and despite these limitations, the system is still in high demand. The camera earned its popularity unaffected by the vibrations associated with mirror impact and shutter release. If you want to avoid the phenomenon, by the way, you should opt for a Pentax 67 series body with mirror release (referred to as MLU or Mirror Lock-Up).
Its features make the Pentax 67 series of cameras and lenses an excellent tool for landscape pictures and portraits, especially in conjunction with ALPA. For portraits, in particular, there is no real need for a mirror release. We are fully convinced that ALPA / Rodenstock Rodagon HR lenses fully demonstrate their advantages over the competition in the ALPA core segment of landscape and architecture.
On the other hand, a combination of these lenses and a Pentax-67 body is, therefore, a good choice. One of the strengths of Pentax 67/6x7 lenses is the possibility of shifting. The image circle of all lenses with this designation is at least 90 mm. This circumstance allows a displacement of 15mm for the large sensors.
Long focal lengths for medium format
Especially those who want to work in medium format with long focal lengths of 400mm or more will hardly be able to do without the Pentax 67 system, even eight years after the end of production. For ALPA photographers, the advantages of these long lenses are now available and entirely usable in the ALPA 12 system. With the Pentax 67 lens module, ALPA is building a bridge to the entire medium format camera system ALPA 12 and modern digital backs. This positive spin means that the valuable lenses will retain their value beyond the next few years, as they remain compatible with the latest camera technology. In addition, new creative applications for ALPA photographers are emerging.
Performance with modern backs
Photographer Jakob Bosch has carried out a field test on behalf of ALPA near his home in southern Germany. He combined his ALPA 12 MAX and ALPA 12 STC with the modern Phase One IQ3 100 MP digital back and Pentax 67 lenses in different focal lengths." Despite the compressed test, I am very satisfied with the results," says Bosch.
"The gain through the use of telephoto focal lengths higher than the ALPA Schneider lens is considerable. Especially the Pentax 6x7 400 mm lens with ED glass, already an excellent lens on the 67 mm camera, harmonizes perfectly with the IQ3, not only because telephoto is finally possible. The Pentax 6x7 macro lens also makes the Alpa/Pentax 67 combination even more universal."
Atmosphere, mood, and pixel-accurate focusing
Of course, this does not achieve the resolution of a high-end back like the Phase One IQ3 100 MP or the H6D," says Jakob Bosch. "But if we move away from pure mathematics and assume that an image lives from the atmosphere or mood and not from the number of pixels alone, then these lenses provide excellent results."The life-view function of modern digital backs in combination with the ALPA Pentax 67 lens module makes it possible today to focus on Pentax 67 lenses with long focal lengths pixel-accurate. Bosch has meanwhile integrated the lens module and the Pentax 67 lenses into his everyday life as an ALPA photographer - apart from the somewhat bulky 800 mm lens. Preservation of value for these older lenses is perhaps the essential aspect of the lens module," he says. "ALPA is also reviving the telephoto segment range with this product. Those who previously worked with a manual ALPA could not use their telephoto lenses before. I know a handful of photographers still working with Pentax 67 and about twice as many who have lenses of this type but don't use them anymore."
"With the new ALPA lens module for Pentax 67 lenses, I can now exploit their full potential together with a high-quality digital back."
Endless combinations possible
The ALPA Pentax 67 lens module is available now. The module is of SB 34 type, so there are various options for configuration with ALPA 12 cameras. With a standard ALPA body, a combination of 34 mm in rigid and/or tilt/shift adapters is feasible. On an ALPA 12 FPS, a 17 mm tilt/shift or rigid adapter will do the trick. For detailed information, please contact ALPA of Switzerland directly. We will be happy to help you.