My Pentacon Six project

For a while now I’ve had the idea of buying a medium format film camera to play about with and one of the models I’ve had my eye on is the Pentacon Six 120 SLR. The problem is they are quite expensive to buy, and have a reputation for being unreliable, and I don’t want to spend close to £100 for a camera only to find it stops working a couple of weeks after I get it. They also however have a reputation of being able to produce some quite stunning results when they are working correctly.

Then it occurred to me that it might be quite interesting to buy a faulty unit and treat it as a project to get it working again. So, welcome to my ‘Pentacon Six Project’.

I did an ebay search and found this unit which was described as having a sticky shutter. In fact the description was ‘semi working, shutter sticks regularly but probably easily repaired for someone keen to pick one up cheap’. That sounded like exactly the sort of thing I was looking for so I added it to my watch list and kept an eye on the price. It started at £0.99 and by the time it got to the last hour or so it was still only about £12 so I waited until the last minute (well the last 5 seconds actually) and put on a bid of £30. At that time is was at £24 and I managed to get it for £28.

So today it turned up and I unpacked it and it’s actually not a bad camera as a rebuild project. There are a few things wrong which don’t matter in terms of taking pictures (like chips in the prism & focusing screen and a dent in the filter ring), a few which do matter but I think I can fix (like the aperture not closing and general dirt), and one thing which doesn’t work and I don’t know if I can fix it (like the shutter second curtain doesn’t move).

So here I go – I’ve no idea if I can fix this but it’s going to be interesting having a try. I’ll post updates as/if I manage to get things fixed.


Part one – top plate removal and shutter 

Part two – removing shutter assembly from chassis

Part three – examination of the shutter assembly

Part four – fixing the viewfinder

Part five – attempted shutter repair

17 Replies to “My Pentacon Six project”

    1. I think I’ll probably learn a lot about how shutters work. I was a bit concerned initially that the second curtain may not actually be there but I held a strong light and looked down into the bottom of the track the curtains run in and I can see the puller for the second curtain so I think it’s there. I’ll probably get the shutter out tomorrow and have a look.

      Thanks for the comment and interest by the way

    1. Thanks – I’m hoping to start the shutter this weekend since that is likely to be the most tricky part. If it all looks too complex I guess I’ll have to put it down to experience !

      1. ! Thankx in advance for trying this ! All I know indeed is that if the shutter quits on you (usually at 1/125 and then it stays open) it is a sure sign you can’t trust the times anymore… Overexposing is then almost inevitable… as I said on another forum on your post: I usually bring them to my trusted EasternEuropeanCamMechanic of …o roughly 70 years old? and he told me: don’t do this yourself,, it;s a tricky job, while I can do this for you quick and cheap 😉 .. then again: he lives a 1000 miles away… so : I’ll be following your progress closely ! 🙂

        1. Thanks for the comment – I have a slight advantage in that I’m doing this in a large part to learn how the shutter works so even if it is completely broken and never works again I will still consider the project a success because I will know a lot more than I did. Of course I’ll consider it an even bigger success if I can get it working again!

          I understand what your repairman says about being tricky but in someways, because it’s a medium format camera, it’s easier than a 35mm because the parts are at least slightly bigger.

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