What is wrong with my Pentacon 6 TL?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by adampoklemba, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. Greetings!
    My Pentacon has a huge film spacing issue, where the spacing increases after every subsequent shot until it's almost an entire empty shot between exposed pictures! I am pretty sure that the issue is that the film spool on the right goes backwards when you're winding the next shot. I have attached a video of what I'm talking about. Does anyone know what could cause this?
    Thanks, Adam
  2. "Does anyone know what could cause this?"

    - Yes. It's broken!

    The winding mechanism on Pentacon 6/6 TL's is infamous for being delicate. You only have to slam the camera back shut, and it'll knock the winding mechanism out of whack. Those cameras have to be treated like eggs.

    They're a complete pain to work on, since the slow speeds depend on the precise positioning of a clockwork gear train that's bolted to the main chassis.

    Expect to pay more than the camera cost in repair bills unless you have good DIY skills.

    I gave up on Pentacons about 40 years ago and switched to a Mamiya 645 system. No spacing or shutter problems since. I was sad not to be able to use the Jena glass, but you get over it.
  3. Yes. It was indeed broken.
    I managed to jerry-rig a fix with a spring. It adds a force of friction too great for the reel moving backwards to overcome, but the reel is still pulled forwards.
    Thanks for your time - hope I was able to help someone with the same problem someday.
  4. Don't be too hasty! Yes these cameras are notorious for spacing issues. No it isnt always that there is a fault in the camera.

    Loading the P6 must be done with care. See:

    How to load the Pentacon Six / Exakta 66

    Once I learned how to do this correctly my P6 spaces pretty well.

    Why is it so fussy? Well there being no sprocket holes on 120 is an issue for the winding mech. In the p6 there is a friction clutch connected to the small roller next to the take up spool. This detects how much film has been wound and stops the wind lever from continuing to transport the film. It relies on the sharp serrations on the wheel engaging with the film at all time. If the film is loose then it allows the full travel of the lever to wind the film without the clutch disengaging the mech. - that results in ever wider spacing as the spool fills with film. So its important that the film is tight over the pinion on the roller - I usually like to leave a definite mark on the film.

    So it may be worth another roll of film following the instructions carefully. Its still possible that the friction clutch has failed - they are often a victim of people using lighter fluid flush to free up the shutter and can wear out over time. The wind mech can also be damaged by to rapid return of the lever so always return the lever gently.

    Good luck! When working they are great cameras for 6x6 on a budget and the lenses are great.

  5. There are several possible problems.

    First, the take-up spool has a ratchet mechanism that prevents it from turning backwards. When the camera is reassembled, the pawl on this ratchet must be properly positioned. It is possible that this was not done or even that the pawl is missing entirely. If you feel adventurous, you could remove the small plate (two tiny screws) at the top of the takeup spool chamber and look. The spring-loaded pawl should be visible and it should engage the ratchet. I could be wrong, but I don't think this would cause the spacing problem you describe. It seems like it would more likely cause overlapping frames.

    Second, the frame spacing system has a lot of moving parts. What is causing more film to be advanced as you go through the roll is that as film is wound on the takeup spool, its diameter increases. If the takeup spool were to rotate a full 270 +/- degrees every wind, then each crank of the advance lever will pull more film onto the spool. Kevin describes above how the measuring cylinder works to determine when one frame of film has advanced, and it would be well to heed all of his advice. If the measuring cylinder is working right, it engages an idler gear, and the effects of that action shortens the degrees of rotation of the takeup spool for the next frame. At least, that's what I think happens... If it is not working right, your spacing gets wider and wider every frame. This is a job for someone who is familiar with the mechanism, either you if you decide to educate yourself and be your own repairman or a camera repair shop with experience with these cameras.

    Finally, the frame spacing is also dependent on following the loading procedures given elsewhere. So I would start there.

    I enjoy using this camera with its great set of lenses. They take very good pictures once they are in working order. It does take some committment to get an old camera to that point, but I think it is worth it.

    Good luck,

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