This is the first of a two part review of the Petri Penta V6 35mm slr camera. This part is a description of the camera and its spec, and also covers how I acquired my copy of the camera. The second, follow up post will cover my impressions of using the camera and some test shots taken with it.
These pictures can also be viewed in full size here.
I bought this camera as a twin camera set along with a Petri Flex V camera. The Petri Flex was sold body only, but this camera came with a Petri 55mm f/2.0 CC lens.
When I received it the Penta V6 was cosmetically very neat and mostly worked but had a slight issue with the shutter.
On the slower speeds the second curtain would not complete its travel across the film gate but would stop slightly short. On faster speeds there seemed to be enough energy to complete the action but not on speeds below about 1/8th. I was intending to take the top off the camera and see if I could fix it, but I tried the shutter out a few times and found that after a couple of dozen actions the shutter was closing more times than not. Because it seemed to be improving, I just carried on using the camera shutter every day for a couple of weeks and it now seems completely ok. I think the problem was simply one of inaction leading to dirt and muck slowing things down.
With the shutter problems seeming fixed I took a look round the rest of the camera and found it’s in pretty good order. The focus screen is very mucky and needs a good clean, and the lens focus ring is quite stiff, which probably means the lubricant is old and waxy so I will need to deal with both those issues.
There is a little paint loss on the side of the camera, the leatherette covering the body needs a clean and the lettering on the prism has lost a bit of its paint but overall, this is a very usable camera.
Petri Penta V6 Description
This camera has a lot in common with several other Petri cameras made around the same time, for example the Petri Flex V and the Petri FT. Certainly, the Petra Flex V and the FTII I have all have the same single drive shaft in the bottom of the camera which make up the heart of how the camera works.
The Penta V6 was manufactured by Petri in about 1965 and was one of the later models of the cameras that the company actually manufactured themselves. Later models, like the MF-1 were actually made for Petri by Cosina and based on variations of the CT-1 model.
I read a comment on photo.net a few months ago about the poor engineering that went into the original Petri series of cameras, but I find I can’t agree with that comment. Having taken a couple apart to fix over the last few months, I’ve found them to be quite solidly built cameras made out of good materials.
There is not, however, a lot to distinguish this camera from many other cameras which were around at the time, so perhaps that is why they eventually moved out of the camera business.
The V6 model has a slightly reduced shutter speed range compared to the normal 1sec to 1/1000 which was common at the time, and has no light meter built in to the body. It does have a plate on the front which allows an optional light meter to be clamped on and which connected directly to the shutter speed dial and allowed the meter to act as a coupled light meter.
The frame counter is a really elaborate affair, with a nice decorative display and a nicely beveled hole in the top plate which it sits in. I think it’s one of the features which point to a nicely engineered unit; I also think the sound of the shutter is very reminiscent of the spotmatic series, which I take to be a mark of quality.
The lens mount on these early Petri models is a breech lock system, rather like fitted to the Pentacon six. The lens is placed into the mount and an outer ring is turned to lock the lens into the camera. This is as easy to release as a bayonet mount and does give the impression of real security. I couldn’t see a lens falling off one of these cameras. The lens itself is a 6 blade unit with a reasonably fast f/2 aperture and a auto/manual switch to allow automatic aperture operation if desired, which this camera supports.
The viewfinder sports a Fresnel focusing screen with a micro prism central spot.
Petri Penta V6 Specification
- Petri Penta V6 35mm manual focus camera
- Horizontal travel cloth focal plane shutter
- 1/2sec to 1/500sec + bulb shutter speed
- Flash sync at 1/45sec
- No hot shoe but flash sync socket
- Mechanical self timer
- Fresnel focusing screen
- Front mounted shutter release
- Auto reset frame counter
- Mounting point for accessory exposure meter on front
- Petri breech lens mount
- Petri 55mm f/2 CC lens
- Lens Ser No: 94663
- Body Ser No: 123180
- Manual available here