Differences Between the Asahi Pentax 6x7 vs. Honeywell 6x7 vs. 6x7 MLU (Mirror Lock-Up) vs. Pentax 67 vs. Pentax 67ii
So, you've discovered that the Pentax 6x7 system is an amazing camera. But, now you're realizing there are multiple ones and that they all cost a different amount of your valuable cash. Believe it or not, there are cheaper versions that are passed off as more expensive, and vice-versa, more expensive ones that get listed for less. So, how can you know what to look for and buy so you get the most bang for your buck?
In this post we'll cover some very basic info that will help you:
- Visually identify which version is which
- What some of the upgrades of each P67 version are
- Which one may be the best fit for you
At this point, I'll add that this is in no way meant to be comprehensive. There are plenty of other forums and articles that delve way more in depth to the technical details of each system, as a simple Google search will show. This post was written because, after trying to understand the differences myself, I found that many of the articles that showed up in searches had tons of great technical info, but didn't easily lay out how to easily tell the difference between the various Pentax 67 versions from a buyer's perspective.
So, if that's you, read on to find out how to indentify some basic Pentax 67 versions differences!
What are the different Pentax 67 Versions?
First, let's list the 5 versions of the Pentax 6x7 camera:
- Asahi Pentax 6x7
- Honeywell 6x7
- Asahi Pentax 6x7 with MLU (Mirror Lock-Up)
- Pentax 67
- Pentax 67ii
Asahi Pentax 6x7 and Honeywell Pentax 6x7
The original Pentax 6x7 was released in 1969, and did not have a mirror lock-up function. These models are the oldest of Pentax's 6x7 models. If for no other reason, these are the least desirable in terms of reliability of the 6x7 models, merely because they are the oldest. So, what is the Honeywell Pentax? Well, included with the earliest version 6x7 is the Honeywell Pentax. It is essentially the same as the Pentax 6x7, only marketed specifically to the USA.
Asahi Pentax 6x7 vs Pentax 6x7 MLU Differences
So, how do you tell if a Pentax 6x7 is MLU (Mirror Lock Up), and why does it matter? The MLU version was released as an update to the original 6x7. It has a small switch on the right side near the opening for the lens. These are generally considered more reliable than the non-MLU versions if not for age alone, and typically carry a little bit higher price tag, if the owner is aware.
To see whether or not a 6x7 you're checking out has mirror lock-up, check the left side of the front of the camera, near where the lens attaches to the body and you'll find either a button that slides up (indicating MLU) or nothing. That's how to tell if a Pentax 6x7 has mirror lock up. Not too tough to figure out, right?
What's the same about the Pentax 6x7 and the Pentax 6x7 MLU?
Both of the Pentax 6x7 and the 6x7 MLU featured either a TTL metered or non-TTL prism. These always had the words, "Asahi Pentax" on the front of the prism. The only exception to this rule, or course, is the Honeywell Pentax, which was the earliest version that was marketed to the USA.
It is worth noting that various Pentax 6x7s and 6x7 MLUs that you find on Ebay will often have a later version prism on them. So, going by prism markings alone will not tell you whether or not it is a 6x7, 67, or 67ii.
Telling the Pentax 6x7s and the 67s Apart
The later Pentax 67 and 67ii sported only "Pentax" on their original prisms, unlike the "Asahi Pentax" on the earlier versions. However, since the prisms are interchangeable between every version and are often swapped out, the best and easiest way to recognize a Pentax 6x7 from the later 67 and 67ii models is to look at the model plate at the top left (when the camera's front is facing towards you). There you will see either 6x7 or 67. The Pentax 67ii will have a "67ii" inscription on the right front, as opposed to the left.
Reasons you may want to buy either the 67 or 67ii vs the 6x7
Since they are newer, the 67 and 67ii may be more reliable than an older version. Likewise, the Pentax 6x7 MLU is generally considered a may safe bet than the non-MLU version, if not for any other reason, because it is newer.
With the 67 came a shutter timing improvement that allowed the exposure value to be more consistent than the 6x7 when using a TTL-Metered Prism.
The 67ii featured an updated design which included a better grip on the right side. The 67ii is slightly lighter than the previous versions.
The focusing screen, and correspondingly the viewfinder of the Pentax 67 and 67ii is brighter and has better contrast than the earlier versions. This allows for one to more easily see the subject and make quicker, more accurate focus adjustments. If you shoot with shallow depth of field and use off-center composition, this can truly be very helpful!
Are multiple exposures a big deal to you? You'll have to go 67ii, unless you want to use a leaf shutter lens and use the multiple exposure function on the lens itself.
So, how much does each Pentax 6x7 version cost? Here we will consider bodies with prism only. Although prices can vary greatly depending on where it is sold, the seller, and various other variable, as of the current 2017 market for excellent condition bodies, you can expect to pay the following:
- Pentax 6x7 (and Honeywell Pentax): $300-$400
- Pentax 6x7 MLU: $300-$500
- Pentax 67: $350-$700
- Pentax 67ii: $1200-$1800
We haven't spoken about the additional wood grip (that can be added to the versions besides the 67ii). However, it can add around $100 to the value of any version. So, if you're looking at at 67 version which includes this grip, then you may want to consider that as part of the price. Other items which may effect value include viewfinder type (chimney hood, waist level finder), although none of these greatly effect price. Very similar 67s with the exact same viewfinders may both go for the same price. Likewise, a 6x7MLU with a wood grip may go for about the same price as one without a wood grip.
And the Winner is...
Obviously the Pentax 67ii has advantages over the earlier versions, but not without a price tag. You can expect to pay possibly $1300 more than what you'd pay for a 6x7 MLU, when you can get the base model in all it's 6x7 glory for probably less than a fifth of the price. The 67 is a good go-between and can typically cost less than double the cost of the original 6x7. However, the Pentax 67ii is definitely "the cream" of this crop.
But is it worth all the extra cost?
That's up to you.
It's Hard to Go Wrong With a Pentax 6x7 System
Unless you just happen to get a dud, whether you get a 6x7, or a later version, you're getting one killer camera. All improvements aside, they're all built tough, so as long as you're getting it from a reliable seller you're making a great choice of camera.
Pentax 67 For Sale
If you're interested in finding a good Pentax 6x7 for sale, or a Pentax 67 for sale, we may have a few in our "Gear For Sale" section.
Pentax 67 with eye-level viewfinder. In great working condition. Has some scratches on body. Two small dents on top of prism. Overall 7 out of 10 condition.
Does not include body cap or lens.
Buyer protection is determined by Stripe or Paypal's current policies, depending on if you use credit through Stripe or Paypal as means to make your purchase.
Returns are accepted within 14 days upon delivery.
Now that you know the differences between the Pentax 67 bodies, why not check out how to tell the difference between the Pentax 67 105mm f/2.4 lens versions, too?