Plaubel Makiflex Standard

The successor to the 1961 Makiflex, the 1966 Makiflex Standard is an all metal German medium format SLR which was manufactured by Plaubel of Frankfurt. The Standard camera is a somewhat simplified version of the original Makiflex.

There is very little information to be found on the internet about the Makiflex Standard – it seems they are fairly rare. It has been said that only 400 were manufactured.

The Makiflex Standard features:

  • Interchangeable lenses
    • Lens board 122×122 mm
  • Focal plane shutter
    • Speeds B, 1/8, 1/10, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125
    • Flash sync on 1/10
  • Bellows focussing on the rigid front standard
  • Rotating back
  • Waist level viewfinder
    • Retractable focusing loupe
  • Interchangeable backs

The more complex original 1961 Makiflex has these additional features:

  • Shutter speeds up to 1/500
  • Automatic stop down diaphragm on lenses

The Makiflex shares lens boards and other accessories with two other Plaubel cameras, the Pecoflex and the Peco Junior. The Pecoflex is basically a Makiflex with a monorail and front movements.

The Makiflex is one of a group of medium format single lens reflex cameras, which includes:

  • Graflex Baby Reflex 2×3 (6×9) Early 20th century
  • Curt Bentzin Görlitz Primarflex (6×6) 1930s
  • KW Pilot 6 (6×6) 1930s
  • Hasselblad (6×6) Post WWII
  • Praktisix (6×6) 1950s
  • Kowa Six (6×6) 1960s
  • Pentacon 6 (6×6) 1960s
  • Kiev 60 (6×6) 1960s
  • Makina Makiflex (6×9, 9×9) 1960s
  • Bronica (6×6) 1960s
  • Rollei 6000 series (6×6) 1970s
  • Salyut-S (6×6) 1970s
  • Mamiya RB (6×8) 1970s
  • Norita Rittreck 66 (6×6) 1970s
  • Pentax 67 (6×7) 1970s
  • Pentax 645 (6×4.5) 1980s
  • Mamiya RZ (6×7) 1980s
  • Mamiya 645 (6×4.5) 1980s
  • Fuji GX680 (6×8) 1990s

The Makiflex is unique on this list in that it shoots 6×9 and 9×9 format. To accommodate the rotating back, this necessitates a film gate that is 9×9 cm (actually 86×86 mm). This means the camera itself is quite large and heavy, being a pressed steel cube 180x180x140 mm and weighing around 2kg. This is larger and heavier than a large format Linhof Technika 4×5!

The Makiflex makes a Pentax 67 look small, and the OM-1 looks like a toy!

The sheer size of the Makiflex probably doomed its chances in the market, competing with the likes of Hasselblad and Rollei.

This is a shame because, in spite of its clunky looks, this is a finely engineered and well designed camera.

As a single lens reflex camera, there is a retracting mirror mounted inside the box and a huge 9×9 ground glass on top marked with frame lines for both 6×9 orientations of the back.

The focal plane shutter is a pair of independent curtains which travel vertically. This arrangement allows the shutter timing to be varied without the use of variable spring tension, and with an overall shorter curtain than a Graflex camera.

Accessories

Most Makiflex shipped with a back to accommodate a 6×9 standard Plaubel roll film holder with dark slide. This back has the part number MX 1/521. Also available was a rear board that allowed the use of standard 4×5 double sheet film holders, producing a 9×9 square image. This board has the part number MX 1/538. The complete list of available backs is as follows:

Adapter Backs

  • MX 1/521 97318 6×9 Rail Back
    For Plaubel Makina 120 roll backs which come in 12 exposure, 8 exposure and 35mm
  • MX 1/525 97320 6×9 back
    With spring loaded ground glass screen  
  • MX 1/526/1 97322 6×9 back
    With spring loaded ground glass screen for double dark slides 
  • MX 1/537 97324 9×9 back
    For single slides 4×5″
  • MX 1/538 97326 9×9 back
    For double dark slides 4×5″ (FIDELITY, GRAPHIC, LINHOF, POLAROID)
  • MX 1/539 97328 Adapter Back
    Accepts following holders:
    1) Linhof Rollex 6×9
    2) Linhof Cine Rollex 6×7
    3) Linhof Super Rollex 6×7
    4) Graphic Roll Holder 6×9
    5) Polaroid Sheet Film Holder 4×5″
  • MX 1/531 97316 Polaroid Back Adapter
    For Makiflex System, with viewfinder mask for film pack CB100 (usable format 74 x 86mm)

    06/67 CATALOG EHRENREICH PHOTO-OPTICAL INDUSTRIES via Nokton48

This particular Makiflex Standard

This Makiflex Standard has the serial number 211 S M. It was purchased in 2020 from a seller in Germany. It is in excellent condition, with a small amount of wear. It has had around 9000 shutter actuations, which is not too bad for a 50+ year old camera. It looks like it was not used very much and well cared for, perhaps as a studio camera.

Rodenstock Ysarex 4.5/135 lens
Waist level viewfinder hood extended

The shutter seems accurate after some exercise.

Shutter curtain with rear housing removed. Note the double curtain.
Plaubel 6×9 rollfilm holder attached to the MX 1/521 double rail back

This Makiflex came with a recessed lens board and a Rodenstock Ysarex 4.5/135 (Tessar) lens.

I plan to fit an Aero Ektar 2.5/178 to this Makiflex in a future project.

References

  1. Makiflex
  2. Graflex reflex
  3. Hasselblad

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