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REVIEW: Arax 60 MLU



Reviews
Posted by Bengt Köhler Sandberg 2014-02-08

Arax 60 MLU

Arax or AraxFoto is a company which upgrades all types of medium format cameras, lenses and accessories produced in the Arsenal factory.
This review is about the Arax 60 MLU which is a upgraded ver of the Kiev 60.

And Arax do a quite a lot to this camera.
- Adding a mirror lock system.
- Adding a light absorbent internal coating to provent internal reflections.
- Rebuilding and upgrading of the shutter mechanism improves reliability and longer life span.
- Plus a total overview checking and adjusting all the mechanics for accorsy.

Technical info

Lens mount: Pentacon six (P6)
Shutter: 1/1000s to 1/2s + B
Light meter: None in the body but can be used with a TTL viewfinder which has a light meter.
Battery: None for the body but the TTL viewfinder uses three 1.5v SR44.
Flash: PC sync connection (sync 1/30 sec)
Weight:
- 1085g body only (no viewfinder)
- 1195g with Waist Level Finder.
- 1505g with TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder.

Takes standard 120 film
6×6 mm negative size.

Operating
Arax 60 MLU


Viewfinder:

This camera has changeable viewfinder and you have three types to choose between.
Waist Level Finder, TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder and a non TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder.
TTL means that is has a built in light meter.

Waist Level Finder
This is the one I mostly use and I find it to works really great in most cases.
Very easy to compose the shot and it has a little magnifying glass for easier focusing.
Like all waist level finders the view will however be mirrored.
It also has a framing mask which approximately represent a 80mm lens.
Extra smart thing is that under this framing mask you find another little viewfinder.
This is not for composing the shot but to finding focus and you don't see much more than the focus aid system.
There is a mirror which makes this possible and the view looking true this is upside down.

TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder
This makes the camera more like a normal SLR and adds the luxury of a true the lens light metering.
Works very well but is a little darker then the waist level finder and is also noticeably bigger and heavier.

The light meter is uncoupled which means that it will only give you a reading which you manually adjust to the camera and lens.
There are three knobs to turn for a correct reading.
First the ISO and this knob also has a little red arrow.
Next is a chrome ring which is for the aperture, turn this till the little red arrow points to the the same value as your lens is wide open.
Then the last is the actual reading, you turn this on my flicking a little switch on the side.
Turn the outer knob and look thru the viewfinder until you see a green light which indicates a correct exposure.

Non TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder
Have unfortunately not tested any yet.
Would expect these to be the same as the TTL ver but I slightly lighter.

Youtube clip showing the two viewfinders that I have.
Arax 60 MLU

Focus aid:
Slip screen and Microprism


Shutter type:

Focal plane
Horizontal traveling cloth curtain

All mechanical.


Build quality:

Body is all metal and it's very nice and solid.
It's not oncommon that the Kiev 60 can have some problems with
fastest shutter speeds.
This can give uneven exposures or in some cases a very inaccurate shutter speeds at 1/500 and 1/1000.
I also have this problem on this camera and my copy is from 2005 and I bought it in 2011 with this problem.
Don't know if the upgraded shutter mechanics was something thay did then but I would expect that accorsy would last longer.


The internal reflection problem is also something Arax addresses by adding light absorbing fabric inside the camera.
It has this on both the top and bottom but not on the side which still can have some problems.

Look, feel and sound:
It looks and feels huge and a bit cumbersome.
But that is quite standard for any medium format SLRs.
Quite like the feel of the cameras knobs, buttons and levers.
It is however a very noisy one.








Usability:

It works just like any old and totally manual SLR.
The mirror is not a auto return and will only go down once you cock the shutter.
Which can be a little pain if you miss the moment and don't want to take the shot.
It is not good to leave the shutter cocked for a longer time and this can mean that you ruin a frame because of this.

The mirror lock is really great and helps alot in longer exposures.


Conclusion:


This fixes and improve on almost everything that might be a problem on the Kiev 60.
I really like this one but it do still have some problems.
These do cost more then the Kiev ver
ofcourse but still far from expensiv.

Looked on Arax's homepage while I'm writing this for prices.
And body only cost 285 USD brand new.
Or body with both waist level and a TTL prism finder plus a ARAX 80mm f2.8 lens cost 449 USD ($40 off without standard lens).
That is a really good price and yes you get a ton of camera for that!


Thumbs up:
Nice and solid body
Mirror lock
Changeble viewfinder
Value for the money
Viewfinder

Thumbs down:

No auto return mirror
Still some internal reflection
Noisy


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