Prinzflex 500
Posted 2-10-'04

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PRINZFLEX 500E F2 Helios

Specification is similar to the Prinzflex 500 f2 Helios but, additionally, features a built-in selenium photo-electric exposure meter.  See pages 14 and 15 for instructions relating to the controls and operation of the Prinzflex 500E exposure metering system.


Fabulous pentaprism reflex with interchangeable lens - precision-made in Russia.


This instruction manual contains the basic characteristics and essential operating principles of the PRINZFLEX 500 Camera. Read very carefully and follow the instructions in the first few days of use. Soon you will become familiar with the camera's controls, and handling, until you do not have to think about the 'mechanism' of the camera-but enjoy concentrating on the more creative possibilities with this fine instrument.

Screw out or screw in the lens only by the lens mounting ring.
2 Do not touch the optical surfaces of lenses or the return-mirror. Fingerprints diminish optical efficiency, and may damage coated surfaces.
3 Do not rotate the shutter-release button while operating this control. Apply only the direct push-button 'action with your fingertip.
4 Do not rotate the exposure-setting dial between marks: "B"and "500".
5 Always advance the film-transport crank to its fullest extent. This avoids blank exposures.




58mm Helios f/2 interchangeable super-fast 6 element; minimum focus:18 inches; apertures: f/2 to f/16; pre-set diaphragm; depth of field index; distance scale.
OR ...
50mm Industar f3.5 interchangeable; minimum focus: 24 inches; apertures f3.5 to f16; aperture-setting ring; depth of field and distance scales.


Focal plane; Instant return mirror; speeds: 1 /30 sec to 1 /500 sec; B and delay timer. 'M' and'X'synchro.


Reflex viewfinder with groundglass focusing screen; Eyepiece magnification: 5X.

Film Transport:

Single stroke crank: advances film, sets shutter, counts exposure, primes shutter speed dial.

Other Features:

Film type reminder; Film-rewind button.


5B"x 38"x 4" (approx.)


920 grams.




Self-timer release button 
Flash unit connector socket 
Flashgun bracket






Self-timer setting lever


Opening catch 
Viewfinder eyepiece


Cassette spool guide
Film aperture
Film channel runners
Cassette chamber
Take-up spool
Take-up spool spring
Back cover
Film pressure plate




Index of the diaphragm setting ring

Diaphragm setting ring 
Pre-set diaphragm ring with index 

Depth of field scale with index 

Distance scale

Focusing ring

Lens mounting ring



Diaphragm setting ring with index

Focusing ring with diaphragm scale 
Distance scale
Depth of field scale




The camera can be loaded in normal lighting conditions. Open the back cover of the camera by pulling the lock-latch upwards. Next, pull the film-rewind wheel upwards -and remove the film cassette. Next, cut a straight edge to the lead-end of the film to be loaded. Now fix the cut edge of the film under the take-up spool spring and engage on the spool tooth and film sprocket. Ensure that the film is guided correctly between the film-channel runners. Replace the cassette into its seat. Return the rewind wheel to its original position. Close the back cover by pressing down the lock-catch. Advance the shutter setting lever to the stop position: then press the release button. As the lever turns, the film is advanced by the space of one shot. 

Picture To transport non-exposed film to the film aperture: cock the shutter three times: pressing the release button after each cocking: Note. While cocking the shutter, check whether the film rewind wheel rotates. If not, check whether the camera is correctly loaded with film. Finally, turn the exposure-counter dial and set the figure '0' to align with the index dot on the ring. Set the exposure counter when the shutter is cocked. Picture



A gentle upward pull on the shutter speed dial followed by a rotating movement sets the shutter speed duration. The selected speed figure is aligned with the index mark in the middle of the dial, then depressed to fix it in the primed position. Figures indicated are in fractions of a second. 'B' indicates a hand-controlled exposure duration. Slow shutter speeds are obtained by first cocking the shutter: setting the dial to 'B'; then, by pressing the release button and immediately followed by rotating it counter-clockwise to its fullest extent. It is released by turning the release button back to clockwise.

NOTE: 1. The exposure duration can be set both with the shutter cocked and released. 2. Use a tripod for slow shutter speeds on 'bulb' exposure. 3. When photographing without flash bulbs the synchro setting lever can be set at will.


Picture To set apertures on the 58mm HELIOS lens: set the index mark to align the selected aperture figure engraved on the aperture-setting ring of the lens. Each setting is click-stopped at each aperture setting. The same procedure applies to the INDUSTAR-50 lens except that with this lens there are no click stops: the lens aperture is set only after focusing.


58mm HELIOS: Focusing should be done with the diaphragm aperture opened at maximum. For this purpose the diaphragm ring of the 58mm Helios should be turned counter-clockwise to its full extent. Aim the lens at the photographed object. Observe through the viewfinder eye-piece: turn the lens focusing ring until a sharp image appears on the ground glass. After focusing, the lens is instantly stopped down by turning the diaphragm ring clockwise to its full extent, i.e. to its preset figure.

50mm INDUSTAR: When photographing with the 50mm Industar lens (which has no pre-set diaphragm), the aperturesetting ring of the lens is set after the focusing is done. In situations where you want to photograph a number of objects disposed at different distances: use the depth-of-field scale. The depth-of-field scale is symetrically arranged on both sides of the index and corresponds to diaphragm values. After the camera is focused you can read off the depth of field for a chosen aperture by noting the limits of the depth-in-field scale on both sides of the index on the distance scale for the aperture setting selected. For example: when the lens is focused at 1 Oft and f:1 1 aperture is selected, the image will be sharp in limits from 8ft to 40ft.




For photographing in conditions with poor illumination, you should use a flash gun. For this purpose the PRINZFLEX 500 camera is fitted with a special device which synchronizes flash to coincide with the shutter operating time. To switch on a singleaction flash bulb: set the synchronization setting lever against index "M". When operating with an electronic flash gun, the synchronization setting lever should be set against index "X". 

Only one exposure time of 1 /30th sec. may be used in the PRINZFLEX '500' camera: whet photographing with either flash bulbs or electronic flash. Hand exposure "B" is not recommended when using flash bulbs: a considerable amount of stray light (after flash) enters the camera with resulting fogged film.


Picture When shooting with the self-timer, observe the following procedure: cock the shutter: wind the self-timer mechanism by turning the self-timer setting lever down as far as it will go. Set exposure; choose the frame; focus the lens . . Close the lens opening to the f stop and press the self timer release button. The shutter operates in no less than 9 sec. after pressing the button.


Picture When the exposure counter dial shows figure (36 or 20) it means that the exposed film should be rewound into the cassette. The procedure is the following: 1 Disengage the shutter mechanism by pressing the film-rewind release button and, holding it in this position, rotate the film rewind knob in the direction shown by the indicating pointer until you feel, by the relaxed force, that the end of the film has left the spring of the take-up spool. 2 Open the back cover of the camera. 3 Pull the film rewind knob upwards and remove the film cassette out of the camera.

The camera should be handled gently and carefully avoiding undue force to controls and dials. Always keep the camera scrupulously clean 'and protected from excessive vibrations, moisture and sharp temperature fluctuations. Keep the camera in a closed carrying case. For long storage purposes the cap should be placed on the lens and the shutter and self-timer released. Never remove the lens from the camera unnecessarily. This prevents dust and dirt from reaching the surfaces of optical parts. Clean the optical coated lens surfaces only from outside with a camera blower-brush. As the camera is a complex optical and mechanical device, any repair and adjustment should be performed only by a highly qualified specialist.

When using bulb type flashguns, do not insert a new flashbulb into the gun while it is connected to the camera with the shutter un-cocked. The shutter must always be cocked before the gun and flashbulb is connected to the camera.

PRINZFLEX 500E - click image to enlarge


Specifications as Prinzflex 500 but, additionally, features a built-in selenium photo-electric exposure meter calibrated for aperture settings and film speeds.

Except for exposure, all operations and instructions for the Prinzflex 500 apply equally to the Prinzflex 500E.


The principal controls comprise two circular dials and each is concentric to the rewind release button (see illustration). The Outer Dial (calibrated from 1/30 to 1/500) is the shutter speed control and this, when rotated, is constantly linked to the small 'zero' index in the curved meter-window, (see illustration). The Inner Dial is the film-speed control (calibrated with ASA and DIN speed ratings and aperture figures).




To obtain accurate exposure: first align the film-speed setting line (engraved on the Inner Dial) to coincide with the small black dot engraved beneath the selected film speed rating (ASA or DIN). Next, point the camera lens to the subject and ensure that fingers do not obscure the photo-electric window (mounted above the lens). Note the position at which the needle comes to rest. Now, rotate the knurled Outer (shutter speed) Dial until the small 'zero' index is bisected by the stationary meter-needle (located in the curved window). The meter is now primed for any selection of coincident reading of aperture and shutter speed. Finally, align the red dot on the Helios lens with the selected aperture: point the camera at subject, rotate the focusing ring until sharp image-resolution is obtained-depress the release button to obtain perfect exposure.