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The Beautiful Spotmatics
Old 09-22-2018   #1
p.giannakis
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The Beautiful Spotmatics

Being a bit of a cheapskate and bargain hunter, i very often come across those beautiful Pentax Spotmatics. They come up in charity shops and carboot sales and they are very often sold for peanuts. I got this one just yesterday for 10 and the one at the end of the post for a similar amount of money (lenses included). Have handled quite a few more in carboot sales.



What i find amazing is that i still have not come across a Spotmatic with inaccurate shutter speeds. Even the 1sec (which is the easiest to check) are spot on!

Although a long-time Olympus OM aficionado I find this quite impressive. Had OM-1 with sticky shutters, every FSU camera i every came across had sticky shutters and a Canon FTb with slow speeds a bit slower than normal. But not a Spotmatic. Fantastic cameras.

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Old 09-22-2018   #2
Michael Markey
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I let my black Spotmatic go but have replaced it with a black SL .


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Old 09-22-2018   #3
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I have a black Pentax Spotmatic F... I had one in the 1970s it was stolen in the 80s and a few years ago I built up another kit including: SMCT 28mm f/3.5, 35mm f/3.5, 55mm f/1.2, 105mm f/2.8, and 135mm f/3.5. I had it worked on to install a split focus screen and the guy said the shutter was off a bit, but I didn't get it adjusted as it was close enough. Love the lenses, not so much the finder... the meter is working with an H-B Adapter... very reasonable price ; )

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Old 09-22-2018   #4
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I've always been a Pentax fan. A Black Spotmatic was my first SLR.

I still use them, but {blush} not as much as I used to.

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Old 09-22-2018   #5
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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How do you check the speeds?
I have one here that was running unevenly according to my Kyoritsu tester. It was not too bad, really, and very little adjustment to the spring tensions were needed to get it spot on, but, it was tapering a just a bit on the higher speeds. I was impressed with the worm drive spring tension adjusters which permit very gradual and precise fine tuning. After a test roll it basically gave a good account of itself, with the exception of very slight shutter bounce on the 1/1000 speed. Always a possibility, the amount of adjustment needed to get the speeds right was so minor I'd hoped it would not be a factor. I will have to take off the top cover to tweak the curtain brake just a tad, in order to make it right. I've handled several other Spotmatics with errant shutter speeds, too. One of the most consistent M42 body types I have tested have been the various metal curtain Prakticas. If they are still working, the speeds may well be bang on.
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Old 09-22-2018   #6
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I had a silver Spotmatic F with three primes - 28, 55 and 135 - and sold it to a young guy off on a year's working holiday in Sri Lanka. I liked it, even if the shutter was quite loud. If I ever get another it'll be a black one.
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Old 09-22-2018   #7
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I had an H1a in high-school, with a clip on meter, a hard working camera. I lusted for a Spotmatic. Then, my older cousin did a stint in Central America in the Peace Corps, and brought home some truly beautiful photography on Kodachrome.
When I returned to film some years ago, I brought my son along for the ride and got him a fully serviced Spotmatic F, and it has performed flawlessly for all this time.
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Old 09-22-2018   #8
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The first 35mm camera I ever used was a borrowed Asahi Spotmatic. Despite considering it one of the nicest looking cameras ever made, I've never owned one.
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Old 09-22-2018   #9
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I’ve also handled a fair number of used Spotmatics, of all vintages and condition. Several had shutter problems, from capping at high speed to dragging and uneven exposure. Nothing a proper CLA wouldn’t solve, but like any precision mechanism, they don’t like sitting around unused. Beautiful cameras though. One should always have at least one M42 mount body handy for those times when that super bargain screw mount lens shows up.

I have a Fujica ST605n, mainly because when I needed a M42 mount camera it was what showed up first in my search. Fairly modern, seems to work fine and was cheap.
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Old 09-22-2018   #10
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I never owned one back in the day, but always admired their elegant simplicity. I saw some work done with the 50mm 1.4 on digital cameras. I bought one on a non-working Spotmatic F, & gave it to my son who uses it on his Canon 5D. I bought this one for I think $75 (Canadian $). Beautiful portrait lens wide open if I'm not using medium or large format. I think i even saw one adapted to a Leica M...
I think I have the 'never-ready' case somewhere too. One of those situations of acquiring the camera because of the lens. Did I mention, that I'm a sucker for black paint cameras...


IMG_6793 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/]
on Flickr
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Old 09-22-2018   #11
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They are beautiful. And I just looked at the slower shutter speeds: they do seem to be spot-on. Mine has a 55mm f2 Super Takumar. It’s a wonderful lens, close-focus to 45cm, a revelation for a Leica user. I’ve surprised myself by how many keepers I get from a roll with this camera. Mine was cheaper than yours, given to me by a client who knew I still used film. Case and instructions included.
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Old 09-22-2018   #12
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I love my Spotmatic, I have film in it now. And I shot with it yesterday. I have had mine since 1969 and quickly bought a 28mm and a 200mm. What reliable pleasure that camera has given me.

This is the 200mm which I use rarely:

Plus X D-76 by John Carter, on Flickr

And the good old Super Takumar 50mm f 1.4:


Panama' Door 1971 by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 09-22-2018   #13
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John, The Panama portrait is fantastic!
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Old 09-22-2018   #14
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Spotmatics are beautiful cameras. I've had 3 SPII and 2 SP-F. I still have one of each. I've never had an original Spotmatic though.
This black SPII was about the nicest Spotmatic I've ever seen. I bought it complete with its original S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4 with original Asahi 49mm Skylight filter, original lens cap, and original everready case. The body, lens, filter, and cap were basically as new, not a mark on them. It was so clean that I didn't want to use it. I couldn't use it properly anyway because of health, so I decided to sell it.




The SP-F I have now is nearly as clean, but is chrome Honeywell version. It was given to me by my best friend about 5 years ago. He bought it new in 1976 IIRC. It has its original SMC Takumar 55/1.8.

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Old 09-22-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deardorff38 View Post
John, The Panama portrait is fantastic!
Thanks......
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Old 09-22-2018   #16
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I had a silver original Spotty and later a Spotty F, both with the 50/1.4. Lovely cameras, mine were very quiet (for SLRs) as I recall. Ultimately I let them go, as I was in a rangefinder groove at the time. Now and then I think I may buy again one, esp. one of the non-metered ones that I find very fetching. But I need another camera like a hole in the head. Then again...it's just one hole...it might not even hurt.

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Old 09-22-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telenous View Post
.it's just one hole...it might not even hurt.
.
$105 U.S..... not mine
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Asahi-Penta...kAAOSw6gRa0m9f

You can't even buy an E39 Leitz filter for that amount.
The 50mm 1.4 is a magic lens for just pennies...
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Old 09-22-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deardorff38 View Post
$105 U.S..... not mine
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Asahi-Penta...kAAOSw6gRa0m9f

You can't even buy an E39 Leitz filter for that amount.
The 50mm 1.4 is a magic lens for just pennies...
I like the deal Pan got much more!
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Old 09-22-2018   #19
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YES! i'd rank it as the most stylish, most beautiful SLR of all time.

i first had a spotmatic, but the metering switch was sticky and my local repairman said it couldn't be cleaned without almost certainly cracking the screwpost. so i got a meterless SL...and another for backup. one day i will send the spare to kanto to be repainted root beer brown.

all of the s-m-c takumars i have are lovely: 28/3.5, 50/1.4, 55/1.8, and 135/2.5. once in a while i think about getting a 85/1.8 or a 35/2 zeiss zs, but they're too expensive for me to surrender to GAS.
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Old 09-22-2018   #20
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Pentax Spotmatics by Narsuitus, on Flickr

Black body with 50mm 8-element Takumar f/1.4

Chrome body with 28mm Vivitar f/2.8
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Old 09-22-2018   #21
helenhill
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ok, caught the 'FEVER' looking at this thread...

Just bought one on Ebay... $40.00 ...pretty black beauty, meter not working but who
cares
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pentax-Spot...p2047675.l2557

now I need a lens ???
obviously the 50 1.4 but am Wondering what other lens is a gem
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Old 09-22-2018   #22
Deardorff38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I like the deal Pan got much more!
Me too, but i'll pass out if i hold my breath waiting for someone to knock on my door with one...
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Old 09-22-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
ok, caught the 'FEVER' looking at this thread...

Just bought one on Ebay... $40.00 ...pretty black beauty, meter not working but who
cares
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pentax-Spot...p2047675.l2557

now I need a lens ???
obviously the 50 1.4 but am Wondering what other lens is a gem
I've used the 24 & the 100 fine lenses ....but both the 50 1.4 & 55 1.8 are stellar wide open.
there's a 35mm f2 on eBay for cheap.. would be a great street lens....right up your alley
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Old 09-22-2018   #24
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some sweet lenses that are also bargains:

28/3.5
35/3.5
55/1.8
135/3.5
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Old 09-22-2018   #25
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Congrats Helen ...
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Old 09-22-2018   #26
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Thank You 'Aizan'

'Deardorff38' since You consider both 50's to be Stellar f1.4.f1.8
I will just 'do it' a fifties Gurl I am, Thank You !

Thank You Michael !
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Old 09-22-2018   #27
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Just bought the 55 1.8 for $49.00

Looking forward to a new way of seeing ...slr binging
will have to start or join a Spotmatic Thread on Rff
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Old 09-22-2018   #28
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I think you'll really like that lens Helen. & Yes perhaps a new thread will get me to use mine more often...
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Old 09-22-2018   #29
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I have a chrome Spotmatic F, and I have several good lenses for this camera. It is a camera that projects a feel of robustness. The lenses seem to be excellent overall. My lenses include a 17/4 fisheye, 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.8.
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Old 09-22-2018   #30
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Another good reason to become a Spotmatic and Takumar owner:
Eric Hendrickson (pentaxs.com) still services them at very reasonable cost.

Chris
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Old 09-22-2018   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Another good reason to become a Spotmatic and Takumar owner:
Eric Hendrickson (pentaxs.com) still services them at very reasonable cost.

Chris
That's right. He did my Spotmatic, my 6x7, my pentaprism finder for my 6x7 and two lenses. No complaints.
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Old 09-22-2018   #32
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The Spotty SP-F and SMC Tak on the left were originally a graduation present given to my Mum around '73. Over the decades she carried it to archealogical digs in Thailand, through her time in Darwin during Cyclone Tracy, and down to Antartica for several summers with ANARE.

Eventually it was passed on to me and became the camera I used to discover both film and photography generally. It also started a long love affair with Pentax, and nowadays it sits alongside an LX, two MXs, and some lovely K and M series glass.

I really should send it off to Eric for some love and attention

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Old 09-22-2018   #33
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Great story Nick.
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Old 09-22-2018   #34
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I just love its looks and ergonomics. The shutter speed dial that turns all the way around is amazing. The focusing screen with fine microprism seems more precise than any other I've used. And the mirror stop doesn't go out of adjustment like on the more quiet SLRs on which it is dampened with rubber ( I might start a thread about that soon...).
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Old 09-22-2018   #35
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For a long time I collected and used Spotmatics and the "PreSpotmatics". I actually preferred the latter which were smaller, lighter and more elegant in form factor. In fact I always felt that an S1 for example, felt similar in my hand to a Leica screw mount (notwithstanding the pentaprism of course). Bt the Spotmatics were and are still lovely cameras - simple and simply good.
I seldom use them now as I shoot too much digital but I still own and use many of the Spotmatic lenses - the Takumars which are consistently excellent.
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Old 09-22-2018   #36
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Mine is an SP500. It has engravings for a top shutter speed of 1/500s, but if I turn the shutter speed dial to where the 1/1000s would be it’s there! Similarly I suspect the f2 55 I have is also the 1.8 so many here seem to have. But mine doesn’t open up wider than f2.
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Old 09-23-2018   #37
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Also a paid up member of the club.



SPII & SPF
by Redt16s, on Flickr

Seem to have accumulated a few Takumars over the years as well
24 - 200, there's also a 300/4 somewhere



Takumars
by Redt16s, on Flickr]
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Old 09-23-2018   #38
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My first real camera after guess the distance and exposures..
A live view, a great meter system and the lenses..
First the bad news, a darker viewfinder, stop down metering,
can be difficult to load!(check cassette has movement).
The Good news, is that none of my Pentax Spotties ever reqd.
maintenance and services. Leica is a perpetual adjustment thing..
Dark viewfinder is easy to get focus..
I have a few, some meter not working, but so easy to work around.
The famous ZA photographer (late) Sam Haskins used them. In the 60's,
there was a promotion board about 6ft high picture of model with negative shown on board!
One of my Spotmatics traveled round the world with other photographers.
Used at an "sort of" Olympics when the press pool Nikons died..
About 40~100 rolls a day for 10 days..
The lenses are superb, the flare thing seldom, unlike my Summicron. Tele-Elmar.
Big problem, when i was younger was shortsighted and viewfinder was causing me headaches..
Now that my arms are too short and can see into tomorrow, they are perfect.
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Old 09-23-2018   #39
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Pentax System by Narsuitus, on Flickr

Asahi 300mm f/6.3 preset Tele Takumar (left)
Asahi 200mm f/5.6 Super Takumar
Asahi 135mm f/3.5 Super Takumar
Asahi 105mm f/2.8 Super Takumar (right)
Asahi 50mm f/1.4 Super Takumar (8-element) (on black body)
Asahi 28mm f/3.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar (on chrome body)
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Old 09-23-2018   #40
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Gads, you guys have equipment. I feel like a piker, I've only had one for 49 years and only three lenses. Well, four if you count a Zenitar 16mm.

Zenitar 16mm, Lots of lenses fit the Spotmatic:

TriX HC-110h by John Carter, on Flickr
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