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SLRs - the unRF For those of you who must talk about SLRs, if only to confirm they are not RF.

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Old 10-09-2005   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bill
Out of curiosity what is the CV Bessaflex like to shoot with?

Bill
I like it very much, and in fact, I have it with me on vacation right now. Although you can get an M42 adapter for just about any SLR lens mount made, and therefore can mount just about any M42 lens to any SLR body, the Bessaflex TM has a couple of additional features that I prefer.

1) New exposure meter. Same accurate and well-regarded meter as on the Bessa R series cameras. I know you can restore older cameras and some of them had great meters, but let's face it - they're old now. Meters are often the first to go, even assuming they are not made for mercury batteries.

2) Stop-down metering, but not shooting. What I mean by that is that I can focus, compose, then stop-down and meter, then open back up and shoot. The Bessaflex TM has the built-in kicker that all semi-modern native M42 cameras have to engage the aperture pin. With any M42 adapter except the Rollei QBM bayonet mount, you have to stop-down before you shoot and leave it there while you shoot - it does not engage the pin for you. That means that you can't use M42 lenses that lack a manual/automatic switch on those adapters and it can be a real bear to compose and focus while stopped down.

3) Modern Copal Square vertical focal plane shutter. Accurate shutter speeds, no tapering. I have had several Fujica SLRs, all suffered from shutter tapering. By the time I bought four of them on eBoy, I finally decided enough was enough and bought a new Bessaflex TM.

Not to knock all the great senior statesmen M42 SLRs by any means, but I felt I'd be shooting often enough with classic M42 glass that I would get some real use out of the advantages the Bessaflex TM offers.

Now, on the downside...no hotshoe. In fact, no accessory shoe at all. That sucks. Looks more like a 'Topcon' etc, but come on. Yes, there is an adapter, but that's another thing to rattle around in the bottom of my AWOL bag and lose.

I've also discovered that the 58mm f2 Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar will not work on the Bessaflex TM. The rear of the lens shoulder extends so far in that it blocks the 'kicker' for the aperture pin (which a Biotar does not have) and with that blocked, the shutter will not function. I talked to Stephen Gandy about it, he didn't know either. Weird.

Great viewfinder, though. Bright, clean, love it.

I still sometimes stick M42 glass on my Canon T60 SLR with an M42/FD adapter, though. Have to stop down to meter and then leave it stopped down to shoot, but it has Aperture-Preferred setting for shutter speed, which can be nice. Funny, the Bessaflex TM is built on the old Canon T60 chassis, but lacks that feature.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks
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Old 10-09-2005   #42
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Never could understand the reason why some brands only allowed certain metering patterns with older lenses (same or offbrand), ie, only CW metering on an EOS with M42 (or OM, etc), and the same with a Nikon N90 with AI/AIS lens. And why the Contax Aria will use all (centerweighted, evaluative, AND spot) with the M42 lenses.
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Old 10-09-2005   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorisbens
Yes, I was (unfortunately) talking about the praktica super TL1000. I really love that camera, but I would trade it immediately for the super takumar 1000mm
I dare say! Sorry for the mistake. I always heard good things about the Prakticas too. Say, weren't they the first at something? First SLR, first in-camera meter, something as I recall?
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Old 10-09-2005   #44
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Several spotties in a bunch of M42 mount cameras. (48 so far) Also use K mount but only have a dozen or so bodies. Don't get me started on lenses (or Tamron, T mount to M42, TX, T4).....
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Old 10-09-2005   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd
I dare say! Sorry for the mistake. I always heard good things about the Prakticas too. Say, weren't they the first at something? First SLR, first in-camera meter, something as I recall?
My praktica is a wonderful camera, it has all the functions I need and it isn't to big (for a SLR).

And I thought, but I ain't sure, that praktica was the first the use the M42 mount. (This might be completely wrong )
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Old 10-09-2005   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd
I always heard good things about the Prakticas too. Say, weren't they the first at something? First SLR, first in-camera meter, something as I recall?
They're sometimes reported to have been the first SLR to use the M42 mount but I've also read that it was a Zeiss camera that it was actually developed for. The Praktica does pre-date the Pentax M42 models and was certainly the first popular mass produced camera to use the M42 mount.

The early Prakticas have a feel of solid precision and are quite smooth. The later, redesigned models (with the Copal-style metal focal plane shutter running vertically) do not have the same heft and feel and many people take that to mean they're inferior. They're not as smooth as the earlier models and certainly don't feel as solid or work with the silkiness of a Spotmatic. The shutters are also failry noisy, giving some the impression that they're "clunky".

They are, however, reliable and IMO well-made. They sync electronic flash at 1/100-1/125 which helps prevent ghost imaging and the speeds are pretty consistent I believe. They have a unique film loading system that's easy to use. The East German optics by Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer Optiks and, later, Pentacon are quality. And, of course, all Takumar and other Japanese M42 lenses will work on the Prakticas just fine.

If you want a useable camera with lots and lots of models (many look the same) to collect, the Prakticas are hard to beat.

The most common problem to my knowledge is the meter malfunctioning. The weakest point seems to be the advance sprocket which, as I understand it, has too little engagement surface between the internal rod that disconnects the advance mechanism for re-winding and the plastic sprocket. They are known to strip if too much force is applied. I don't think East German plastics are as good in quality as they could be either.

I'm sure it's evident that I like the Prakticas but I'd never argue that they're of the quality of the Spotmatic which is a first-rate camera by any measure. They aren't but neither should anyone turn their noses up at them as the Prakticas are very capable.

The attached picture was taken with a Praktica LTL-3 and a Pentacon Electric 135mm f/2.8 lens.

Walker
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Last edited by doubs43 : 10-09-2005 at 16:27.
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Old 10-09-2005   #47
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Nice photo, Walker. Was this with the version of the 135mm pentacon (with the VERY blue coating)?

This one is on permanent display on my gallery, aka refrigerator door , taken with a 200/4 SMC takumar wide open, on Tri-x.
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Old 10-09-2005   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_g
Nice photo, Walker. Was this with the version of the 135mm pentacon (with the VERY blue coating)?
This one is on permanent display on my gallery, aka refrigerator door , taken with a 200/4 SMC takumar wide open, on Tri-x.
Ray, that's a great shot that the child and his family will treasure for years to come. I like the bokeh of the Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 and mine does have a very blue coating... almost cobalt blue. Mine is also multi-coated. Here's another picture taken with it against the light. It doesn't have as much contrast as many Japanese lenses do but when taking backlighted subjects, it can be helpful.

This picture wasn't posed. She had her head turned away so I focused and then called her name. She turned and looked directly into the lens as I released the shutter. I knew when I took it that it was going to be a good shot.

Walker
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Last edited by doubs43 : 10-09-2005 at 18:14.
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Old 10-09-2005   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bill
Out of curiosity what is the CV Bessaflex like to shoot with?

Bill

To answer your immediate question, the CV Bessaflex is GREAT to use. I have the silver Topcon-styled one and the matching 58mm f1.4 lens (huge compared to the Super Takumar f1.4). Except for the Bessaflex having the typically loud CV copal shutter, it's a joy to use. By today's standards, it's quite petite. Plenty of metal in it. Its meter is basic, but reliable in how it interprets readings, so it's easy to get used to. The stop-down lever is also Amateur Photographer just did a review of the Bessaflex. Rated it at, I think, 84% or so compared to all of today's whiz-bang auto-everything cameras. That's not too bad for something with such old technology. It is a positive "retro" experience.

As for the original question, thanks for bringing it up. We could have a whole M42F web-site going. Aside from the Bessaflex, I have an ESII and a Zeiss Icarex "TM Pro". The M42 lenses in the bag are the CV 58mm f1.4, Super-Tak 50 f1.4, Super-Tak 28mm f2.8, Sigma 18mm f3.5 and Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4.

First choice for 35mm is (any) rangefinder, then Nikon FM3a, then Bessaflex.
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Old 10-09-2005   #50
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I too, use a Praktica with M42 lenses. With the 50mm lens it cost me under $30 on Ebay. The meter is DOA, but with Sunny-16 or my Sekonic meter it is super sharp. The 200mm lens I also got off Ebay for under $10usd. Nice kit for taking to the rain forest or use as a defensive weapon - LOL.
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Old 10-10-2005   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmr436
Oh really? I've heard fleeting references to it but I've never seen it here in the States.

Is it really the same company?
Not at all, but they still make excellent beer!


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Old 10-10-2005   #52
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I'm actually currently using a yellowed 50mm 1.4 SMC on a Maxxum 7, whose AF mechanism I broke, via adaptor.
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Old 10-10-2005   #53
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Some of the older Takumar lenses exhibit a characteristic silmilar to RF lenses of the same vintage, are equally well build and available at a much lower price. Compact size (standards and telephoto lenses) as well. Of course, with wide-angle lenses the RF camera is the most compact choice...

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Old 10-10-2005   #54
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Pentax Spotmatics were my 1st (real) cameras after the Contaflex

Still love it!
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Old 10-10-2005   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtzordon
I'm actually currently using a yellowed 50mm 1.4 SMC on a Maxxum 7, whose AF mechanism I broke, via adaptor.
There may not be much hope for the AF mechanism, but the yellowing can be reversed:

http://www.aohc.it/info08e.htm

It worked for my 50/1.4 Super Takumar!
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Old 10-10-2005   #56
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I use a Praktica MTL3 with SMC Takumar glass in 28mm and 50mm focal lengths... and a Jupiter 9 85/2. Love the old-school mechanical feel of the camera and the screwmount lenses, as well as the incredibly affordable glass out there. The build quality of certain Pentax SMC Takumar lenses are also awesome.
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Old 10-10-2005   #57
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Another vote for the Praktica MTL3. It lives under the front seat of my car, always ready. I use a Zeiss 1.8 50mm Pancolar on it. I love that camera, even the sound of the shutter, which is only about as loud as an anvil falling from a 10 story building. (Well, not quite, but you get the idea.)
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Old 10-10-2005   #58
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I've still got an old Praktica MTL-3, lovely solid camera, it feels that it would crack concrete if it were dropped , though I have not tried it.

The battery has gone and I've not tried it with a 1.5 volt PX625 alkaline job worried that it might fry the meter. There was a place that made adapters somewhere that would drop the voltage of a 1.5v to the designed 1.35v of the mercury cell.

Also still got an old Fujica st605n with a fully working meter. Not sure if the shutters taperring as it's been a while since it was used.

For K stuff I still have an MX and an ME Super.
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Old 10-10-2005   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krasnaya_Zvezda
Another vote for the Praktica MTL3. It lives under the front seat of my car, always ready. I use a Zeiss 1.8 50mm Pancolar on it. I love that camera, even the sound of the shutter, which is only about as loud as an anvil falling from a 10 story building. (Well, not quite, but you get the idea.)
I'm waiting now for delivery of an MTL-3. I have one already but the advance sprocket is broken and replacement requires a complete disassembly. I hope the new one is fully functional.

The metal Copal-style shutter IS loud! It's also reliable and accurate. Some of the "CLUNK" can be reduced by adding foam strips to buffer the mirror when it hits top.

The Pancolar is an excellent lens but prone to yellowing. I have three of them and I've given the sun treatment (ultraviolet light) to one. The yellowing is entirely gone now. The Pentacon multi-coated 50mm f/1.8 is also excellent.

The attached picture was taken with a 50mm f/1.8 Oreston fully extended. Film was Arista EDU Ultra 200 developed in Rodinal.

Walker
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Old 10-10-2005   #60
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The alkaline 1.5v 625 battery will work just fine and won't harm your meter. As I understand it, the Praktica meter circuit is similar to the Spotmatic in that it isn't dependent upon precise voltage and uses a bridge circuit that balances itself.

All of the Prakticas that I own with working meters have the 1.5 volt 625 alkaline battery in them. I do have a couple that use the 4.5v PX-21 (523) battery but that's a horse of a different color.

Walker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred
I've still got an old Praktica MTL-3, lovely solid camera, it feels that it would crack concrete if it were dropped , though I have not tried it.

The battery has gone and I've not tried it with a 1.5 volt PX625 alkaline job worried that it might fry the meter. There was a place that made adapters somewhere that would drop the voltage of a 1.5v to the designed 1.35v of the mercury cell.
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Old 10-10-2005   #61
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Another Pentax SLR fan here. Since using a polarizer on a rangefinder
camera is no fun, I prefer to use an SLR when shooting color slides.

Older Pentax cameras and lenses are really well made and a joy to use;
SMC Takumar and SMC Pentax lenses are superb.
I currently own SP-F, KM and ME models.

The SP-F is the final Spotmatic model; it performs open-aperture metering with
SMC Takumars ("ES" mount") and stopdown metering with other M42 lenses.

The KM is much like the Spotmatic-F but uses bayonet ("K") mount lenses.
The K1000 is a cheapened version of the KM.

The ME is almost as small and quiet as a compact rangefinder...

Excelsior, you fathead!
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Old 10-10-2005   #62
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derevaun: Thanks for that link. I've thought about that before, but right now I just use it for BW film, so not problem there. Re. the AF mechanism, Minolta will fix it, but I have to send it off to them. Right now there isn't any real motivation to send it out as I don't have any pressing needs for AF. Plus, then I wouldn't be able to use my macro lens for a while!
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Old 10-10-2005   #63
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Love my SPF which I had snce new in the 70s. Togerther with 28, 35, 55 and 135.
It is as good a shooter as my M3 and CL, differences are weight and the mirror bang.
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Old 10-10-2005   #64
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In one of Mike Johnston's columns, he praises the 50mm f/1.4 Super-Tak (and SMC version) to the skies, claiming it's one of the best optics of all time -- on a par with a Summicron. I know some of the shots I took with my Super-Tak 55/2 were among my best ever. Beautiful bokeh.

Uncle Bill, you've created a monster here!

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Old 10-10-2005   #65
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I have a Spotmatic F and ES I use regularly; also have an ESII, H1a, S1a and SV. I love the Super-Multi-Coated Takumars -- I have the 24/3.5; 28/3.5; 35/2; 35/3.5; 50/1.4; 50/4 macro; 100/4 macro; 105/2.8; 135/3.5; and 200/4. I'd put these lenses up with anybody's, and they're real bargains these days.

I remember Herbert Keppler in Popular Photography several years ago testing the S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4 against a Leica M 50, probably the Summicron. The Takumar was as good and actually a little better. (I know -- one lens, one limited test, etc., but the point is, it's a great lens.)
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Old 10-10-2005   #66
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I still have 2 M42 SLRs, a Cosina, which is broken (ebay find, never worked properly, but was too cheap to send back! Came with a nice sharp 28mm Cosina lens.
Next was a Mamiya Sekor 500 DTL, which is one solid camera. Also an extremely cheap ebay find, it dates from I think 1966, and has spot and average metering. Still works too, with a sharp F1.7 50mm Yashica lens
However I have now built a collection around a Pentax ME Super, got tired of trying to see through a dark and dusty Mamiya screen and having to stop down.
Currently have SMC 135 F3.5, 85 F2, 50 1.4, 28 F2.8 and a 24mm Vivitar lens which is my current favourite. Although the 50mm 1.4 is a great lens, it's too close to my RFs to get much use...

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Old 10-10-2005   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubs43
...The Pancolar is an excellent lens but prone to yellowing. I have three of them and I've given the sun treatment (ultraviolet light) to one. The yellowing is entirely gone now. The Pentacon multi-coated 50mm f/1.8 is also excellent.



Walker
Hadn't heard about the yellowing problem, thanks for the warning, and the tip about the remedy.
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Old 10-10-2005   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krasnaya_Zvezda
Hadn't heard about the yellowing problem, thanks for the warning, and the tip about the remedy.
The Pancolar used a lens element that has slight radioactive properties. It tends to turn yellow over time. Looking through the lens at a white light source will quickly show the yellowing if it exists. To reverse the yellowing, wrap the lens entirely in aluminum foil except for the back of the lens. Place the back of the lens toward the sun and allow the rays to go in and be reflected back by the aluminum foil. For a seriously yellowed lens it can take many, many hours of exposure to the sun but it will eventually clear.

The same method works on the Takumar lens that also yellow over time.

Walker
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Old 10-12-2005   #69
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Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!!!!!!
MY M-42 Monster lives! Hell I just scored a 105/2.8 Auto Tak. off the 'Bay for my Model K Asahi Pentax and S1a, I can't wait to use it. The scary thing is its cheap to get into, sort of like FSU glass without the quality control worries.

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Old 10-12-2005   #70
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It was nice to read many stories from Pentax users! I also use Pentax screwmount SLRs. I have an SP1000, SL and SV with two lens. Those are 55/2 Super-Takumar (its a bit strange, it has the coupling for open-aperture metering with SP-F...) and SMCT 85/1.8. I have (and use) more K-mount equipment, but sometimes i like to use these even older machines with B&W film. There is something special in using them, maybe partly because i have learned about camera repairing when i did some heavy overhauling on the SP1000 and SV. I think ill get one more m42 lens, a wideangle, so that each body has one lens

Of course id like to have some more bodies as well but ive kind of decided ill not become a collector, and must be able to use reasonably often each camera i have... Some people (sometimes even myself) would think im on the edge already... But a Asahi Pentax K would be sooo lovely

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Spotmatic Group? Yes.
Old 12-13-2005   #71
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Spotmatic Group? Yes.

I just got a Spotmatic body last week. So far i found a S.Takamr 105mm 2.8 for it. But I'm looking for Super Takumar 20mm. One I was watching to bid on is $200+ right now at auction. Sounds like I'm going to have to wait awhile if that's the going price.
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Old 12-13-2005   #72
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As Frank (Sonnar2) is aware, I have a "couple" of Pentax's and use both M42 and M37 screwmount. (and just a couple of K mount!!)

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Old 12-13-2005   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimG
I just got a Spotmatic body last week. So far i found a S.Takamr 105mm 2.8 for it. But I'm looking for Super Takumar 20mm. One I was watching to bid on is $200+ right now at auction. Sounds like I'm going to have to wait awhile if that's the going price.
Jim, there is a Spotmatic forum on "Yahoo Groups" that's quite active and a nice bunch much like the folks you find here. They often discuss various Takumar lenses and IIRC the 20mm Super-Takumar is not generally thought of as a particularly good one. Opinions, of course, will vary.

An affordable alternative you may want to consider is the Russian-made MIR-20M. I bought mine new from Kievcamera in Atlanta for (IIRC) $139 brand new. It came with three filters that screw into the back of the lens, covers and a pouch. The attached picture was taken with it.

Walker
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Old 12-13-2005   #74
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Does a K1000 with an adapter count?

If so, yes.

And, indeed, does an EOS 300D with an adapter count?

If so, then yes again!
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Old 12-13-2005   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim Coxon
As Frank (Sonnar2) is aware, I have a "couple" of Pentax's and use both M42 and M37 screwmount. (and just a couple of K mount!!)
"M37"? Kim, are you talking about Asahiflex/Tower cameras?
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Old 12-13-2005   #76
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I used to shoot with a pair of Ricoh SLX-500's, but now I'm a Canon guy. My dad uses them now for his microscope and some field shots of local woodland fungi.

I do have a M42-EOS adapter, too.

I'd like to get an original Pentax, an original Spotmatic, and a Contax S sometime. Could be fun.
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Old 12-13-2005   #77
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Yep! Tower 22, Tower 24, an Asahiflex IIA and a IIB that is in bits as it was used to restore the other 3 to full user condition.

Kim
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug
"M37"? Kim, are you talking about Asahiflex/Tower cameras?
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Old 12-13-2005   #78
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I have a Spotmatic that is currently undergoing a CLA, and I have picked up a couple of Yashica TL's to tide me over in the meantime.

Just in case no one else has mentioned it, I have to say that Yashicas seem to be really undervalued. I got both of mine for about $20 each off of Eb** I mean, come on, an M42 mount SLR with mirror lock up for $20 If I did not already have the Spotmatic, I may never have bothered to track one down.

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Old 12-13-2005   #79
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Oh, as long as we're showing off old Asahi-made cams, here's my 1958 Pentax K...
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Old 12-13-2005   #80
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I am not going to rise to the bait.

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Quote:
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Oh, as long as we're showing off old Asahi-made cams, here's my 1958 Pentax K...
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