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Best SLR with M42 mount ?
Old 07-12-2018   #1
santino
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Best SLR with M42 mount ?

Hi all

Whats in your opinion the best camera with M42 mount ?

Is it the Bessaflex because it's the most recent, Yashica, Praktica etc...

I personally like Prakticas but dislike the match needle metering.
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Old 07-12-2018   #2
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Black M42 by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 07-12-2018   #3
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santino View Post
Hi all

Whats in your opinion the best camera with M42 mount ?

Is it the Bessaflex because it's the most recent, Yashica, Praktica etc...

I personally like Prakticas but dislike the match needle metering.
What are your criteria? What is "best"?

You do not have to fit a battery to many Prakticas which only require them to power their light metering. So if you don't like their meters, you don't have to use them. There are various M42 cameras which never had built in metering in the first place, but the fact you've mentioned it, at all, implies that perhaps you may meter using a built in meter? Certain meterless M42 cameras I might use could, hence, be completely unsuitable for you and not "best" (to you, anyway).

Production of M42 cameras covered a period of sixty-odd years if you take it as beginning from the first camera to use the Zeiss 42mm thread mount, the Zeiss Ikon Contax S, to the Bessaflex you mention. Covers a lot of ground.
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Old 07-12-2018   #4
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There are really a lot of models and many good cameras.
What Brett said - most automatic cams have electronic shutters and need
batteries.
And there are models like the Revue AC1 that came with various names under
various brands. Made from Chinon and Cosina, mostly plastic.
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Old 07-12-2018   #5
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I really liked my Bessamatic, but have not gotten around to having it repaired since its mirror shattered on me (in use with a Pentax 24mm lens). But I also think that the Fujica line is great, such as the mechanical 705W, with a big viewfinder and clear needle matching metering or the 801 with LEDs for metering. Mamiya Sekor also has a nice variable spot /center metering and is quite solid, but is also really bulky.
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Old 07-12-2018   #6
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I'd go for a Pentax Spotmatic. They're indestructible, inexpensive and easy to have repaired, last forever, and are plentiful and cheap to buy.
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Old 07-12-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
I'd go for a Pentax Spotmatic. They're indestructible, inexpensive and easy to have repaired, last forever, and are plentiful and cheap to buy.
So true! My Pentaxes, Spotmatic is the best, never needing a service or "care" like my money sucking Leica M models..
The lenses of Takumar a joy in look and flare fighting capabilities..
One of my Spotmatic was borrowed by other pro photographers.
My dad took it around Europe a number of times..
At a Olympic type games, South African Press corps. borrowed it, as their SLR had jammed! Hundreds of rolls a week..

The Spotmatic is smooth, the viewfinder very good but not overbrite.
A screen easy to focus on..
I still use them.
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Old 07-12-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santino View Post
Hi all

Whats in your opinion the best camera with M42 mount ?

Is it the Bessaflex because it's the most recent, Yashica, Praktica etc...

I personally like Prakticas but dislike the match needle metering.

The Pentaxes are hard to beat. If you don't like the meter configuration you might consider one of the meterless bodies like SL, SV, or S3, and just use a handheld meter.
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Old 07-12-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
What are your criteria? What is "best"?
1. What M42 lenses do you already have or are you planning to use?

-- Are they very old (no automatic diaphragm)? Then you have to be very careful e.g. if the camera's mirror is very large.

-- Do they have some open aperture metering feature or pin? (Carl Zeiss Jena electric, some Fuji, some Pentax, etc.) Then only the matching camera is a good advice, IMHO.

2. Does your camera need

-- exchangeable finders? Then there are some Praktica, Miranda/Soligor (and to an extent one very cumbersome Ricoh), AFAIK.

-- TTL metering? Electronically timed shutter? Brett (Sarcophilus Harrisii) already addressed the battery problem.

-- open aperture metering? See above.

-- average metering plus spot metering? I guess there's a Mamiya having that feature.

-- Mirror Lock Up? I would know of one Yashica having that feature.

So, there is really no *best*, it depends...
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Old 07-12-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJJ3 View Post
The Pentaxes are hard to beat. If you don't like the meter configuration you might consider one of the meterless bodies like SL, SV, or S3, and just use a handheld meter.
I absolutely love my Pentax SV, except for the mirror lock-up function. If you partially press the shutter button (similar to DSLRs when you want to focus) the mirror will lock-up and there is nothing you can do to put it down. I've accidently bumped it multiple times putting it into my bag and had to waste a frame because I couldn't see anything. The SL is also really nice and doesn't have that problem, but the SV looks much cooler.
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Old 07-12-2018   #11
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I've got a bit of a thing for my Bessaflex TM.



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Old 07-12-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post

Black M42 by Narsuitus, on Flickr
The Fujica ST705 is one of the smallest things you can have for a M42 Body.
Fully mechanic, full metal.
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Old 07-12-2018   #13
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumarongi View Post
1. What M42 lenses do you already have or are you planning to use?

-- Are they very old (no automatic diaphragm)? Then you have to be very careful e.g. if the camera's mirror is very large.

-- Do they have some open aperture metering feature or pin? (Carl Zeiss Jena electric, some Fuji, some Pentax, etc.) Then only the matching camera is a good advice, IMHO.

2. Does your camera need

-- exchangeable finders? Then there are some Praktica, Miranda/Soligor (and to an extent one very cumbersome Ricoh), AFAIK.

-- TTL metering? Electronically timed shutter? Brett (Sarcophilus Harrisii) already addressed the battery problem.

-- open aperture metering? See above.

-- average metering plus spot metering? I guess there's a Mamiya having that feature.

-- Mirror Lock Up? I would know of one Yashica having that feature.

So, there is really no *best*, it depends...
Some good points above. Permit me to add to them please.
Interchangeable finders:
The Zeiss Ikon Icarex 35 offers interchangeable viewfinders also. In both the proprietary bayonet mount version and the "TM" or thread mount (M42) model. A waist level finder, un-metered pentaprism finder and uncoupled CdS pentaprism finder was offered, and these are all still to be found on Eg. eBay with a little looking. I have thread mount versions of the Icarex 35 and Icarex 35S (with fixed, integral pentaprism) and although the internal build quality is not as good as older model Voigtländers (it was a Voigtländer project originally, picked up and marketed as a Zeiss Ikon as part of the Zeiss Ikon/Voigtländer merger, I believe), they are beautifully finished externally, solid, and a delight to photograph with.

Mirror Lock Up:
People frequently conflate the terms "mirror lock up" with "mirror pre-fire" or "pre-release". The latter two can be helpful to minimise vibration when, for example, doing macrophotography or when using very long lenses, (particularly with a tripod that may not be as heavy duty as you might prefer). It's usually activated with a 35mm camera that features it by releasing the shutter via the self timer (although certain cameras such as some early Prakticas, the KW Praktina, and some ALPA SLRs, to name a few, may also let you pre-fire the mirror simply by gently, and slowly depressing the shutter release part way). But pre-release is not the same as mirror lock up.

This was a feature traditionally fitted to some professional or better quality 35mm SLRs, when the use of retrofocus-type wide angle lenses in conjunction with SLRs was still uncommon. Yashica, Zeiss, Nikon and several other manufacturers produced wide angle lenses in their SLR mounts which protruded so far into the mirror boxes of their cameras that mirror damage would occur when these were fitted, unless the reflex mirror was first retracted and locked up mechanically. The mirror was locked in the raised position, and would then remain so, regardless of film advance status, rewinding exposed film, or even releasing the self timer (if fitted). "Lock up" meant precisely that--the mirror would not descend at any time, for any reason, until it was unlocked. Obviously, these cameras were incapable of reflex focusing when used with such lenses, which were generally supplied with accessory viewfinders. (Essentially the SLR involved became a scale focus camera in this condition, however with the substantial depth of field offered by these short focal lengths this was not usually an issue.)

There are certain M42 cameras that will pre-release the reflex mirror when the self timer is utilised. The Chinon Memotron is, I believe, one such, and is sometimes cited as having a mirror lock up (it doesn't), as is the Yashica TL Electro X (which does, more on that in a moment).

The M42 bodies that I am aware of which definitely do have a mirror lock up are:
Yashica TL Super;
Yashica TL Electro X (which will also pre release the mirror, via its self timer when this is set); and
Pentax Spotmatic with Honeywell MLU conversion.

The latter is somewhat rare, and uses an additional switch similar to the standard stop down/metering switch that is fitted to the front wind side of the mirror box. They can command a substantial price premium over standard unmodified versions, although, occasionally, if a seller does not know what they have, one might go cheaply online if the listing images don't encourage the extra switch to be noticed. I'm still looking for a cheap one of my own...
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 07-12-2018   #14
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My vote is for the Fujica ST801, smaller than the Spotmatic (better in every way as far as I am concerned), all mechanical and will work even without the battery, much quieter, the viewfinder is significantly brighter and has a split-screen for focusing, top shutter speed of 1/2000, ISO up to 3200, and a LED metering system. Bessamatic is probably nicer, but you can get a ST801 for $50.
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Old 07-12-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vytasn View Post
My vote is for the Fujica ST801, smaller than the Spotmatic (better in every way as far as I am concerned), all mechanical and will work even without the battery, much quieter, the viewfinder is significantly brighter and has a split-screen for focusing, top shutter speed of 1/2000, ISO up to 3200, and a LED metering system. Bessamatic is probably nicer, but you can get a ST801 for $50.
You can get a Bessamatic for $50, too, and they are a gorgeous SLR with some good lenses, but it will probably need some work before you can use it at that price, and even then it won’t mount M42 lenses.

I’d possibly buy an ST801 myself for $50 if I found one at the price, but I have looked at what they fetch online and it seems to be a bit more than that in recent times. Where I live they rarely appear for sale locally but perhaps you have better odds in your location?
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Old 07-12-2018   #16
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Simply... The Best...


Pentax SV by Colton Allen, on Flickr
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Old 07-12-2018   #17
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I am astounded at the love for The Fujica ST 701 and 801. Most of the time when I have posted something here at RFF about my ST 901, I don't even get a comment, as if not worth it.

In my case, I have used the Pentax SV. I liked it. I have used the Fujica ST 801. I never used the 1/2000 except to experiment. It was nice as well. My first SLR, a Yashica TL Super was fun, and if I inadvertently let the battery run down, I still had my mechanical shutter.

I know there are many good M42 mount SLR. But the question was one of opinion. In my opinion, it would be the Fujica ST 901. When I got it it was because I already had some M42 lenses, although at that time, not any Fujinons. I wanted AP auto, and it has that. What I really learned to love was the set of shutter speeds by leds in the viewfinder (but speeds were stepless), the aperture in the viewfinder (not by leds), and the EV -3 to 18 meter. It also has mechanical speeds from 1/60 to 1/1000 in case yu let the battery run down. Mine has run since about 1975, never needing servicing (hope that continues). I can only guess at about 10,000 to 14,000 photos. I have used a couple of Contax cameras (139Q and 167mt) which I really enjoy, especially the incredible dedicated flash, which is right on. But I still love my Fujica ST 901. When ebay prices were low, I purchased two more as a hedge against its age.



That is my opinion.
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Old 07-12-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottboarding View Post
I absolutely love my Pentax SV, except for the mirror lock-up function. If you partially press the shutter button (similar to DSLRs when you want to focus) the mirror will lock-up and there is nothing you can do to put it down.
I had a Nikon F that would do this. I could flip the mirror back down with a finger on the bottom edge.
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Old 07-12-2018   #19
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A camera with lots more features than any mentioned so far, very reliable

is a Canon T90 with the M42 to FD adapter.

you lose auto diaphragm, but gain so much more its well worth the trade

lots of interchangeable screens

not only averaging, center, spot metering but also
MULTI SPOT METERING as well

5 FPS motor

wonderful bright finder with GREAT readouts

great TTL flash even with adapted lenses

also mounts Canon FD lenses and Nikon lenses (via adapter)
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Old 07-12-2018   #20
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Hi,


Soligor TM, not that anyone's ever heard of them...


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Old 07-12-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
A camera with lots more features than any mentioned so far, very reliable

is a Canon T90 with the M42 to FD adapter.

you lose auto diaphragm, but gain so much more its well worth the trade

lots of interchangeable screens

not only averaging, center, spot metering but also
MULTI SPOT METERING
Re features of the Canon T90:
Is there/are there
-- *Real* Mirror Lock Up?
-- Interchangeable finders?
-- Battery independence?
-- Mechanical shutter speeds, at least *one* please?
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Old 07-12-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Soligor TM, not that anyone's ever heard of them...
Dear David,

see my post #9 please:

Quote:
2. Does your camera need

-- exchangeable finders? Then there are some Praktica, Miranda/Soligor (and to an extent one very cumbersome Ricoh), AFAIK.
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Old 07-12-2018   #23
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I will put in another vote for the Spotmatic as king of the M42 bodies, but not far behind is the Fujica ST801. That was one of the very best cameras I've ever owned. The Spotmatic is just so simple, so smooth and I have a soft spot for it because it is what I learned how to shoot with. It is easy to find a Spotmatic in working condition at a thrift store or garage sale that is as smooth as a newly CLA'd Leica M4.

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Old 07-12-2018   #24
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The Spotmatics have poor eye relief for eyeglass wearers, so I never got on with them. The KX and FX are a better solution if you wear glasses.
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Old 07-12-2018   #25
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It's hard to beat the features on the Canon T90, but that camera is huge compared to some of the little Pentax cameras. If you don't mind toting it, it's a fine shooter, but it was just too large for my tastes. I like the F1 cameras better. A little smaller, but they weigh a ton. You could get a Canon AE-1 Program and shoot it in auto mode with stop down metering for small money w/ the adapter and have a camera that is smaller and lighter.
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Old 07-12-2018   #26
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I haven't used many M42 cameras but out of those i did use, the Spotmatic was probably the best. Never got used to the stop-down lever on the front though.

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Old 07-12-2018   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
A camera with lots more features than any mentioned so far, very reliable

is a Canon T90 with the M42 to FD adapter...
I would prefer the whole EOS series when it comes to adapters.
Heavily used a long time by the way. With the right model you get AF-confirm on top!

But not shure if we get a bit far away now.
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Old 07-12-2018   #28
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I would have to vote for the Spotmatic if you have Pentax m42 lenses as they're made for each other. I bought a Fujica ST 801 a few years ago ($45 on eBay, one of my luckier buys) for the few Pentax lenses I've accumulated. It's a superb camera, but it gets my second vote because it won't allow stop-down metering with the Pentax lenses. You have to meter by setting the aperture then simultaneously pressing the DOF button and half-pressing the shutter button. This is tricky as I find that I sometimes trip the shutter accidentally before getting a meter reading. The Fujica cameras are best suited to the superb Fujinon EBC lenses in my opinion.
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Old 07-12-2018   #29
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If you're not familiar with these cameras I suggest you google their specs. Manual is here. Open aperture focusing, auto stop down metering with ALL auto lenses, auto electronic shutter but also full metered manual. 0.92 viewfinder. Top speed 1/2000th. The Chinon lenses might very well have been coated by Tomioka before Yashica bought the Tomioka factory. They have the same coating hues and are very sharp.
Not mentioned anywhere: I had a black paint Leica M3 at one time and I swear the paint quality on these Chinon puppies is identical. Semi-glossy black paint over brass.
My Memotrons were re-covered in leather, the green leather I received from a fellow RFF member several years ago, the brown leather is a thrift shop-purchased women's bag...

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Old 07-12-2018   #30
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A build in meter a la Leica M6 classic would be perfect! It has to be mechanical and support the auto diaphragm of my lenses.
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Old 07-12-2018   #31
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for me it would have to be one of the many fine Pentax slr range
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Old 07-12-2018   #32
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Quote:
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Dear David,

see my post #9 please:



Ooops, and the worst part is that I remember reading your post, now... :-(


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Old 07-12-2018   #33
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My vote goes to the Pentax Spotmatic F, with the other earlier Spotmatic variants as honorable mentions.
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Old 07-12-2018   #34
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I haven't used enough to know if it's the 'best', but I've always really enjoyed using my Spotmatic SP F.

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Old 07-12-2018   #35
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The Vivitar XC series (XC-2, XC-3 and XC-4) are the same size as a Olympus OM-1 and offer add-on auto exposure with the XC-A module. LED metering and my XC-2's film advance is even smoother than my M-3's !
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Old 07-13-2018   #36
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Wow, the vivitars and memotrons are totally new to me and seem to be pretty cool.
I wish I was able to replace the shutter curtains in my Contax D - no instant return mirror but bright screen and solid body.

Here in Austria, the Prakticas seem to be the most common and inexpensive M42 cameras. In fact my first SLR was a Praktica MTL 5 - loud shutter but accurate reliable
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Old 07-13-2018   #37
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Alea iacta est! The CE II Memotron is the next M42 camera Im going to buy. Incredible features and I think I can live the rather large body.

Thanks for your input... but keep em coming if you want to
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Old 07-13-2018   #38
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of the Pentax M42 camera the ESII, I believe, had been the last model before switching to K mount, and it might be the most advanced technically:
http://www.mikeeckman.com/2016/04/as...ax-es-ii-1974/
https://kosmofoto.com/2013/09/pentax...camera-review/
https://www.pentaxforums.com/camerar...tax-es-ii.html
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Old 07-13-2018   #39
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Pentax LX... Use an adapter to mount your M42 lenses.
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Old 07-13-2018   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santino View Post
Wow, the vivitars and memotrons are totally new to me and seem to be pretty cool.
I wish I was able to replace the shutter curtains in my Contax D - no instant return mirror but bright screen and solid body.

Here in Austria, the Prakticas seem to be the most common and inexpensive M42 cameras. In fact my first SLR was a Praktica MTL 5 - loud shutter but accurate reliable
I've just changed a set in one of those for someone. Did a beautiful job, too, but it looks like I will be doing them again, the excellent quality Aki Asahi cloth I used is thicker than original and the Contaxes seem to be very fussy about that point. It is a lovely camera and I have an immaculate one myself but they're proving to be a PITA to get running correctly. That said perhaps I am being unrealistic about the performance achievable by this particular shutter.
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