Any information about Asahi Super S2 aka Honeywell H2?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by paradoxbox, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. paradoxbox

    paradoxbox Member

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    Hi all,

    About 2 years ago I bought one of these Asahi Super S2 cameras with a 1.8 55mm Takumar lens. Overall it's in good condition.

    Anyway, I used it once on a trip and never got around to developing the film, I'm going to do that in the next few days, but I was wondering if anyone knows much about the camera?

    Is it a good camera? Reliable? How does it compare with something like the Nikon F?

    I am thinking of doing some mountain hiking and fairly rough camping and would like a manual film SLR as backup / partner camera for my Leica M3.

    For what it's worth this camera has up to the 1000th shutter speed printed on the dial. Most of the shutter speeds are relatively accurate, though not perfect, good enough for government work, as they say.
     
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  2. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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  3. paradoxbox

    paradoxbox Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    I'm not sure mine is such an early version though!

    Here's a few quick snaps of it

    asahi1.JPG

    asahi2.JPG

    and just for fun!!!
    asahi3.JPG
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The one in the picture Les posted is earlier than the S2, probably an S, I have one to repair at the moment.

    Ian
     
  5. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    I love mine. Not a problem since 1961
     
  6. paradoxbox

    paradoxbox Member

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    Here's another photo just for kicks. Pumalite I'd be interested to hear any stories you have with/about your Asahi Pentax! asahi double.jpg
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Be sure to check the high speeds visually, just open the back, set shuttter speed to 1000 and watch the curtains as you shoot the sky. I'd do that for any vintage focal-plane shutter camera, not necessarily Pentax. If part of the shutter doesn't open, avoid that speed. Check 500 and 250. Most of the time I find 250 is the upper limit, then I simply avoid shooting above the highest reliable speed.
     
  8. 2bits

    2bits Member

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    Bill,
    Great advice!
     
  9. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    I did say it is the original as in the 1957 Asahi Pentax.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It read as being the original version of the S2 so rather confusing.

    Ian
     
  11. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    They are great little critters, maybe not as much steel in them as a Nikon F or F2, but many of them saw professional service. If you give it a CLA, it'll last you a few decades more. The lenses are with a few exceptions great too. I think it would work well as a second camera alongside the M3. The lens on the camera is a bit younger, probably multicoated.

    It's really a bit strange that they (apart from the odd rare collector stuff) don't command higher prices. The bad part about that is that I too easily buy another one... :smile: Latest one is a second S1. It's going off to Eric (meaning Mr Hendrickson at www.pentaxs.com) for CLA as usual.
     
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  12. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    The true S2 Super (as opposed to the straight S2) is apparently a bit of a rare beast. I read somewhere (probably in Daniel-with-the-Italian-name's Pentax history book) that it was only sold in Japan. I bought mine from a lady whose father had bought it new when he went to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. There - a bit of topicality thrown in for good measure!
    Steve :smile:
     
  13. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    +1 It's probably as good as the Nikon F. I'm amazed that the slow speeds are still O.K.
     
  14. paradoxbox

    paradoxbox Member

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    thanks for the info all. i live in japan so mine is one of the "rare" ones that don't often make it over to north america i guess.

    the slow speeds on mine while not perfect are pretty close when i compare them to my digital camera shutters, maybe 1/3rd to 1/2 of a stop off, at the very most. the higher speeds seem to be within 1/3rd or less.

    the camera is in great shape besides the rub marks it got from what i assume was a pentax meter that sat on top of the viewfinder box, just like old leicas get from having a leicameter on top.

    i think i'll start using this as my film SLR most of the time as i really distrust cameras with batteries in them, an old manual beast can almost always be counted on to get the photo taken.
     
  15. paradoxbox

    paradoxbox Member

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    just a bump for this old thread. i still use this camera. i really like it. the shutter speeds are all fine - still not 100% accurate but definitely doesn't require a CLA.

    the lens is multicoated as jerevan mentioned above.

    i feel that i got a really good deal on this camera. i bought it in 2008 or 2009 for about 2000yen or $20 USD. i trust this camera enough to take it anywhere with me. i'm also surprised that its price is not higher on the used market!

    really enjoy this camera!
     
  16. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    I still use my PentaxII from the 1970's - great lenses.

    I also enjoy Asahi beer.:smile:
     
  17. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    You can find details of the M42 mount Pentax SLRs here http://www.aohc.it/slr02e.htm

    Apparently there are three versions of the S2. Two sold worldwide (the later model has a notch on the shutter speed dial to engage with the clip-on light meter) and the S2 Super which was Japan-only and sold instead of the S1

    I have an SV and a couple of Spotmatics, but mostly concentrate on the first generation K bodies and lenses as they can be used without an adapter on those new cameras some people here get very sniffy about. I actually find the SV and clip-on meter easier than the Spotties as you don't have to peer into the viewfinder with the lens stopped down and try to see the indicator needle. With the clip-on meter you just switch it on, set shutter speed, and set the aperture as the meter suggests.
     
  18. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I like the black ones, I have the S2, S3, SV, and SL. I came across a black K, but i am trying to negotiate the price down.

    I put my other cameras down, and spent a week with a Pentax S3 and a 35mm Auto Takumar. I got some wonderful pics, certainly as good as my Nikon or Olympus gear.
     
  19. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    The H series is one of the most aesthetically pleasing designs I have even seen. And the simplicity of the mechanics along with the build quality makes this a very civil purchase. What Bill Burk said about checking the high speeds (from the rear of the open body pointed at a brilliant light source) is necessary but I say don't shy away from using high speeds if the curtains don't open properly. Instead, it is simple to slightly tighten the first curtain a little bit by turning the curtain tensor about a half a turn (maybe less). With time, these springs lose a bit of tension so they need to be made a bit more springy. (Actually, it is amazing how little tension they lose over a period of decades!)

    Each curtain has a tensor screw underneath the bottom plate. (Easy to remove the bottom plate screws with miniature screwdriver.) These two identical screws are about one inch apart and the one that governs the first curtain is the one closest to the rear of the camera.(The two tensor screws are lined up perpendicular to the wide length of the body.)

    Note: if the SLOW speeds are too slow (i.e., if one second is lagging) the second curtain (the tensor screw that is closest to the front of the camera) needs to have its tension slightly increased.

    On the H series these adjustments are VERY easy to do: each of the tensor screws is held in place by a tiny spring/lever that meshes with the ratchet on each of the tensor screws. For INCREASING the tension all you do is turn the screw the way that you are able to without having to pull out the spring/lever. To REDUCE the tension on a tensor screw you use two tiny screwdrivers, one to FIRST hold hold the tensor screw in place and the other to move the tiny lever point away from the ratchet on the tensor screw. Now you slowly turn the tensor screw in the direction that the spring 'wants' you to move, i.e., you are lessening the tension slightly. Make certain that when you pull away the tiny lever you hold the tensor screw firmly or it will give up all its tension! (Easy to correct, just start winding it up again but you have to have experience to know just how much.) - David Lyga
     
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  20. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    What I found on the SV was that the shutter mechanism just needed a few drops of very light oil to stop it capping. These are probably the easiest bodies to work on as all you have to do is remove four flathead screws and then lift the lens mount off to get at the shutter.
     
  21. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    I had a Heiland H2, but something put me off of it. Just the way it handled seemed "off" to me and I sold it. It was however undeniably well made and pretty so far as cameras go. I may give one another chance some time.