Going back in time

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by RichardH, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. RichardH

    RichardH Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morganton, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi all
    I am having a ball with the Pentax Spotmatics now that I am retired and past middle age.
    When they were being made and popular in the 60's, I couldn't afford the system. I had a new wife, kids maybe and happened on the way. I honestly couldn't afford to buy a camera at the time. Now that I am retired, I am having a good time buying, fixing, cleaning and so forth the system. I enjoy working with my hands and mind on anything that I want to know how it works
    I have bought a bunch of Spotmatics, and have good ones also, that I enjoy taking apart and cleaning, adjusting, fixing, and just make it work good. I don't get into doing anything with the curtain but I generally just get the meter to work, change oil, lube job and just get it to running good. :D


    I have so many now, that are working good, that I might just have to give some away.

    Is there anyone else going through this stage in life???? I'm having fun.

    Richard
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,993
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm only 40 years old, but find that my own craft is 'coming together'. I had a period of time where I couldn't afford to purchase fresh film and paper, to own a decent enlarger, and so on, but I made due with what I had, to the best of my ability. Lots of different cameras and lenses of varying quality and reputation have been used, as well as hand-me-down paper and expired film.
    It was always a struggle, but I learned a lot. Finally I have arrived at a place where I'm comfortable with all my (now good quality) equipment, and I find myself exploring technique and skill a lot more. There's a harmony to it now that wasn't there before, and that's thoroughly enjoyable to me! It's becoming almost entirely a mental exercise rather than something to do with a particular film or lens. It's all about the picture, and I can sort of 'feel' what the picture will look like when I click the shutter, as if the rest of the work flow is so engrained in how I think that I can anticipate the results.

    Like you I have found a place where I enjoy figuring things out, but it's more to do with darkroom work flow and technique than any particular gadget. But in principal it's similar to you, where it somehow took years for all my thoughts surrounding photography have finally ripened, and I'm in a good position to actually execute the ideas.
     
  3. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

    Messages:
    806
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Location:
    County Durha
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I know what you mean. There used to be a sales slogan that Pentax used in the 1970's to promote the Spotmatic which was:- 'Just hold a Pentax'.

    Absolutely true. It was a well made body and with a prime lens, anything between 28mm and 135mm they were just perfectly balanced to hold and rarely needed a tripod to get a sharp shot even at 1/30th of a second. We are a lazy breed which is one of the reasons most of us have a zoom lenses now. A 40 year old lens from Pentax will still give a modern optic a damn good run for it's money.
     
  4. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Canmore Ab C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought my Pentax Spotmatic new in 1966. It was my first "real" camera. I still have it.

    The thing has the same feel as my Leica M2, just a little heavier. The fact that the thing works just as well now as it did when I bought it back in '66
    must be a testament to how well it was built.

    I don't think my Canon G11 will last 46 years.
     
  5. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There were several cameras that i drooled over in the early 1970s. I own them now and paid no more than £15.00 for any of them. A very good feeling.
     
  6. RichardH

    RichardH Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morganton, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's good to hear about Spotmatics. I never owned a Leica or Canon. After a short stint in 35mm, I went to MF for a long time. A little 4x5 that I still have but the Pentax was all ways on my mind. I have quite a few lenses but they are off-brand and that is the next thing to work on. I'm pretty sure the glass was good then but not like the Leica stuff. I saw a test that a friend( that worked at a camera shop) did with the Leica and Nikon lenses. There was a difference in the quality of the prints he showed me from the two systems. I don't think I'll ever own a Leica ( since they are a little above my income now) but maybe a deal will come around that I can't live without.

    Richard
     
  7. ArtO

    ArtO Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's really neat Richard. I am in somewhat of the same position. I can now purchase Nikons that I could only visit at the camera shops when they were new. Unfortunately I've never really tried the take apart and clean/lube thing. Maybe I need to give it a go.
     
  8. Jon Goodman

    Jon Goodman Member

    Messages:
    656
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'm sort of at that same stage in life, however I'm having to downsize and get rid of cameras...not to overlook other things I once found interesting.
    Jon
     
  9. RichardH

    RichardH Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morganton, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey Art
    Well, if you have a few spotmatics around, then take one apart. There is a lot of info on the internet on how. I wouldn't do it if you only have one though. There are a few things to look for when taking apart. A couple of the film advance lever screws are reverse threads. Ask my why I know. There are shims on the back side of the front plate. Don't forget how they go back. Other than that, it's a simple teardown. Good luck if you try it.

    Richard
     
  10. RichardH

    RichardH Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morganton, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey Jon
    I know a lot about downsizing. I sold a house and bought a smaller one. My hobby room is now my living room floor and sorting it out to try and sell most of it on the big store site. I went from a big darkroom to a spare bathroom. Now that is a sight to behold. I think I have just enough room to close the door and still able to turn around. I had to downsize my enlarger from 4x5 to small and medium format size. I am looking at yard sales for a aquarium that I can convert over to a print washer." Wants" never end though do they?

    Richard
     
  11. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,518
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I also bought my first Spot in 1966, used with 3 lens kit, 50 1.8, 135 3.5 and 35 3.5, still have the kit but over years added another body and some other 42mm mount bodies and lens. My frist Spot is in good working order even the light meter, but the other spot's meter is off. I have gone though Nikon, F, F2, F3 and Konica T which I no longer have. A couple of times a year I take the spots out for a shoot. Easy to use, light weight and the lens are just tack sharp.
     
  12. Jon Goodman

    Jon Goodman Member

    Messages:
    656
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sounds like a common tale, Richard. For us anyway downsizing will mean going to a house that is about 1/3 of our current one. I could elaborate, but it might sound like complaining and actually I'm very thankful for many things.
    Jon
     
  13. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

    Messages:
    764
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Attached Files:

  14. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,962
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Although I am not one to restore cameras, like Thomas said, I can relate to your enjoyment of figuring things out! The more time I work with my hands to do something albeit make a print, clean a lens, read about photography, draw in a sketch book an envisioned future shot; it is about enjoying life...kudos to your retirement! I'm thrilled you are enjoying something you love!
     
  15. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

    Messages:
    431
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Brandon, Man
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought a Pentax K1000 in '76 because it was the only camera I could afford with two young kids and a wife. Took mostly slides because they were cheap in those days. Now, like you, I'm retired and enjoy different film formats and going to the darkroom. I also enjoy working with wood, so I make my own frames and cut my own mats.
     
  16. RichardH

    RichardH Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morganton, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks Andy and Bob for the replies

    I don't know how I had time to do anything when I was working because I don't have enough time in the day to do everything I want to do now.
    As on now, I have 6 spotmatics that are cleaned/lubed/meter working good/ and just good to look at. Also about 6 still in the box to work on.
    My next project is getting some pentax lenses and building that part up some. I have a bunch of 55mm/ 1:1.8 and 1:2.0 that are good. Also some offbrand others that I haven't shot with yet to see how sharp they are.

    I am having fun and I don't miss working at all.

    Richard
     
  17. gb hill

    gb hill Member

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have 2 Spotmatics. I just picked up a SPII that came with the 35/3.5 Takumar. I already have the 50/1.4 that came with the other Spotmatic. Richard, what battery are you putting in your Spotmatics? I've read of people using so many different options. I see you live in NC & was wondering if I could get local here in Lexington. Just put new seals in the SPII so I hope to get to shooting soon & check the meter.
     
  18. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Remind me again, how did Pentax get away with it? Spotmatic was neither.

    I didn't get automatic until ESII, even then the lens still had "Auto" but aperture wasn't.

    I didn't get spot until I switched to Olympus OM-4.
     
  19. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,270
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The original Spot-Matic (prototype) was a spot meter and first through the lens shown in Photokina. Also, spot was relatively fat circle until more modern times and probably never considered as a true spot by today's standard.
    And of course depending on how far back you go, automatic meant something different as the years progressed. Automatic mirror return, automatic aperture close, automatic exposure, etc.
     
  20. RichardH

    RichardH Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morganton, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Hey
    I have one that has a 394 battery ( watch battery or hearing aid battery, no sure ) and one that has a 400 battery that is still good. I normally don't use the meter but all 6 that I have working good, the meters work fine. When I went through them, about the only thing I had to do on the meter circuit was clean the batt. dept good and expecially the screw on cap for good contact. Then while inside, I cleaned the contact on the bottom side and deoxized the variable resistor in the top. Then installed the battery and took a gray card and turned the resistor until it centered the scale. I took the main reading to go by with a hand meter that I know was good.
    I used music valve oil on the working parts.
    They work very smooth. I don't like cameras that try to control me instead of me controling them.
    New seals are coming tomorrow and I'll finish up with them.
    Lexington is not far from me. Maybe we can get together sometime and meet. Or if you are up this way to the mountains, give me a shout and we can meet. I live close to Morganton.

    Thanks
    Richard
     
  21. gb hill

    gb hill Member

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I go thru Morganton quite often on my job (truck driver) & always wanted to take a day trip on a Saturday & visit some sites, especially in the Valdese area. A meet would be great. I'll grab that 394 battery. I know that the meter works but not sure of it's accuracy. Thanks for the tip on repair & adjustment if needed.
     
  22. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,936
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Averagematic just didn't have the same ring to it.:wink:

    At least it was not as far-fetched as Photomic!
     
  23. RichardH

    RichardH Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morganton, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey
    I am about 10 minutes from Valdese. I live off of hwy. 18 east of Morganton. Let me know what Sat. you are wanting to come and I'll try to meet you some where in Valdese. Nice and pretty good scenes in and around there. South Mountains is not far from there. Valdese is all most like a Mayberry RFD in the town area. Watch the speed limit. I think up town it is either 15 or 20 mph. You will get a ticket if you aren't careful.

    Richard