Pentax Spotmatic

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Kennedy, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

    Messages:
    1,595
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    Eastern Cana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've developed a sudden urge to collect older Pentax Manual SLR's. How much should I expect to pay for a fully functional Spotmatic (SP) with ,say,a 50mm super-takumar lens?
    Ole' St. Nick must have had it in for me this year as I didn't get so much as a roll of film.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,114
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well I bought a superb mint Spotmatic F +f2 lens last year for £25, and another Spotmatic in a multiple purchase on Ebay included a Chinon CE4 and 2 screw thread lenses for £30. £1 - 2.28$CAN

    They really are available at excellent prices and are remarkably well made and useable.

    Ian
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Not much even though they are great cameras with fabulous optics.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Look out for the SV, too, the non-TTL but better-made version of the Spotmatic. These usually go for well under £50/$100 complete with f/1.8 or even f/1.4 standard lenses. The shutters are normally very lazy, though: +1 stop is normal at 1/250 and above.

    Heresy coming up, though: the older lenses are (in 40 years' experience -- I got my first SV in 1966) often overrated. The best are pretty good; many are indifferent; and none of them will have been improved by decades of use and wear.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,114
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How the **** can a SV be a better made version of the Spotmatic? The SV was never a Spotmatic, as all Spotmatics have TTL metering.

    The SV was an an improvement on the S1a, of which I once had two, one I know is still working perfectly despite 25 more years of use since I sold it.

    One look at an SV compared to ant Spotmatic will show the body casting is different.

    Ian
     
  6. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I got a K1000 with 50 F2 for free, but the CLA cost me $75.
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,350
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    KEH has pretty much all the models and you can pay well under 50$ for the body and about the same price for the lens. If you want to go premium, shell an extra 50$ and go for the Spotmatic F model with an SMC lens. You'll have open-aperture metering (like on the K series), a shutter release lock, and the best multi-coating for your lenses.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,114
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Michel - totally agree about the Spotmatic F, I had one for my 21st birthday, and used it extensively until selling it to a friend as I needed faster bayonet mount lenses for work reasons. Trying to change lenses fast at rock concerts is difficult at the best of times but painfully slow with screw mount lenses.

    My Spotmatic F was the best 35mm SLR I've owned, so when I saw one being sold at a darkroom/gallery facility last year I had to buy it. It had been donated to help raise funds, after I'd paid for the camera I was told it's former owners name and it turned out we had been at University together.

    Ian
     
  9. BradS

    BradS Member

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hi Roger,

    Perhaps it's a typo. I think you meant the SL...which actually is a spotmatic sans meter. The SV (and it's brother from Honeywell, the H3V) is the spotmatics' ancestor.


    To the original poster's question.."How much should I expect to pay?..."

    It varies very widely. Some things that seem to factor into the price...

    1) which 50mm lens. If the body comes with the SMC or "Super-Multi-Coated" Takumar 50/1.4 the price seems to go disproportionatly higher than say, the same body in the same condition with a 1.8 or, egad, the 55/2.0. The irony is that the 55/1.8 is actually a better (sharper) lens.

    2) whether or not the meter is known to work and be somewhat accurate.

    3) which model. The Spotmatic F commands a significantly higher price than all of the other models...I guess, this is because it was designed to use a currently available battery...I don't know. I think they later modela are at least as ugly as the early K-1000. That hot shoe on top just spoils it - for me.

    4) as with all things, marketing. For example, an item presented with good sharp photos always seems to a higher price.

    Personally, I'll pay a little extra for a kit that comes with the original lens caps or other little OEM bits (the accessory shoe for example). I tend to only look at cameras that appear to have either been little used or, well taken care of.

    Soem things to watch out for:
    Except for the 'F' and the 'SL', all spotmatics used a mercury botton cell to power the meter. When these leak they make a awful mess of the metal underside of the camera. The cloth focal plane shutters on these cameras are also getting old and weak. Not a big deal if it's going to sit in a display case I guess but, it is if you actually wanna use the thing.

    Oh, and I have to agree with Roger. The glass is now overrated. It is very good glass considering it's age but...

    Unfortunately, the current trend among Digital SLR users, and particularily the Canon breed, seems to be to get a 50mm, f/1.4 SMC-Takumar and an adapter and then go out and shoot 10,000 frames of garbage with the vintage glass and brag about how great it is to all you fellow digi-heads. Needless to say, this kind of behaviour is amusing at best. With any luck, this too shall pass.

    Brad.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,114
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A quick question ? have you lost the plot :smile:

    Ian

     
  11. BradS

    BradS Member

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    Well, it does seem to have an effect on the current prices and hype about that particular lens....but, yeah. sorry, I did do a bit of un-necessary venting there. :smile:
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF

    Dear Ian,

    Precisely. As far as I recall, they moved to a new factory in 1967 and started making a TTL and altogether mechanically inferior 'update' of the SV.

    I should have made myself clearer. Sorry.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Spotmatic were released 1964? 63?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,350
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ian, I couldn't more agree with you when the other day I was taking pictures outside by 0 celsius or so. When I started to focus the lens now stiff-lubed from the cold, I felt a distressing looseness on the lens mount that made me reach for the lens and an old-fashioned swear word in no time.

    But despite the occasional annoyance, I can't think of a more satisfying camera to use. In 99% of the situations I've been I don't need anything more than TTL metering and one lens.
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    '64 at the earliest. SPII (inferior in build quality to the original Spotmatic) ? 1970.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  17. dmr

    dmr Member

    Messages:
    494
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Roger, maybe you can answer this. How does the SV compare to the H3V (HV3?)? This H3 model is one my brother had when we were in our teens, with the meter above the prism, and it was the one that made me decide to go with the Spotmatic over the Minolta SRT and the Nikkormat. Nobody seems to mention the H3 model. Thanks. :smile:
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,114
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Roger's views of Pentax camera's seem to be very jaundiced.

    I have an H3, can't remember where it came from, unfortunately it was broken, and has dings and dents, the shutter needs repairing, but it's very similar to the S1a's I used back in the 70's

    The H3's were rapidly superceeded by cameras with far larger production runs, which made Pentax a major company globally. I've never seen many SV's second hand I guess once the Spotmatics were widely available no-one wanted a camera without a built in meter.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2006
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Honeywell imported Pentaxes to the USA, and the S1-S2-S3 were sold as H1-H2-H3; the SV/H3V had a self-timer and self-resetting exposure counter over the H2/H3 (same camera with different lenses). The higher-end models had a 1/1000 top speed, unlike the H1/S1/H1a/S1a; the S1a had the self-zeroing counter of the SV. The S1a also had an inferior microprism to the SV, which was the top of the line before the Spotmatic came out.

    My first 'real' camera was an SV (written off in a motorcycle accident in the 1970s) and I still have two SV bodies and several lenses -- which is precisely why I don't rave about them. They're gorgeous little cameras to look and and use, the nearest you'll find to a reflex version of a screw-mount Leica for size and feel, but they do wear out faster than Nikon or Leica (which I switched to in the 70s) and the lenses really were not all that brilliant. Some were very good, but most are showing their age today, both in terms of their original quality and the wear and tear they have sustained.

    I had a big argument with Pentax about the quality drop at the new factory after I published something to this effect in a magazine in the UK some 30 years ago. They finally stopped arguing when I corralled five dealers and (Pentax-using or former Pentax-using) professionals, besides myself, who shared my views. As one dealer put it, "If they're so ****ing marvellous, how come I have to send back such a high percentage under guarantee?" The enormous increase in production, mentioned elsewhere, may have been related: they went from a small specialist company to a mass-market one, and in the process lost almost all their professional 35mm users.

    Modern Pentaxes are another matter -- I've not used them -- but most people who DID use them in the 60s, especially professionally, rated the SV as the sweetest and best-built of the lot. Except maybe the (much later) LX, which I have used and liked very much.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2006
  20. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

    Messages:
    697
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The more I shoot, the more I'm coming to the exact same conclusion. Natalie, my Praktica LTL has a great meter and I was fortunate enough to get a Mamiya 28mm and 50mm as well as an SMC Tak 35mm and 50mm all fairly cheap. I just recently added a Spotmatic II body so I can retire the Praktica. But it also only has a meter as its only whizbang.
     
  21. dmr

    dmr Member

    Messages:
    494
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks, Roger. This was most definitely a Honeywell, as was my Spotmatic. When I got the K1000, it was branded Asahi, however.
     
  22. mawz

    mawz Member

    Messages:
    282
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Note the reason the F and the first K mount bodies look so similar is they're essentially the same cameras. A K1000 is little more than an F with a K mount (in fact the meters are identical).
     
  23. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If I were looking for collectables it would be an F and ES/ES II with a motor drive and 250 exposure back, 50 1.4 35 2.0 and 85 2.0 or is it 1.8?
     
  24. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,381
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oakville and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I heard scary stories about the ES more a case of you want a second camera as a donor for the electronics. I would stick with the F and if you want the collectable angle find a black one if you can.

    Bill
     
  25. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A working ES/ES II will have value as a collectable, so few working models are still around. And not all Fs or ES take the motor drive, as I recall on the very bottom of the base plate facing the front of the camera is motor in white, only the black were motor models, to ID the motor drive model. The motor was also slow, 2 or 3 FPS with a huge battery pack.
     
  26. Ed Matthew

    Ed Matthew Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Spotmatic intro dates

    All were Honeywell Penatax in USA; Asahi Pentax elsewhere.
    Spotmatic 1964
    SL 1969
    Spotmatic Motor Drive 1970
    Spotmatic 500 1971
    Spotmatic II 1971
    Spotmatic IIa `1972 (USa only)
    Spotmatic 1000 1974
    Electro Spotmatic (ES in USA) 1972
    Electro Spotmatic II (ESII in USA) 1974
    Spotmatic F 1974

    Ed