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... :) Latest one is a second S1. It's going off to Eric (meaning Mr Hendrickson at www.pentaxs.com) for CLA as usual.
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!
+1 It's probably as good as the Nikon F. I'm amazed that the slow speeds are still O.K.
Originally Posted by Jerevan
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.
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!
I still use my PentaxII from the 1970's - great lenses.
I also enjoy Asahi beer.:)
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.
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.
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
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.