Going back in time
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.
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.
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.
"Make good art!"
- Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by ArtO
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.
Originally Posted by Jon Goodman
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?