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  1. #1

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    Unusual Spotmatic problem

    Hi,

    This is only my second post ever on the APUG forums, so please be gentle with me I wonder if anyone here can help with an unusual shutter problem?

    Recently I won an ebay auction for a Spotmatic SP. The attraction was that the camera had a Super Takumar 85mm F1.9 attached to it, although the seller didn't seem to have much idea about what they were selling and the description was minimal. For once I took a chance, got lucky and managed to snag it for a very OK price.

    Anyway, the camera itself is a well-used example of the motor drive model (just the body, no motor drive unit) and as such is moderately rare if not especially valuable. I haven't film tested it yet but it seems to work pretty well in most respects. The battery cover was frozen due to corrosion. Once removed, cleaned-up and replaced with a new button cell the meter came up trumps. Curtain tension seems fine and the shutter appears to fire correctly on all the timed speeds (no capping on 1/1000). The light seals and mirror bumper need replacing and the meter switch is sticky - but that's all par for the course and can be dealt with.

    The one thing that's got me scratching my head though is the "bulb" setting. Basically it doesn't work and fires as if it was an instantaneous speed. This isn't a huge problem in practice as I probably wouldn't use it very often. If I keep this Spotmatic (which really is visually a little bit beat up) it would be as a "take anywhere" street camera, so I really wouldn't be making many long exposures with it. I do like things to work properly though, and as much as anything I'm simply curious about the bulb issue as it's not a shutter defect I've encountered before (except once years ago on a Russian rangefinder).

    So does anyone have any idea if this is something that could potentially be fixed easily? Yes, I know I could send the camera away for a full CLA but for an otherwise smoothly working unit it's something I'm not eager to do just at the moment. I view the camera effectively as a freebie that I acquired to get the lovely portrait lens that came with it - and anyway I already have a CLA'd Spotmatic to use.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I will try and be gentle with you by asking when, if ever are you going to use bulb flash and if so where are you going to get the flash bulbs from?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Welcome to APUG.

    You could call or write for estimates for shutter adjustments. Then you can decide to use it as it is, send the camera in for the adjustment, or wait to have the problem corrected when the camera needs other work.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #4
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    Welcome to Apug. Unusual problem indeed, and I have many SP bodies and have never encountered this problem. BTW Clive, the B setting is not for bulb flash, but for holding the shutter open for long exposures. If you want to do long exposures, ie, more than one second, just do multiples of one second...works well.
    Probably not worth a CLA unless the camera is in exceptional condition, cheap bodies are always available these days. As you say, that 85mm lens is really worth having, you will really like it.

  5. #5
    shutterfinger's Avatar
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    Yes, a CLA is what the doctor orders.
    Google Spotmatic Service Manual and http://www.pentax-manuals.com/manual...icemanuals.htm is at the top of the list.

    Open the camera back, set the shutter dial to B, and open the aperture to its widest opening.
    Cock the shutter. While looking through the back trip the shutter. Does both of the curtains actually move?
    Now set the speed dial to 1 second. Position a clock or watch so you can see its second hand and the back of the camera at the same time.
    Cock the shutter. Trip the shutter just as the second hand reaches a second mark then note where it is when the shutter closes. It should be within the second hand width of the next second mark.
    Set the shutter to 1/2 second and repeat. The second hand should be half way between second marks when the shutter closes.
    If these are not correct the camera needs servicing.

    And yes you got a nice lens with a parts body attached.

  6. #6
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony lockerbie View Post
    Welcome to Apug. Unusual problem indeed, and I have many SP bodies and have never encountered this problem. BTW Clive, the B setting is not for bulb flash, but for holding the shutter open for long exposures. If you want to do long exposures, ie, more than one second, just do multiples of one second...works well.
    Probably not worth a CLA unless the camera is in exceptional condition, cheap bodies are always available these days. As you say, that 85mm lens is really worth having, you will really like it.
    The OP refers to it as a bulb setting and so that's what I thought it was.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    The OP refers to it as a bulb setting and so that's what I thought it was.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulb_(photography)

  8. #8
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    But you also get cameras with X and B synch, which refers to bulb flash.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    But you also get cameras with X and B synch, which refers to bulb flash.
    More frequently X and M synch.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    More frequently X and M synch.
    What does the M stand for?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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