"I want a reliable, fully manual (no electronics!) workhorse that will last me a long time. "
'Nuff said, get the spotmatic. The K mount lenses are in high demand, are fetching a much higher price than I think they are worth, and besides the slower 50mm lenses there are not many available. The pentax m42 lenses are excellent and there are many available. The other brands include some nice glass including german and Japanese manufacturers.
If you are OK with not having much auto, then run, don't walk, to the spotmatic.
Regarding metering. Early cameras did not have any linkage between the lens and camera. So you would have to keep the lens stopped down to the intended aperture while focussing. This is hard in low light.
Later lenses would stay fully open until a pin in the back was pressed (by the camera) and then it would close down during exposure. Most lenses that have this pin are labeled "auto". -Except for the pentax lenses, im not exactly sure how those are labeled to indicate the pin.
Cameras using this feature had some design problems. There was nothing telling the camera what aperture was selected. In order to manually set the exposure, you would have to first stop the lens down, then choose the settings, then open the lens back up and take the photo. That certainly wasnt much better. Some cameras used off-the-film metering, meaning there was a sensor that pointed to the film and read any light reflected back at it. Think of this as 'just in time' metering.
I have 3 Spotmatics and 2 K1000. I wouldn't get rid of them for anything. The Super-Multi-Coated Takumars are unbeatable in terms of resolution and bokeh. I definitely prefer ols metalloic fully Manual cameras.
A sample from the Takumar:
Not quite. Only the lenses marked "SMC" can be used with the Spotmatic F for open aperture metering. These have an additional lever that communicates the aperture to the camera. "Automatic" lenses are an earlier "innovation" that seperated them from even earlier M42 lenses that required the user to reset the aperture after each shutter cycle.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
Go for the K mount. It's newer and uses a currently available battery. If you want M42 lenses get the adapter.
There are a couple of statements made that are not accurate in some of the above posts.
Corrections(?) follow.... Spotmatic F gives full aperture metering ONLY with the last iteration of M42 lenses. There is a coupling for the meter that does not appear on earlier lenses. It does work with older lenses in stop down mode so there's no advantage if you want to use older or non Pentax lenses.
The K1000 does have a meter switch. It is electronic and controlled by a cds cell over the eyepiece. When you put the lens cap on the circuit won't conduct and consume the battery.
The Spotmatic meters other than the F are activated by pushing the metering switch next to the lens upwards. It should latch in position, at that time the lens stops down & you take your reading. At the same time you can view the DOF change.. When the shutter is released the switch should move downwards & the lens reopen.
As mentioned above the K1000SE had a split screen. It should be possible to replace a micro prism with SI the only consideration is cost.
None of the Spots or K cameras used OTF metering. Or TTL flash capabilities(just in case)
Just to clear up another thing: Batteries are NOT an issue with the Spotmatics.
Their meters use a bridge circuit, which is relatively insensitive to voltage differences. Any battery which fits and is within the 1.3-1.5 range will work fine.
Also, using an M42 lens on a K-mount body with an adapter is a PITA.
Based on my own experiences (Spotmatics I've relatively recently come across and given a check-up), at least 50% still work well without a CLA.
As far as age goes, a 45 year-old Spotmatic is far more reliable than any modern electronic miracle (I have a Spotmatic & lenses handy for difficult/dangerous/suicide situations).
M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa
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I would get a K1000 (or maybe a KX) if only for the reason that you can mount either an M42 or a K-mount lens.
I had both, sold the K1000. The lack of a DOF preview and a couple of other traits were the key ingredients for me and why I didn't like it over my spottie.
Originally Posted by elekm
I would agree with the vote for a KX, or even better, an MX.
I dont know if the M series is in the same class as the spots in regards to reliability. I've bought a couple me supers with mechanical issues. but then the 1 spot i had also had issues so I guess i am not one who should comment.
I'm not sure if you are looking in different places to me, but I find that is no longer the case. Soon after Pentax *ist camera adaptors happened on the market the prices seemed to go up. Several years ago I considered selling an EOS outfit (which I still have) for the Pentax system (I already owned an MX for instance). I found that the better m42 lenses were just as dear as SMC or even FD lenses.
Originally Posted by FilmOnly
Presently I'm using FD lenses on a Panasonic G1 and finding them the best value for money on the market.
to get around to the OP's questions I'd go the K1000 over the Spotmaitc as I prefer the feel and "modern" features. One thing my MX taught me is that its very nice to see aperture (via a cunning opitcal link) as well as shutter speeds (via a transparent plastic wheel) all in the view finder at once. I'd perhaps go for a K2 now-a-days as I like things like
- mirror lockup
- depth of field preview
- self timer (for when I forget the shutter release cable)
If I was going to re-gear up in Pentax that's what I'd do
: you understand why it should work but it doesn't
: it works but you have no idea how
Here theory and practice meet, things don't work and I don't know why