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Pentax Spotmatic F

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14 87,048 Sat July 6, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $82.67 9.64
Pentax Spotmatic F

Pentax Spotmatic F
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Pentax Spotmatic F
supersize

Description:
The Pentax Spotmatic F (SPF) added full-aperture metering to all of the features found in the Spotmatic II. Full aperture metering required the newer Super-Multi-Coated (S-M-C) Takumar lenses with an aperture-position linkage to the camera. The camera retained backwards compatiblily with all earlier Takumar lenses.

Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F
Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic F
Year introduced
1973
Year discontinued
1976
Mount
M42
Automatic aperture stop down
Yes
Metering
Open aperture, centerweight
Meter range
EV 3 to 18
ISO range
20 to 3200
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Manual, B
Exposure compensation
Not applicable
Exposure memory lock
No
Shutter speeds (auto)
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Self timer
Yes, 6 to 12s
Mirror lock-up
No
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
Multiple exposures
Yes
Winder
Ratchet type rapid wind lever. 10° pre-advance and 160° advance angle
Flash hot shoe
Yes
Built-in flash
No
TTL/P-TTL flash
No
Flash sync speed
FP and X terminals - 1/60s
Flash exposure comp
Not applicable
Viewfinder
0.88x (with 50mm lens)
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction
No
Exchangeable screen
No
Depth of field preview
Yes
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Battery
1.35V PX-625
Battery grip/pack
No
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 93 x 49mm
Weight
642g

Price History:



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New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12
Review Date: July 6, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It does what it was designed to do and it works
Cons: Often far too expensive and over-rated

It's an SP1000 with a timer and a slightly better meter averaging light reading system through the lens. Trouble is, you'll be lucky to find one that has the light meter working and even if you are lucky you will realise it's better to have a quality hand held light meter. Because of the pose kudos potential that comes from owning an "F" the prices are often pushed up so you buy a lot for what you could better invest in an SP1000 or SP500 (that has the extra 1000th speed hidden) and a lens or two, or a bunch of film to actually use.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,223
Review Date: December 10, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Design and Costruction, strong, easy to operate
Cons: Nothing Really.

This is a very good camera, built at the level of the Leicas and Rolleiflexes of the era. Surprisingly, the meter is very accurate as are the shutter speeds. Since several years using Leica, I had forgotten about the flap sound of the mirror returning, it brought memories back. Moving to this camera after being in the digital world. It is worth to have this camera. Everything that they said here in this review is ok with me. I just commented on the feeling aspect of it.
Here are some shots of the first roll taken with the camera:

Spotmatic F by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr

Spotmatic F by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr

Bird of Paradise by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr

Spotmatic F by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr

Sunset by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 22, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Even simpler to use than SP and SPII
Cons: None

I bought this at auction 3 years ago and have used it regularly since. Of the 3 Spotmatics I have (SPF, SPII and ESII) this is the preferred body to use due to it's fully mechanical shutter and open aperture metering. The SPF has one less step in taking a photo, which means more brain cells concentrated on the composition and exposure. I bought plastic pinch caps for my lenses and keep them fitted between shots. The SPF, even though its meter must be very similar to the SPII, takes a much larger 625 size battery, which I guess was done to compensate for the extra time that the meter operates due to the 'always on' open aperture metering when the lens cap is removed and there is sufficient light to activate the meter. If the camera is placed in a bag without a lens cap, the meter will not draw power either. So to prolong the battery life, use a lens cap or place in camera bag, or use the original leather case between shots.

I use a 1.5V SR44 silver oxide battery with a bit of aluminium foil as a spacer. The meter is accurate as checked with grey card and handheld meter. Using black and white film with a yellow filter, I increase exposure by about 1 stop because the meter does not fully compensate for the filter. The filter factor is 1 stop but the meter only sees 1/3 stop less light. This was the same with the meter in my Pentax 67II meter and when I meter through the filter with my Gossan Lunapro meter.

The SPF seems to be at least as well made as the SPII and has the same wonderful design and durability. Older Takumar lenses can be used using stop down metering via the same SPII style switch on the side. Also, on my particular body, the meter reads 1 stop less light when using Super Takumar lenses (without the aperture readout coupling) and stop down metering. In the end, I upgraded my 85mm lens to an S-M-C version. All my others lenses are S-M-C Takumars.

This is my favourite camera.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: Arnhem, Netherlands
Posts: 1
Review Date: March 21, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Smooth yet failsafe
Cons: Hot shoe

Like all Spotmatics, this is a wonderful tool and a joy to use. Make it look through a Takumar and it becomes magic. The controls without exception work smoothly and let you feel the craftsmanship that Asahi put into it.
The SPF officially takes 1.4 volt mercury batteries, which are no longer available. All Spotmatics I know of will also meter perfectly on a slightly higher or lower voltage, and the SPF in particular offers many possibilities due to its big battery compartment. Last month when I found out on the first day of a weeks holiday that my battery was dead, all I had to do was pick up a blister of zinc (hearing aid) batteries on the corner of the street, drop one of them into the SPF and fill up the space in the compartment with a folded scrap of paper. The slides I took were perfect!
What would I change? I'd skip the hot shoe. I never use flash, and the sharp corners of the shoe can tear your clothes or the lining of the camera case. Without it, the lines of the camera look even better. In this respect the original SP and the SP1000, that lack th hot shoe, have even more Zen.
My black SPF set me back €90 in 2016, but this included a Takumar SMC 24mm - a true bargain ! - so I estimate the camera was something like $40.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 1,740

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 24, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Open metering, image quality, building quality, smoothness, reliability
Cons: Certain M42 lenses cannot be mounted (Helio 44m), no split image screen

The Spotmatic F was the last evolution of the fortunate Spotmatic line and definitely the easiest to use today thanks to the new open metering that later was "transferred" to the more famous K1000 and KM.

In comparison to its K mounted successors the SPF feel smaller (especially in the lens mount area) and more refined in the operation, in particular the smooth advance lever (longer stroke tough) and shutter release. Unlike them, it also has a shutter lock like the KX. The DOF preview like all Spotmatics is on the left side but the meter is always active so it's important to have the cap at hand anytime. It uses a standard 625 battery and this is also another great advantage in comparison to the older Spotties.

The F debuted with the last generation SMC Takumars with rubber grip,usually sold with the 55/1.8 but was also available with the 50/1.4 that in this incarnation received a 8 blades diaphragm and that I consider superior to the glass of the competition of that era (Canonn FD50mm f1.4, Nikkor 50mm 1.4 S-C, Fujinon EBD 50 mm f1.4, I have them all), as you can see from the pictures the bokeh is lovely, the lenses can handle low available situation very well (one shot was taken a 1AM with the Tak 55mm 1.8 wide open and 1/30s shutter speed).

Disadvantages? Like all Spotties it doesn't have a split screen unlike some of the competition (Fujica ST705 and 801 first) so sometimes I have to be careful with focusing, the viewfinder is bright but not as bright as the Fujicas and the metering is average and not centre weighted, but probably the most important thing to know is that the F can destroy the pins of certain lenses if you try to install them without paying attention like it almost happened to me with an Helios. Among the M42 cameras the SPF is one of the three that allowed open metering but this had a price in terms on compatibility, the other systems were the electric M42 of the DDR Prakticas (less invasive) and the Fuji that looks suspiciously like the later Nikon AI mount (there is a pin on the back of the lenses that some smart guy files to install on other cameras thus negating the advantage of this system), so while it can be disputed if it's the best M42 camera ever (the Fujicas are serious contenders) surely it's one of the best and I would recommend more a SPF than a K1000 to a beginner.







   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1,972

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 13, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Built, reliability, accurate meter, smooth operating,
Cons: none really but .. ok, the meter running when cap is off

I picked it recently to replace my ES II which I sold some time ago and regretted since .. it came with S-M-C Takumar 50mm f1.8. I paid pretty dollar for it but both the camera and lens are in close to mint condition, with new light traps and mirror bumper and came with case, lens hood and few other bits.

What can I tell to add to what others have said already.... It is a wonderful camera really. I like it as much as I loved my ES, because I occasionally only relied on an auto-exposure function, and more on selectable speeds, and this is precisely what I do now with this Spotmatic F. It is actually even better as the meter is ON and needle metering is just brilliant. Easy to see, very accurate. Also easy to compensate just click or two with the speeds selector or aperture and voilà

The viewfinder is pretty big and bright, maybe not as big as MX but still amazing compared to other cameras of that age. The S-M-C Takumar lenses are amazing and I love my 105mm and 35mm f3.5. The 55mm f1.8 is a classic and takes well deserved place beside my Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 8elem

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this camera as well as accurate metering and focusing. I wear glasses and so had to pick a -2 dioptre , but now I can nail the focus with my 1.4 lens with close to 100% accuracy

To sum up - if you are either a beginner and want to learn the film photography; an enthusiast who just wants to go back to the basics to reinvigorate your love for the photography ; or a professional who wants to add some uniqueness to the offer with some creative film photography - this camera will never fail you and if there is *anything* wrong with your results , be sure it is Your fault :P

Here is my setup :


And a few photos from recently shot 2 BW rolls :
   
Pentaxian

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,433

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 29, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $11.38 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ergonomics, metering, 1.35-volt battery
Cons: S-M-C lenses are spendy compared to others, most S-M-C lenses have rubber focus grips not metal

From a technical and usability perspective, this is the best of the Spotmatics that I've used (I've never used either of the ES bodies.) This is probably the only Spotmatic that I like more than the SPII. The metering is simple and accurate, it uses the mercury batteries so today there are options:

1- Get a PX625 (the ones that's the same size) and compensate for the voltage difference by changing the ISO using the SUnny 16 rule as a guide (anticipate about a two-stop difference due to the voltage difference.)
2- The better option is to go to eBay and search for LR 44 or A76 battery adapter. For $5 each, I picked up about a dozen of these and they fit around an A76 battery so it seats well inside the F's chamber. This allows the F to be used normally with no ISO compensation for the voltage difference.

This is an eminently usable camera -- by and large they remain sound mechanically and electronically. Also, the ISO range is more than adequate (20 to 3200) for basically any use.

The Spotmatic F is one of those cameras that is a good choice for any skill level. It's easy enough to learn it if you're a novice and capable enough to keep an advanced user happy with their work.





   
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Southwest Colorado
Posts: 39
Review Date: December 24, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: One of the best of the M42 mount cameras.
Cons: None

It is my favorite M42 mount camera. In 40 yrs I had to replace the light seals, and that is it. All speeds work fine. Light meter has been excellent. I became a much better photographer using this camera. It will never be sold or traded off as have other cameras I've owned.
I use this camera continuously, which I believe keeps it in good shape. I have not given in to the digital craze..
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 17,881
Review Date: December 21, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great M42 SLR, love the old school feel, soild ...
Cons: Metering a bit of a pain at times ...

Bonjour,

I picked up my copy with a Auto Tak 55/2.2 and love it ... great feel and may send it off to Eric H for "CLA", even though it is in very fine shape ... other reviews have covered the bases for me, so here's a p0rn shot of my SP F gear acquisition ... Salut, J

   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2012
Location: Queensland
Posts: 3,799
Review Date: December 6, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: A quality screw mount camera
Cons: Light meter engineering

If you are familiar with the most basic Spotmatic, then think of the "F" as the final evolution of the fully manual Spotmatics. The evolution from the level of the SP1000 to the "Spotmatic" was to include a timer. The next level "SP 11" added a hot shoe. The "F" added open metering, which meant that the moment you took the lens cap off, the meter would start reading. The switch on the lens (auto-man) remains locked in auto to achieve this. The way they locked the lens was to machine a groove in the camera mount on the "F". On later lenses, a small pin would fall into this recess and lock the lens in auto. Earlier Spotmatics had no recess and were able to use the manual position because the pin was pushed in.
The light meter as on previous models is turned off with the lens cap blocking light. There is no switch. I have two 'F' models, and they seem to overexpose a couple of stops. They probably need re-calibration
I am always torn between wanting my cameras to have all the features (which do fail over time) and the cleanest basic model limited to the essentials of manual focus - aperture - speed selection.
There were other refinements that culminated in the 'F' model, and it uses those quality screw mount lenses that the Canon guys desire, so if you want the fanciest manual Spotmatic, the 'F' is for you.

Honeywell Pentax "F" and 200mm f4 S-M-C Tacumar Mount Ninderry
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Posts: 1,409
Review Date: September 21, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: open aperture metering, Spotmatic body, shutter release lock
Cons: badly designed open aperture metering system

It it weren't for the poor design of the open aperture metering, this would have been my favourite M42 camera. Basically, they just introduced a new, hybrid mount that also allowed their old Takumars and some lucky other M42s to be mounted. Unfortunately not some unlucky others. And the small pin on the aperture-coupled SMC Takumars was also a pretty bad idea, but that's not the point of the review. It used to rely on mercury batteries, but also works with Varta 625 and the like (same as Zenit TTL, fun fact that it shares batteries but not lenses).
All in all, this camera is a Spotmatic, with both great things and limitations, but at today's prices, you could just get both a classic Spotmatic and an F, and just enjoy its good things and walk around its limitations.
It even has the great sound that Spotties make at 1/30 and 1/15. There was a topic on the forums with somebody asking if they had mice inside
Did I mention the redesigned leatherette for this camera? I find it the best improvement from the SPII.

13A_0017.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

20A_0024.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr
   


2 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 30, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: TTL meter, build quality,Shutter button can be locked
Cons: meter runs unless cap is on

In the days when Pentax was known as Asahi Pentax, Pentax's legendary camera series was the Spotmatic series, best Spotmatic F, A simple design combined with an excellent match needle system. The metering system, which is based around cells on both sides of the eye piece looking into the prism, is accurate and reliable. SPF introduced in 1973 and was an excellent and solid camera at the time. I have used 2 SPF bodies since 1980, still have one.



















   
Inactive Account

Registered: March, 2010
Location: In Transition
Posts: 173

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 26, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Supports lens with open aperture capability
Cons: meter runs unless cap is on

This body was pretty nice when released. It seems to get overlooked these days for the ES II. I purchased this camera just before I left Vietnam heading back to the States. I used it for film until I went digital. I never really saw the need to replace it with the K1000 and couldn't really afford the K2 when it was new. Blue has my copy. I traded it to him several years ago for a K1000 he bought new. I wanted the K1000 for my daughter to use in a photography class since it took K-mount lenses.
   
Moderator
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Posts: 17,297

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 16, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax Spotmatic F: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Open apertue metering
Cons: meter runs when lens cap is off

This is a typical well made m42 camera body. It has open aperture capability with any of the Taks that support these feature. A few of the Super Taks, and most Super-Multi-Coated and SMC Takumars have a special lug on the rear of the lens to support the open aperture metering. The only done side to this camera is the fact the meter runs the battery down when the lens cap is off. It originally relied on the mercury battery.
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