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Pentax Spotmatic II

Reviews Views Date of last review
13 75,597 Wed August 24, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $43.38 9.38
Pentax Spotmatic II

Pentax Spotmatic II
Pentax Spotmatic II

The Spotmatic II was released in 1971, along with the introduction of the S-M-C line of Takumar lenses. The meter and film transport was improved from the original Spotmatic, a hotshoe was now included and the ISO range was increased to 3200.

Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II
Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic II
Year introduced
Year discontinued
Automatic aperture stop down
Stop down, centerweight
Meter range
EV 1 to 18
ISO range
20 to 3200
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Manual, B
Exposure compensation
Not applicable
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Self timer
Yes, 5 - 13s
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
Multiple exposures
Ratchet type rapid wind lever. 10 pre-advance and 160 advance angle
Flash hot shoe
Built-in flash
TTL/P-TTL flash
Flash sync speed
FP and X terminals - 1/60s
Flash exposure comp
Not applicable
0.88x (with 50mm lens)
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
1.3V mercury PX-400
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 93 x 88mm (with standard lens)

Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-13 of 13

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 322
Review Date: August 24, 2022 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid , user-friendly and bullet-proof reliability
Cons: none

My all-time favourite SLR, topping even my original model Spotmatic.

The camera is just like an old friend, which it should be since I've owned it since about 1978-couldn't afford it before then, even secondhand. Works as well as it ever did, and takes thousands of m42 lenses besides the excellent Takumars of various ilks. Even the meter battery is relatively easy to get hold of compared with the one required for the first Spotmatic.

Yes, the screen is a little dim by modern standards, but compared with my original Zenit, bought back in 1966 it was/is still an improvement and I've never had an issue with it. Some users have listed stop-down metering as a downside, but I think as photographers we should welcome anything that encourages us to consider depth of field before taking a photo. Modern cameras rarely offer the option, which is a negative as far as I'm concerned.

Some users mention the mirror hanging at slower speeds, and suggest lubrication of a gear / sticky mirror as the answer. It isn't-the blinds need adjustment to allow the second blind to complete its travel and drop the mirror. And any adjustment to that blind will probably mean the first blind will require adjustment as well. Not a difficult task, and more effective than indiscriminate oiling!
A jewel of a camera that will still be working ,even if used regularly, in 100 years time.
New Member

Registered: April, 2021
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Posts: 24
Review Date: January 20, 2022 Recommended | Price: $62.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build Quality, Ergonomics
Cons: Viewfinder is OK, not great. No mirror lockup

Things I like about the Spotmatic SPII:

1) I really love the M42 lenses and this is the best M42 camera of the four I've used. M42 lenses are great quality-to-cost ratio for someone like me that is late to the film game.

2) The handling of this camera is just fantastic. It feels great in the hand and is an absolute joy to handle. It balances really well with longer focal length lenses, so I often use it with the S-M-C 85/1.8 or the Takumar 200/3.5.

3) Film loading and rewinding is easy to do.

Things I dislike about this camera:

1) With my aging eyes, viewfinder brightness and ease of use is one of the most important components of any film camera. This one is not as bright as my MX or Konica IIIA viewfinders, and lacks the split prism I love on the MX.

2) I wish it had Mirror lock up. Even so, I've captured some nice photos at low shutter speeds.

I got my SPII in 2021 for $62 with a Super-Multi-Coated 50mm f/1.4 and a leather case. All in good shape, but poorly advertised and photographed, so I was taking a chance, but at that price I was willing to take the risk. Got a CLA from Eric and new leather from Hugo Studio and it is working great and looks awesome. Some cameras are so cheap you have to ask yourself, is it worth it to CLA this camera? That should be an affirmative answer with the Spotmatic II, even if the acquisition price is dirt cheap. Please keep these cameras well-maintained and in circulation by people who will use them! If you get a chance to own one of these, I highly recommend it.
New Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 2, 2018 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Easy to use accurate metering
Cons: Watch for sticky mirror- easlily remedied-google has fix.

I volunteer at a cancer charity shop checking these donated cameras before they are sold.. this came in in such good condition, with a leather case and 2 lenses SMC taks 35 3.5 and 55 1.8 also top notch.. so I bought it all for 50 for myself.. mirror would hang up below 1/15th sec but I found a fix online.. the hang up is quite common after several decades, so the base can be removed before applying watch oil (tiny drop) to the culprit black cog, actuate the camera a dozen times and hey presto. I had some old film in the house so put it through the camera.. on getting the negs back was amazed to see how accurate the metering was...this a great camera even after 47 years. I use a watch battery which is 1.5 v (not 1.35 V which the camera was designed for ) but the Spotmatics system is such that the metering is not affected
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2018
Posts: 30
Review Date: January 25, 2018 Recommended | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great old school camera
Cons: Finding batteries

Lots of memories with a camera just like this growing up. My dad bought his in either 1971 or 1972. He let me use if when I had an interest in photography in the 80's. Recently decided to make the jump back into photography after seeing the poor overall quality of the pictures from my phone. I bought a Nikon DSLR first and am very happy with it. About a week or so ago, I had the sudden urge to look up this Pentax camera and the first picture I saw was of the Spotmatic. Lots of memories came back from when I used my dad's. I started looking through eBay and found the exact model I wanted and ordered it. So excited to be shooting film again. Biggest issue I've had was finding the battery for the light meter. Finally found them on Amazon.

Ordered several rolls of film (different speeds of color and some B&W) and can't wait to spend time taking pictures.
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 2
Review Date: June 22, 2017 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Quality, Design, Ease of Use, Durability
Cons: Stop down metering may be considered as a negative

My father bought this SPII new in Singapore in 1972. He bough it with the S-M-C 55mm 1.8 and S-M-C 135mm f/3.5. I still have the receipt, booklets and advertising. He used it with slide film all through the 70's and 80's during our time in the Philippines and throughout Europe and Australia. He took good care of it and it was always kept in its case.

I inherited the camera from my father 6 years ago after it had been sitting unused for about 15 years. I had it serviced and the 55mm lens cleaned (had slight haze). It came back in as new condition and sounds and operates wonderfully. The light meter is perfect against grey card and handheld meter. I just use a 1.5V silver oxide battery SR936SW, which fits without any spacer or sleeve.

I only use this body around my local area since it so precious to me. I am too scared to take it on my travels overseas in case something happens to it!

The Spotmatic SPII is a simple camera to operate. Just push the metering switch up, which activates the aperture pin in the lens and switches on the meter. Adjust shutter speed and aperture as desired to centre the meter needle or add a bit more or less exposure as needed. Either turn off the meter switch (which opens up the aperture again) and trip the shutter or just trip the shutter, which turns off the meter anyway. The aperture will close to the set aperture the instant the shutter is tripped and then spring open again. You are in full control of the metering, exposure and focus and nothing to fiddle with or to fool you by forgetting to set something.

The most basic and simple operation for photography all in a convenient, well designed and engineered body. A real classic. The Spotmatics also came with the best full leather soft cases. Favourite lenses are 35mm f/2, 55mm f/2 (same as the f/1.8 but round aperture at f/2), and 85mm f/1.8, all S-M-C. Find one that has not been sitting unused for years in a humid climate and have it serviced. It will last for many more years.
New Member

Registered: December, 2015
Posts: 3
Review Date: December 18, 2015 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Simple to use, made well, and it uses all those great SMC lenses.
Cons: None.

I just bought a Spotmatic 11 on Ebay for $50. Mint condition. I really lucked out this time.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,437

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 25, 2014 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Hot shoe, increased ISO, mechanics, general greatness
Cons: Loud shutter

This is my favorite of the Spotmatics. My fiancee's father gave me his old SPII, which he took with him to four continents over the span of 20 years. It's seen a LOT and taken a number of amazing photos. I had to have it overhauled before I could use it -- the battery had corroded inside the chamber. But after some clean-up, it works great and I've had the change to use it about a half dozen times in the last two years.

I think this has the most accurate meter of any Spotmatic. Maybe it's just that the shutter speeds are more accurate, but for some reason I think this this returns more well exposed images than my other Spotmatics.

The hot shoe is a welcome addition for those rare times that I need a flash, too. It's not often, but it's good to have there anyway.

This is one of my favorite cameras and I enjoy using it a heck of a lot. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on one, you should jump at the chance.

Here are two videos I made showing all of the camera's features and operations:

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,053
Review Date: May 21, 2014 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build, features ...
Cons: Stop down meter can be a "pain" ...


I got lucky on a French eVILbay lot and picked up a great SP II (n 5104760) with a super SMC Tak 55/1.8, along with its hood and a Pentax L39 UV filter, plus strap with filter holder ... plus other goodies: a SupTak 200/4 which has hopefully repairable fungus and with an Ozunon 35-70/3.5-4.8 MC in Canon FD mount (to be resold or given away).

I am going to have it CLA'ed (or do it myself); the mirror bumper is KO ... and seals would be nice, too. I have a roll B&W that came with it, so maybe I'll run it through for fun. Or maybe a fresh roll of Illord 100 ... images and more evaluation to come later ...

Salut, John le Green Frog

Otis Memorial Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Posts: 42,007
Review Date: May 22, 2013 Recommended | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, handling, build quality, viewfinder, battery availability
Cons: Stop-down metering (not really a huge issue)

My Spotmatic II is in pristine condition and as a result, it looks like my camera's purchase price ($45 USD w/ST 55/1.8) is towards the top end of range of the reviews submitted thus far. To be honest, I think I got a killer deal. The camera handles great, has a decent viewfinder/focus screen and accurate meter, and is super smooth mechanically. I have several camera bodies of this vintage and the Spotmatic/Spotmatic II easily float to the top despite having a somewhat spartan feature set.

Oh...and one last comment. I like how currently available silver cell batteries (usually referred to as S400PX) work just fine without an adapter. The cool thing is that the S400PX is actually a 394 battery with a removable plastic sleeve/spacer. When the battery wears out you simply transfer the sleeve to a more common 394.
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2012
Location: Queensland
Posts: 4,199

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 19, 2012 Recommended | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Tough and solid quality
Cons: Perhaps a better light meter / preview switch

It was sitting on a table with a 200mm SMC Tacumar lens on it when I first saw it at a swap meet. It was so grubby and dusty I doubted it would work. Part of the finish had come off the bottom plate near the battery. The lens looked good and there was the original lens case although it was filthy from decomposed foam. The shutter seemed to fire OK so I paid the asked for $15.
At home I noticed it had a tiny battery substituted. A small LR41 cell fits battery compartment.
I made the following notes as well:
The battery base plate is shabby, missing chrome, and there is a mirror join mark visible in the view-finder but the remainder is in fair condition for age. Replaced mirror damper and slotted door seals Speeds + timer + light meter seem good. The camera cleaned up well. Tested with Fuji film 36 exp Superia when I went on a Pacific cruise, and the camera performed flawlessly. I love these Spotmatics and their predecessors, and now have seven of them. If you find one, have a look and think about buying it. The price is reasonable and you should be able to pick one up on eBay with lens for less then $100

Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Posts: 1,465

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 21, 2012 Recommended | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: excellent layout, weight, size, sturdiness
Cons: meter, shutter

I had 3 of these cameras (all chrome), one in mint condition that I gave to somebody as a gift, one only cosmetically mint, but which had a sticking mirror at halfway through the cycle, and the meter was dead (pointing upwards, common problem with these by the way, and no easy repair), and a third one that looked battered, but apart from capping at 1/1000, still works pretty nice. Unfortunately the pristine looking one got "killed", so it now provides spare parts for the not-so-good-looking-one.
In my opinion, the hotshoe is the biggest improvement from the original SP (which I prefer in aesthetics - mainly prism design). You get a low, but useful flash sync speed (1/60).
What I really like about this camera is that it brings the full M42 compatibility of the original SP in a more capable body, task which the SP-F fails to do, with its rather well-known compatibility issues.
All in all, it got more use from me than my SP body, although I don't like it as much.

IMG_0010.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

IMG_0030.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

25A_0028-2.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

00006.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

27A_0064.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

21A_0058.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

13A_0050.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

10A_0047.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

_9A_0046.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

_1A_0038.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr

IMGP4574.jpg by kcobain1992, on Flickr
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Treviso (Italy)
Posts: 87
Review Date: August 2, 2011 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: all
Cons: none

It's my favourite M42 camera.
Little, easy to use, excellent meter.
I sell all my K mount gear for medium format camera but my screw mount gear is still there (and it will never goes on).
SPII with super takumar 35/3.5, 55/1.8, 105/2.8, smc takumar 200/4 and tair 3A
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2010
Posts: 5,901

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 3, 2010 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Ease of Use. Enduring Quality
Cons: Tricky Meters?, Limited Batteries

Pros Ease of Use. Enduring Quality
Cons Tricky Meters?, Limited Batteries
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) Gift
Years Owned Under A Year

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Best student camera ever, IMHO, a camera every photographer should own at least once. Can't beat it for the money.

Camera Review
I was given a new SPII this year but I've had a Spotmatic for a longer time. I've always liked screwmount cameras, particularly the Spotmatics but I'd always had a yen for an SPII because I'd played with a friend's several times and I had a feeling that it was just meant for me to have one.

Earlier this year I finally got one of my own and while it was very like using my Spotmatic there were some definite advantages to using the SPII over using the Spotmatic, henceforth called "SPI."

The SPII has an actual flash mount which the SPI does not. It has a better range than the SPI. It may be my imagination but the SPII feels just a bit lighter and a bit more balanced to me. Both cameras have excellent ergonomics, but the SPII just feels like a dream in my hands. I could shoot for hours with it and never get tired the way I used to sometimes with my SPI.

Of course you have the benefit of millions of M42's out there made for either camera, but the SPII is a bit less limited in that way than my original Spottie was. There are certain lenses I've read you can't use on an SPI and I've never run into that with my SPII. This one actually came naked but I paired it with the standard 55MM Takumar kit lens that was sold with these cameras. Can't gush enough about it. This lens had to be one of the best kit lenses ever sold with a Pentax camera and I'd buy another SPII if I had to camera just to get it should I lose it or whatever.

I do have a book that's basically my Bible for old screwmount cameras but the SPII is such a simple camera that I was able to use it pretty effectively right off and probably would have been able to had I never picked up an SPI or read that book. It's a totally intuitive camera in most respects except for maybe flash usage.

As a student's camera I don't think I could top it. There are many cameras out there that are also popular for that, but I think this camera is ideal in terms of settings, layout and quality, even better than the K1000 and AE1's I used to see so many people using in class. It's got every fully manual setting I could ever want starting out and nothing to get in a student's way while learning.

My Spottie II is almost as old as I am, but you'd never know it to look at it. It's held up amazingly well for a camera that age. It did get a light seals redo and a tech up before it was given to me, but the obvious quality and great feel of this camera clearly state what care Pentax Ashai put into these early cameras. I prefer it actually to many of the later cameras of this ilk that I've seen. I seriously doubt that anyone there thought that I'd be lugging one 40 some odd years later and using it nearly every day while studying, but I have, pretty much all year, and it's performed like a real pro every time.


Well, yeah there are a couple, but to be fair so far it's nothing I haven't been able to surmount. Batteries for this camera can be impossible to find locally. I really wish it used something a little larger and easier to find like the LR44's some of the later Pentax SLR's use. The 387S Energizer does work and it sure beats the cost of the Wein cells I used to use in my SPII, but in order to get them I usually have to resort to buying them online. It's not a big deal should I happen to run out. Like most Spotmatics the battery is only needed for the meter and I have an external meter to use if need be, but being able to buy 387's at the grocery store would be far easier!

For the record though I've been informed it's common I've never had any real problem with exposure using the 387's. Whatever bridging mechanism is in my SPII it seems to play quite nicely with the batteries I use. I'm told this is not the case though with some SPII's and some alkaline cell batteries that fit.

Second drawback? I really wish the whole flash set up with an SPII was a bit less cumbersome. While it's much easier to use a flash mounted on top than with an SPI I still find myself not using a flash with my SPII a lot of the time even when I should because the SPII just can't do as much with a flash as some of my later cameras can. I end up mostly shooting with it outdoors for that reason. I can use a flash, but it's not exactly an automatic no-brainer thing with this camera.

Those two things are what keeps this camera at a 9 for me versus being a 10, but I still think I'd rather give up just about anything else in my kit than give up my SPII and it's kit lens.

It's my favorite camera bar none.
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