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05-06-2012, 10:56 AM   #1

Pentax Spotmatic newbie

I have a Pentax Spotmatic W/ Telephoto lens 135mm 1:2.8 2x-1 Serial #SP-3547536
given to me. Never used one don't even know how to open it to check for film -- can you still buy film?? Is it even worth anything?
Allen New Orleans

05-06-2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Allen Quote
I have a Pentax Spotmatic W/ Telephoto lens 135mm 1:2.8 2x-1 Serial #SP-3547536
given to me. Never used one don't even know how to open it to check for film -- can you still buy film?? Is it even worth anything?
Allen New Orleans
Welcome to the forums! Congrats on your Spotmatic - I have an SPII and love it. Sounds like you might have an SP. Take a look here for instructions: Pentax Spotmatic SP - owner's manual

It's value depends on it's condition - there are still quite a few Spotties in action, so it's not an especially rare camera. Take a look at the film SLR reviews right here in the forums for some more useful info. Yes, you can still buy film - good luck!
05-06-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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The Spotmatic is a great camera. The first "real" camera I ever had (still have it) was a Spotmatic. Compared to today's cameras, it was built like a tank.

If it still works, it is a fine film camera. One drawback is that the mercury battery it uses is no longer available. Wein makes a zinc-air battery that is physically identical, but uses different chemistry. Some hearing aid batteries can be used as well. The good news is twofold; the Spotmatic meter is not as voltage-sensitive as some cameras. So, if you can't find the correct, 1.35v battery, a 1.5v battery works, as well. Secondly, the Spotmatic uses the battery ONLY for the meter, so, even if the meter is dead, the rest of the camera may work just fine.

You can download a user guide from Pentax USA's website at Digital Cameras by PENTAX - Waterproof Digital Camera - Digital SLR.

To find out if there is film in the camera, do this. On the top left is a folding rewind crank. Unfold the crank and rewind it. If it turns more than one or two turns, then there is probably no film in the camera. If it turns for one turn or so and then stops, it probably has film in it.

If it has film in it, turn the camera over. On the bottom, you will find a small silver button, with a small red dot. This is the rewind button. Press the button and hold it. This releases the film to be rewound. While still holding the button in, rewind the film until it suddenly turns more freely. At that point, the film has been wound completely back inside the camera. It is now safe to open it.

To open the camera, lift up on the rewind crank. It will pop up about 1/4 inch. Pull it a little further, against the spring pressure you will feel. The back should pop open. You can now remove the film. Depending on how old the film is, and what type it is, you can probably still get it developed. If the canister says "Process C-41", you're fine. That is the current color print film process. That can be processed anywhere that still does film. If it is B & W film, the places to have that developed are fewer and farther between. If it is any version of Kodachrome, you're out of luck. The last lab, anywhere in the world, that developed Kodachrome was Dwayne's in Parsons, Kansas, and they did their last roll in January of 2011. There are some specialty places that will develop it as B & W film, but that is rather expensive.

Yes, you can still buy film, although its getting harder to find, except at specialty outlets. Walgreen's drug stores still carries film and still develops it. At least the ones near me do. There are also mail-order and internet retailers who sell film. Believe it or not, Kodak has introduced new film formulations within the last couple of years.

As far as financial value, its not a lot. A Spotmatic, in good working condition, sells for $50-75 on eBay, without a lens. The value of the lens depends on the brand. I don't think that Pentax ever made a 135mm, f/2.8 lens. Theirs were 135mm, f/3.5 and 135mm, f/2.5. It is has the word "Takumar" anywhere on the lens, it is a genuine Pentax lens. If not, it is probably a third-party lens. Third-party lenses can be very useable, but few are very valuable. A genuine Takumar can be more valuable than the camera. A Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm, f/3.5 can easily sell for up to $100, while the f/2.5 version can go for as much as $150. The lenses are more valuable because, with a simple, inexpensive adapter, these lenses can be used on modern digital SLRs.
05-06-2012, 06:57 PM   #4
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