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05-27-2022, 04:20 PM   #1
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Compact M42 body with excellent ergonomics

I got some bad news from Eric H last week... my beloved H1a needs a part he cannot source (a curtain streamer).

I'm looking into a couple of options to get it repaired, but in the meantime, I would like to explore the possibility of another M42-mount body that could work while I fix the H1a or replace it if I can't get it fixed.

One of the things I love about the H1a (and really, that whole family) is the ergonomics... it is just fantastic to hold -- so much nicer than a Spotmatic, so I'm looking for something with similar feel in the hand, and similar working at the eye...

The obvious choice is another pre-Spotmatic Pentax... but for now I'm looking for a bargain, so I can afford to fix the H1a, and nice ones seem to less often be bargains than before... and many of the ones I read about for sale (even here in the Marketplace) have issues that will also need service. I mean, if I wasn't worried about the money, I'd just buy a nice SV and be done with it...

So what else is there? I've owned a Mamiya and an Argus STL. Both were uninspiring (though the Mamiya had a neat lens, I have loads of lenses).
I've had Spotmatics (and may still have one with no working meter in a box... I need to look), but I have a KX and a K1000 if I want to shoot with the larger form factor.

I can obviously use my M42 lenses on K-mount, but I really like focusing open-aperture and not having to flip the little switch to shoot stopped down (I know, I'm spoiled), so a native M42 that can trip the aperture pins on Super-Takumar lenses is a must... I'd also like to know if any of the bodies will be unhappy with the couple of SMC-Taks I have and their fancy aperture tricks (I think some of the Fujis have an issue?)

Does anyone have ideas on what would work for this?
Oh, and before anyone asks, I don't have an 8-element 50mm Takumar and likely never will (but I love the 7-element someone gave me), so that particular foible isn't an issue

Thanks,

-Eric

05-27-2022, 09:01 PM   #2
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Eric - I recently picked up an excellent H3 from the original owner here on the marketplace and had it serviced by Eric (CLA + seals) that I then stuck in a drawer. I can post details if you are interested as I've got too much unused film gear.

Church Key
05-27-2022, 10:19 PM   #3
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If I went looking for an M42 body I would probably look really hard at Chinon Memotrons, either the CE II or CE-3 depending on how much electronics I wanted to think about. Both seem pretty great but I've never used one so grain of salt.
05-28-2022, 07:37 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
If I went looking for an M42 body I would probably look really hard at Chinon Memotrons, either the CE II or CE-3 depending on how much electronics I wanted to think about. Both seem pretty great but I've never used one so grain of salt.
The CE II is not what you would call compact, it weighs over a kilogram…

The CE-3 on the other hand is compact, and weighs 200g less than a SV…and uses modern batteries, so important in a camera that requires batteries to function…

05-28-2022, 07:47 AM   #5
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Ref: Review: The Chinon CE-II Memotron – davidde.com

760 grams for the CE II. Seems like a nice upgrade from my Ricoh Singlex TLS though I've no interest in changing M42 bodies. Neither are light and I wouldn't call the TLS "compact" either.
05-28-2022, 10:40 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hello,

I've never found ANYTHING like the pre-Spotmatic M42 Pentax bodies. From the AP to the SV.
I'd suggest an SV (H3v) or another S1a (H1a). They are bullet proof and many out there only need a little oil to get back to work. The only thing I've found is that for some unexplainable reason, quite a few S1a (H1a) usually show some surface rust on the top between the rewind knob and prism housing. Only cosmetic, but haven't seen that in other models.
Psst! [whispering] Eric, PM me. I can probably hook you up with something or get you a loaner while you sort out yours.

Thanks,
Ismael
05-30-2022, 09:51 AM   #7
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If what you really want is a pre-Spotmatic Pentax, then you won't be happy with anything else.

05-30-2022, 01:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
If I went looking for an M42 body I would probably look really hard at Chinon Memotrons, either the CE II or CE-3 depending on how much electronics I wanted to think about. Both seem pretty great but I've never used one so grain of salt.
I have a RevueFlex 5005, which is a re-branded CE II Memotron. It's a large, heavily-built SLR but it works well. It's advantages over the Pentax M42-mount SLRs are it's auto-exposure facility (which calculates correct exposure by stopping down the aperture as the shutter button is depressed) and that it goes to 1/2000s maximum shutter speed. I like it and those two features are useful to me.

But if you want something svelte then a Memotron is not the answer.
05-31-2022, 10:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
I have a RevueFlex 5005, which is a re-branded CE II Memotron. It's a large, heavily-built SLR but it works well. It's advantages over the Pentax M42-mount SLRs are it's auto-exposure facility (which calculates correct exposure by stopping down the aperture as the shutter button is depressed) and that it goes to 1/2000s maximum shutter speed. I like it and those two features are useful to me.

But if you want something svelte then a Memotron is not the answer.
That CE II sounds quite nice for an M42 body. The CE-3 uses the same chassis as the CE-4 and -5 which makes it fairly compact. Not MX compact but not Spotmatic large.
06-01-2022, 10:22 AM   #10
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Praktica MTL 5B, perhaps, or other Praktica from the same era ?

The last decent mass production of M42 cameras: 1986-89 in East Germany (so 25 years younger than your H1a). The MTL5B takes one LR44 battery for the exposure meter and has a needle in the viewfinder. Others take more batteries and have LEDs

Pros:
Marginally lighter
Focusing aids: diagonal wedge and microprism screen
Mechanical shutter = battery / -ies only for exposure meter
Hotshoe

Cons:
Not quite so compact
Unknown prevalence in the US - in Europe they're reasonably common and very cheap

Neither:
Probably not quite so finely crafted (so not worth repairing if anything goes wrong)
Fastest speed is 1/1000s, subject to mechanical vagaries
06-02-2022, 03:54 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I've had my Pentax S1a since 1968. I bought it new ($ 159.00 CAD) , along with the 55 mm Takumar F 2 lens, and a Sekonic light meter, which I paid the princely sum of ten dollars Canadian.

I worked in a publishing company, and the publisher told me that I had to make myself more useful...so get a good 35mm camera, either a Nikon or a Pentax and learn how to use it. So I did. My S1a.

I used it , those first three years, as a work tool. Using it in -35 degrees on the Alberta / Manitoba/ Saskatchewan prairie.....inside cattle corrals....dimly lit offices...with no flash, just some 400 Tri-X B&W film that I pushed to 800 ASA or more...to get a publishable shot.

It never let me down, took excellent photos, endured bumping and rough handling in everything from De Havilland Bush planes, sliding around in a camera case in my old V-Dub air cooled cars....around my neck while riding horseback....etc.

I still have it. It still works. I still have my old Sekonic light meter, which also works...and my gray card...which I still use to get meter readings.

This little S1a, the Sekonic the 55 mm lens...I would never part with any of this package. It partially earned my daily crust decades ago. Hard to believe, but I regard this fine mechanical / optical device very warmly. It is part of the family , has been for over half a century.
06-18-2022, 04:27 PM - 3 Likes   #12
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Original Poster
Resolution...

I have hopefully discovered the right solution...

Behold, the Honeywell Pentax H1a...



If it looks familiar... it is... I had the folks at Camera Service Pros in Atlanta give it a try, and they seem to have fixed it.
They charged not quite double what Eric did last time he fixed one of mine, but that wasn't extortionate...

Here is the requisite test roll demonstration feline without the black bar at the edge of the frame:



I normally don't use the meter... it is only on there because it was playing dress-up with the Nikon F that also got fixed...

It does have light corrosion in the usual spot I need to polish out, but I'm glad it's home and working again...


I did win a bid on a Goodwill S1a for $22... so I may still have a spare on the way, depending on what they mean by "works"...

Thanks all for the helpful advice!

-Eric
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