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07-31-2010, 04:10 PM   #1
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Spotmatic accessory inquiry

Hello.

I have been on a nostalgic kick to once again own the photographic equipment that made up my first "real" camera outfit.

I served in the Panama Canal Zone in 1967-68 and owned an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic and various lenses, case and accessories.

I now purchased a working Asahi Pentax Spotmatic from the proper era, in great shape. I obtained a 50MM Super Takumar 1.4., a camera case, proper to the camera's time, etc, etc.

Anyone know the correct M42 Body Cap that would have been used? Plastic - Metal?

What Flash Unit would have been used? Model?

Thanks!

07-31-2010, 04:29 PM   #2
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There's a black, metal front cap that can be used.

Here's a flash that would go along great with the camera: Pentax AF 16 Flash.

Adam
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07-31-2010, 04:29 PM   #3
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it would have most likely been plastic by that point. as for flashes, if you are talking about specifically pentax flashes, I assume it would be the original super-lite.
07-31-2010, 07:47 PM   #4
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Back in the sixties and early seventies, when the Spotmatic was being made, Pentax did not make their own line of flashes. In the US, Honeywell, the importer, also sold rebranded Rollei Strobonar flashes.

Back then, there was no flash "dedication" to a particular camera brand. You had a hotshoe or PC cord, and that was it. All the camera did was close the circuit to fire the flash.

The exception to that in the case of the Spotmatic, was the Spotmatic IIa, which was a USA-only camera. Asahi built it, just as they did all the Spotmatics, but they (Asahi) never sold it outside the US, with their own name on it.

The IIa had a sensor on the front of the camera that communicated with the Strobonar 772 or 882. Basically, the flash sensor was moved from the flash unit to the camera body.

Many flashes back then were purely manual in operation. The flash simply fired at full strength every time. You had to focus, read the distance off the lens and divide the flash guide number by that distance to arrive at the f-stop. Most flash units had a little circular calculator to help.

In the late sixties, they released the Strobonar 660, which I believe was the first "Auto" flash. It had a sensor on the flash that sensed the light being reflected from the subject. You simply set a constant f-stop depending on the film speed you were using. The flash would sense the light bouncing back and, when it determined that enough light had come back, it shut the flash tube off.

Still, the 660 was not dedicated to any camera. It worked just as well on a Nikon F, as it did on a Pentax Spotmatic.

The short answer to your question would be that there really is no "correct" flash, although I suppose one could argue that any of the Strobonars would be slightly preferable to other brands, at least in the US. Over the years, there were many models of Strobonar flashes, from the 100 hotshoe flash, to the 600, 700, 800 and 900 series "potato mashers". The 600 and possibly 700 series would most likely have been contemporary to the Spotmatic.

Hope this helps.

07-31-2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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The first actual Pentax flash that I'm aware of was the Asahi Pentax Super-Lite. The Asahi Pentax Super Lite II came out in 1971. The Super Lite IIThe next one came out in '75 and was called the Asahi Pentax Autorobo. I don't no for sure the year of release for the Super Lite.
08-01-2010, 05:27 AM   #6
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Thanks!

Thanks to all regarding my inquires to the Spotmatic Body Cap and appropriate Flash!

I'm quite impressed with the knowledge my fellow Members have out there and the time you are willing to spend on helping out.

I have a Camera Show on 8/8 and now can seek out "finds" to add to my "new" Spotmatic outfit.
08-01-2010, 10:04 AM   #7
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The M42 body cap is in black plastic, marked Asahi Opt. Co. in the inside, we sometimes see one to sell on ebay
08-01-2010, 11:43 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The first actual Pentax flash that I'm aware of was the Asahi Pentax Super-Lite. The Asahi Pentax Super Lite II came out in 1971. The Super Lite IIThe next one came out in '75 and was called the Asahi Pentax Autorobo. I don't no for sure the year of release for the Super Lite.
The Autorobo flash has an interesting history. It looks like it was the last Pentax flash produced during the screw-mount area. Its production dates are a bit sketchy, but it was released sometime after the ESII and before the K Series. (Late 1974 to early 1975??) My Autorobo instruction book has only screw-mount bodies listed, including the ESII. The Autorobo was also the only flash listed for the K series bodies and was also in an early M series accessories booklet. So it looks like it went out of production in the late 1970’s.

Another strange thing was I could never find it listed in any Honeywell Pentax books or price lists; it only appeared in Asahi Pentax accessory booklets. I finally found confirmation in a recently purchased “Honeywell Pentax Manual” by Joseph D. Cooper, from 1975. This manual has a picture of an Autorobo and mentions that it’s “available in most countries where Asahi Pentax products are sold, other than United States”. It looks like Honeywell did not import it to the USA, as they had their own flash units. This would also explain why the Autorobo is so hard to find, I finally ended up getting one from a South Africa camera store.

Phil.

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08-01-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
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I have never seen the Autorobo and couldn't find one on eBay, so they may be uncommon.
Since the user manual is available on pentaximaging.com my guess is that they were sold in USA.

Link: Pentax AUTOROBO manual

The number "06171" printed on the last page of the booklet may indicate a 1971 publication date.
According to the Dimitrov website Pentax publication number 06171 is a Pentax Winder MX manual.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 08-01-2010 at 12:23 PM.
08-01-2010, 01:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I have never seen the Autorobo and couldn't find one on eBay, so they may be uncommon.
Since the user manual is available on pentaximaging.com my guess is that they were sold in USA.

Chris
Good point Chris. It’s quite possible after Honeywell stopped being the sole Pentax importer into the US in the mid 1970’s, the Autorobo was finally made available in that market area.

Phil.
08-01-2010, 01:27 PM   #11
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Phil, of the 3 Asahi Pentax m42 era flashes the Super Lite II seems more abundant than the other 2. I was recently watching this black K2 that has a Super Lite II sitting on top. Someone got themselves a nice setup although I would ditch the A 50/2. The Super and Super II will cover a 28mm lens which was sort of special in that era.

Pentax K2 SLR with Flash - NICE - eBay (item 270612486126 end time Jul-31-10 16:07:18 PDT)
08-01-2010, 01:42 PM   #12
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I have two super-lite II’s. great little flashes, and look damn good sitting on top of a spotmatic.
08-01-2010, 08:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
The Autorobo flash has an interesting history. It looks like it was the last Pentax flash produced during the screw-mount area. Its production dates are a bit sketchy, but it was released sometime after the ESII and before the K Series. (Late 1974 to early 1975??) My Autorobo instruction book has only screw-mount bodies listed, including the ESII. The Autorobo was also the only flash listed for the K series bodies and was also in an early M series accessories booklet. So it looks like it went out of production in the late 1970’s.

Another strange thing was I could never find it listed in any Honeywell Pentax books or price lists; it only appeared in Asahi Pentax accessory booklets. I finally found confirmation in a recently purchased “Honeywell Pentax Manual” by Joseph D. Cooper, from 1975. This manual has a picture of an Autorobo and mentions that it’s “available in most countries where Asahi Pentax products are sold, other than United States”. It looks like Honeywell did not import it to the USA, as they had their own flash units. This would also explain why the Autorobo is so hard to find, I finally ended up getting one from a South Africa camera store.

Phil.
Geez, there's no doubt about you Phil...when it comes to a good, genuine, special, "Factory" Pentax screwmount item......you've got it!!
I've seen the Superlite 11, which I think is a little more powerful than the Autorobo.....but the Autorobo being a later model, I thought may have a couple of "improvements"....but I wouldn't know what they were, if any.
Cheers, Pickles.
08-02-2010, 10:22 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pickles Quote
Geez, there's no doubt about you Phil...when it comes to a good, genuine, special, "Factory" Pentax screwmount item......you've got it!!
I've seen the Superlite 11, which I think is a little more powerful than the Autorobo.....but the Autorobo being a later model, I thought may have a couple of "improvements"....but I wouldn't know what they were, if any.
Cheers, Pickles.
The Autorobo has a guide number of 24 meters for 100ASA film. Not sure how that compares to the Superlite II.

I’ve only got a couple “screw-mount” accessories that also happen to evolved into K series accessories. (Autorobo, magnifier, Ref II…) I concentrate on K series items only, as that’s what I grew up with. All my lenses (except one zoom) and all my camera bodies are K series. I’d love to start a screw-mount collection, but I unfortunately don’t have the funds or space. Maybe if I win the lottery!!

Phil.

Last edited by gofour3; 08-02-2010 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Spelling
08-02-2010, 05:21 PM   #15
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Well, I haven't got an Autorobo....but I do have the instructions brochure!
Yep, Phil is, as usual, spot on with his info....the guide no for this unit is 24.
Van Oosten says the guide no for the Super-Lite 1 was just 16, but the Superlite 11 was 28...pretty powerful for its day, I'd reckon.
At one time, I owned an AF280T, also guide no 28, which I thought was a great flash unit. I've only got an AF200T at the moment, but if a mint AF280T came up, I might consider it....although one couldn't use the TTL function, I think the manual & Auto settings would be fine on my SP11.
So, if I wasn't after something that was absolutely "period correct" (but close!), then the Pentax AF280T would be my choice.
Cheers, Pickles.
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