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09-03-2010, 01:27 PM   #1
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Spotmatic Newb Question

Hello all,

I have just received a used Spotmatic SP II. I don[t understand what the meter is doing.

I attached a Tack 3.5/135 (I have also tried my 1.4/50)

I tested the battery (set the speed dial to ASA 100, set the shutter to bulb, turned on the meter and watched it drop).

I loaded it with BW ASA 400. I set the speed dial to 400. I set the shutter to 30 and set the lens aperture to 3.5. I set the lens dof preview switch to Auto (the word auto is showing). I switched the meter on. The needle rose all the way to the top! So, with the meter on, I changed the diaphragm - moving all the way to f22 - the needle didn't move - it stayed all the way up top the whole time. Now, if I set the film speed dial to ASA 100 and turn the meter on, the needle is sitting in the middle (it doesn't matter what I change the aperture to).

I also tried my 1.4/50 which was behaving similarly.

Is this a user error, or is my camera meter not adjusting for aperture?

Any help much appreciated.

09-03-2010, 01:52 PM   #2
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Is the same happening in other speeds?
try with 125 and 250 and move the diafragm; if it works at these speeds move the speeds dials clock wise and counter clokwise a few times (from B to 1000 and back)

maybe (just maybe) the resistor is a bit rusted and needs exercise

Other than that it may need a CLA
09-03-2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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Hi Spores. Welcome to the Pentax Forums!

The behavior you describe is a little unusual. At ASA 100 in bright daylight at 1/250s you should be able to move the needle from full up to full down with the aperture ring alone. I would suspect a corroded contact.


Steve
09-03-2010, 02:16 PM   #4
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updates

Shutter Speed. Inside. IF I set the film speed to 100 (rather than 400 which is the type of film loaded) I can set the shutter speed to 1000 and the needle is in the middle (changing the aperture while the meter is on or off does not change the position of the metering needle).

Outside. IF I set the film speed to 100 (rather than 400 which is the type of film loaded) and set the shutter to 250... changing the diaphragm ring has no effect - meter shows way overexposed.

Thanks for the help so far... does any one have a link for cleaning the camera's contacts?

09-03-2010, 02:30 PM   #5
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Also note that I can set the film speed dial to ASA 100, turn on the meter, move the shutter speed from 500 to 1000 and the meter needle drops from over-exposed to properly exposed. But aperture still not making a difference.
09-03-2010, 02:39 PM   #6
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my automatic recommendation in any instance of a person receiving or otherwise coming into ownership of a manual film Pentax. (or any camera for that matter) is to have it serviced. if it doesn’t need it right away, it will soon, unless you know it has recently had one done. doing so will guarantee 10-15-20 years or more of flawless service from your body (provided you aren’t especially rough with your equipment). so all I can say is send it to Eric Home
09-03-2010, 04:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by spores Quote
Shutter Speed. Inside. IF I set the film speed to 100 (rather than 400 which is the type of film loaded) I can set the shutter speed to 1000 and the needle is in the middle (changing the aperture while the meter is on or off does not change the position of the metering needle).

Outside. IF I set the film speed to 100 (rather than 400 which is the type of film loaded) and set the shutter to 250... changing the diaphragm ring has no effect - meter shows way overexposed.

Thanks for the help so far... does any one have a link for cleaning the camera's contacts?
Question: when you turn on the meter and then set the aperture from 1.8 to 16, does the lens get noticeably darker? If it does, the stop down mechanism associated with the meter is working correctly.

If it does not, either the auto mechanism on the lens is faulty or the "kicker" in the body is not engaging the pin.

In the case that the lens doers not get noticeably darker moving from open to closed aperture, try setting the lens to Manual instead of auto and see if aperture effects a change. Use a reasonable shutter speed of 60 to 250 while pointing at a light bulb. On my Spotty, 55 f/1.8 at ASA 400, pointing at a lightbulb on an lamp with a shade reads good exposure at 125th shutter speed, f/2.8. Your results may vary.

Make sure to turn the meter on. See if you can get the needle to go up and down with the lens in manual mode. Putting it in manual will cause the aperture to close no matter what and you can see if at least the meter is working. Calibration is another thing however.

Séamuis is right of course. However, it does not hurt to do a little diagnosis.

For me

woof!
09-03-2010, 04:36 PM   #8
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Tnank

Thanks again Titrisol, Steve, and Séamuis. I guess the meter isn't functioning properly. That's a shame - I was really looking forward to shooting with it this weekend. I'm not sure a SP II is worth a repair... a known working copy could likely be had for less. But thank you for your input and knowledge.

09-03-2010, 04:41 PM   #9
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Woof - Yea, with the meter on, changing the aperture does effect the darkness of the viewfinder. I have the 135mm on. If I set ASA 100 and set the lens to manual, and the aperture to 3.5... when I meter I am showing over-exposed even at 1000 (and all the way up at 500.

~ Michael
09-03-2010, 06:21 PM   #10
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Michael,
Your last comment is puzzling. Let me see if I understand you properly:
  • Meter on with your 135mm, changing the aperture does not result in any change to viewfinder illumination
  • Wide open (f/3.5) the camera meter always indicates overexposure
Let's back up a bit...

Evaluate the camera function:
  1. Remove lens from camera
  2. Turn meter switch on
  3. Does the "flipper" at the bottom of the mirror box flip up and back down?
  4. Look through viewfinder and point the camera at a light source (no lens attached)
  5. Alternately move your hand across and away from the camera opening
  6. Does the needle move in response to light?
  7. Put the shutter speed on a slowish speed (e.g. 1/15s) and press the shutter release
  8. Does the "flipper" at the bottom of the mirror box flip up?
Evaluate the lens auto-aperture function:
  1. With the lens off from the camera, put the aperture ring on the narrowest setting (largest f-number)
  2. Put the (M)anual/(A)uto switch in the (A)uto position
  3. While looking into the rear of the lens, depress the small silver pin on the inside margin of the lens mount
  4. Does the lens stop down when the pin is pressed and open up when it is released?
  5. If so, is the action smooth and the opening symmetrical?
  6. Put the (M)anual/(A)uto switch in the (M)anual position
  7. While looking through the rear of the lens, move the aperture ring from full closed to full open and back again
  8. Does the aperture open and close?
  9. If so, is the action smooth and the opening symmetrical?
In order for the meter to work, the lens auto-aperture function (the silver pin) must be functioning properly. The flipper on the camera body must also be operational. The meter must also be responsive to light.

Hope you aren't offended by the simple nature of the above steps. There are noobs and there are noobs and we here on the forum don't know how much of a noob you are!

Oh...one other thing to mention. Always take care that the meter is turned OFF when changing lenses to insure that the "flipper" is in the down position when the pin on the mount "comes around".


Steve
09-03-2010, 06:29 PM   #11
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Also, make sure your battery isn't in upside down. I did it, I know. AND - do you have a compatible battery? Alkaline won't work in some of the Spotmatics.
09-04-2010, 03:27 AM   #12
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More followup

Steve:

Thanks for that thorough troubleshooting!

Your last comment is puzzling. Let me see if I understand you properly:
  • Meter on with your 135mm, changing the aperture does not result in any change to viewfinder illumination
  • Wide open (f/3.5) the camera meter always indicates overexposure
3.5/135 on camera. set to auto. Film speed set to 100. Shutter speed 30. Point at dim light bulb. Turn meter on. Changing the aperture DOES effect the viewfinder illumination but does NOT effect the needle position which continually shows over-exposure. If I change the shutter speed to 1000 - the needle is now responding to my changing the aperture. So it DOES seem to be working... but is perhaps so miscalibrated that it was hard to judge it as functional at all. So with a shutter speed of 1000 and aperture f22 and film speed ASA 100... pointing my camera at a dim light shows about one stop over-exposed.

But let me answer your other questions as well...

Evaluate the camera function:
  1. Remove lens from camera
  2. Turn meter switch on
  3. Does the "flipper" at the bottom of the mirror box flip up and back down? YES
  4. Look through viewfinder and point the camera at a light source (no lens attached)
  5. Alternately move your hand across and away from the camera opening
  6. Does the needle move in response to light? YES
  7. Put the shutter speed on a slowish speed (e.g. 1/15s) and press the shutter release
  8. Does the "flipper" at the bottom of the mirror box flip up? NO Flipper didn't turn off at shutter press.
Evaluate the lens auto-aperture function:
  1. With the lens off from the camera, put the aperture ring on the narrowest setting (largest f-number)
  2. Put the (M)anual/(A)uto switch in the (A)uto position
  3. While looking into the rear of the lens, depress the small silver pin on the inside margin of the lens mount
  4. Does the lens stop down when the pin is pressed and open up when it is released? YES
  5. If so, is the action smooth and the opening symmetrical? YES
  6. Put the (M)anual/(A)uto switch in the (M)anual position
  7. While looking through the rear of the lens, move the aperture ring from full closed to full open and back again
  8. Does the aperture open and close? YES
  9. If so, is the action smooth and the opening symmetrical? YES
So it sounds to me like the lens and camera are on speaking terms... but the meter readings are so far off that you can only see needle movement when the lens is all the way stopped down, film speed is least sensitive and shutter is fastest speed available.

Thanks for helping solve this problem. I have a new replacement batter already on the way - and I will see what that does.
09-04-2010, 05:07 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by spores Quote
Thanks for helping solve this problem. I have a new replacement batter already on the way - and I will see what that does.
Assuming it is NOT the battery, I agree that the meter needs calibration. I have a couple of Spotmatics sitting around in this state.

If it IS the battery, my guess would be that the battery is an alkaline. This is one of the problems with using alkalines. Their discharge profile leaves them active (though weak) long enough to give bad readings. You really want to use batteries that "go" all at once.

woof
09-04-2010, 12:13 PM   #14
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I would recommend an Eveready 394 battery. My SP II came with a battery, but it was dead, but luckily, it had the plastic adapter for the smaller batteries. The 394 fits perfectly in there, and is a silver oxide type.
09-07-2010, 03:15 PM   #15
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Final update

If I may impose one last time...

I have replaced my battery with a brand new wein cell 1.35 mercury (MRB400). Didn't seem to help.

First, I put my tak 50mm 1.4 on my canon 40d
Lens on manual
Aperture 5.6
ISO 100
Aperture Priority mode.
Point at window - got a shutter speed between 1/30 and 1/40

Put my tak 50mm 1.4 on my SP II
Lens on auto (or manual, doesn't matter)
Aperture 5.6
ISO 100
Point at window and engage meter
Shutter at 30 - way over exposed
Shutter at 60 - way over exposed
Change aperture to f16
Shutter at 500 - over exposed but not fully over exposed
Shutter at 1000 - just a bit over exposed

So I am to assume that:
1. The metering system and the lens are talking to each other, but the meter is grossly miscalculating.
2. Sending this camera for a CLA and meter fix will cost more than $70
3. Buying a known working spotmatic F or ES II would only run about $100

Does that all sound correct to you guys?
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