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09-10-2010, 05:25 PM   #1
Ole's Avatar

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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Posts: 4,189
Pentax ES II

Two years after the release of the ES, Asahi Optical released the ES II. The main improvements over the ES was in the circuits which were reduced in size to allow the addition of a self timer. It also reduced the power requirements. The battery type and location was also changed. The overall size and appearance was similar to the ES. It was sold international as the Asahi Pentax ES II and in the U.S. as the Honeywell Pentax ES II. Even though the Electro Spotmatic, ES and ES II had electronically controlled shutters, they were still made of fabric. It wouldn’t be until the K2 until and electronically controlled metal shutter would be implemented.

Asahi Pentax ESII
Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax ES II
Year introduced
Year discontinued
Automatic aperture stop down
Open aperture, centerweight
Meter range
EV 1 to 18
ISO range
20 to 3200
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Av, Manual, B
Exposure compensation
1/2x, 2x and 4x
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
8s - 1/1000s (stepless)
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 1/60 (X), 1/125, 1/150, 1/500, 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
B, 1/60 (X), 1/125, 1/150, 1/500, 1/1000s
Self timer
Yes, 5 to 11 sec
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
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
0.89x (with 50mm lens), 93% coverage
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Four 1.5V silver oxide batteries (e.g. Eveready S76E or Mallory MS 76H)
Battery grip/pack
No, motor drive version available
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 98 x 93mm (with lens)

Built-in viewfinder blind. The shutter can be locked open (T exposure) with the shutter button lock.

Attached Images
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PENTAX K-7  Photo 

Last edited by Ole; 10-16-2010 at 08:14 PM.
10-12-2010, 07:09 PM   #2
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Stratman's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: St Louis, Missouri U S A
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Posts: 2,464
Pentax ES II Camera Review

Pros Aperture Priority, and it is a thing of beauty in black. Readily available batteries.
Cons No metering in manual mode
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) $31 including shipping.
Years Owned 2 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
It feels solid and very well built. Nothing cheap about it. I really like having aperture priority, and except for my S-M-C Tak 200 F4 , metering seems very good to me. The nifty viewfinder flap is a really cool feature.

Camera Review
I love this camera. It is a solid piece of equipment, easy to use, and good looking too !! The meter is pretty accurate with all of my SMC Taks except sometimes my S-M-C 200mm F4 overexposes. ( maybe it was me )
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12-07-2010, 02:33 PM   #3
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Location: NJ USA
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Posts: 13,056
Pentax ES II Camera Review

Pros Good exposure automation
Cons Less handy with non SMC lenses, takes 4 batteries
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 40
Years Owned 2

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
A bit of history - the second generation of the first electronically controlled auto exposure SLR. High quality construction with tryly nifty touches. Does the job well.

Camera Review
The ES-II is an auto exposure camera - as such, it is fairly basic when it comes to bells and whistles that later on became big selling points: there's only a -1/2, +2, +4 EV compensation on the dial, no matrix metering, only Av prioritiy with SMC or compatible lenses, limited manual mode, no AE lock. But, for a camera of this era, who cares?!

The nice touches abound - the viewfinder meter indication is excellent, there are a limited set of fully mechanical shutter speeds available so you're not stuck with just one speed when out of batteries (unfortunately, it doesn't meter in manual), and that cool viewfinder blind.

Actually, more than once, I've put the camera to eye, and seen... nothing. Of course inevitably I'm thinking the mirror's jammed or something, until I sheepishly note the setting of the shutter speed dial The built in curtain is very handy for tripod work or long exposures, as the CdS sensors are built in on either side of the viewfinder. (This of course wasn't such a problem with the manually metered Spotties, as presumably your head was blocking the vf when you metered.)

The camera meters beautifully and predictably - there's a slight tendency to over exposure with e.g. flower shots - with SMC Takumars, and Adaptall-2's with the ES adapter, and Vivitar TX lenses with the ES adapter. With non-compatible lenses you have to use the meter switch to stop down, the camera will continue to set the appropriate shutter speed. As I mentioned, the metering is disabled when using the manual speeds (again, something I tend to forget in the field...) But as SMC's are so convenient with this camera, it gives you a great excuse to collect them!

With its vf curtain and ability to time very long exposures (I've gone to a minute or more in true darkness) the ES-II makes a good landscape camera.

It takes 4 1.5v batteries, and these do last a fairly long time - there doesn't seem to be a constant drain on the batteries. You turn on the meter by pushing the shutter button down slightly - unlike with the KX, say, where you have to have the wind lever sticking out, which is not so nice to a left eyed person such as myself. Another modern touch is the hot shoe.

I had to have my metering circuit fixed by Eric Hendrickson - he did a great job, and still has some spare circuit boards available. This is a good thing, as it definitely is worth keeping one of these bits of history alive.

All in all, I don't really see the advantages of a SP-F with its quirks over the ES-II in most situations; I prefer the full manual stop down Spotmatics when going manual and mechanical.

Owning an ES-II is really on a historical par with owning the original Spotmatic: both were cameras that set the direction of the entire industry. Other such cameras are fewer from Pentax: I think of the OM-1 and the early (shutter preferred) Konicas, for example. It is a solid, well behaved camera that is very enjoyable to use.

(And don't forget: great excuse to collect SMC Taks!)

Sample of ES-II low light performance: Elite Chrome 100, S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4
<a href="" title="early light by Nesster, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="322" alt="early light" /></a>
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