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09-18-2010, 01:06 PM   #1
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Ole's Avatar

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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Posts: 3,783
Pentax Spotmatic II

The Spotmatic II was released in 1971, along with the introduction of the S-M-C line of Takumar lenses. The meter and film transport was improved from the original Spotmatic, a hotshoe was now included and the ISO range was increased to 3200.


Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II
Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic II
Year introduced
1971
Year discontinued
1976
Mount
M42
Automatic aperture stop down
Yes
Metering
Stop down, centerweight
Meter range
EV 1 to 18
ISO range
20 to 3200
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Manual, B
Exposure compensation
Not applicable
Exposure memory lock
No
Shutter speeds (auto)
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Self timer
Yes, 5 - 13s
Mirror lock-up
No
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
Multiple exposures
Yes
Winder
Ratchet type rapid wind lever. 10 pre-advance and 160 advance angle
Flash hot shoe
Yes
Built-in flash
No
TTL/P-TTL flash
No
Flash sync speed
FP and X terminals - 1/60s
Flash exposure comp
Not applicable
Viewfinder
0.88x (with 50mm lens)
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction
No
Exchangeable screen
No
Depth of field preview
Yes
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Battery
1.3V mercury PX-400
Battery grip/pack
No
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 93 x 88mm (with standard lens)
Weight
622g



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Last edited by Ole; 10-10-2010 at 04:25 PM.
12-03-2010, 09:35 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2010
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Pentax Spotmatic II Camera Review

Pros Ease of Use. Enduring Quality
Cons Tricky Meters?, Limited Batteries
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) Gift
Years Owned Under A Year

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Best student camera ever, IMHO, a camera every photographer should own at least once. Can't beat it for the money.

Camera Review
I was given a new SPII this year but I've had a Spotmatic for a longer time. I've always liked screwmount cameras, particularly the Spotmatics but I'd always had a yen for an SPII because I'd played with a friend's several times and I had a feeling that it was just meant for me to have one.

Earlier this year I finally got one of my own and while it was very like using my Spotmatic there were some definite advantages to using the SPII over using the Spotmatic, henceforth called "SPI."

The SPII has an actual flash mount which the SPI does not. It has a better range than the SPI. It may be my imagination but the SPII feels just a bit lighter and a bit more balanced to me. Both cameras have excellent ergonomics, but the SPII just feels like a dream in my hands. I could shoot for hours with it and never get tired the way I used to sometimes with my SPI.

Of course you have the benefit of millions of M42's out there made for either camera, but the SPII is a bit less limited in that way than my original Spottie was. There are certain lenses I've read you can't use on an SPI and I've never run into that with my SPII. This one actually came naked but I paired it with the standard 55MM Takumar kit lens that was sold with these cameras. Can't gush enough about it. This lens had to be one of the best kit lenses ever sold with a Pentax camera and I'd buy another SPII if I had to camera just to get it should I lose it or whatever.

I do have a book that's basically my Bible for old screwmount cameras but the SPII is such a simple camera that I was able to use it pretty effectively right off and probably would have been able to had I never picked up an SPI or read that book. It's a totally intuitive camera in most respects except for maybe flash usage.

As a student's camera I don't think I could top it. There are many cameras out there that are also popular for that, but I think this camera is ideal in terms of settings, layout and quality, even better than the K1000 and AE1's I used to see so many people using in class. It's got every fully manual setting I could ever want starting out and nothing to get in a student's way while learning.

My Spottie II is almost as old as I am, but you'd never know it to look at it. It's held up amazingly well for a camera that age. It did get a light seals redo and a tech up before it was given to me, but the obvious quality and great feel of this camera clearly state what care Pentax Ashai put into these early cameras. I prefer it actually to many of the later cameras of this ilk that I've seen. I seriously doubt that anyone there thought that I'd be lugging one 40 some odd years later and using it nearly every day while studying, but I have, pretty much all year, and it's performed like a real pro every time.

Drawbacks?

Well, yeah there are a couple, but to be fair so far it's nothing I haven't been able to surmount. Batteries for this camera can be impossible to find locally. I really wish it used something a little larger and easier to find like the LR44's some of the later Pentax SLR's use. The 387S Energizer does work and it sure beats the cost of the Wein cells I used to use in my SPII, but in order to get them I usually have to resort to buying them online. It's not a big deal should I happen to run out. Like most Spotmatics the battery is only needed for the meter and I have an external meter to use if need be, but being able to buy 387's at the grocery store would be far easier!

For the record though I've been informed it's common I've never had any real problem with exposure using the 387's. Whatever bridging mechanism is in my SPII it seems to play quite nicely with the batteries I use. I'm told this is not the case though with some SPII's and some alkaline cell batteries that fit.

Second drawback? I really wish the whole flash set up with an SPII was a bit less cumbersome. While it's much easier to use a flash mounted on top than with an SPI I still find myself not using a flash with my SPII a lot of the time even when I should because the SPII just can't do as much with a flash as some of my later cameras can. I end up mostly shooting with it outdoors for that reason. I can use a flash, but it's not exactly an automatic no-brainer thing with this camera.

Those two things are what keeps this camera at a 9 for me versus being a 10, but I still think I'd rather give up just about anything else in my kit than give up my SPII and it's kit lens.

It's my favorite camera bar none.
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