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09-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #1
Ole's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Posts: 4,260
Pentax Spotmatic

Early Spotmatics were produced from July 1964 through 1965 sometime, as compared with 1965 through 1973 for the 'Late' version. It is historically interesting to note that Asahi produced their millionth SLR in 1966, so the early Spotmatics belong to the era before Asahi's millionth SLR was produced. The early models are relatively and can be dated to no later than 1965. There are subtle differences that give the early bodies away... differences include cosmetic differences in the self-timer lever, meter switch, top cover attachment method, and film counter height. There are also subtle differences in the focusing screen, lettering font, and even the strap triangle rings. The early part number was 231. The later model part number was 23102. Some appear to have these numbers on the baseplate, but not all. Serials can distinguish them as well... serials starting in the range 10nn800 but lower than 2016000 are early, while 2016000 and above are late models.

Standard Lenses: Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 or 55mm Super-Takumar f/1.8 with fully automatic diaphram. Distance scale: 0.45m (1.5 feet) to infinity. Filter size: 49mm. With depth-of-field scale. Equipped with diaphragm preview lever which affords visual check of depth of field. Distance Scale: 45cm (18') to infinity.

Shutter: Focal plane shutter with single non-rotating dial (dial rotates to select shutter speed but remains stationary when exposure is made - this is a reference to earlier cameras that had shutter speed dials that rotated when the exposure was made). Speeds: B, 1-1/1000 sec. Film speed (ASA) setting dial and window on shutter speed dial. Built-in self-timer releases shutter in 5-13 seconds. Shutter curtains of special rubberized silk.

Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic
Year introduced
Year discontinued
Automatic aperture stop down
Stop down, centerweight
Meter range
EV 1 to 18
ISO range
20 to 1600
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Manual, B
Exposure compensation
Not applicable
Exposure memory lock
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
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
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
0.88x (with 50mm lens)
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
1.3V mercury PX-400
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 92 x 88mm (with standard lens)
621 g

Attached Images
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PENTAX K10D  Photo 

Last edited by Ole; 10-10-2010 at 04:20 PM.
10-13-2010, 03:32 AM   #2
titrisol's Avatar

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Location: In the most populated state... state of denial
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Pentax Spotmatic Camera Review

Pros COnstruction, reliability, ease of use
Cons Viewfinder can be a bit dim
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) ~300 (my father bought it new in 1973)
Years Owned Inherited from my father in 1985

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
This camera is the gold standard for manual cameras.
Excellent lightmeter; good viewfinder and wonderful ergonomics even 40 years after it was introduced.
Great value for the money!

Camera Review
I remember seeing this camera when my father came back form Japan in 1973, and always cherished it as the best camera.
Have used it thorugh the 80s and 90s; even for some profesional gigs when other guys where scoffing at the camera.
Optics (SMC takumars and Super Takumars) are second to none and with some practice this camera is world class!

The only weak point is the stop-down metering which was solved in the F version.
10-19-2010, 03:36 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Gold Coast, QLD
Posts: 32
Pentax Spotmatic Camera Review

Pros Robust body,accepts lots of lenses
Cons Uses mercury batteries, no hot shoe
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1
Years Owned 3 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
surprisingly robust construction
Can use external flash units using FP/X sync contacts
Accepts a wide variety of M42 lenses

Camera Review
What a excellent screwmount Pentax camera-the Spotmatic is very beautiful with a surprisingly robust construction.

The controls are placed perfectly and quite easy to get to grips with and despite being a metal bodied camera it's not tiring to hold at all.

As it has a M42 mount, you can use lots of lenses that were made in that mount.

I use 2 Takumar lenses with the camera and the viewfinder is bright and sharp.

Only downsides would be the use of mercury batteries and no hot shoe for external; flash units (you can use one by connecting it to the FP or X sync contacts and the shutter speed set to 60x)

Overall a impressive Pentax camera from the 1960's and it's just great to use everyday.
12-16-2010, 07:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Boardman, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 106
Pentax Spotmatic Camera Review

Pros Ease of use, reliability, metering accuracy.
Cons No hot shoe.
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) $165 with 55mm f1:1.8 Super Takumar lens
Years Owned Bought new in July, 1969.

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
This camera has been around the world, spent over two years in West African dust and rain, and never missed a beat. Used Kodachrome (ASA 25) and Tri X for years. I don't think that the spot meter ever missed the exposure, and it has always been easy to focus.

The only thing wrong is that you can't put a modern lens on it!

Camera Review
I went camera shopping with some friends before our departure to Africa in the Peace Corps. We ended up with different brands, a Nikon, a Minolta, and a Pentax. I thought that I got the best deal because it was the lightest and smallest of them all. It turned out that I was right. I don't think that we even saw a Canon at that time.

My father had a Nikormat a few years later, but he borrowed my Spotmatic for a trip to New Zealand, because the Nikormat was not reliable enough. After he came back, with great photos, he bought another Nikormat. Go figure!

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