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10-10-2010, 05:46 AM   #1
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Dial on my Spotmatic IIa

I recently got a Spotmatic IIa and noticed that this dial is different from other Spotmatics, I can't find an instruction manual for the IIa so I was wondering if you could help me shed some light on its function.

It shows a red triangle, green circle and blue square



10-10-2010, 08:40 AM   #2
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http://www.pentax-manuals.com/manuals/m42/honeywell_spotmatic_iia_s.pdf Password:Pentax

its the range index for the honeywell strobonar flash. how it all works though I don’t know. you will have to read through the manual.
10-10-2010, 08:20 PM   #3
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The manual is available from Pentax at http://www.pentaximaging.com. Click on "Support" and follow the links. They have manuals for all Pentax cameras from about 1960 on.

In case you weren't aware of this, the Spotmatic IIa was a US-only variant. There is no Asahi version of the IIa. It was made to work with the Rollei-made line of Strobonar flashes, imported at that time, by Honeywell.

The sensor on the front of your camera did the work of the one on the flash. In this way, the light-sensing was on the camera, rather than the flash, which is better, if the flash is off-camera. After all, its the light reaching the camera that matters.

I believe the Strobonar 772 and 882 were the models that worked with the Spotmatic IIa.

I have never read any explanation of how the camera-to-flash communication took place. AFAIK, the setup uses a standard PC-to-Household synch cable, just like all the "potato masher" style Strobonars. There are no additional cables to carry the light sensor information back to the flash.

If this is your first Spotmatic, you're in for a treat. They are terrific cameras. I have two and I still find them to be the most ergonomic and fun-to-hold cameras that I have encountered.
10-11-2010, 07:11 AM   #4
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I've run through half my first roll of film.

can't wait to see the results!!!

Film is definitely more exciting than digital.

Thanks for the explanations. Basically, I need to find a 40 year old flash that still works to take advantage of the feature.

Are these things still available at a decent price?

10-11-2010, 02:54 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dj_saunter Quote
Are these things still available at a decent price?
Try eBay. The Strobonars were considered to be pretty much bullet-proof back in the day, but 40 years is a long time.

Steve
10-12-2010, 10:13 PM   #6
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That camera looks almost brand new!
10-17-2010, 10:47 PM   #7
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Strobonars for SPIIa

The problem you will have with all of the flashes that were made for this camera (and Honeywell did make a shoe mount flash for it), is that they used NiCad batteries. Finding a functional flash may be difficult. The 800 series strobonars were designed to use a separate 510v battery pack which was a whole lot of 1.35v PX13 batteries welded together to get 510 volts (yeah, really, I cut one open once). The 700 series used a NiCad battery pack that was user interchangeable so that if you had a big job, you could swap out battery packs. The shoe mount flash was I think a model 410 which had a non user interchangeable battery. Those big strobonars were really powerful but only cover a 50mm lens without a wide adapter. Have fun and good luck!
10-18-2010, 07:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxus Quote
The problem you will have with all of the flashes that were made for this camera (and Honeywell did make a shoe mount flash for it), is that they used NiCad batteries. Finding a functional flash may be difficult. The 800 series strobonars were designed to use a separate 510v battery pack which was a whole lot of 1.35v PX13 batteries welded together to get 510 volts (yeah, really, I cut one open once). The 700 series used a NiCad battery pack that was user interchangeable so that if you had a big job, you could swap out battery packs. The shoe mount flash was I think a model 410 which had a non user interchangeable battery. Those big strobonars were really powerful but only cover a 50mm lens without a wide adapter. Have fun and good luck!
While no one makes replacement battery packs for 700 series Strobonars any more, the sub-c NiCad batteries are still available. A few years ago, I bought a 770 on eBay that worked fine on the AC adapter, but wouldn't hold a charge.

I was able to find sub-c NiCad batteries, with solder tabs, at Radio Shack. I don't know if RS still sells them, but some of the online specialty battery retailers have them. A few minutes with a soldering iron and I was back in business.

Sub-c batteries are the same diameter but a little shorter than standard size c-cells. The standard batteries won't fit in the Strobonar battery tray.

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