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10-24-2010, 09:05 PM   #1
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Just bought a Spotmatic IIa - Questions

So while browsing my local Goodwill I came across an old (probably 80s) Pentax SPIIa on sale "as is" for $15. Having primarily shot with digital I've always wanted to get an old film camera to try and give it ago; however, I know next to nothing about film cameras!


I looked it over and the 35mm lens it came with is in great shape and everything else seems to be in working order. My only issue so far is that the ASA knob and battery seems to be stuck in place. Anyone know of a way to fix this? Was thinking of trying a q tip with WD40 but don't know if that would work. Also, anyone know where I could find a manual online? Thanks for the help!


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10-25-2010, 12:03 AM   #2
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I wouldn't try to fix it with Q-tip + WD40.

If you are handy, you probably can dissemble the ASA/shutter speed dial and see what makes it stuck. The mechanism is pretty simple.

I'm not sure how to pull the battery out. If the battery is stuck, the circuit has likely been damaged due to corrosion any way.

If the only problems are the ASA setting and the battery, everything else works, you can just use it as is. The only thing you're missing is the light meter. You can learn how to meter yourself, or get a cheap light meter.

Of course you can have it fixed by a professional repair service.
10-25-2010, 08:00 AM   #3
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The SPIIa is from 1974 or 75 I think. Get first the manual at pentax-manuals.com

To take the battery out you may have to dissasemble the bottom plate; once you do thtat check if the corrosion of the cables is not bad. If it is too bad then you are way better off sending the camera to an expert.
Once you have the bottom plate out apply a few drops of vinegar in the battery door and then GENTLY twist it to get it out. A nickel (5c) coin is a perfect screwdriver for this operation
10-25-2010, 12:37 PM   #4
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You can download a manual for the SP IIa from www.pentaximaging.com. Go to the support page and look for "Manuals and literature". Then follow the questions. Its pretty intuitive.

As for the ASA dial, to change the setting, you lift UP on the outer ring of the shutter speed dial, turn it until the proper value is displayed in the little window and then release it. Have you tried that? If you don't have a manual, it is not obvious how it works, especially for someone who has not used film SLRs before.

BTW, the SP IIa was a USA-only variant. The little round "eye" on the front, near the rewind crank, is a flash sensor, which works with the Rollei-made, Honeywell Strobonar models 772 and 882. Back then, Pentax did not make flash units, and Honeywell was the US importer, which also imported the Strobonar flashes. So, Honeywell had Pentax make a unique version, just for them. There are no Asahi-branded Spotmatic IIa's.

WD-40 is not a penetrating oil. The WD stands for Water Dispersant. WD-40 has no place on a camera, except possibly one that has been exposed to heavy moisture, like being dropped in a swimming pool.

10-25-2010, 07:08 PM   #5
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"As for the ASA dial, to change the setting, you lift UP on the outer ring of the shutter speed dial, turn it until the proper value is displayed in the little window and then release it. Have you tried that?"

I have tried this (was able to find a manual after posting here) and it still doesn't move at all.

As for the battery, it seems the main screw is stuck (manual says to turn it w/ a coin but it wont budge). I wouldn't be surprised if battery corrosion is keeping it in place.
10-25-2010, 10:28 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by WSUkiwi Quote
As for the battery, it seems the main screw is stuck (manual says to turn it w/ a coin but it wont budge). I wouldn't be surprised if battery corrosion is keeping it in place.
That happens a lot. I have a Spotmatic F that I bought on eBay a while ago, with the same problem. I was going to try clamping a nickel in a vise and then pressing down real hard on the camera, while turning it in an attempt to remove the cover.
10-26-2010, 12:03 AM   #7
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1. Try using a qtip with vinegar around the battery door let it stand for a few minutes and try opening... if that does not work

2. dissasemble the bottom plate (3 screws) and then you can either use vinegar to clean the corrosion or will have to send it out.

QuoteOriginally posted by WSUkiwi Quote
"As for the ASA dial, to change the setting, you lift UP on the outer ring of the shutter speed dial, turn it until the proper value is displayed in the little window and then release it. Have you tried that?"

I have tried this (was able to find a manual after posting here) and it still doesn't move at all.

As for the battery, it seems the main screw is stuck (manual says to turn it w/ a coin but it wont budge). I wouldn't be surprised if battery corrosion is keeping it in place.
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