Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-02-2010, 08:58 AM   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 208
How should Spotmatic ESII meter/shutter behave?

Hi all,

Today I've just received a new-to-me Spotmatic ESII (with SMC Takumar 55/1.8) in reasonably good condition. However, a few things seem off and I'm wondering if these are normal for the breed, or truly screwed up. I should say, I've not run a film through yet; these are observations just looking through the viewfinder and/or dry-firing.

First: When using auto shutter speed mode, if the meter indicates a long exposure (say, 1s), and I then actuate the shutter release normally (a prompt, but not jabbing, press-and-release of the button), the exposure is only as long as I hold the button-press, not the full 1s. If instead I hold down the release for 1s or 5s or 30s, then I get the full indicated 1s. In other words, the exposure is for the shorter of (1) as long as I hold down the release, or (2) the indicated exposure. Like a semi-bulb mode.

Second: Metering appears correct in auto mode with the SMC 55/1.8. But with a non-SMC lens (e.g. my old Super Tak 35/2.0), in low-light situations especially, the range is compressed. That is, as I move from f/2 to f/16 (six stops) while pointed at the same light source, the indicated shutter speed changes by 4 or 5 stops, not 6. Is this a normal limitation of the meter, and/or of the meter in combination with a non-SMC lens, or truly screwed up?

Thanks for any observations!
--Dave


Last edited by Argenticien; 12-02-2010 at 09:48 AM.
12-02-2010, 10:38 AM   #2
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
Dave, the first behavior sure doesn't sound right, and the second... I'll have to test mine when I get home + report back on both items.
12-02-2010, 07:28 PM   #3
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 208
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Dave, the first behavior sure doesn't sound right, and the second... I'll have to test mine when I get home + report back on both items.
Thanks for anything you can find out. What has further confused me about that second point is that the manual says the following: "CAUTION: All SMC Takumar lenses [...] are designed for open-aperture reading. When directly mounted on the ES II, they will give correct exposure readings at full aperture. Do not try to take meter readings at stopped-down aperture, as this will indicate different shutter speeds."

To me, that makes no sense. Why wouldn't that work? But if given that it doesn't work for some strange reason, then why would metering through a non-SMC lens (which must be stopped down) work properly either? Yet you don't hear people saying that old pre-SMC Taks are incompatible with the F or the ES/ESII ... do you? What am I not understanding here?

Thanks...Dave
12-02-2010, 08:33 PM   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Bay Village, Ohio USA
Posts: 1,027
QuoteOriginally posted by Argenticien Quote
Thanks for anything you can find out. What has further confused me about that second point is that the manual says the following: "CAUTION: All SMC Takumar lenses [...] are designed for open-aperture reading. When directly mounted on the ES II, they will give correct exposure readings at full aperture. Do not try to take meter readings at stopped-down aperture, as this will indicate different shutter speeds."

To me, that makes no sense. Why wouldn't that work? But if given that it doesn't work for some strange reason, then why would metering through a non-SMC lens (which must be stopped down) work properly either? Yet you don't hear people saying that old pre-SMC Taks are incompatible with the F or the ES/ESII ... do you? What am I not understanding here?

Thanks...Dave
Stop down metering won't work with an SMC lens, because the lens has linkage that tells the camera what the selected aperture is, relative to the wide-open aperture. The meter uses this information to compensate and calculate the correct shutter speed.

If your f/1.8 lens were stopped down to f/4, that's 2 1/2 stops, or about 1/6 the light. The camera assumes that aperture is actually wide open, but that the aperture ring is set to f/4. So, it reads the light actually coming through the lens and adds 2 1/2 stops to the shutter speed. If the light coming through the lens is really reduced by that amount, adding those 2 1/2 stops to the shutter speed will result in an underexposure.

Don't worry too much about it. Look closely at the lens mount on the lens. On the flat part of the backside of the lens, next to the threaded portion, there is a very tiny pin. Its almost too small to see. I'm not talking about the normal aperture stop down pin, in the threaded part of the mount itself.

Now, look at the lens mount on the camera. If you have another M42 camera, it might help to compare. On the inside edge of the front face, there is a recessed groove, that is not present in a normal M42 camera. The pin on the lens rides in this groove. If the pin is in the groove and, therefore not depressed, the auto/manual switch on the lens is locked in the auto position. With the lens on the camera, try to slide the lens switch to manual. You can't do it.

Put the same lens on a normal M42 camera, such as a Spotmatic, and the auto/manual switch works normally. This pin and groove are there to prevent you from using manual mode and actually stopping the lens down, while the camera thinks it is wide-open.

If you want to stop the lens down, for depth of field preview, push the slide switch on the side of the lens mount on the camera up. This will activate the aperture pin and stop the lens down, but when you do this, the camera knows you've done it, so it doesn't get confused.

If you use a Super Takumar lens, that does not have the aperture linkage, normal stop down metering works, because the lens can't tell the camera which aperture is selected. The only thing the camera knows is the amount of light coming through the lens. It assumes it is wide open, and doesn't adjust the shutter speed.

I hope this helps. It took me a little while to figure this out, after I got my ES-II, as well. Its a nice camera.

12-03-2010, 04:07 AM   #5
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
OK... let me find my ES-II, I'll post this real time... First, a Super Tak 50/1.4... lens on auto, camera's meter/stop down in up position... I do see a 1 stop move in the meter with each 1 stop stopdown on the lens. I think in auto mode like this the speeds shown may be 'approximate'. maybe in very low light I'm seeing some compression at the smallest apertures, i.e. not a full stop's worth of meter movement. Using this lens, I can't replicate your first problem - though, with the meter in the down position the shutter just goes open (again, irrespective of whether or not I'm holding the button down).

Now let me find the SMC 50/1.4. Nope, I can't replicate your first problem - the shutter does its timed thing whether or not I'm holding the button down.
12-03-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 208
Original Poster
@noblepa: Thanks for the explanation; it did help. I had mostly figured out the forced-Auto state on the SMC lens on the ES II, and did figure out how to work the tiny pin with a fingernail as I was first testing out the iris upon receiving the lens. But I hadn't realized the part about the groove (it's easy to overlook), so thank you! Overall, I love the engineering of the SMC lens, where all the open aperture metering add-ons are either inside or outside the screw mount itself, so are no obstacle whatsoever to using these on the K20D with adapter. (Contrast with Fuji open aperture metering lenses with that stupid lug that bollixes up mounting on any non-Fuji M42 mount.)

@Nesster: I had kind of feared that Problem #1 was truly a problem. It seemed like an odd behavior. I'll keep exercising the shutter and see if that helps, although I expect not. You always hear of the need to exercise the shutter when reanimating a previously disused mechanical leaf-shutter camera, but I doubt that applies very well to electronic focal plane ones like this. Problem #2 may just be a pathological meter insensitivity; I'm not too worried about it as I don't do that much low-light work or transparencies, so exposure latitude of the film will probably take care of it most times. We'll see tomorrow when I hope to have time to run a film through this thing.

Thanks!
--Dave
12-03-2010, 09:10 AM   #7
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
You might enjoy this:

12-06-2010, 08:18 PM   #8
Veteran Member
Stratman's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: St Louis, Missouri U S A
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,464
Did they really cost $600 back then? WOW....I got mine for $31 including shipping

12-06-2010, 11:03 PM   #9
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,231
QuoteOriginally posted by Stratman Quote
Did they really cost $600 back then? WOW....I got mine for $31 including shipping
Street price was somewhat less, but yes, excellent cameras like the ESII were very expensive back in the day, particularly when you consider where wages were. (I was making $3.50 an hour in 1975 and thought I was really going somewhere!)


Steve
12-07-2010, 05:01 AM   #10
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
In 1975, Nationwide wanted $365 for an ES-II with a 1.4, $336 for the 1.8. By comparison the Spotmatic F w/1.4 was $240.

For sake of context all with 1.4 lenses, an OM-1 went for $279, Fujica ST801 $240, Nikkormat FTN $295, Nikkormat EL $408, Nikon FTn $460, Nikon Photomic F2S $660, Yashica Mat 124G $115....

Oh, and they wanted $143 for the SMC Takumar 85/1.8

Last edited by Nesster; 12-07-2010 at 05:08 AM.
12-07-2010, 05:43 AM   #11
Pentaxian
Arjay Bee's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bamaga, QLD
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,882
Just a comment re your test Nesster.
My PDF copy of the ESII manual clearly says that the early Super Takumar 50 F1.4 is one of a couple of lenses that specifically should not be used with this body. Problem with fouling on that protruding rear lens. Which version are you using or are you having no issue...?
12-07-2010, 07:28 AM   #12
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
Arjay, thanks for bringing that up - I've never seen this warning before - but then, I don't actually use either of the lenses mentioned on the ES-II for photography. Why do so, when I have the SMC or S-M-C versions of both

When I mounted the Super 50/1.4, I did not get any problems testing the shutter behavior, but then I was focused pretty close; infinity may have proven a problem. I can test
12-07-2010, 09:35 AM   #13
Site Supporter
gofour3's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,129
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Street price was somewhat less, but yes, excellent cameras like the ESII were very expensive back in the day, particularly when you consider where wages were. (I was making $3.50 an hour in 1975 and thought I was really going somewhere!)


Steve
In 1975 I was making around $3.50 per hours as well. Some how I managed to save enough for a brand new KX, K55/1.8, K28/3.5 & K135/3.5, which I purchased later that year.

Of course I was still living at home and I’m sure I was also “assisted” with my purchase. (Thanks mom)

Phil.
12-07-2010, 07:38 PM   #14
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 208
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Arjay, thanks for bringing that up - I've never seen this warning before - but then, I don't actually use either of the lenses mentioned on the ES-II for photography. Why do so, when I have the SMC or S-M-C versions of both

When I mounted the Super 50/1.4, I did not get any problems testing the shutter behavior, but then I was focused pretty close; infinity may have proven a problem. I can test
It's I what had the original question. In the Dept. of Curiosity Killing the Cat, or just outright stupidity, or stubborn unwillingness to believe anything without seeing it myself, I did eventually try ever so gingerly mounting the Super Tak 50/1.4 on the ESII. I had the shutter on 'B' and held open (so, mirror up) using a cable release with screw. Then as I lowered the mirror, the mirror began to slightly graze the top of the black metal bezel/ring around the 50/1.4's rear element (not the glass element itself). Still that was too close for comfort and I got the lens the hell out of there. I shall now start watching SMC 50/1.4 auctions as I've not got one of those. (My ESII came with an SMC 55/1.8, with the combination in total costing USD 36.)

--Dave
12-07-2010, 10:14 PM   #15
Pentaxian
Arjay Bee's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bamaga, QLD
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,882
Argentcien - thank you for doing the test. Saves me repeating it needlessly.

I enjoyed your review of the ESII in the camera review section Nesster - agree completely - I just like holding my copy - its not my daily user but it is my favourite. I have a SMC 55 1.8 and a SuperTakumar 55 2.0 that came with the camera and so do not need to use the ST 50 1.4 either. Both have the extra flange thingy on the rear.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
esii, exposure, lens, meter, mode, release, shutter
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
(Dumb) Spotmatic and ESII Question jaieger Pentax Film SLR Discussion 5 09-03-2010 07:19 PM
Another Spotmatic Meter dmccardle Pentax Film SLR Discussion 12 06-09-2010 01:55 PM
Spotmatic SP meter Stevopedia Pentax Film SLR Discussion 4 11-09-2009 02:55 PM
I Stole A Spotmatic ESII Mike Cash Pentax Film SLR Discussion 25 09-12-2008 06:20 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:17 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top