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11-29-2011, 09:54 AM   #1
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Spotmatic SP

Hey everyone,im thinking of buying a Spotmatic SP (no lenses, just the case). Is this camera worth buying? it will be my first fully manual camera (appart from the light meter). Also when you have a lens attached do you have to stop it down every time you take a picture? Its £35 with the case,which i thought is quite good?

11-29-2011, 10:09 AM   #2
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I've never used an SP (I've used SPII and SP-F) but many people say they are the most well built of the Spotmatic line. I am sure that if it is working properly it should be excellent for you.
You only need to stop down to meter. Once your exposure is set, the camera will stop the lens down to the selected aperture.
The original Spotmatic was designed to use 1.35V mercury batteries that are no longer available but there are many solutions for this issue. Just do a search for Spotmatic battery.
11-29-2011, 10:17 AM   #3
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ah, thanks for the info ^
11-29-2011, 10:42 AM   #4
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here is a manual for the basics of use for the Spotmatic: http://pentax-manuals.com/manuals/m42/pentax_spotmatic_s.pdf password: Pentax

in the simplest of terms, how it works is, you preset the aperture to whatever you want to shoot the photo at. the lens will stay wide open, to allow you to focus. when you are ready to meter your scene and set your shutter speed, you push the meter switch 'up' to activate the meter, this will depress the pin on the back of the lens, stop the aperture down to what you set it and meter the light coming through. once you depress the shutter and take the photo, the meter witch will automatically move back to the down position, turning itself off and the lens will automatically open back up, ready to focus your next photo.

it couldn't be more simple really, unless you choose a spotmatic F, which does full open aperture metering.

as for the battery issue, some people say that the original SP has the bridge circuit, some say it doesn't. I don't know for sure if using a standard 1.5v alkaline will have any effect on metering. you could use one and test the meter against a hand held to see if it stays accurate, or you could use a 1.35v 'zinc air' battery, or you can get a battery adapter from C.R.I.S. that replaces the battery cover.


Last edited by séamuis; 11-29-2011 at 10:48 AM.
11-29-2011, 10:52 AM   #5
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that is rather simple and thanks for the info
11-29-2011, 11:06 AM   #6
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I have a black Spotmatic SP sitting on the shelf. I haven't used for at least 7-8 years now. Battery is probably dead but I agree that it's very well built and looks great, especially the balck one.
11-29-2011, 11:17 AM   #7
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387S Energizer cell battery, works very well, and yes, a Spottie is absolutely a good choice for an all manual camera though my personal preference is it's descendant the SPII.
11-30-2011, 02:21 PM   #8
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I bought my first real camera, a Spotmatic, new in 1967, after spending a summer washing dishes and bussing tables. I still have it and it still works perfectly. It is a great camera.

It is not really necessary to stop-down for every shot. I used to meter once and, as long as the lighting conditions didn't change, continue to shoot with the same settings. If I was in a hurry, and the sun went behind a cloud, I might open up the lens 1/2 stop or so. I shot print film, not transparencies, almost exclusively, so the film's latitude made up for any slight discrepancies. If I had the time and it was an important shot, I would meter every time.

After a while, it became second nature and didn't really slow me down much.

BTW, the only differences between the Spotmatic and the SP-II are that the SP-II has a hotshoe and the meter goes to ASA 3200, while the original SP only goes to 1600. The SP500 and SP1000 (which aren't technically Spotmatics) lacked the self-timer and the SP500 shutter dial was only marked to 1/500, although there was another stop that was approximately 1/1000.

The Spotmatic F, as previously mentioned, added open-aperture metering, when used with Super-Multi-Coated Takumar lenses. A few Super Takumar lenses had the necessary linkage to communicate the aperture setting to the camera.


Last edited by noblepa; 11-30-2011 at 02:27 PM.
11-30-2011, 04:33 PM   #9
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All you need to know about batteries for Spotmatics is in this thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/visitors-center/160135-spotmatic-spare-ba...ml#post1661033
12-01-2011, 05:46 AM   #10
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The Spotmatic is a great camera.... for me it has benn THE camra for more than 25 years.

Some things to ponder:
1. the SP family uses the thread-mount lenses (M42); which are excellent and plenty availbale, but if you have newer K-mont lenses you can not use them in the spottie (The other way is possible)

2. The battery is no issue, the SP family works fine with standard silver-oxide batteris; just use some electrical tape to makeit fit snuggly in the battery compartment
HOWEVER, clean the compartment first; use one of those eraser at the end of a pencil to clean the contacts

3. Light seals should (most probably) be changed. You can do it yourself with a kit from Jon Goodman, instructions here:
Favorite Classics / Jon Goodman's Seal Replacement Instructions

4. AGE. Even though the cameras were built like tanks, after so many years they require some love and care; so a CLA will be in short order. Plan spending a few bucks in a good technician.
12-01-2011, 03:08 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
Some things to ponder:
1. the SP family uses the thread-mount lenses (M42); which are excellent and plenty availbale, but if you have newer K-mont lenses you can not use them in the spottie (The other way is possible)
If you have k-mount lenses, the K-1000 is very close to the Spotmatic in design, feel and operation. It is basically a Spotmatic F with a bayonet mount and no self-timer. Its operation is almost identical to that of a Spotmatic, except you don't need to do stop-down metering.

The K-1000 has the advantage, too, that, while the design dates from 1976, it was in production until 1997, so some of them are less than fifteen years old.
12-02-2011, 05:41 AM   #12
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besides the k-1000 the k-x is a way better camera, and generally sold way cheaper!
12-02-2011, 09:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
It is not really necessary to stop-down for every shot. I used to meter once and, as long as the lighting conditions didn't change, continue to shoot with the same settings.
I have owned four stop-down metering cameras and follow the meter once, shoot many flow as a matter of course. In fact, that I how I do it with my meterless cameras too.


Steve
12-03-2011, 01:33 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ducdao Quote
I have a black Spotmatic SP sitting on the shelf. I haven't used for at least 7-8 years now. Battery is probably dead but I agree that it's very well built and looks great, especially the balck one.
Dude, that's a waste of one beautiful old camera!!!! A black one? Better get it off the shelf, put a battery in it and use it! When I think of how many people on here are coveting, no lusting for one of those, and you're not even using it? Arrgh! ;P
12-03-2011, 07:17 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hayob Quote
Hey everyone,im thinking of buying a Spotmatic SP (no lenses, just the case). Is this camera worth buying? it will be my first fully manual camera (appart from the light meter). Also when you have a lens attached do you have to stop it down every time you take a picture? Its £35 with the case,which i thought is quite good?
Hi. My point is that you shouldn't buy just the camera body, you should be able to find one with a 55mm/2 or even 55/1.8 very, very cheap on ebay, actually cheaper than just the body (and 35 pounds for the body is too much in my opinion).
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