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02-01-2008, 08:31 AM   #1
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My dim Spotmatic F

The viewfinder in my Spotmatic F seems dim, in comparison to most other cameras. It may have always been that way, but now that I have more SLRs I notice it much more. I used to blame the 50mm/f4.0 that lived on the camera. I have switched to the 55mm/1.8 as it's main lens, and it is also dingy to look through.

I have directly compared it (unfavourably) to a Canon TL QL, Pentax MZ-M, Program Plus and my *ist DL.

Are the Spotmatic finders dim? Or is mine deteriorating (mirror?) Is there a way to brighten a finder?

02-01-2008, 09:51 AM   #2
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Mine are noticeably dimmer also, H1a, Spotmatic vs. Super Program and newer. I've always just used then as they are, old school shooting :-) If the mirrors dirty on the OLDER ones, I've cleaned it with lens cleaner and soft cloth. Never been into the Prism.
02-02-2008, 02:57 PM   #3
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Though dimmer some actually prefer the older style viewfinders.
The image is more contrasty, and often easier to focus.

Chris
02-02-2008, 03:21 PM   #4
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I noticed the same thing comparing my K2, MX, and MZ-10, where the K2's was prety dim and generally not impressive. The only VF I've looked through which is better than the MXs was a 6x7 Mamiya...

02-03-2008, 09:51 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jslifoaw Quote
I noticed the same thing comparing my K2, MX, and MZ-10, where the K2's was prety dim and generally not impressive. The only VF I've looked through which is better than the MXs was a 6x7 Mamiya...
Exactly! Bright=Impressive, though not necessarily better/more accurate...

Chris
02-03-2008, 10:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Exactly! Bright=Impressive, though not necessarily better/more accurate...

Chris
I'd have to say I'd be surprised if I handed anybody both bodies with the same lens mounted, and someone actually preferred the older K2's VF. The MX's is larger, brighter, and clearer to my eyes, and definitely easier to focus. It is also quite accurate. I'm also surprised at the contrasty statement, since I found the K2 quite dull. Maybe the M42 bodies are better, but the K2 and MX are probably the best of their series so I would find that hard to believe.

Even fast lenses like the 50/1.2, 50/1.4, and 85/1.4 are all vastly easier to focus using the MX, imo. Slow lenses show even more of a difference.
02-08-2008, 07:38 AM   #7
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The dimmer screens seem to "snap" into focus. Not so the brighter screens.

Chris
02-08-2008, 07:53 AM   #8
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It could also be a dirty prism or focusing screen. Anything that gets in the way of light moving through makes the image duller.

02-24-2008, 09:22 PM   #9
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Another thing that can dim older viewfinders is chemical tarnishing or physical deterioration of of the silvering on the back of the reflex mirror. This can be readily confirmed or ruled out during a routine CLA.

If confirmed, full-silvered mirrors can be resilvered; I don't know if anyone is refurbishing half-silvered mirrors these days. If factory replacement parts can be located at service centers with old Pentax experience and parts stocks, I personally would go that route rather than resilvering.
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