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02-10-2013, 02:10 AM   #1
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Hello, some help with a old Sportmatic...

Hello all.

I have got my Dad`s old camera, one he did buy in Japan in 1968, it is a SLR Pentax Sportmatic Asahi.

That was the camera he did use when I was a kid, lot of great photos was taken with it, quality speaking....I am not THAT good looking...

So, now I like to take the camera and use it, getting to be Dad myself now so it will be my heirloom so to speak.
But, some help is needed, Where you set the shutter speed, goes from 1 to 1000, then there is a gap, and then a green letter B. What is that for?

So, next question, witch film to use, 200, 400 or?

Thank you all for looking. All help/tip is welcome.

A good sunday all.

I am going out to test these "new" camera today

02-10-2013, 04:47 AM - 1 Like   #2
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First you have a Spotmatic not Sportmatic. That is a remarkably common error, error though. But use Spotmatic if you are searching for information.
Next, the 'B' stands for bulb. It is used for longer exposures, don't worry about it now, as you learn more you will eventually see the need for it , or not.

And for film the lower the number the brighter the light it was designed to be used in. So 100 is outdoor sunny day, 400 is indoor or cloudy day,
200 is a compromise. It is more complicated than that but that will get you started.
02-10-2013, 04:58 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by vegard_dino Quote
Hello all.



I am going out to test these "new" camera today
Try it a various shutter speeds to make sure these are reasonably accurate. When you get the film developed, check the shots for light leaks. These will show up as streaks or bands of light on the shot. You may need to replace the light seals on a camera of this age but this is an easy job that you can do yourself and the seal kit doesn't cost much. Good shooting.
02-10-2013, 05:51 AM   #4
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Hi and thank you for helping me. I need it.

So, SPOTMATIC, got it

I was out today, winter snow, blue clear sky and bright sun, guess 400 film. was VERY wrong...It was what I got.
But, outdoors, in order to adjust the meter in the middle position, I had to put the shutter to B.......Any ideas?
Indoors and in the woods, more dark/shadows, I was able to adjust it "right" when I just the shutter set to 250.

What was I doing wrong?

Thanks for helping.

02-10-2013, 06:42 AM   #5
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Read about the basics of photography and to see what the different settings do try this thing out: CameraSim simulates a digital SLR camera - SLR Photography Demystified
The triangle of aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how it affects exposure is the most important thing to understand and as soon as you get that run out and shoot shoot shoot! Also here is the manual for the camera: http://www.pentax-manuals.com/manuals/service/spot_sm.pdf
02-10-2013, 08:42 AM   #6
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Oh, thank you so much for the link.
Great app

But, the green B.....Bulb function, what is that doing?

Have taken one roll with 400 film today, can not wait to se how it did turn out.
02-10-2013, 09:06 AM   #7
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Try this user manual, it will tell you what the "B" is.
We find it hard to give you any help if you don't acquire some basics on exposure first. There's more to a film camera like the Spotmatic than just releasing the shutter...
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Spotmatic user manual.pdf (1.03 MB, 326 views)
02-10-2013, 09:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by vegard_dino Quote
Oh, thank you so much for the link.
Great app

But, the green B.....Bulb function, what is that doing?
Bulb means that the shutter stays open for as long as you keep the button pressed. The built in meter is useless in this case and you would certainly need a tripod when using bulb.

Do you know about changing the aperture on the lens? What did you have the aperture set to when you were shooting outdoors today?

02-10-2013, 09:40 AM   #9
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Hello and thank you for the tip and a good link to the user manual. Thank you
Oh, what aperture I used....Not sure. Was turning the ring and not looking at what it did read.
02-10-2013, 10:59 AM   #10
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The manual is available here:

Pentax Spotmatic, Pentax SL, user manual, instruction manual


The Spotmatic is a good learner's camera and most of what you might learn from using may be directly applied to a modern dSLR.


Steve
02-10-2013, 11:04 AM   #11
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Thank you.

I hope to learn, I hope I can be able to take photos with it...need to read the manual and practice...
02-10-2013, 11:16 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by vegard_dino Quote
Oh, what aperture I used....Not sure. Was turning the ring and not looking at what it did read.
Best advice I can give is buy or borrow a book called "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Should not cost more than 1 or 2 rolls of film and processing and will likely save you that much immediately.

Until you have a basic understanding of photography and how exposure works you will be literally shooting in the dark. That is not the worst way to learn on digital, but on film it can get expensive and frustrating very quickly and unless you keep accurate notes the time required for processing limits the learning experience.

The exposure triangle consists of three things, shutter speed (how long the shutter stays open), the aperture (how big the 'hole' in the lens is), and ISO or film speed (how sensitive to light the film or digital sensor is). All three of these together determine how much light is recorded on the film or sensor. Reduce one and you must increase one of the others to reach the same exposure value.

To take a picture on your camera you will first determine the film speed, because you have to load the camera and set the film speed on the camera dial to match the film label. Then you determine the aperture you want to use, let's say f/8 to set something in the middle, and set that on the aperture ring of the lens, and then you adjust the shutter speed so that the meter indicates a good exposure.

That is about as simplistic an explanation as I can give you. Seriously, get the book and read it, you have to at least know what the words mean in order to ask good questions.
02-10-2013, 11:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by vegard_dino Quote
Hi and thank you for helping me. I need it.

So, SPOTMATIC, got it

I was out today, winter snow, blue clear sky and bright sun, guess 400 film. was VERY wrong...It was what I got.
But, outdoors, in order to adjust the meter in the middle position, I had to put the shutter to B.......Any ideas?
Indoors and in the woods, more dark/shadows, I was able to adjust it "right" when I just the shutter set to 250.

What was I doing wrong?

Thanks for helping.

Have you determined if the meter is working correctly?
Outdoors in sun, with 400 iso film (and iso dial set to 400, with aperture set to f/16, your shutter speed should be around 1/500s (maybe 1/1000s for snow) and your meter should go to the middle when you lift the stop down metering switch.
02-10-2013, 12:00 PM   #14
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Thank you for the tip.
I am not sure if it works right, from what you say it sounds like it`s not.

Will try some more photos tomorrow, indoors and outdoors.
02-10-2013, 12:42 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by vegard_dino Quote
Thank you for the tip.
I am not sure if it works right, from what you say it sounds like it`s not.

Will try some more photos tomorrow, indoors and outdoors.
Batteries?

The original mercury cells are no longer available, though a modern "silver" cell should work fine if you get one of similar physical size. I have a Renata 394 in my Spotmatic II. It is seated in a rubber grommet to correct the size difference. I believe this combination is frequently sold as S400PX. Use Google to find a number of online sources.


Steve
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