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11-11-2013, 06:33 AM   #1
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Questionable KM prototype on Ebay

I have always found that answering one question about Pentax always seem to lead to the asking of at least 6 more questions and this camera certainly lives up to that reputation. I just spotted this rather questionable item on Ebay (item # 281204530460), Needless to say it sparked my interest considerably ..... until i looked at the images and something just does not look right. Although I did not expect a prototype to look like the final product there is just too many irregularities with this one. The irregularities I noticed was the lack of DOF preview button, only one sync socket, flash hotshoe is the same as the later K1000 bodies which wasn't used till the mid 80's and no film type reminder knob under rewind crank. Although in its defence the lens serial number is about right for the period. With the bottom plate my first thoughts were a early Spotmatic plate which has the 3 battery screws but then I noticed it had the bevel along the front edge which come about in the K series (scratches head). Looking at the actual body it appears to be a K1000 (single sync socket) body with the self timer added which theoreticaly shoud be quite easy as I believe they used the same chasis. But the real puzzle is where did the plain top plate come from ???? Has anybody ever heard of or seen a KM prototype ? Is it authentic or a 'bitsa'

11-11-2013, 06:54 AM   #2
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Pentax KM Prototype | eBay
11-11-2013, 07:11 AM   #3
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With LED + -0 ?? I am mystified. Maybe a frankencamera, but Phil might know. (gofour3)
11-11-2013, 08:15 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
With LED + -0 ?? I am mystified. Maybe a frankencamera, but Phil might know. (gofour3)
Isn't that talking about the + o - inside the viewfinder?

11-11-2013, 08:16 AM   #5
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The KM is match needle rather than LED.
11-11-2013, 10:13 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aoeu Quote
The KM is match needle rather than LED.
Some model Nikon, Yashica and Fujica SLRs had LEDs by the early 1970's; others had lights.
For various reasons Pentax might have switched to a needle indicator for the production model.
Remember the Spotmatic was originally planned to have a spot meter, thus the name.

This thing looks pretty plausible. It's interesting and well done even if not what it's claimed to be.
Remember some collect fake Leicas. In any event it's fun to speculate.

Chris
11-11-2013, 11:57 AM   #7
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No clue on this one. Any Pentax site that lists prototype bodies has nothing like this one. The prototypes they do list from that era, all have Asahi Pentax marked somewhere on the bodies. For me the lack of markings is the weirdest part. (It actually looks more like a prototype for the K1000, than a KM.)

Who knows, it may be a legit item, but there is no way to prove it. If Eric got a hold of it he could dissect it and answer some questions.

Phil.


PS I think the seller means the Spotmatic/KM/K1000 meter needle that you move between the (+) ( -) markings.
11-11-2013, 01:15 PM   #8
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I saw that a few days ago.
It's definitely interesting. I agree with Phil, it looks like a K1000 with a self timer.
It has only one flash sync plug, it has no film type reminder dial at the base of the rewind crank, and no DOF preview.

11-11-2013, 02:35 PM   #9
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An economy model (K1000?) prototype designed a few years later does make sense.

- Single PC socket, no DOF preview saves money (think Pentax ME, which would have been on the drawing board at the same time).
- Later before rollout Pentax decides to delete self timer, saving more.
- If LED meter readout as described (by then becoming the standard for SLRs) switching to a needle readout meter would likely lower production cost.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 11-13-2013 at 04:13 PM.
11-11-2013, 03:35 PM   #10
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The part that is really out of its correct period is the flash hotshoe. Pentax never used this hotshoe until the K1000 body in the 700XXXX serial number range which wasn't until around 1983/84 by my estimates. The other thing that really has me thinking is why would pentax go back to a system of seperate battery holder mounted to the base plate as used in the Spotmatics. I just had a look at my Spotamtic bodies and looks like my memory was playing tricks on me. All the Spotmatics had their battery compartment spot welded/soldered to the base plate. The three screw method I had seen before must have been a repair method for after they let go or needed replacing. Now I am looking too close .... base plate has been removed at some time and has had a battery leak at some time. This might actually be a plus for its authenticity. It appears that the foam light seal between lens board and base plate is original with a small section missing which usually happens after removing base plate. If you were going to the trouble of 'building' and painting a camera you would at least clean this up before painting and replace it after paint or have none at all. The base plate stamping is definatly KX / KM / K1000. The K2 has the bevel on the front edge on one side of the body only (left side as looking at front) and this has the bevel on both sides of the lens board.
11-11-2013, 05:39 PM   #11
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Everything seems plausible, but I wouldn't pay that kind of money without some kind of provenance - and we know Pentax kept terrible records, so provenance is highly suspect, too.
11-11-2013, 08:18 PM   #12
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Looks like they painted over a KM or KX then called it a prototype.
11-12-2013, 07:03 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Everything seems plausible, but I wouldn't pay that kind of money without some kind of provenance - and we know Pentax kept terrible records, so provenance is highly suspect, too.
Yes, that was strange.. The rewind dial looks like it is from an SV, the film advance looks like it is from a mix of MX and some other M42.

But somehow cool.
11-13-2013, 01:11 PM   #14
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Very strange camera, though I am not sure I would label it a KM prototype. The KM is little changed from the Spotmatic F, while this body looks to have more in common with the M-series cameras be a K1000 with a self-timer cobbled on.

I think it is more likely a working "mule" for proof-of-concept development dating from the late 1970s rather than a prototype for any particular camera. As noted above, a peek under the skin would likely prove most revealing!. I don't believe that the seller's description is accurate in regards to date, purpose, or provenance.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-13-2013 at 01:59 PM. Reason: Missed close resemblance to the K1000
11-13-2013, 04:25 PM   #15
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Agreed. A camera made for this purpose would likely use as much existing hardware as possible.
This might explain why the camera looks like it was cobbled together from parts of previous models.

Chris
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