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01-13-2014, 12:05 PM   #1
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Question about early pentax SLR's + Super Takumar 50/1.4

I've recently begun shopping around for an m42 mount pentax SLR, mostly to take advantage of the many awesome lenses that can be made for m42 for relatively cheap. I want to go meterless. I'm mostly looking at the S2/H2, S3/H3, SV/H3V, S1A and spotmatic SL. One lens I definitely want to get is the super takumar 50mm/f1.4. I understand that only some bodies have enough mirror clearance to work, my understanding is that the S2 will not, the versions of the S3, SV and S1A with an orange "R" on the rewind knob will work, and any SL will work. Is that correct?
Also, if anybody thinks I'm missing any great (and not ridiculously expensive) models, let me know.

Thanks!

01-13-2014, 12:47 PM   #2
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According to the Camera Review here the orange 'R' version SV does clear the flange. (see the notes in the table). IIRC that version of the SV is the earliest body that can safely mount Super-Takumar 50's.

A few of us here think the SV is THE sublime manual Pentax camera, for its physical beauty, simplicity and the feel in the hand and sound of the shutter in use.

Last edited by monochrome; 01-15-2014 at 07:56 PM.
01-13-2014, 01:09 PM   #3
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Takumar Mirror Clearance

From the Honeywell Spotmatic October 1967 Operating Manual, pg 19:

"Do not use the new Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 lens with any other camera or any other Honeywell Pentax model except with models H3v and H1a having orange-colored "R" marking on the film rewind knob, or you will damage the rear element of the lens".

Throughout this manual the 8-element F1.4 is shown. It has a protruding rear element - and the one being cautioned about. Later 7 element versions do not have the protruding rear element.

However, good bodies are cheap enough that I wouldn't try a 1.4 on one without the orange "R'.

Guessing that the F1.8s at the slightly longer 55mm focal length are probably just fine on the earlier bodies.

If you are looking to buy an 8-element F1.4, remember that many of them have damaged rear elements. Ask about it before buying. Owners not only might have used them on an older Pentax, they also put it down standing on the rear element. Some modern Canons also crash their mirrors into this lens. Some rear lens caps will also hit the rear element when lens is at infinity.
01-13-2014, 01:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cahudson42 Quote
From the Honeywell Spotmatic October 1967 Operating Manual, pg 19:
The SV / H3v early type were marketed from 1962-1964, as were the S1a / H1a. The SV / H3v late type and S1a / H1a late type (Orange 'R') were marketed from 1964-1968, as per the Asahi Optical Historical Club.
"Late types - Improvements to take new 1.4/50mm lens and back catch attached to body instead of back - Orange "R" on rewind knob"


01-13-2014, 03:22 PM   #5
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Great, thanks a lot everyone! One question about the SV/H3v vs the S1a/H1a, I know that the S1a was essentially a "budget" version of the SV. However, the only differences I've been able to find are that the S1a has no self timer, lower marked shutter speed (although it can be set to 1/1000), and a different focusing screen (is the SV focusing screen definitively better?).

To me, these seem to be the exact same camera with a couple of sly marketing tricks to get people to pay more for the SV. Are there any differences I've overlooked, or differences in build quality etc?
01-13-2014, 03:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by cheapterrorkitty Quote
To me, these seem to be the exact same camera with a couple of sly marketing tricks to get people to pay more for the SV
Rather it was a way to sell incremental units to people who otherwise wouldn't purchase a camera at all. Most people would stretch to get the fully-featured model.

FWIW, the K1000 is another obvious example of that marketing strategy - an afterthought that intially was a commercial failure. The KM was supposed to be the bargain camera. It just so happened photography teachers figured out the K1000 was an inexpensive way to get cameras into the classroom and the rest is history.
01-13-2014, 04:43 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by cheapterrorkitty Quote
Great, thanks a lot everyone! One question about the SV/H3v vs the S1a/H1a, I know that the S1a was essentially a "budget" version of the SV. However, the only differences I've been able to find are that the S1a has no self timer, lower marked shutter speed (although it can be set to 1/1000), and a different focusing screen (is the SV focusing screen definitively better?
I have an S1a with the top speed marked as 1/500th, I've tried the next click up, the shutter fired but one of the curtains was half-way across the frame. It might only be a fault with my camera though as at 1/500th one curtain was a quarter of the way across the frame too. It was 40+yrs old when I bought it so can't complain too much. My guess is that 1/1000th might not work on all S1a's, superb cameras though.
01-13-2014, 06:15 PM   #8
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My first good camera was a new H1a in 1965. It was common knowledge that the 1/1000 was there and worked. The focusing screen was different than the SV, but I liked it. When I bought another a few years ago I had Eric do a full service and set the speeds as close as he could, including the 1/1000. He indicated the Spotmatic and later models could fine-tune the shutter speeds better, but my early models have worked fine.

Any old camera can have the focal plane shutter capping problem you describe, as the speed of each curtain is affected by lubricant aging and dirt. It needs to have the old lubes cleaned out, oiled correctly, and curtain speeds adjusted.

01-15-2014, 12:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by cheapterrorkitty Quote
I've recently begun shopping around for an m42 mount pentax SLR, mostly to take advantage of the many awesome lenses that can be made for m42 for relatively cheap. I want to go meterless. I'm mostly looking at the S2/H2, S3/H3, SV/H3V, S1A and spotmatic SL. One lens I definitely want to get is the super takumar 50mm/f1.4. I understand that only some bodies have enough mirror clearance to work, my understanding is that the S2 will not, the versions of the S3, SV and S1A with an orange "R" on the rewind knob will work, and any SL will work. Is that correct?
Also, if anybody thinks I'm missing any great (and not ridiculously expensive) models, let me know.

Thanks!
My SV is the early one with the green "R". I am using a SMC 50mm f1.4 lens on it.without problems. The problem is with the eight element 1.4 lens.
01-15-2014, 05:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of the info! At this point I think I'm going to go for the SV, I found a black one on my local CL which I don't think I can resist... So now I'm wondering, do these cameras have any common problems that I should specifically check for before I buy it? I've heard that shutter curtain problems are common and can be very difficult/expensive, is there anything else that's a definite turn off?
01-15-2014, 06:22 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Just in case, unixrevolution has one For Sale CLA'ed in the Marketplace

"Asahi Pentax SV, chrome, nearly pristine, CLA’d, $80 $70"
01-15-2014, 06:46 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Just in case, unixrevolution has one For Sale CLA'ed in the Marketplace

"Asahi Pentax SV, chrome, nearly pristine, CLA’d, $80 $70"
Thanks for the tip! I sent him a PM, just have to figure out if it's worth it to get it shipped up to Canadia.
01-15-2014, 08:27 PM   #13
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I'll have to check my '68 Pentax S1a if it has the orange designation. Didn't know about that.
01-16-2014, 06:13 AM   #14
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This has come up before, when I posted pictures of the green-orange difference:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/178367-early...ml#post1860493
01-19-2014, 07:57 AM   #15
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I can verify that you cannot use a 7 element Super Takumar 50mm 1.4 on a Super Program, mirror contacts the element housing at infinity.
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