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06-14-2014, 08:46 PM   #1
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Spotmatic F mirror staying in "up" position

I had a barn sale find yesterday. They had a box of older cameras and one of the cameras was a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic F (s/n 4668834), full of dirt, but with SMC Takumar 1:1.8/55 lens (s/n 6566345) Though the camera appears to be broken, and I didn't want to spend any money on more cameras (with 4 Pentax bodies, 1 Sears body that uses K mount, two Canon, three Minolta and one Praktica MF bodies), I couldn't resist the temptation to spend this Lincoln on it for two reasons.

First, it was something I really wanted as a small child. When I had nothing else to do, I would walk about a mile to Pointe Camera Shop (TUxedo 5-7418 - long defunct) to but a roll of 126, look at better cameras, and take brochures. I started saving birthday money and a little money I would get for things like moving dirt of tables, hoping to buy a Spotmatic II. I had saved about $60, when I went to Pointe and found that the Spotmatic II had been replaced by the Spotmatic F - costing $100 more. The price of an SLR was going up faster than I could save for it.

Second, as I have Pentax K mount bodies, and have a screwmount adapter I bought when I bought my first ZX-7, I will, after 40 years, finally be able to shoot through classic SMC-Takumar glass (too bad there is no Kodachrome anymore).

Fortunately, there was a skylight filter over the lens - so the lens is ABSOLUTELY PRISTINE.

The body appears to be broken. Specifically, the mirror stays in the "up" position, so that (usually) nothing appears in the finder. The mirror is not stuck to the shock bumper, as with the mirror up, I can easily pull the mirror into viewing position, but the mirror defaults to the up position with spring action. Oddly, in hundreds of clicks, there were three times that the mirror finished correctly in the down position, and I was able to focus through the finder - but each time the following click ended with the mirror stuck in "up". I looked all other the body for a mirror lock switch, but could not find one (this forum's guide to the SP F says there isn't any).

The shutter works at every speed, including 1 second, but seems just a little sluggish. The hot shoe works for X sync, but the FP sync contact is a short (as a finger of mine found out the hard way when I stuck an AG1B info a BC flash - ouch!)

Theoretically, I still can take a picture with this camera - only I have to blindly aim the camera in the general direction of the subject and hope it is covered

So is there any "trick" to getting the mirror to work properly with this body? Should I try to repair it somehow? (I have nothing to lose).

06-14-2014, 09:16 PM - 1 Like   #2
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There isn't a mirror lock-up function on the F. Could be a broken return spring, gooey hinge lubrication, or sticky damper pads.

That Tak 55/1.8 was worth the price, though!
06-14-2014, 09:47 PM   #3
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In case you want to know the price of such a setup 'back in the day', I still have my original box with price tag attached (and, of course, the contents of said box). Adjusted for inflation, that's the equivalent of $1,452.07 in 2014 dollars. Things really don't change much!
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Last edited by OregonJim; 06-14-2014 at 10:21 PM.
06-15-2014, 08:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by 313 TUxedo Quote
So is there any "trick" to getting the mirror to work properly with this body? Should I try to repair it somehow? (I have nothing to lose).
Welcome to the Pentax Forum!

Sounds like your SP F needs a CLA, Eric is your man and he will get it working again like new. The seals and mirror foam will need replacing.

Here is Eric's webiste:

Pentax Camera Service

Phil.

06-15-2014, 11:55 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 313 TUxedo Quote
I had a barn sale find yesterday. They had a box of older cameras and one of the cameras was a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic F (s/n 4668834), full of dirt, but with SMC Takumar 1:1.8/55 lens (s/n 6566345) Though the camera appears to be broken, and I didn't want to spend any money on more cameras (with 4 Pentax bodies, 1 Sears body that uses K mount, two Canon, three Minolta and one Praktica MF bodies), I couldn't resist the temptation to spend this Lincoln on it for two reasons.

First, it was something I really wanted as a small child. When I had nothing else to do, I would walk about a mile to Pointe Camera Shop (TUxedo 5-7418 - long defunct) to but a roll of 126, look at better cameras, and take brochures. I started saving birthday money and a little money I would get for things like moving dirt of tables, hoping to buy a Spotmatic II. I had saved about $60, when I went to Pointe and found that the Spotmatic II had been replaced by the Spotmatic F - costing $100 more. The price of an SLR was going up faster than I could save for it.

Second, as I have Pentax K mount bodies, and have a screwmount adapter I bought when I bought my first ZX-7, I will, after 40 years, finally be able to shoot through classic SMC-Takumar glass (too bad there is no Kodachrome anymore).

Fortunately, there was a skylight filter over the lens - so the lens is ABSOLUTELY PRISTINE.

The body appears to be broken. Specifically, the mirror stays in the "up" position, so that (usually) nothing appears in the finder. The mirror is not stuck to the shock bumper, as with the mirror up, I can easily pull the mirror into viewing position, but the mirror defaults to the up position with spring action. Oddly, in hundreds of clicks, there were three times that the mirror finished correctly in the down position, and I was able to focus through the finder - but each time the following click ended with the mirror stuck in "up". I looked all other the body for a mirror lock switch, but could not find one (this forum's guide to the SP F says there isn't any).

The shutter works at every speed, including 1 second, but seems just a little sluggish. The hot shoe works for X sync, but the FP sync contact is a short (as a finger of mine found out the hard way when I stuck an AG1B info a BC flash - ouch!)

Theoretically, I still can take a picture with this camera - only I have to blindly aim the camera in the general direction of the subject and hope it is covered

So is there any "trick" to getting the mirror to work properly with this body? Should I try to repair it somehow? (I have nothing to lose).
I agree - a CLA by Eric is in order. The mirror should be tripped to drop back down by the closing curtain reaching the fully-closed position. Dried lubricants, spring adjustment, and curtain brake action can make this inconsistent. It will be like new at very reasonable cost when Erik returns it.
06-15-2014, 12:54 PM   #6
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The flashbulb going off when inserted indicates flash contacts are still closed.
They should be released after shutter has closed.
Part of the mechanism is stuck, not allowing mirror to return.

If you like the camera and want to use it suggest you send it to Eric.

Chris
06-16-2014, 08:13 PM   #7
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Sincere thanks to everyone who helped me here!

Yesterday, I was playing with the shutter in hot weather, and a trend started in which the mirror did correctly come down after the shutter was tripped, once as often as five times in a row, but not every time. Sadly, today, indoors, the mirror sticks up every time.

@ TomB_tx and ChrisPlatt: I do believe you have solved the mystery. It all makes so much sense. The closing action of my shutter does not have the convincing "snap" of the shutter in my K1000s, so it is not making a "good close". It also makes sense as to why the mirror would try to work when the camera was warm - the heat would temporarily reduce the viscosity of the lube and the shutter would firmly close (I also most note here that the camera had some pretty dirty storage). I also imagine the shutter spring may have been weakened if stored in harsh conditions with the shutter charged (wound and ready to shoot). (Should I store my K1000s, ME Super and Sears KS500 with the shutter charged or uncharged?)

@OregonJim: Seems you got a deal back then. That sticker price was a lot lower than the price shown in the Pentax brochures of the day.

As for getting a CLA: Eric's price is very reasonable, but I'm pretty poor right now, but I'm sure glad to know someone appreciates these fine machines. My K-mount Pentax bodies are my regular users. I have several lenses for them, while I have precisely two M42 mount lenses: The 55mm SMC Takumar and a normal-length Meyer Domiplan 2.8. Maybe I'll get the CLA if I come into money, or give the body to someone who would fix it and getting going again, even if not for me.
06-16-2014, 10:30 PM   #8
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Have a look here.

---------- Post added 17-06-14 at 15:31 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by 313 TUxedo Quote
So is there any "trick" to getting the mirror to work properly with this body? Should I try to repair it somehow? (I have nothing to lose).
I just posted a response above this. Works a charm.

06-20-2014, 07:03 PM   #9
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Thanks again

Did the lube around that gear and escape, and it restored reliable operation from 1/1000 to 1/15 seconds and B, with the mirror return sporadic at 1/8 and slower (progressively less reliable with slower speeds). Not knowing where to get ballistol here, I used WD-40 (hope it won't do any harm). My guess is that the slower speeds are less reliable because the gear retarder wastes energy that could have overcome the friction in the mirror release. When the cycle does not finish, not only is the mirror stuck in "up", but the aperture remains stopped-down and the flash contacts remain in short.

Did find two other problems: Somehow the "-" battery contact is completely missing from its connection. My guess is that corrosive from a battery under a previous owner destroyed the contact. This could be fixable with some very fine soldering work, or the easy way out - pretend I'm using an H3v instead

The finder is sometimes blacked out at the bottom, because a little (about 4mmX40mm) strip of black silk-like fabric over the mirror hinge can come loose (I'm tempted to just glue it to mirror). The felt cushion at the top of the mirror swing is completely gone. My understanding is that it reduces camera shake, Just how important is it?

One more question - just what should I expect from the 55/1.8 SMC Tak (s/n 6566345) versus my 50/1.7 SMC Pentax (s/n 3481774)?
11-14-2014, 02:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
Déblocage miroir Pentax Spotmatic f - YouTube
Have a look here.

---------- Post added 17-06-14 at 15:31 ----------



I just posted a response above this. Works a charm.
I also had a problem with a K1000 which almost always left the mirror in the up position during an exposure. I got the camera cheap and was prepared to keep the lens and dump the body. After I saw this video I thought I'd see if the fix would work for me. I easily removed the bottom plate and saw the mechanics were very similar to the Spotmatic's in the video. I squirted a little silicone lubricant into a cup and used a toothpick to drip some lubricant into every crevice in the arm movement. low and behold it worked.

Last edited by psoo; 11-14-2014 at 02:24 PM. Reason: spelling
11-14-2014, 05:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by 313 TUxedo Quote

One more question - just what should I expect from the 55/1.8 SMC Tak (s/n 6566345) versus my 50/1.7 SMC Pentax (s/n 3481774)?
IMO the Tak or K 55mm f1.8 is a much better lens, mine on a Spottie F is unbelievably sharp and luminous wide open.
11-14-2014, 06:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
IMO the Tak or K 55mm f1.8 is a much better lens, mine on a Spottie F is unbelievably sharp and luminous wide open.
From the sounds of it, you have a flawed 1.7. There should normally be no perceivable difference from the 1.8. Have you checked for delamination on the 1.7?
11-15-2014, 10:08 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
There should normally be no perceivable difference from the 1.8.
I perceive a difference in mine as well, with a slight edge going to the 55/1.8 versions.


Steve
11-15-2014, 05:17 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
From the sounds of it, you have a flawed 1.7. There should normally be no perceivable difference from the 1.8. Have you checked for delamination on the 1.7?
Perhaps you missed that the 55mm f1.8 and the 50mm f1.7 are two completely different designs and completely different calculations, it's not about speed (actually the 55mm 2.0 IS the same lens as the 1.8 with a different diaphragm), it's about optical elements.
While the so called K lenses are old Takumars in a different package the Ms were different lenses recalculated to be smaller and lighter.
11-15-2014, 05:56 PM   #15
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The SMC Tak 1.8 is lovely. If I know I'm going out for the day and it'll be worth photographing, SPF and Tak 1.8 are my companion. Killer portrait capability too.



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