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04-27-2015, 05:17 PM   #46
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Meanwhile, back on topic, I bought my Spotmatic F, complete with SMC Takumar 50/1.4 for $210AU in 1974. Using inflation rate data, that works out at $1,854AU today. Given the price of the K-3 with a FA50/1.4 now would be $1,444AU (CRK eBay separate prices) that means real prices for the hardware have fallen by 22% over the 40 years. Of course, judging just what is a like for like comparison is arguable to say the least, as standard prime lenses have been overtaken by zooms in basic bundling, and the capability of the K-3 for automation is so much greater than that of the Spotmatic F, even without digital processing.

04-28-2015, 12:14 AM   #47
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The Spottie is a better built camera, we'll see what remains of the K-3 in within 40 years.
04-28-2015, 05:03 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
The Spottie is a better built camera, we'll see what remains of the K-3 in within 40 years.
The electronics of the K-3 will be the limitation over time. The body of the K-3 is superior to that of the Spotmatics, from a number of viewpoints, but it will be possible to use the Spotmatics in another 40 years, provided someone is still making 35mm film, whereas the K-3 will be a museum object or stripped for its material content.
04-28-2015, 05:30 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
The electronics of the K-3 will be the limitation over time. The body of the K-3 is superior to that of the Spotmatics, from a number of viewpoints, but it will be possible to use the Spotmatics in another 40 years, provided someone is still making 35mm film, whereas the K-3 will be a museum object or stripped for its material content.
Mmm, I checked out some 1st generation Eos-1s in a shop few days ago and I remained surprised to see how these cameras from the late 80s have aged...badly.

And they were the top professional models of the time.

04-28-2015, 05:54 AM   #50
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Like all mechanical cameras built from pressed and machined metal, most of the Spotmatics will be repairable into the future, but they are subject to damage from forces the K-3 will absorb with less damage. However, a digital camera is far more complex than even the most sophisticated mechanical camera, and so a small failure of an irreparable element will make it useless. Simpler is not the same as better built.
04-28-2015, 07:21 AM   #51
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"Spotmatics will be repairable into the future, but they are subject to damage from forces the K-3 will absorb with less damage." Been a test engineer for over a few decades now and even the most casual evaluation of this statement makes me wonder.


"Simpler is not the same as better built." but neither is more complex to be construed as better built either.
04-28-2015, 07:36 AM   #52
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My Spotmatic had it's shutter fail after about 10 years.... I had a new shutter put in it for $150 which was darn near the cost of an SV. It lasted a year and a half. The technician when I brought it back, said. "we can put a new shutter in it, but the grooves the shutter runs in are worn, and those aren't replaceable, so each shutter you put in it will wear out quicker than the last, and this one only lasted you 1.5 years."

So ya, you can repair it. But why would you?
04-28-2015, 07:38 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
"Simpler is not the same as better built." but neither is more complex to be construed as better built either.
Case in point the German Panther tank vs the Soviet T-34.

04-28-2015, 08:02 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Case in point the German Panther tank vs the Soviet T-34.
I was thinking of the Kodak Ektra. As I understand it was the best - was very complex making it very expensive to make ($700 in 1948), but supposedly had the most unreliable shutter.
04-28-2015, 08:31 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
However, a digital camera is far more complex than even the most sophisticated mechanical camera, and so a small failure of an irreparable element will make it useless. Simpler is not the same as better built.
I had to chew on this a little. To be honest, if I had the skill for either, I would rather repair a K-3 than a Contax or Kiev rangefinder camera. The Contax/Kiev* is incredibly complex and lacks the modularity of the K-3. OTOH, except for the shutter ribbons, the Zeiss design has proven to be pretty robust despite its complexity.

As for simple vs. well-built...that is another strange one, even if the statement is a open-ended and always evaluates to true. Well-built is not always the same as robust and simple may or may not be an predictor of future failure. Norm's example of the non-repairable Spotmatic is a good example. I look at my camera shelf and see both my Pentax SV and FED-2. The SV is relatively simple, well-designed, and well-implemented. The FED is even more simple, fairly well-designed (Barnack Leica heritage), and not so well-implemented. It is pretty rough, though not as bad as later model FEDs. I treat both cameras the same in use and expect similar potential for failure. I am also very fond of both cameras.

BTW...I have been curious as to what my FED and Kiev may have cost new back in the early '60s when they were made. While Soviet cameras were exported to western Europe, they were generally unavailable in the U.S..


Steve

* Kiev rangefinder cameras have a direct design ancestry to pre-WWII Contax to the point where many parts are interchangeable.
04-28-2015, 10:24 AM - 1 Like   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Case in point the German Panther tank vs the Soviet T-34.
Everybody, even the Germans considered the Panther a disaster and the T34 a much better tank, just ask Heinz Guderian, father of the Panther, who initially wanted to reverse engineer the Soviet tank.

Anyway, I assume here nobody is a fan of Colin Chapman, he was the guy who said "make it simpler".

QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
I was thinking of the Kodak Ektra. As I understand it was the best - was very complex making it very expensive to make ($700 in 1948), but supposedly had the most unreliable shutter.
In mechanical engineer the simpler the better, and all quality procedures like Kaizen and poka yoke are based on this concept: that's the way the Japanese conquered the World in the 70s, their drawings had just three or four dimensions with tolerances because they designed the system in a way the tolerance in a broad range were ininfluent.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
BTW...I have been curious as to what my FED and Kiev may have cost new back in the early '60s when they were made. While Soviet cameras were exported to western Europe, they were generally unavailable in the U.S..

Steve

* Kiev rangefinder cameras have a direct design ancestry to pre-WWII Contax to the point where many parts are interchangeable.
For the Kievs, the very first were built with the same quality as the Contax and then their quality started to fall down in the late 60s, they were expensive cameras in USSR, while FEDs and Zorkis were considerably cheaper.

Talking about overcomplicated (therefore bad quality) Soviet cameras a special mention for the infamous Almaz 103 and Kiev 18, the only "professional" cameras that the Soviet Union tried to produce, the scary prototype rangefinder "Kometa" that on paper would have made the Leica M3 obsolete (a pity it was made just on two samples because it would have been too expensive for anybody to buy) and finally the fastest lens ever, the Rekord 0.9 (yes 0.95 faster than the Canon) made in FED in smaller quantity just to prove the Soviet had the tecnology to built fast lenses.

Also the Leningrad had many interesting concepts but it was too complicated and badly executed:

My tech went crazy repairing the Almaz, it's an incredibly complex camera inside, but from outside is pretty well finished, almost like a high range Pentax.

Last edited by Cuthbert; 04-28-2015 at 10:37 AM.
04-28-2015, 02:24 PM   #57
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Well, that exchange created a little flurry of interest, but I think the original point was submerged in the subsequent discussion, and maybe needs teasing out further. Spotmatics were well-built, reliable and repairable, obviously with economical and practical limitations. The K-3, I think, is better built, as far as the body and mechanical components are concerned, although it isn't invulnerable to damage. You could possibly argue that its vertical shutter is potentially more fragile than the horizontal blinds in the Spotmatics. However, the ultimate problem with the K-3, in terms of longevity and repairability lies with the electronics. If you're so minded, you can readily remake mechanical components. You can probably still replace the individual component electronics in an ES, but the integrated circuits in modern cameras, including the sensor, are another matter entirely. Having said all that, I still expect my original *istD to be going a long time after I stop.
04-28-2015, 02:39 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
Spotmatics were well-built, reliable and repairable, obviously with economical and practical limitations.
Which, of course, is why some of us still mess around with 'S' and 'K' bodies and Takumar and K-series lenses.

The tactile experience is quite sublime.
04-28-2015, 03:07 PM   #59
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From a test engineer perspective with no inside information . . .
"obviously with economical and practical limitations" - Obviously applies to anything.
"The K-3, I think, is better built," - This is a good observation at this point in time unless of course you have data to prove it is so - specs, drawings, design criteria, testing and results, etc.
"although it isn't invulnerable to damage." - I conduct many destructive electronic testing that I am quite certain would instantly render worthless a K-3 but would not at all affect a Spotmatic.
"However, the ultimate problem with the K-3, in terms of longevity and repairability lies with the electronics." - Along with all the other moving mechanical parts too. Longevity will be assessed with time unless accelerated aging testing were conducted.
04-28-2015, 03:23 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Which, of course, is why some of us still mess around with 'S' and 'K' bodies and Takumar and K-series lenses.

The tactile experience is quite sublime.
Indeed. I've an old Zeiss Contina that a friend with more time and direct repair experience is currently fixing for me.

QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
From a test engineer perspective with no inside information . . .
"obviously with economical and practical limitations" - Obviously applies to anything.
"The K-3, I think, is better built," - This is a good observation at this point in time unless of course you have data to prove it is so - specs, drawings, design criteria, testing and results, etc.
"although it isn't invulnerable to damage." - I conduct many destructive electronic testing that I am quite certain would instantly render worthless a K-3 but would not at all affect a Spotmatic.
"However, the ultimate problem with the K-3, in terms of longevity and repairability lies with the electronics." - Along with all the other moving mechanical parts too. Longevity will be assessed with time unless accelerated aging testing were conducted.
OK. I'm a design engineer with no inside information, either, so that makes us about even, in that regard.

You quite rightly note that I was expressing an opinion, based on using both over many years, and considering the basics of construction in both cases.

If I read your last two statements together, I think we're in agreement.
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