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06-15-2008, 04:56 AM   #1
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I Stole A Spotmatic ESII

Just as I had the front door swung open and was putting my shoes on to set off to take some photos today, the delivery guy came by and handed me a package containing an ESII and attached SMC Takumar 50/1.4. This came as quite a surprise to me since I didn't expect delivery on a Sunday.....and even more because the bank transfer to actually pay the winning bid to the seller won't even take place until tomorrow. Yes, boys and girls, the guy shipped the goods prior to receiving payment. Second time that's happened to me here.

I say I "stole" it because I got a 1973 Spotmatic ESII in about 95+% cosmetic condition and apparently 100% in mechanical condition, a 50/1.4 lens free of yellowing, mold, dust, mechanical problems, and even the camera's four LR44 batteries thrown in....all for the equivalent of about FIFTY BUCKS!

It seems to over-expose by about 1 stop, probably due to a difference between the original specified batteries and today's LR44s, but that is easily fixable in post-processing and preventable by adjusting the ISO setting on the camera.

I took it along with me to visit a local temple I had never been to before:













Photo #1 SMC Takumar 50/1.4
All Others S-M-C Takumar 105/2.8


06-15-2008, 06:20 AM   #2
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Sweet Deal, and it looks like a wonderful camera Mike

I just got one of those 50mm lenses, and can assure you that you'll love it.
06-15-2008, 06:27 AM   #3
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wow great pic, is it japanese custom to hang those doll on the them? (see #4)
06-15-2008, 06:53 AM   #4
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#4 is sort of a special case. It is in a section of the temple set aside for "water children" (literal translation), which refers primarily to aborted children and stillborn babies. People place toys or other baby items at the temple for the children who never were. A young couple came up to that area while I was shooting and I quietly moved away to another area. That's one place I don't care to be while people are doing their devotionals.

06-15-2008, 07:08 AM   #5
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Congrats! Great deal and great shots. I own a ES II with the SMC Takumar 50/1,4 myself, so I know what the combo are capable to do.
06-16-2008, 03:05 AM   #6
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Great catch on the ESII Mike! Combined with the 50mm f1.4 Takumar lens it would be a real winner. Hopefully it won't gobble up those 4 batteries too quickly. In my Pentax book it sows that the ESII with that lens sold for $420 in 1974/75. According to the cost of living calculator that is roughly equivalent to $1760 in 2007. You're right, fifty bucks is a steal!
06-16-2008, 05:26 AM   #7
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The auction didn't state if the meter circuitry was functional or not so I just took a chance on that. I figured that if either the camera or the lens was in good condition then I would have gotten my money's worth.

I tried "calibrating" the meter today by using Sunny 16. With ISO200 film (my trusty Centuria) inside I set the aperture to f16, pointed to a nice bright sunshiny area and nudged the ISO up 1/3 to get the meter showing somewhere around 1/200. Should be close enough for color negative work.

Fortunately, the ESII seems to not share the common Spotmatic feature of the meter always being on when the lens cap is off. So I'm hoping that will improve battery life a bit. I suppose I lose it back on the electronically controlled shutter, though. At any rate, LR44 batteries are not expensive. I'll probably try some SR44 in there for improved battery life if it looks like it will be an issue.

Anybody who has ever owned one of these older Pentax models can't help but love that special sound they make when shooting. A bit noisy, perhaps, but there is something so satisfying about it.
06-16-2008, 05:51 AM   #8
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Hi Mike, I very much enjoyed your account and the day's pics.
Friday I took delivery of a Spotmatic II in similar condition to what you describe your ES. The lenses were two CZ Jena Tessars 50mm 2.8s and a Vivitar 28 2.8 plus some other stuff. Like you I figured something in the bunch would be worth the money I paid for it on Ebay. After some work i got the cludgy focus on the tessars to work (1 had a sticky aperture) but the Vivitar was fine. But the pick of the lot was the Spottie - just fantastic - and like you say the sound of the shutter is beautiful as is the view in the VF.
The spottie fills the vacant spot left by the reluctant sale of my dads Spotmatic a few years ago. This one is in far better condition. Now I have the H2, Spottie, K1000 and P30T. More to come...

06-16-2008, 12:25 PM   #9
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ESII Meter

QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
...

Fortunately, the ESII seems to not share the common Spotmatic feature of the meter always being on when the lens cap is off. So I'm hoping that will improve battery life a bit. I suppose I lose it back on the electronically controlled shutter, though. At any rate, LR44 batteries are not expensive. I'll probably try some SR44 in there for improved battery life if it looks like it will be an issue.

...
Only the Spotmatic F had the meter always on. The original Spotmatic (I've got two) only draws battery current when the meter switch on the side of the lens mount is pushed up. On the SP-F, this is merely a DOF preview switch. I believe that the Spotmatic II and the SP-1000 and SP-500 also turn the meter off when the switch is down.

I also have an ES-II, but, frankly, I haven't used it enough to remember how its meter reacts. I agree that its a nice camera. I got mine for $17 with no lens. THe seller on eBay labelled it for parts or repair, simply because he didn't know enough to say it worked. In truth, it worked fine.
06-16-2008, 01:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for that correction regarding the meter and battery drain.

I also took the opportunity to test out the camera with my old extension tubes manufactured for the S3. I'm no good at flower shots but we had some roses blooming in the neighborhood so they seemed the most likely candidates. These are from the Super Takumar 200/4 on 57mm of tubes and I believe I had the aperture wide open:





06-17-2008, 09:08 AM   #11
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Mike, As always, great shots. Love the film grain and congrats on the new toy.
I like the second and third. especially the third. That sepia look works well...
09-08-2008, 05:35 AM   #12
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I decided to follow suit, mine should arrive this week, funny enough the auction ended up at precisely my max bid A dealer seems to have made the last bid.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all is well with this camera. I need it since my daughter nationalized my SP1000. Maybe we'll swap cameras at some point...

I'm going over the edge: I dreamt of the ESII last night, it was disapointing as the meter buzzed as it set exposure, I was wondering how sharp the pics would be with all the vibrations
09-08-2008, 05:42 AM   #13
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It is so cool on tripod shots to move the shutter dial and watch the viewfinder blinds swing into place.

And to afterwards feel like an idiot when you put your eye to the blacked-out viewfinder and realize you forgot to re-open them.
09-08-2008, 05:58 AM   #14
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Heyyyy... I got an ESII for about the same amount (in Philippine pesos) too!!! It had an SMC Tak 50mm F1.4 as well but the unique thing was that the engraved ESII was colored red. The SMC Takumar on the lens was also red. Never seen one like this before.

I think the meter turns on only when it's set on automatic and you half press the shutter. I usually set the shutter speed to flash sync X when I am not using it. I think that opens the circuit.

Happy shooting!
09-08-2008, 08:04 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
It is so cool on tripod shots to move the shutter dial and watch the viewfinder blinds swing into place.

And to afterwards feel like an idiot when you put your eye to the blacked-out viewfinder and realize you forgot to re-open them.

I saw that in the manual, wouldn't have understood without your comment! That's very thoughtful indeed. Will come in handy with those pinholes ...
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