Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-01-2015, 05:50 PM   #1
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,852
Considering a Spotmatic; some advice wanted.

At this stage I'm not particularly bothered about what kind of Spotmatic, though it'd be nice if I can find a later model that will play well with my SMC Takumars (i.e. meter wide open with them). However, I've noticed a fair bit said here and there about their requirements for odd and no-longer-available batteries (particularly mercury ones, of odd voltage and size).

I think it's because the open-metering Spotmatic and SMC Tak combination was brought out in the year I was born, and I thought it might be cool to have not just lenses but also a camera that was hatched at the same time I was.

So, Spotmatic experts, what Spotmatic subtypes do YOU have, and what do you do to keep your cameras' meters fat and happy in this mercury-unfriendly era? (I'm in Canada, so strange and unusual batteries that would have to be ordered in from Japan or Europe are a less desirable solution.)

09-01-2015, 06:29 PM   #2
Site Supporter
g026r's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,261
All Spotmatics have a bridging circuit that properly switches the 1.5V modern batteries down to the proper 1.35.

The original Spotmatic, SPII, Electro-Spotmatic, ESII, SP1000, and SP500 take 387S batteries.

The F takes a different one, but I've never owned one so I can't say for certain. (I think possibly the proper battery is LR9, which is a 625 replacement.)
09-01-2015, 06:40 PM   #3
Pentaxian
Bob from Aus's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,080
I recall the battery in my spotmatic going flat during a wedding nearly 40 years ago. I looked at the film box for for a rough guide and nailed all the photos. That was less forgiving colour.

If batteries are an issue, consider a hand held meter, guessing, or taking readings from your digital camera. I'm over film having with 2 cubic meters of slides so my spotmatics are just for show to remind me of having many happy adventures.
09-01-2015, 09:05 PM   #4
Site Supporter
tlong423's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Kansas City
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 181
The first serious camera I worked with was a neighbor's early Spotmatic, which was already kind of an antique by the mid 1970s when I got to play with it. That camera is what caused me to pursue and stick with Pentax all these years. As fond as those memories are, however, I regret having bought a basic Spotmatic -- largely out of nostaligia -- a couple of years ago. I'd forgotten just how wonky they can be to work with, with the stop-down metering and such. In the end, I sold that and later acquired the late-model Spotmatic-F in really nice condition, which I then sent to Eric Hendrickson for a CLA. It came back working like new, and it is a terrific camera with none of that early-model wonkiness.

I would agree with both g026r as well as Bob from Aus -- (A) The camera will meter just fine with conventional 1.5v batteries, and (B) even if you don't have batteries, you get used to working without a meter and just learning how to gauge the light, because (negative) film is pretty forgiving in the end.

09-01-2015, 09:35 PM   #5
Site Supporter
arnold's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Queensland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,197
The "F" will meter open aperture, but the light meter has no off switch, so don't forget to replace the cap which turns the meter off. On the F, later SMC lenses are designed to prevent you selecting manual aperture, thus messing your metering. THe F uses a 625 battery, the others a small LR41 if I remember well. Quite honestly, all the Spotmatics are a joy to use, and the S models preceding those can be even more of a delight because of their quality finish. While a built-in light meter is handy, once you master the sunny 16 rule, it really is not a deal breaker.
09-02-2015, 12:23 AM   #6
Site Supporter
beachgardener's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,939
Interesting thread, will be watching. I have a Takumar SMC 50 f1.4 and will at some stage soon want to obtain a spotmatic f black.
09-02-2015, 01:08 AM   #7
Senior Member




Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 128
All Spotmatics are great! I love my F. It uses modern Batteries without worries and they last forever, as long as you don't forget to put a lens cap on to switch off the light meter when you store the camero (or put it in a dark place or rest it lens down)...
Takumars are great!

Have fun,
Gerd.
09-02-2015, 03:06 AM   #8
Veteran Member
Cuthbert's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2013
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,573
The story of the batteries is becoming silly! Some people avoid to buy Spotmatics, FTbs and Leica M5s because they think they don't work with modern batteries...

I have three Fs, they all work with modern 386s without any problem, even if the metering is always on it takes a long time to drain a battery, plus in the top half of the case there is a little compartment to keep a spare one.

Just buy a SPF with a last generation SMC Takumar (55mm f1.8 or 50mm f1.4 they are both excellent) and be happy.

09-02-2015, 04:55 AM   #9
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,852
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
The story of the batteries is becoming silly!
That it is, but it's perpetuated in some of the reviews here on this site.

QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
Some people avoid to buy Spotmatics, FTbs and Leica M5s because they think they don't work with modern batteries..
I was pretty sure that they do, but I wanted to be sure of which ones and I realised the best people to ask are those who are actually using Spotmatics right now.

QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
On the F, later SMC lenses are designed to prevent you selecting manual aperture, thus messing your metering.
Interesting. What are the implications for non-Takumar lenses that lack the aperture-data arm?
09-02-2015, 07:43 AM   #10
Senior Member
Ontarian50's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 205
Earlier references to a "bridging circuit" in Spotmatics making them impervious to battery voltage errors doesn't ring true with me.
Fact is, mercury batteries were perfect for camera use because they were so darn stable - cranking out exactly 1.35v for year after year - until they finally died. Early metering cameras like the Spotmatic had pretty simple circuits - only a battery, a CDS photo resistor, an adjustment potentiometer, and the galvanometer meter needle movement.
I have re-calibrated many Spotmatics for 1.5v silver oxide batteries. It was easy enough to see it was required. Put in a 1.35v mercury, and you got an accurate reading. Drop in a 1.5v silver oxide (V400 battery in a plastic holder to flip its positive contact to the inside of the battery compartment) and the meter would over-read and fool you into underexposing by about 1.5 stops - yuck! Same story with an Olympus OM-1, a Canon FTb, Minolta SR-T, Nikkormat, take your pick.

Trouble is, adjusting the meter depends on which Spotmatic you have. Some have the adjustment pot hidden underneath the film reminder dial. Others have two pots right beside the eyepiece mounted meter cells. Either way, it takes someone with the tools and knowledge to be able to strip the camera down, and then get the calibration right. I have an old calibrated light source I use for such testing.

Since you haven't bought a Spotmatic yet, perhaps the most important thing to check for is a battery compartment that actually unscrews. There are many, many pretty Spotmatics out there with the battery cap permanently welded onto the bottom plate by a long deceased battery. It didn't help that the coin slot on the brass battery cap was shallow and stripped easily.
09-02-2015, 09:01 AM   #11
Veteran Member
Cuthbert's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2013
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,573
QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
Earlier references to a "bridging circuit" in Spotmatics making them impervious to battery voltage errors doesn't ring true with me.
The fact is that you're completely wrong, physics is not an opinion....and I've taken DOZENS of rolls of film that prove that. NEVER had a single undersexposure, not even with slide film.

Some "underexposed" shots:













The battery used is a Vart PX625A 0% mercury and lead.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Interesting. What are the implications for non-Takumar lenses that lack the aperture-data arm?
Essentially a M42 lens without the aperture blade can be metered just stop down. Just three companies in the M42 era were able to invent a system to meter wide open: Pentax, Fuji and Praktica.

Pentax had the additional blade, Fuji invented an external pin that engaged with a slot in the bodies of high end cameras and the DDR guys used a ingenious electric system with resistances or capacitors that could be read by the body. All these systems are different and the SPF is also incompatible with some M42 lenses like the Soviet Helios.

Last edited by Cuthbert; 09-02-2015 at 09:12 AM.
09-02-2015, 09:08 AM   #12
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Liverpool, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 12,309
QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Interesting. What are the implications for non-Takumar lenses that lack the aperture-data arm?
None. The restrictions on SMC Taks are to prevent damage if manual is selected. Lenses that don't have the open aperture lug won't damage the camera if set to manual.
09-02-2015, 09:29 AM   #13
Pentaxian
titrisol's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: In the most populated state... state of denial
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,094
Be not afraid, they just work!
I just got my dad's old Spottie ... it was like holding an old friend
I thought that camera was lost after my mom's house was burglarized a few years back... but it was still there
09-02-2015, 10:40 AM   #14
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,852
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
a ingenious electric system with resistances or capacitors that could be read by the body.
Clever! The next logical step would be to transmit data (and somehow, power) the other way. "Now, introducing the world's first M42 autofocus lens with program aperture control!" Or "Our new micro 4/3 adapter allows saving your Praktica lens's aperture setting into the EXIF data." Now THAT would be handy!

QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
the SPF is also incompatible with some M42 lenses like the Soviet Helios.
Something to be aware of, if I ever get one of these. What's the issue, and am I better off getting a different mark of Spotmatic?
09-02-2015, 11:09 AM   #15
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Liverpool, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 12,309
QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Something to be aware of, if I ever get one of these. What's the issue, and am I better off getting a different mark of Spotmatic?
There is no issue with any lens that has a standard M42 mount. Some models of Helios 44-3 are non-standard, having a focus ring that extends too far back. Mamiya SX lenses have issues too, and late Fujica IIRC. Anything that has extra bits for open aperture metering...
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
batteries, smc, spotmatic
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question Selling to a buyer who lists a wanted item in the Wanted Items forum fwcetus Site Suggestions and Help 11 08-22-2015 08:10 PM
Advice Wanted about Multipliers digitalbarn Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 8 04-17-2015 04:39 AM
Some advice about buying a K01? jjjfff Pentax K-01 39 04-03-2014 07:58 AM
Upgrade advice wanted Kathleenb Pentax DSLR Discussion 14 03-27-2014 09:53 AM
I always wanted a Pentax spotmatic focal yokel Welcomes and Introductions 3 08-05-2012 02:41 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:56 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top