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06-19-2008, 09:44 PM   #1
greyhound
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Help me get my Spotmatic to work

New guy here. And I need your help. Just found this website while trying to get my new-to-me Spotmatic to work.

I just got a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic. Yes the camera is old, but I would like to use it. But I need some advice. The Spotmatic used to be owned by the late husband of one of my neighbors. She gave me the camera and a couple of lenses and I told her I do my best to make good use of the camera. Here's the problem - either the light meter is not working or I don't know how to make it work. I bought and installed a new battery, I turn the on the switch on next to where the lens screws on to activate the light meter, but the needle in the viewfinder never moves. I read the Pentax Spotmatic instruction manual, user guide but still no luck getting the needle for the light meter to move. Any suggestions? I really like to make this camera work. I hope someone here can help. I hope the light meter is not dead.
Thanks,
Greyhound

06-19-2008, 09:46 PM   #2
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I believe that the Spotmatic will meter only after you turn the switch on and pull the thumb winder off the camera body to the first detent (doesn't wind film, but activates the meter).
06-19-2008, 10:06 PM   #3
greyhound
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I believe that the Spotmatic will meter only after you turn the switch on and pull the thumb winder off the camera body to the first detent (doesn't wind film, but activates the meter).
Wow that was a fast reply. Unfortunately after trying your advice, still no luck getting the light meter needle to move. Any more ideas? I'll try anything. Well, almost anything.
06-19-2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyhound Quote
Wow that was a fast reply. Unfortunately after trying your advice, still no luck getting the light meter needle to move. Any more ideas? I'll try anything. Well, almost anything.
Have you cleaned all the contacts in the battery chamber? Have you cleaned the battery? Those button cells don't like finger oils on them at all. Use a pencil (not pen) eraser, a microfiber cloth and a drop of rubbing alcohol. If that doesn't work, do a search on "Sunny 16 exposure" and just use that. I find with my M lenses on the K10D that works as well as trying to meter at the few f/stops that meter correctly.

06-19-2008, 10:42 PM   #5
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Did you test the battery to make sure it was good?

How to check it

1. Set the shutter speed dial to B (bulb) position.

2. Turn the ASA dial to ASA 100.

3. Push the meter switch to "on" position.

Look at the meters needle through the viewfinder. If the needle rapidly drops, the meter battery has sufficient capacity; if it does not, replace the mercury battery.


This of course presumes the meter switch is working.
Finally what type of battery did you use?

CW
06-19-2008, 11:17 PM   #6
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Hi there,
The Spotmatic was my first SLR and I still have 4 cameras from that ear still working. There has been times I have taken a Spotmatic system with me or trips over my later Pentax systems. There is something about a Spotmatic1

The battery may have been installed upside down. What battery did you buy? the original battery had the button facing down but the later batteries require the button facing up and require an insulator between the battery cover and the battery.

Which lenses were supplied? During that era, there were few dogs. Several of which, I like to use with my later cameras - incluuding the K10D.

Cheers,
Bob
06-19-2008, 11:26 PM   #7
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At the very least you'll need a new battery. The old mercury ones aren't available - but there are replacements. Check out this very useful thread on Flickr:
Flickr: Discussing replacement battery in Spotmatic for the People
Mine is terminally ill, so I just bought an old Weston Master light meter on fleabay for about 25 bucks.
06-20-2008, 04:16 AM   #8
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My spotmatics both have faulty meters after over 35 yerars of use. I just use a hand meter.

Dave

06-20-2008, 04:36 AM   #9
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if the battery suggestions don't work and you really want this camera in proper working order then I suggest contacting the one and only Eric Hendrickson. He comes highly recommended by allot of people here and will without a doubt get your light meter working, his prices are more than fair and offers a free estimate.

Pentax Camera Service
06-20-2008, 08:50 AM   #10
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The stop-down switch turns on the meter. If it doesn't work Eric can fix it.
IIRC he can fit a still-available K1000 meter movement if necessary.

Chris
06-20-2008, 09:11 AM   #11
greyhound
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Thanks for all the suggestions. You guys are great.

So here's what I know so far. I did replace the battery. I ordered a 400N and the package says 400N, but the battery itself say 394. The 394 has a little plastic thing on the side that makes it the same size as the old 400N I took out of the camera. I used a voltmeter to check the batteries the old 400N is dead and the 394 does read 1.5 volts. Both batteries go in with the positive side facing the camera body. I tried cleaning the battery terminals, but still not luck.

I've tried pointing the camera at bright lights and in the dark, I've turned on the switch on zillion times, but the needle in the viewfinder never moves at all, not even the width of a nat's a$$. Pardon my French. It's like the needle is frozen. The only thing I haven't tried is putting the battery in backwords. Should I try putting the battery in backwords?

If I can't get the meter to work, I guees I'll have to use the "Sunny 16 exposure" method or get a hand meter. I doubt I'll send the camera to get fixed.


bobrapp asked what lenses I have. I've got a SMC Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5 and a SMC Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5
06-20-2008, 09:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyhound Quote
If I can't get the meter to work, I guees I'll have to use the "Sunny 16 exposure" method or get a hand meter. I doubt I'll send the camera to get fixed.
One more time. Send the camera to Eric Hendrickson. Based on your source of the camera, I doubt if it has ever been CLA'd (clean lube adjust). The light seals are probably dried out, and the mirror bumper is a gooey mess. But maybe not. While Eric is doing the CLA he will fix the light meter and anything else he might find, and you will have a camera in like new condition. With your 35mm and 135mm all you need is a nice 50 or 55mm and you've got a really nice outfit.

My Spotmatic which I purchased new in 1970 had the meter go out and I got all of the above service from Eric recently. Couldn't be more pleased.

Bill
06-20-2008, 10:37 AM   #13
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you can send it to him and he will give you an estimate on the cost. if you don't want to pay that much he will send it back free of charge, as previously stated it will probably be worth it to have light seals, mirror foam, etc replaced and have the light meter recalibrated to factory specs after repair. though if you don't want to pay anything you can just buy an old hand held light meter. it really comes down to how much do you want to use this camera? if it is serviced you will likely have 10-20 years of faithful worry free service from it if thats appealing in any way. you could probably sell one of those lenses and it would likely pay for most if not all of the costs or the CLA.


from erics website:

'If the unit is not repairable or if you refused the estimate I will return it at no cost to you. My estimates are free.

I do not charge a lot for repairs. For example, a Pentax Spotmatic, my charge is 68.00 dollars. This includes shipping and minor parts like light seals, counter cap, leatherettes, springs, etc.'
06-20-2008, 11:17 AM   #14
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Greyhound, I don't know how familiar you are with Pentax products in general and the Spotmatic in particular but séamuis and wlank are right. At least send it to be CLA'd because these are great cameras. Even if you don't allow Eric to fix the meter, get new light seals, mirror bumper and have it adjusted. Believe me, as soon as I get back from my trip next month, my Spottie II is going to him for some of the same TLC.

To answer your question, of course try the battery the other way. It's not going to hurt anything. The battery I have in my Spotmatic has the button toward the top of the camera and the white spacer ring to the bottom.

CW
06-20-2008, 02:15 PM   #15
greyhound
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Thanks for all the help and advice. I'll play around with the Spotmatic this weekend and shoot a roll of film, then I'll decide what to do next.
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