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09-21-2015, 10:39 AM   #1
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Just ordered a Spotmatic F on ebay!!!

I'm excited!! Hi everybody!!

This is my first post, so I'll introduce myself. I started shooting with a digital SLR a handful of years ago and absolutely fell in love. I own a Nikon D3000 body and D7000 body and have shot a few tens of thousands of frames with them. I shoot a lot of nature, macro, landscape, and some night sky shots. But I wanted to get back to basics with my photography, and so started investigating shooting film. I recently purchased a Nikon F100 film body on craigslist and have shot a couple rolls through it. I love the way I think about making my images when shooting film, and am now in love with analog photography!

I recently picked up a Mamiya Sekor DTL 500 body with M42 screw mount and a few lenses at a yard sale for $15! and just finished shooting a roll of black and white. And boy is the viewfinder dim and hard to use on the Mamiya!!! Still need to get that roll developed and scanned, but I immediately was left yearning for something with a better viewfinder, but a similar style. That's when I found the Spotmatic F, did some research, and decided I would give it a try.

Found a (supposedly) working and excellent condition body with functional meter on eBay and just placed my order!!

Since my main complaint about the Mamiya was the viewfinder, I'm wondering if anyone has experience with the Mamiya DTL 500 viewfinder compared to Spotmatic F? My Mamiya was dark, dusty, yellow, and just generally hard to use and VERY frustrating to focus with. I've read that the Spotmatic viewfinders are bright and pleasurable to use. Can anyone confirm?

This looks like an awesome community, and I'm excited to have a walk-on-part in it

09-21-2015, 11:12 AM   #2
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Given the age of a Spotmatic F, it would probably do well with a trip to Eric Hendrickson for a CLA.

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09-21-2015, 11:17 AM   #3
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Howdy, welcome to the neighborhood. I hope you stick around awhile.

I have no experience with the Mamiya of yours. Regardless, I believe you will like the Spotty-F viewfinder, and the fact that it can 'open aperture meter' with 'Super-Multi-Coated' and 'SMC' labled Takumar lenses.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/camerareviews/pentax-spotmatic-f.html

Last edited by Moe49; 09-21-2015 at 11:29 AM.
09-21-2015, 11:17 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forums! The viewfinder of the Spotmatic won't be dark, but as Ben said, you might find that the light seals aren't quite as new after all these years.

It's a beautiful camera no matter what, though

09-21-2015, 11:31 AM   #5
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Congratulations! The SPF is my favourite "simple" camera, I've taken many pics with it and with a SMC Tak 55mm f1.8 or a 50mm f1.4 it will you satisfactions....you can pictures like this one for instance:

09-21-2015, 11:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies!!

I will definitely assess the condition when it arrives, and will consider sending it off Eric for CLA. Great recommendation!

The Mamiya DTL 500 is a fun little brick of a camera. My copy has clearly taken a beating, with dents in a couple places on the top plate, and one of the lenses had a dent on the front rim that I was able to repair well enough for filters to mount again. But the viewfinder is ludicrously dark, to the point where I had to check that the lenscap was not on at one point when testing the step-down metering indoors. I was tempted to try and clean the focusing screen and/or prism, but after reading a bit it sounds like these Mamiyas are a nightmare to service partly due to a complex chain linkage between the meter and shutter speed control.

I'm really hoping my Spotmatic F has acceptable seals and everything when it arrives, since I'm trying to keep this project on the cheap. I'm married after all

---------- Post added 09-21-15 at 11:41 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
Congratulations! The SPF is my favourite "simple" camera, I've taken many pics with it and with a SMC Tak 55mm f1.8 or a 50mm f1.4 it will you satisfactions....you can pictures like this one for instance:
Nice shot of the bike! I have a Sekor 50mm 2.0 which came with the Mamiya, and I'm planning on making that my primary lens.

The other M42 lenses I have are a Tamron Adaptall 80-210, a Kamero 135 2.8, and a Soligor 28-80 Macro. They're all fairly beautiful in their own right, and the build quality is superb!
09-21-2015, 11:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Street42 Quote
Nice shot of the bike! I have a Sekor 50mm 2.0 which came with the Mamiya, and I'm planning on making that my primary lens.

The other M42 lenses I have are a Tamron Adaptall 80-210, a Kamero 135 2.8, and a Soligor 28-80 Macro. They're all fairly beautiful in their own right, and the build quality is superb!
In order to take advantage of full metering you'll need a SMC or S-M-C Super Tak otherwise you'll need to step down the lens like with any other Spotmatic.
09-21-2015, 12:02 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
In order to take advantage of full metering you'll need a SMC or S-M-C Super Tak otherwise you'll need to step down the lens like with any other Spotmatic.
Thanks for clarifying, Cuthbert. That doesn't pose a big problem for me since I got used to step-down with the Mamiya (you push the film lever towards the body to step down and activate the meter). And if I understand correctly, I will use the aperture preview lever on the left-side to step-down when using non-SMC lenses, though the meter is active any time light is hitting it.

I will also carefully try mounting each of my lenses on the new body, and test the shutter mechanism while focused close and to infinity to make sure I'm not going to run into trouble with the rear elements colliding with the mirror or mounting problems with long aperture pins...

09-21-2015, 12:07 PM   #9
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Still, I woouold recommend to procure a SMC Tak 50-55mm, they are fantastic lens and the 55mm is outrageously cheap.
09-21-2015, 12:13 PM   #10
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Indeed, it looks like good copies are under $50! And I'd possibly have a radioactive lens, as well as a good conversation-starter
09-21-2015, 01:13 PM   #11
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The Mamiya DTL series were quite innovative with dual spot and averaging metering. The metering was mechanically fragile though, with long thin metal chains connecting controls, and battery contacts that fatigued. Otherwise the bodies were solid. I did some comparisons with the Mamiya f1.4 normal lens to the Super Takumar 1.4, and the Mamiya was better wide open.
09-21-2015, 01:38 PM   #12
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Thanks Tom!

I really enjoyed learning about the Mamiya and its dual-metering system when I got that body! There is an odd slightly translucent area of the mirror which the spot meter looks through, while the Average meter looks down through the prism. The match-arrow indicator was very new and interesting to me, and I look forward to comparing it to the Spotmatic F!

Can't wait for a viewfinder I can actually see things through 8)
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