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04-13-2016, 07:58 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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Asahi Pentax Spotless (SL)

After running a roll of Portra 400 through my freshly CLA'd Spotmatic at the beach, I was impressed with the ergonomics of the camera. The hefty size fits my hands like a glove, and the fully-automatic aperture made shooting much faster than the semi-automatic mechanism of the K. But seeing as I prefer my cameras without light meters, I began daydreaming of a Spotmatic without the Spotmeter - the Spotless (SL).

Does anyone else prefer the SL over the SP? I especially like how understated it looks without the name tag.

04-13-2016, 08:05 PM   #2
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I have a chrome one and a black one but I have not used them (yet).
04-13-2016, 09:50 PM   #3
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That's a very nice looking camera, you're totally right about the understated look without the logo. I've not used one but would probably like it more than the spotty, I prefer my cameras mirrorless and enjoyed the SV more than the spotty while I had it. These days, because of the inconveniences of screwmount, my go-to film camera is a plain-prism F2. Not nearly as clean as your SL.
04-14-2016, 02:16 AM   #4
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The Pentax SL is a nice looking camera. I considered getting one, but opted for an SP1000 instead.

Stopping down to check DOF with the large body mounted switch on the SP1000
is easier than switching the lens between auto and manual as required on the SL.

Further the SP1000 adds an exposure meter which I find useful,
and deletes the self-timer which I do not.


04-14-2016, 02:49 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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Clean look.

I had forgotten the clean look of the SL, it is also shared by the SV for instance and the early models.
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04-14-2016, 07:52 AM   #6
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Cameras from the days you could read through the instructions in 15 minutes and remember it all forever. Still have my original Spotmatic, no hot shoe like the one at center above except chrome. However, it shows the many years of use it gave me.
04-14-2016, 09:49 AM   #7
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There was a gorgeous black SL on ebay recently.
I would probably take an SL over an SP. I really like meterless cameras.
04-14-2016, 03:23 PM   #8
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Poor little SP1000

That's a gorgeous camera. The SL is a rare bird, especially in black.

The SP1000 is gorgeous in its simplicity, too.
But it was never made in the "professional black finish" ($10 more, IIRC) most of you folks prefer.
And it's not rare enough...


04-15-2016, 07:39 AM   #9
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Experiences last week got me to wondering - which is actually easier, metering closed-down through the eyepiece of a Spotmatic, or glancing at the readouts on the pentaprism-mounted meter of one of the earlier Pentaxes, setting the dials appropriately, focusing wide open and taking the shot? While we gained a certain amount of flexibility by getting the meter in-camera, it could be argued that until the Spotmatic F came along, the need to close it down was something of a retrograde step.

Of course if you have enough ocular mileage you probably don't even NEED a meter, at least for casual outdoor shooting in light that doesn't demand tripods, but seeing as I've got a bunch of pre-Spotmatic enthusiasts handy, it seemed an obvious question to ask. Now that I'm developing my own B&W, I no longer have to wait two weeks to see results - and now that Spring is (hesitantly) upon me, I'm very tempted to dump the battery out of one of my Spotmatics and see how I go outside with rough guesses.
04-16-2016, 02:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I'm very tempted to dump the battery out of one of my Spotmatics and see how I go outside with rough guesses.
Shooting meterless is a bold move to make, but once you get the hang of it you'll never look back. The first roll I shot felt like guessing, but once I saw that 34 of 36 shots were adequately exposed, it gave me the confidence to continue my meterless pursuit.
04-17-2016, 06:25 AM   #11
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Another question that comes to mind is the potential use of the pentaprism-mounted meter on later M42 Pentaxes, e.g. those with dead meter systems but everything else still working. I am assuming the greatest barrier here is that quite aside from their redundancy, the Spotmatic series bodies do not have a slot for the meter's shutter dial to mate correctly with the camera's dial, and the meter would thus not lock properly into place on the pentaprism.

Then of course there is the issue of power. Unless the meter's circuit happened to be appropriately balanced, you would have to use Wein cells (with their intrinsically limited lifespans) or one of those funny voltage adapters for smaller 1.5V cells.

Took a few shots around the house this morning, forcing myself to guess what the settings should be before I put the camera to my eye and THEN checking against the meter. Most of the time I was no more than a stop overexposed, which is probably better than the alternative. Currently I have a film in the camera which has been shot at f/2 and at every shutter speed from 1 second to 1/1000 (meter said 1/30 but I accidentally had it set for 100ASA when it should've been 400). We shall see what most closely matches reality.
04-17-2016, 04:20 PM   #12
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Pentax did make a meter for the SL - the Pentax Meter SL! It was like the later (square) meter for the earlier models, but the shutter speed dial was spaced farther from the prism due to the Spotmatic body difference. They rarely come up for auction. I believe the Spotmatic SL dial did have the slot to couple the meter.

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