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07-14-2016, 05:01 PM   #1
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Spotmatic Problem - Black in Frame

I've been playing around with a Spotmatic that I haven't used in ages, and I'm noticing about 1/3 of the photos have a portion of the frame on the right hand side blocked/blacked out. I'm wondering if there's something that's common with these cameras that will break free and get in front of the shutter, or if it's a tear it apart and see type of issue. Example attached, though the size of the spot will vary, but will always be on the right hand side of a horizontal frame.

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07-14-2016, 06:40 PM   #2
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The focal plane shutter on older film cameras run horizontally from right to left if youʻre looking at it from the back of the camera. Your images are created upside down and flipped, so this would mean that the shutter the front or first shutter curtain is opening half way, but sticking and not completely opening for the rest of the exposure.

Without film and the camera back open, watch what is happening with your first and second focal plane curtains starting with the slowest shutter speed and increasingly faster ones. Does it always open only half way, or only at certain shutter speeds? This may be more problematic if you store the camera in a dry, cool, air conditioned environment, and then go out into the hot humid summer air. The condensation in the camera could cause the shutter to stick.

The only fix that I know of is sending it to a competent repair person for repair. Not sure if it is just sticking and needs lube or if there is a worn spring, etc. Meanwhile, you have a camera that is shooting half frames a third of the time.
07-14-2016, 06:50 PM - 1 Like   #3
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It is most likely that your second shutter curtain is faster than the first curtain and is "catching up" to it, closing the shutter. Sometimes you can avoid the problem by not using your 1/1000 of a second and maybe 1/500. It most commonly happens when you leave the shutter cocked for an extended period but can be lubricant caused. It is most effectively repaired when you have equipment that measures curtain travel time and shutter speeds. Sorry.
07-14-2016, 10:41 PM   #4
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I think Pentaxus has pinpointed the most likely cause. I have a Spotmatic F that does this at 1/1000

07-14-2016, 11:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxus Quote
It is most effectively repaired when you have equipment that measures curtain travel time and shutter speeds. Sorry.
The good news is that this is a common problem and that a repair is generally not particularly expensive and would be included as part of a routine Clean, Lube, and Adjust (CLA).


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07-15-2016, 02:33 AM   #6
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Yeah, definitely the trailing curtain catching up with the leading. One of my SPs does it. A simple service from any good camera repairman should sort it out just fine.
07-15-2016, 07:08 AM   #7
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Thanks for the quick reply posts. I'm about 1/4 of the way through a roll of film loaded currently, so I'll be able to see if it's an issue with only 1/500+ with the rest of the shots. Then on to the repair shop. Thanks again.
07-15-2016, 09:19 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kat0088 Quote
Thanks for the quick reply posts. I'm about 1/4 of the way through a roll of film loaded currently, so I'll be able to see if it's an issue with only 1/500+ with the rest of the shots. Then on to the repair shop. Thanks again.
Take notes for the rest of the roll and note the speeds - there will be a point (speed) at which you won't see the issue. It's definitely shutter capping and you can work around it until you get it sorted if it's not horrible. I've an RF camera that has the issue with any speed over 1/125 - Ive not felt like shelling the money for a CLA (it's a cheap FSU camera) so I just don't use it in bright daylight any longer, or if I must I stop down as much as possible.

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