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11-04-2018, 01:23 AM   #1
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Newbie to the SLR world

Hey!
Iím new to the world of film cameras and was looking for any tips you guys might have

Iím looking at getting a Spotmatic and was wondering what the difference between the models are (ie. SP, SP II & SV etc).

With buying pre-loved SLR cameras what should I be looking out for? Iíve heard the foam often needs to be replaced - what exactly is the foam and how can you tell when it needs replacing?
Are there any tests I can do to check everything is functional & accurate?

Thank you!

11-04-2018, 02:22 AM   #2
pjv
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Hi from Melbourne Eikoor, and welcome to the forums. Lots of " filmers " here, but most live the top half of the world, so answers to your question might come when they wake up !!
11-04-2018, 02:59 AM   #3
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To be honest, unless you have a particular reason for wanting the spotmatic, for functional purposes I'd be more inclined to get something like a K1000 which should be younger and cheaper and more functional. The spotmatic is an iconic camera and can command a premium price as well as being an early and therefore less efficient incorporator of metering. A lovely thing but not necessarily the best tool.
11-04-2018, 03:13 AM   #4
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Good Morning, I just got up to get a drink of water, and decided to surf the web for a bit before going back to bed. Here is a link to the forum's camera reviews - the M43 screw mount film cameras, which includes the SP, SP II & SV etc. You will have to click on the links and read the reviews which themselves have a lot of information.I have my trusty old Spotmatic II sitting on the shelf over in the corner. Wonderful camera, but really they are all wonderful camera bodies.
QuoteQuote:
With buying pre-loved SLR cameras what should I be looking out for? I’ve heard the foam often needs to be replaced - what exactly is the foam and how can you tell when it needs replacing?
Are there any tests I can do to check everything is functional & accurate?
  • On the foam question - the foam gets dried out and then just turns to dust which creates light leaks. There are foam kits available for replacement.
  • Other tests - well there is a switch on the left side of the lens mount housing that activates the light meter. You can push it up and the light meter should engage. By looking through the viewfinder you will see a little lever over to the right hand side of the viewfinder. This is the light meter with a "+" and "-" indicator. If the lever bounces around you have a good battery. On the bottom of the camera, there is a little round access hatch that you can open with a coin, to check that the battery if installed has not leaked. You also use the knob on the top to set the shutter speed, so vary it and take a picture.You should be able to tell the difference between 1 sec and say 1/2 sec. That would be a rough test - also try infinity (open while depressing the shutter button).
Other than that - they are pretty simple cameras.... I haven't really used mine for ages - really since going to digital.



11-04-2018, 03:44 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eikoor Quote
Iím looking at getting a Spotmatic and was wondering what the difference between the models are (ie. SP, SP II & SV etc).

With buying pre-loved SLR cameras what should I be looking out for? Iíve heard the foam often needs to be replaced - what exactly is the foam and how can you tell when it needs replacing?
Are there any tests I can do to check everything is functional & accurate?
Welcome to the Pentax forum! Sorry but you'll have to wait for other posters to get more details on the many Spotmatic variations. Or you can read the description differences on this link: Pentax M42 Screwmount Film SLRs - Pentax Pentax Film Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Personally, I would recommend the next gen that followed the screw mount lenses with a bayonet K mount such as the KM, KX, K2, or K1000.
Pentax Manual Focus Film SLRs - Pentax Pentax Film Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

The foam is typically found both behind the lens mount above the mirror where it cushions the mirror slapping up during a shot to reduce internal vibrations, as well as in the back film chamber to help seal the camera back to make it light proof. Over time, the foam deteriorates and needs replacing. For the film chamber in the back, this is now more commonly done with a black felt-like material.

The only absolute way of knowing the effectiveness of the foam/felt seals is to shoot a roll of film (B&W or color negs) and then inspect the negatives for anomalies of dark areas where you'd expect clear film like by the sprocket holes.

There are many things to check for on both the lens and the camera to assure it is all in good working condition and nothing will beat either experience or a good return policy. However, if you are totally on your own here's my summary:
a) Lens: When shining a flashlight thru it, is it clean and clear, or are there specs or mold or fungus inside? Does the focus and aperture rings move freely? If the camera has a depth-of-field preview button/lever, does the viewfinder get darker as you go from f/2 to f/16? If there is no d-o-f button/lever, then looking into the front of the lens without fiim in the camera and the lens set to f/16, set the shutter speed to 1". Press the shutter release button and does the aperture close down to a small opening? Does it get larger at f/11, and then f/8, f/5.6, and f/4?

b) Camera: With a fresh battery, does the light meter work? Is the battery compartment clean and not corroded? After ensuring the film advance lever is cocked, does the shutter fire after depressing the shutter release button? With the lens off and no film in the camera, pointing into a white wall or bright sky, does each shutter speed seem to change from 1 second thru 1/1000"? Does the focal plane shutter seem clean and not damaged? Look at both the first curtain (with the back open before taking a shot) and the second curtain (after taking a shot). Does the film advance lever not only return the two curtains when cocked but also turn the sprocket teeth spindle? When pushing the rewind button on the bottom of the camera, does the sprocket teeth spindle freely move? Does the camera back close and open easily? Is the viewfinder relatively clean without any inky black areas? There's more, like testing with an external flash, but I think this already a good start.

The ultimate answer will be shooting a roll of film in good daylight and bracketing. For example, with a roll of any 100 ISO film on a sunny day, shoot cars moving perpendicular to the camera at f/5.6 @ 1/1000", f/8 @ 1/500", f/11 @ 1/250", f/16 @ 1/125", f/22 @ 1/60". Each car should be progressively more blurred.

Or find any scene in full sun and shoot it at f/16 @ 1/125" (or whatever your light meter reads as a normal exposure). Then shoot the same thing at every f/stop while leaving the shutter speed at 1/125". Then shoot the same thing at every shutter speed while leaving the aperture at f/16. After developing or getting the film developed, the first shot should look like a medium value while each change of either aperture or shutter speed makes the negative either darker or lighter.

Take notes on what you're doing so you can then figure out (or we can help you figure out) what may be wrong when the results are not what I've explained.
11-04-2018, 05:24 AM   #6
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S1a is another option less to go wrong with it!
Where to get light seal kits. - PentaxForums.com
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule

Last edited by Xmas; 11-04-2018 at 05:29 AM.
11-04-2018, 08:52 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pjv Quote
Hi from Melbourne Eikoor, and welcome to the forums. Lots of " filmers " here, but most live the top half of the world, so answers to your question might come when they wake up !!
Not before coffee, as well.
11-04-2018, 10:36 AM   #8
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I used to have a Spotmatic F, wonderful camera. It featured full aperture metering (with S-M-C lenses with the pin in the back). It had a timer too.

As much as I loved that camera, I wouldn't get another. These cameras are just too long in the tooth. There are issues with compatible batteries, there are mechanical shutter issues. If film is really your pleasure and you really want a 'Spotmatic Like' camera I'd go for a K series film body.http://kmp.pentaxians.eu/bodies/ The M42 to K mount adapter is easy to use and that way you can use both M42 screw mount lenses and non D K mount lenses.

11-04-2018, 03:18 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eikoor Quote
Hey!
Iím new to the world of film cameras and was looking for any tips you guys might have

Iím looking at getting a Spotmatic and was wondering what the difference between the models are (ie. SP, SP II & SV etc).

With buying pre-loved SLR cameras what should I be looking out for? Iíve heard the foam often needs to be replaced - what exactly is the foam and how can you tell when it needs replacing?
Are there any tests I can do to check everything is functional & accurate?

Thank you!
A simple bit of buying advice... Buy something from a reliable seller that has had a CLA (a 'Clean/Lube/Adjust', ie. a service), and one that the seller can show reciepts for.

This gear is up to half a century old, and mechanical stuff needs servicing to keep it functioning as it should. It's a false economy to buy something cheap and then spend $100-200 to have it serviced before it works properly.
11-05-2018, 11:41 AM - 1 Like   #10
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The SV is NOT a Spotmatic. It is the predecessor to the Spotmatic. The specs are similar, M42 lens mount, 1-1000 shutter speed. etc.

However, the SV does not have a built in light meter. OTOH, the light meters in many Spotmatics have failed, so that distinction may not be as important as it once was.

The original Spotmatic had a built-in, center-weighted light meter that required stop-down metering. It had M and X flash sync ports. It had no hotshoe, although an accessory, clip-on cold shoe was available. The cold shoe was not very sturdy, as it slipped into the grooves on the side of the eyepiece.

The SP500 and SP1000 were lower cost variations. The SP500 shutter speed was only rated to 1/500 second, while the SP1000, like the Spotmatic, went to 1/1000. Neither had a self-timer.

The Pentax SL is not technically a Spotmatic, although its appearance is identical. The big difference was that the SL had no light meter. An accessory clip-on meter was available. Pentax must not have sold very many of these, as they only rarely show up on eBay.

The Spotmatic II offered minor improvements. It did include a hotshoe and the meter could be set to a higher ASA film speed. I think the original only went to 3200, while the II when to 6400.

There was a US-only variant called the Spotmatic IIa. This is immediately identifiable by a light-sensing cell on the front of the camera below the rewind crank. This worked with certain of Honeywell's (the US importer at the time) auto-thyristor flash units, such as the Strobonar 772. The light sensor worked with the flash to control the light output of the flash. Other than that, the SP IIa was identical to the SP II.

The Spotmatic F provided open-aperture metering for the first time on a Pentax camera. This feature worked with the Super-Multi-Coated or SMC Takumar lenses. With all other lenses, stop-down metering was still required.

The Electro-Spotmatic (Japan only) and the later ES and ESII, brought aperture priority shutter speeds.

The K-1000 was, essentially, a Spotmatic F with the then-new K-mount bayonet lens mounting system. This is one reason that many prefer it over the Spotmatic series, with its M42 screwmount lenses. Any K-mount lens, including new autofocus lenses, will work on a K-1000, as long as there is a focusing ring and an aperture ring.[COLOR="Silver"]

Last edited by noblepa; 11-05-2018 at 11:50 AM.
11-05-2018, 07:09 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. This community is such a great resource. Iím excited to finally buy my first film camera and see how it goes! First roll will definitely be a bunch of test shots
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