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11-09-2008, 07:17 PM   #1
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Need help: Spotmatic F light meter problem

Hey all,

I sort of need some help from experienced Spotmatic F users... I'm worried something is wrong with mine. I'm a novice analog/Spot F user.

So:
- Recently started using an old Spot F camera with SMC Takumar 1:1.4/50 : everything worked fine, but I never used the stop-metering lever: always had it switched down, didn't really know what it did.
- I purchased some nice extra M42 lenses, a Tamron and a Panagor, knowing I'd probably have to use stop-metering (I read that non-Takumar lenses require that), but I'm not sure why).
- When I used the new lenses (meter lever to up), the light meter gage went a bit crazy: when I aim at a brighter light source the meter responds well, but when I aim at a darker area, the gage sort of goes crazy, sometimes moving the opposite way then supposed to when increasing/decreasing aperture or shutter speed. Sometimes it doesn't at all react to changing the shutter speed. I then noticed it freaks out in the stop-meter mode using the Takumar as well.

I was hoping it's just the battery that need replacing, but I'm worried I bought the wrong lenses or the camera.

So as I see it, there's a couple of options:
- The battery needs replacement. (I hope it's as simple as this.)
- I don't quite understand the stop-metering function yet.
- Something went wrong when I used the new lenses... Could I've broken something? Or was something wrong with it all along?

Oh, I tried both Manual and Auto settings on the lenses themselves.

Can anyone please help me? I really like the camera and just bought the lenses, so I'd hate to find out I could have better spent that money on another camera.

Thanks for the attention and I hope you can help me.


Last edited by Spottie; 11-10-2008 at 06:04 AM.
11-09-2008, 07:28 PM - 1 Like   #2
Ole
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You first step is to check the battery:

Set the shutter to B, and the ISO to 100.

If the meter needle is all the way up and remains steady then the battery is OK.
11-09-2008, 07:36 PM   #3
Ole
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Assuming that the battery is OK:

The lenses should always be on Automatic.

Lenses with a diaphragm coupler on the back (a lever protruding from an arc-formed slot) should not be used in stop down metering mode. Leave the stop down metering button in the down position.

Lenses without that lever must be used in stop down metering mode:

Pushing the stop down meterring button upwards closes the aperture to the value set on the aperture ring so that the light is being meassured at the actual set aperture.

If the needle doesn't move during metering change the aperture or shutter speed.

The stop down metering button must be in the down position when you change lenses.
11-10-2008, 03:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply.

Only the Takumar has that lever, so no stop-metering on that one? That's one thing cleared up.

I did the battery check and the needle is all the way up... Is it certain it's no battery problem then?

Why does the stop-meter lever have to be down when changing lenses? Could I've broken something by not doing that?

I tried again with the Paragon lens and the needle is still freaking: towards a bigger f-value the image gets darker, but the needle actually rises...

What am I doing wrong?

11-10-2008, 03:50 AM   #5
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have you read the manual?
you can find one in pentax-manuals dot com

There is somethig quite weird going on here but I can not figure it out.
11-10-2008, 06:08 AM   #6
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Thanks for the help.

I tried locating the problem with the manual, no luck.

But... I had someone looking at it, and guess what: everything was working fine. I really don't get it. Could it be that when I tried it, it was too dark or something? I mean, the meter should work well in any light condition, right? I don't get it. I just hope it keeps working well, but I'm afraid the problem will return.

There was one other thing: when the guy looked at it, the mirror remained flipped up: he had to make a picture in order for it to return and then it was fine again. Is this connected to my previous issue, or something else?

Does the problem sound familiar to anyone else?

Last edited by Spottie; 11-10-2008 at 06:35 AM.
11-10-2008, 09:55 AM   #7
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By the way: in darker situation the problem remains.

The battery is still 60% full.
11-10-2008, 03:09 PM   #8
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Spotties are known for contact problems (no not you :-).
Maybe there is something switched when you engage that stop-down slider (some electrical contact I mean).
Also, the time wheel does some erratic on-off stuff sometimes.
Here's Rick Olesons exploded diagram for a Spotmatic,
How to Open a Spotmatic
How is that Panagor lens then?
Best, Georg (the other)

11-10-2008, 03:50 PM   #9
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Haha, thanks Georg.

I wouldn't dare open it up: don't wanna risk it unless it's absolutely necessary.

I think I got a bit more to an explanation. The guy told me in darker situations, you're really pushing the light meter's capabilities. My own hypothesis is as follows:

Before, I used to use the Takumar 1.4 lens all the time, without spot metering. Thus: the light meter always used the full 1.4 aperture to meter the light and rarely 'ran out of light' to measure. My new lenses, though, both use spot metering, and with the realtime apertures PLUS the fact that they both start at f2.5 (and not 1.4), in darker situations, it just won't handle the bit of light it receives.

Does this make sense? Or should it work regardless of the darker situation? I was surprised to find this out, as the first attempts were not extremely dark. Furthermore I'm still puzzled as to why when it's darker, the needle sometimes moves the opposite way and sometimes doesn't move at all.

@ Georg: through the viewer it seems nice, but I won't be able to develop the film for a while, so I can't tell yet how the results will be. I started another thread hoping someone could tell me more about the Panagor, curious as I am.
11-10-2008, 05:35 PM   #10
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Proper exposure and meter off are indicated by the same needle position (center).
Note that the Spotmatic F light meter automatically shuts off below EV 2.

When performing stop-down metering in low light, as you stop down you may be
surprised to see the meter needle "jump" from underexposure to center at some point.
This indicates you are now below range and meter has turned off, not correct exposure.

Chris
11-11-2008, 02:42 AM   #11
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Aha! Well that's one thing cleared up. At least nothing's wrong with the camera then. Sorry for making such fuzz

Anyway, thanks again for the help, everyone.
11-11-2008, 07:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spottie Quote
Thanks for the reply.

...
Why does the stop-meter lever have to be down when changing lenses? Could I've broken something by not doing that?

...
The thin stop-down pin on the back of the lens can hit the stop-down contact plate in the camera when you change lens with the stop-down metering enabled. I very much doubt that the pin will get damaged though.
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