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02-05-2009, 08:02 AM   #1
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Need help with Spotmatic SP and Super A.

I just got this lot with two bodies and six lenses. Because I have almost no experience with film SLRs I need help with checking the functions on these cameras.

The Super A has batteries and they seem to be working. Spotmatic doesn't have batteries.

How do you check that they are in "full working order"?


Last edited by ovim; 02-13-2010 at 10:33 PM.
02-05-2009, 08:16 AM   #2
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Hi,
The best way is to check the basic functions without film in the camera, e.g. does the shutter appear to be working, especially at slow speeds, does the self-timer work, inspect the interior to see if there is any obvious damage to the shutter blinds and that the pressure plate is clean. Inspect the lenses for dirt both externally and internally and also check for the development of fungus which can happen on older lenses which have not been stored properly; also check for play in the moving parts and for any dints, etc. Check if the metering appears to give the correct exposure by comparing readings with the recommended exposures on the film instruction sheet.

Having decided that all these are OK, then put a film through each one photographing a range of subjects using slow and fast shutter speeds and various apertures, perhaps sticking to one lens first. Keep a record of all the shots and their shutter speed and f nos. so you can check the performance of the camera when you get the pictures back. At this stage, it is much better to use slide film because this will give a much better indication of the accuracy of the exposure, etc., since print film is subject to vagaries of the processing lab. Even when I bought a new camera, I always shot a test film off before anything serious because cameras can have variations in metering, etc.

There isn't a lot more you can do. I had a Super A some years ago and found it to be a very good camera.

Best of luck

John
02-05-2009, 09:45 AM   #3
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Here's a detailed thread on batteries for the Spotmatic.
02-05-2009, 11:28 AM   #4
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Thank You both. This is just the info I was looking for.

02-06-2009, 07:28 PM   #5
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A few quick checks-

For cameras - Take the lens off, open the back. Shoot a frame on B and see what the opening looks like. Then shoot a few at highest shutter speed, and make sure you see the whole field. If not - may have shutter drag or "capping", and may not expose right.

For lenses to check aperture - put it on the camera, open the back, turn aperture to biggest number. Take a shot on B, see what size the opening is. Then take a few shots with fastest shutter speed. Should be able to see the same sized hole. If not,aperture may be sticky or oily.

Both above should be done pointed at a light source. Good luck!
02-06-2009, 11:37 PM   #6
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Thanks Nick. I'll check the shutter action next. The lenses are ok, I've already checked them.

Yesterday I bought a Energizer 390/389 (sr1130w) 1.55 silver oxide battery (perfect fit)for the Spotmatic and the light meter works now. I also checked the shutter speeds on the Spotmatic and they seemed fine.

How should the light seals look? I see there is something in the groove but how do I know if they should be replaced?

Last edited by ovim; 02-07-2009 at 06:23 AM.
02-07-2009, 07:34 AM   #7
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The only way you can tell if the light seals are any good is by putting a roll through the camera. When you do that, you'll also find out if your shutter's working properly. And you get to play with your new toys!
02-07-2009, 10:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ovim Quote
...How should the light seals look? I see there is something in the groove but how do I know if they should be replaced?
Look at the film compartment door. The seals decay, and one indicator is bits of seal stuck to the door edges instead of in the groove. The seals can get pretty gooey sometimes, or just crumbly.

The seal in front of the focus screen often looks great but disintegrates when touched. If it has turned gooey, the front edge of the mirror usually has black stuff stuck to it.

02-07-2009, 12:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Look at the film compartment door. The seals decay, and one indicator is bits of seal stuck to the door edges instead of in the groove. The seals can get pretty gooey sometimes, or just crumbly.
There isn't anything stuck to the edge of the door but some black stuff stuck on a toothpick when I put it into the groove.

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The seal in front of the focus screen often looks great but disintegrates when touched. If it has turned gooey, the front edge of the mirror usually has black stuff stuck to it.
There wasn't anything stuck on the mirror but the foam disintegrated when touched (exactly as you said).

So do I have to order a seal kit from somewhere or is there a diy solution?
02-07-2009, 03:55 PM   #10
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There's a guy on eBay who sells excellent seal kits for CHEAP. One kit does 3-4 bodies. I've heard good things about him, but never used it myself. His name escapes me at the moment.

The kit includes the foam, instructions, and tools.
02-07-2009, 05:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stevopedia Quote
There's a guy on eBay who sells excellent seal kits for CHEAP. One kit does 3-4 bodies. I've heard good things about him, but never used it myself. His name escapes me at the moment.
seller ID: interslice
02-07-2009, 11:33 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
seller ID: interslice
He seems to be highly recommended on The Classic Camera Repair Forum also. I'll look him up.
02-08-2009, 03:39 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stevopedia Quote
There's a guy on eBay who sells excellent seal kits for CHEAP. One kit does 3-4 bodies. I've heard good things about him, but never used it myself. His name escapes me at the moment.

The kit includes the foam, instructions, and tools.
Jon Goodman is the man with the foam kits. He is also extremely helpful with detailed instructions and if you really get stuck just email him and you'll likely receive an answer within 24 hours. He also has a battery adapter for the PX625.

Favorite Classics / Jon Goodman's Seal Replacement Instructions

His email address is on that page too. For about $10 I got enough foam to do several cameras.

If the light seals haven't been replaced in 40 years - they will definitely need to be. Personally, I wouldn't waste a roll of film to see if they need replacing; just go ahead and do it. I have changed the light seals on my ME Super and several other cameras. I would guess that doing so on a Spotmatic would be a comparatively simple experience.

(BTW 'interslice' is Jon Goodman)

Last edited by J.Scott; 02-08-2009 at 03:46 AM.
02-08-2009, 07:19 PM   #14
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I agree. Jon Goodman's kits are a real deal and it is NOT hard to replace the seals yourself. (He's a great guy to deal with, as well.) Have fun with the Super A; I love mine (Super Program). Remember: Pentax offers free downloadable manuals for its cameras.

Customer Support - Official PENTAX Imaging Web Site
02-10-2009, 08:50 AM   #15
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I bought the smaller seals kit from Jon Goodman today. Anyone have any info on how long will the delivery take to europe?

Thanks MikeW. I'll download manuals asap.
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