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03-04-2009, 09:54 AM   #1
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Film camera for M42

What film camera can you recommend to use with m42 lenses (preset / stop down metering, i guess).
Few requirements:
1. Reliable (able to take shots correctly, flawless film loading - not tearing it up, withstand -20 C temperatures).
2. Cheap (<100$ incl. ship., in ex+ condition - see 1.),
3. Compact,
4. As mechanic in operation as possible (best would be without batteries)
5. Features Aperture priority (or at worst, working, built in exosure meter).
(last two are kind of a tradeoff - see 1., 2., 3. to weight)

I was thinking of something like Pentax ME Super, but it would mean some trouble with M42 adapters.
How compact is k1000 (spotmatic?)?

Shot a roll with my new Zenit-E, and was dumb enough not to check the curtains.. basically they end up missaligned (this happens when you change shutter speeds with uncocked shutter?), leaving small gab somewhere over the film. It can be fixed, by winding it few times when no film is loaded.. anyways 1/500 dosnt work either and it is generally very unreliable camera.

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Last edited by ytterbium; 03-04-2009 at 10:11 AM.
03-04-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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Weeeellll... Three basic ways to go here.

1) Spotmatic, any model. Best built, can get repaired, beautiful machines. The most I've paid for one is $40 with lens. Basically all I had to do was replace the seals. Though another one is not usable, will cost another $63 for Eric to fix, if I need to. They use batteries that are available. Native M42, stop down metering on most of them. Can't really go wrong with any one of them.

2) Other brand M42 body. Fuji and Yashica are good - though some tend to rely on electronics. Can be had extremely cheap (I got mine <$10 each). Though risky, if the electronics are shot. But you can definitely get a great camera, reliable, built like a tank, and most of em take current batteries too. My philosophy is: condition and price first, then look at the particular model.

3) A Pentax K mount camera + Pentax M42 adapter. The automatics work great with M42 lenses in 'stop down' auto mode, though the lens needs to have a 'manual' mode or be a preset lens. Auto only won't stop down and you'll have to modify the mount if you wish to. You will be stuck in stop down mode though for metering and shooting.

The K1000 is a K mount, it's equivalent in M42 is the SP1000 - a fantastic camera, one that I had till my daughter stole it.

I don't have a ME Super, but I do have a Program Plus, and use Takumars with adapter in stop down auto exposure with no problems.

I have a Fuji ST605 - there are a bunch of other 'better' ones with Fuji - and it works well in the freeze. I have a Yashica TL Electro-X, this one has an electronic shutter, but so far hasn't failed me in the cold. There are older Yashicas with mechanical shutters and needles in the meter.

My current fave is a Spotmatic ESII, fixed by Eric, and no problems whatsoever in the freezing cold despite the electronic shutter. Though I'm not so sure about -20C. It has open aperture auto exposure with SMC Takumars, otherwise a switch actuated stop-down auto, and limited manual shutter speeds.

Overall, perhaps a mechanical shutter camera suits your purposes best. I can't think of a mechanical shutter auto exposure body.
03-04-2009, 10:43 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply and options advised.
Well the -20C (more like -15..-5C/-5..-23F min.) and mechanical isnt that critical, as realiability in general.
How long aproximately battery lasts in this kind of cameras (mostly mechanical, battery metering/shutter)? Does it have to be changed quite regulary, or i can load a film, battery and forget about the camera until i need it and it will capture the picture.

Zenit, for example had numerous flaw, waiting to fail you at any moment. Meter can die, sometimes the mirror rests at wrong angle, curtains offset, speeds change, 60% viewfinder, tears film, film doors can open. On the other had you could shoot few rolls of film, hammering nails with the camera between the shots and they all would come out perfect.

( Is this a good offer: http://cgi.ebay.com/Pentax-ME-Super-Film-Camera_W0QQitemZ380107575806QQcmdZV...3A1|240%3A1318 +$40 shipping)

Last edited by ytterbium; 03-04-2009 at 11:14 AM.
03-04-2009, 10:44 AM   #4
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I am with Nesster. Look for a good Spotmatic and have it CLA'd by Eric. His comment regarding other brands is also a good one. Based on personal experience, I can recommend the Ricoh Singlex TLS. The Singlex is a pretty sturdy camera and has the very robust Copal vertical metal shutter. I also own the Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL. The Mamiya is a very nice unit, but has the reputation for failed metering. On both cameras, electronics are limited to the metering systems. The actual picture-taking mechanisms are fully mechanical.

Steve

03-04-2009, 10:51 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote

How long aproximately battery lasts in this kind of cameras (mostly mechanical, battery metering/shutter)? Does it have to be changed quite regulary, or i can load a film, battery and forget about the camera until i need it and it will capture the picture.
The battery in a fully mechanical camera with meter generally will last for a year or more. It depends on how much you use the meter and the type of battery.

Note that some vintage cameras used mercury batteries that are currently unavailable. The Spotmatic can use modern alkaline or silver cells. I use the C.R.I.S. adapter in my Singlex. My Mamiya uses modern silver cells.

Steve
03-04-2009, 10:56 AM   #6
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I can report an experience at around 18-20F when I left the program plus in the cold car for a couple of hours. The shutter wasn't happy with the cold batteries.

With a mechanical shutter all you'll lose with batteries is the meter.
03-04-2009, 11:45 AM   #7
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I hear the Spotmatic ESII is the way to go.
03-04-2009, 01:06 PM   #8
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Another question regarding this. Many cameras have some sort of metering problems (differnet mounts, batteries, dead meters etc), as well as if i liked to have a fully mechanical (without a meter) camera, what meter you'd recommend.

Metter should comply to same points i mentioned except mechanic operation. It would be good if it works for (city) night scenes, to get at least some aproximate reference (Is it afternoon or night already? ) for ambient light, or else its guesstimate. I already have some Leningrad type meter, but it is useless indoors (I guess the selenium cell is dying).

I found theese strange Lux meters quite cheap, having peak metering. But it seems that it requires very unhandy non-linear conversion of its metered Lux value, to get something more camera frendly like EV or shutter speed vs AV:
Digital Light Meter 50,000 LUX LCD Photo New w/Battery - eBay (item 270353168298 end time Mar-06-09 21:01:19 PST)

03-04-2009, 03:00 PM   #9
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The ESII is a great camera, though as I mention above it is electronically controlled, takes 4 batteries at a time, and has limited manual speeds. And it makes (me) all of a sudden only lust after SMC Takumars, which is a bit of a bummer

For meters, I'd stick with the two big brands, Gossen and Sekonic. Again be sure to verify the battery situation. The selenium ones even when not dying don't work so well in anything dim.

I use a quasi digital Gossen Luna Lux SBC, which takes regular 9v rectangular batteries, has a means to take a reading into memory and then adjust to correct exposure. Three LEDs. Probably a meter one would be easier to use... in the dark the LED could be nice, but the exposure dial isn't illuminated. Anyway, I'm mentioning this not so much as a recommendation, but as a example of what may fall into your lap, cheap.
03-04-2009, 05:48 PM   #10
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I'm with Nesster: Spotmatic. I've an SPII. I also use a Gossen Lunasix 3. Another one I like is my YashicaTL Electro X
03-05-2009, 09:45 AM   #11
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Today i had a look at Chinon Ce-4 (4 - i gues.. )
Maybe not quite up to all my requirements, but it offers good quality/functionality vs price (~120$).
After reading manual it is still unclear, can it do stop down metering with m42 adapter + lens? Manual only describes open aperture K (chinon) mount metering:
Chinon CE-4 camera manual, instruction
There was also k1000 in perfect condition but it was ~250$.. too much for a secondary camera, ME had 90$ price tag but the mirror damping foam was scary.
[Update]
Weird.. i often find stuff on Flickr, i never see on google doing many searches and multible keyword combinations. Guess it's some sort of Yahoo trick, or google just dosnt index them.. anyways, after first search one of the pictures description answered my question:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsevilla/199164727/
(in the descriptipm, shortly: Chinon CE-4, Super-Tak 50/1.4, adapter, works without problems).
Then i'll just hope that the Chinon will still be there tomorrow.

Last edited by ytterbium; 03-05-2009 at 10:27 AM.
03-05-2009, 10:43 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
Today i had a look at Chinon Ce-4 (4 - i gues.. )
Maybe not quite up to all my requirements, but it offers good quality/functionality vs price (~120$).
After reading manual it is still unclear, can it do stop down metering with m42 adapter + lens? Manual only describes open aperture K (chinon) mount metering:
Chinon CE-4 camera manual, instruction
There was also k1000 in perfect condition but it was ~250$.. too much for a secondary camera, ME had 90$ price tag but the mirror damping foam was scary.
[Update]
Weird.. i often find stuff on Flickr, i never see on google doing many searches and multible keyword combinations. Guess it's some sort of Yahoo trick, or google just dosnt index them.. anyways, after first search one of the pictures description answered my question:
yo on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
(in the descriptipm, shortly: Chinon CE-4, Super-Tak 50/1.4, adapter, works without problems).
Then i'll just hope that the Chinon will still be there tomorrow.
If the Chinon supports Av mode, then your M42 lenses should work with an adapter.

Those prices for the K1000 and ME sound VERY high. Are you in Europe?

Steve
03-05-2009, 11:40 AM   #13
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Yes i am in Europe as well as im aware of the inadequate prices... 120$ isnt much better either, but already an option to consider*.
There are few spotmatics on ebay, wich ship to EU for acceptable price, but most of them lack some key description details (foam condition, meter accuracy - most just say it works.. well knowing my Leningrad-4 wich also is a CdS meter, it too moves).
That puts some limitations on availible options and prices.
Btw i was quite surprised by prices of light meters in ebay... i could not find a Lunasix for less than ~85$ (buy now+ incl. shipping to EU), wich would be a must for CdS metering camera.

*120$ compared to cheapest K1000 ($50) from ebay who ships to EU ($30) + cheapest lunasix ($75) i coud find wich also ships ($8) =~ 180$.

This all changes the perspective of cheap, reliable backup film camera to maybe something more expensive, functional, not so crude as all mechanical, but still simple in operation. It is also funny that some later cameras as MZ's, Canon 300,3000 having all those useles features, most even preserved better can be bought for $40..$100... but then again they are AF, have complicated electronics and eat AA batteries.

Last edited by ytterbium; 03-05-2009 at 10:14 PM.
03-06-2009, 03:31 AM   #14
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You can get Spotties in Europe for decent prices, they show up from time to time in the Netherlands ebay (marktplaats) for 100 Euro or so with lenses.
03-06-2009, 03:44 AM   #15
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In Europe, you might want to look at Praktica as well for a basic body.

and to amplify this - which of the Japanese brands - Pentax, Mamiya, Richoh, Yashica, Fuji, Petri etc - was best distributed in your area at the time when the functionality you're looking for was in its golden age - is probably the brand you'll see most samples of, and the best prices.

Last edited by Nesster; 03-06-2009 at 07:38 AM.
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