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02-05-2010, 09:37 AM   #1
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Spotmatic SP II

Greetings everyone.

I bought a Spotmatic on ebay about two years ago. It has been given me great enjoyment and beautiful pictures. I have just replaced all the seals so the camera has a 'new' feel about it. There is only one little flaw. When I use the flash at 1/60th shutter speed I get a dark edge (about one inch) down the left side of the photo. I overcome this problem by shooting flash at 1/30th shutter speed and this solves the problem. I have been visually comparing the shutter speeds of the Spotmatic with my Pentax MX and I would guess that all the shutter speeds on the Spotmatic are firing a little fast. This would account for the dark edge on my flash photos at 1/60th shutter speed. I reckon that whoever had the camera before me must have increased all the shutter speeds slightly. My question: does anyone know if there is an internal adjustment in the Spotmatic for slightly varying the shutter speeds? I am happy to leave well enough alone and continue shooting flash at 1/30 but if all it takes is a simple adjustment I will be happy to try it too. Thanks for any attempt to reply. Long live the Spotmatic and long life to all who use it! )

02-05-2010, 01:22 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brianog Quote
Greetings everyone.

I bought a Spotmatic on ebay about two years ago. It has been given me great enjoyment and beautiful pictures. I have just replaced all the seals so the camera has a 'new' feel about it. There is only one little flaw. When I use the flash at 1/60th shutter speed I get a dark edge (about one inch) down the left side of the photo. I overcome this problem by shooting flash at 1/30th shutter speed and this solves the problem. I have been visually comparing the shutter speeds of the Spotmatic with my Pentax MX and I would guess that all the shutter speeds on the Spotmatic are firing a little fast. This would account for the dark edge on my flash photos at 1/60th shutter speed. I reckon that whoever had the camera before me must have increased all the shutter speeds slightly. My question: does anyone know if there is an internal adjustment in the Spotmatic for slightly varying the shutter speeds? I am happy to leave well enough alone and continue shooting flash at 1/30 but if all it takes is a simple adjustment I will be happy to try it too. Thanks for any attempt to reply. Long live the Spotmatic and long life to all who use it! )

The shutter needs to be adjusted. What is happeing is that the leading shutter is slowing down as it travels, allowing the flash to go off before the shutter is fully open.

At 1/30 second, this is less of a problem. Also, there are actually two shutter gear trains in a Spotmatic. The slow-speed train controls the speeds of 1/30 or longer, while the high-speed train controls 1/60 and shorter. That's why the shutter sounds a little bit different at 1/30 than it does at 1/60 and higher. The slow speed train has a sound after the shutter that sounds sort of like it is rebounding somehow.

You have two choices: do as you are and just use flash at 1/30, rather than 1/60; or send the camera to Erik Hendrickson at Home for a CLA. I'm sure that there are others, but Erik has a great reputation on this and other forums for being THE place to go for Pentax repairs.
02-05-2010, 02:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply and the helpful suggestion. I had thought of sending it to Eric Hendrickson. Maybe it is time to go check him out. Thanks again.
02-10-2010, 07:59 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brianog Quote
Thanks for the reply and the helpful suggestion. I had thought of sending it to Eric Hendrickson. Maybe it is time to go check him out. Thanks again.
I highly recommend you let Eric give you a quote on the camera. It will have 20 years of perfect life when he is finished - and if you don't want to accept his quote, he'll just send your camera back, no questions asked, no charge to you.

02-22-2010, 07:34 AM   #5
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I second any and all suggestions to send the camera to Eric. I have sent him numerous cameras and lenses. His work is top-notch. I send my cameras and lenses nowhere else.

PS: I recently acquired an SP II (from Eric, actually). What a great camera...for me, it is the best in the Spottie series.
02-22-2010, 05:50 PM   #6
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I just ran a roll of Kodak 200 Gold film through my SPII and I have to say a lot of the pictures lack 'pop' and suffer from fairly low contrast. Shooting conditions here in Vancouver were pretty much perfect (almost t-shirt weather). I don't get the problem with my k-mount Ricoh + M-series combo.

I have a feeling the minilab is brightening my images and ruining the blacks. I've attached a picture for you to see what I mean.
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02-22-2010, 07:39 PM   #7
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Hope you don't mind, but here's your shot with a bit more contrast added in CS4. Looks like they did the standard "Let's scan this so we get as much detail out of it as we can" rather than blowing highlights or losing shadow detail. The scans I've gotten from mini-labs always need adjustment to get them how I want them to look, in a similar manner.


Probably nothing wrong with your camera.
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02-22-2010, 09:30 PM   #8
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Yeah, that does look better! Still, my prints came out the same as the scan...

Oh well!

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