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07-18-2007, 11:07 AM   #1
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What Screw-Mount Pentax Camera To Purchase??

Ever since, (and to be honest for some time previously), I traded for my Pentax MX I have been considering the purchase of a camera body that will accept the M42 Pentax screw-mount lenses..

My question is this: of the M42 compatible bodies that Pentax produced, what are considered the best ones to use??

My knowledge in this area is limited..

I am looking for a camera that is as easy to use as the MX, with as accurate a light meter as possible..

If serviced, will a 40-50 year old camera have an accurate light meter & curtain??

I assume that anything purchased second-hand from e-Bay or a private buyer will need to be serviced; so I'm prepared to spend $75.00-125.00 to have the camera CLA..

Also, would anyone be willing to reccomend a "kit" of lenses..I really like wide angle shots so I'd ultimately like to own 17mm, 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 125mm, 200mm, 300mm, 400mm lenses..

Besides Pentax what other brands of lenses would the members of this forum reccomend..

Thanks, Bruce

07-18-2007, 11:53 AM   #2
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My question is this: of the M42 compatible bodies that Pentax produced, what are considered the best ones to use??


Spotmatic, SP or F. Earlier models have no meter. If the camera has been reasonably taken care of, the meter and shutter should be relatively accurate.
A cla never hurts.

Lens I have that are very nice...50/1.4,,,35/3.5....also watch for old Vivitar series !, very nice.

I have several images using the Spotmatic SP and 50/1.4 posted at Pbase if you want to see some examples. Gallery = 'Old School'
07-19-2007, 08:05 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by thazooo Quote
My question is this: of the M42 compatible bodies that Pentax produced, what are considered the best ones to use??


Spotmatic, SP or F. Earlier models have no meter. If the camera has been reasonably taken care of, the meter and shutter should be relatively accurate.
A cla never hurts.

All Spotmatics have a light meter. It is a stop down spot metering system (hense the name). The Asahi S1a and SV were meterless as was the Honeywell H1a and H3v equivalents.
07-19-2007, 08:17 AM   #4
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I've had 2 Spotmatic bodies as well as an SV. Frankly I'm not sure of the differences in the various Spotmatic versions. One thing to look out for though, is they all used silver Oxide batteries. You can not buy them any more. The cameras can be converted to a contemporary battery type. I think KEH will do this service for you. I used to have a link to a guy in Tennessee (I think) that works on old Pentaxs. I can't find it at the moment. If I run across it, Ill post it for you.

The lens kit I had was (All super Taks):
28mm f3.5
55mm f1.8
85mm f1.8
135mm f3.5
200mm f4.0

All were very sharp good quality lenses. If I recall, I was not impressed with the zooms of that era.

07-19-2007, 10:56 AM   #5
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The Spotmatic family

There are a lot of web pages with the technical specs on the different Spotmatic models. Here is one example

Die Cast Pro - Spotmatic Family Traits

I've used a SP 500, SP II, ES, and ES II. I went a little M42 crazy for a while. The one camera that I didn't like was the ES II - I really hated the battery compartment cover and the 4 button batteries that it took.

The ES uses a 544 battery that is easy to get. Just watch for the battery to spring forward and out of the body with amazing force - caught me off guard the first time. I used a silver oxide battery that fits in the Spotmatics since their circuitry compensates for the slightly higher voltage (1.5 vs 1.3). Here is the reference for this info:

"Availability of batteries for the Spotmatic is better than other cameras of the era because the Asahi engineers built in a bridge circuit in the metering which makes it battery voltage independent. This means you can use the original 1.35 mercury PX400 battery, or a 1.5V silver-oxide replacement without problems. An exact fit PX400S is available, or you can use a #392 cell with a small rubber-O ring (purchasable at any fine home repair center or DIY store) as a spacer. I believe a #397 also fits as well."

Photoethnography.com - Classic Cameras

The meter on the ES was slightly better than the SPII as it was a newer camera. The SP500 meter was hopeless and I didn't use it much.

As far as lenses go, I just started collecting and using them. The ones I liked, I kept and the ones I didn't I traded in or sold. Since they aren't really expensive it was a lot of fun There are a lot of different M42 lens variants (Takumar, Super Takumar, SMC) from Pentax - it can cause your head to spin.

Check out these sites
jr-worldwi.de: Photography: Technic (this is one of my favourites)
M42 is a site dedicated to M42 adaptator lenses. You will find here tests, from argentic to numeric cameras and oldest to newest M42 lenses. Members described their work and the used lens. Oldies, but goldies!
07-19-2007, 12:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
All Spotmatics have a light meter. It is a stop down spot metering system (hense the name). The Asahi S1a and SV were meterless as was the Honeywell H1a and H3v equivalents.
Sorry, but no. Despite the name, the Spotmatic camera family used a center-weighted averaging metering system. And Spotmatic F and later models have open aperture metering (with the appropriate lens attached)
07-19-2007, 01:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kami Quote
There are a lot of web pages with the technical specs on the different Spotmatic models. Here is one example

Die Cast Pro - Spotmatic Family Traits

I've used a SP 500, SP II, ES, and ES II. I went a little M42 crazy for a while. The one camera that I didn't like was the ES II - I really hated the battery compartment cover and the 4 button batteries that it took.

The ES uses a 544 battery that is easy to get. Just watch for the battery to spring forward and out of the body with amazing force - caught me off guard the first time. I used a silver oxide battery that fits in the Spotmatics since their circuitry compensates for the slightly higher voltage (1.5 vs 1.3). Here is the reference for this info:

"Availability of batteries for the Spotmatic is better than other cameras of the era because the Asahi engineers built in a bridge circuit in the metering which makes it battery voltage independent. This means you can use the original 1.35 mercury PX400 battery, or a 1.5V silver-oxide replacement without problems. An exact fit PX400S is available, or you can use a #392 cell with a small rubber-O ring (purchasable at any fine home repair center or DIY store) as a spacer. I believe a #397 also fits as well."

Photoethnography.com - Classic Cameras

The meter on the ES was slightly better than the SPII as it was a newer camera. The SP500 meter was hopeless and I didn't use it much.

As far as lenses go, I just started collecting and using them. The ones I liked, I kept and the ones I didn't I traded in or sold. Since they aren't really expensive it was a lot of fun There are a lot of different M42 lens variants (Takumar, Super Takumar, SMC) from Pentax - it can cause your head to spin.

Check out these sites
jr-worldwi.de: Photography: Technic (this is one of my favourites)
M42 is a site dedicated to M42 adaptator lenses. You will find here tests, from argentic to numeric cameras and oldest to newest M42 lenses. Members described their work and the used lens. Oldies, but goldies!
Ahh, I got the battery types backwards. Thanks for the correction
07-19-2007, 03:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
All Spotmatics have a light meter. It is a stop down spot metering system (hense the name). The Asahi S1a and SV were meterless as was the Honeywell H1a and H3v equivalents.
Metering system on Spotmatic is centerweighed rather than spot metered.

07-19-2007, 05:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by baldeagle21b Quote
Sorry, but no. Despite the name, the Spotmatic camera family used a center-weighted averaging metering system. And Spotmatic F and later models have open aperture metering (with the appropriate lens attached)
I'm having senior moments today. Did some rechecking and you are right. The prototype had a spot meter, the production models were center weighted.
07-20-2007, 07:17 AM   #10
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It's okay, my senior moments are coming more and more frequently here. To get back to the OP's question I would vote for a Spotmatic F for a purely mechanical body and for a Spotmatic ES if he wants a little more automation. As far as other lens makers are concerned, anything made by Kiron (Kino Precision) is very good optically. I have a 105mm macro and 90-180mm flat field zoom and they are built like tanks, with lots of brass and glass <grin>.
07-20-2007, 12:00 PM   #11
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Original Poster
Thanks for the responses..

I'll check into the suggestions..

Bruce
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