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Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 3 Days Ago  
Ferrania P30 scratches
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 5
Views: 360
I've developed a couple of rolls with no such issues. Back in the 1960s I did have such scratches on a new camera I bought, from a slight burr on the pressure plate, and they have been known from grit in the film canister felt light trap, but usually on reused canisters.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 3 Days Ago  
When will mirrorless hit 50%???
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 20
Views: 523
As an old (very) film guy I'm not representative of the market - I still use all manual focus - but coming from film SLRs with great viewfinders like the MX, LX, and Leica R models, I just could not adapt to the dSLR finders with lower magnification & tunnel view impression, with focusing screens very poor for judging sharpness. I tried other screens in a K5, but found nothing suitable. I focus by judging sharpness of the image, not by focus aids (which I find less precise).
When I gambled on an A7 for my old SLR lenses I was amazed, as I could judge sharpness about as well as on my old SLRs, and with a button press could magnify to check and fine tune (but usually find focus was fine without mag). While there is lag in low light, it is more usable for low light focus than any SLR, as it maintains a bright image when an optical finder just shows shadows. An optical finder does show more detail in shadows if there is a large brightness range, but EVFs are improving.
The Leica SL EVF is truly amazing, but not in my retirement budget, after splurging on my main cameras (Leica rangefinders).
I don't see me buying another dSLR, but I am tempted by the A7III.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-06-2018, 05:56 PM  
Is my SP500 converte to use different batteries or light meter broken?
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 15
Views: 468
When CdS photocells degrade they lose the dark "high" resistance first, so it is common to underexpose darker scenes, as the meter reads as if it were lighter. I've had that happen on Pentax Spotmatics and other brands, including the Leicaflex SL I bought in 1969. Luckily the Spotmatic cells are likely still available (Eric has replaced a few of mine), and easy to replace, being beside the eyepiece under the top cover.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 03-05-2018, 12:24 PM  
Canon F1 Behaviour
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 20
Views: 533
We had an F1 for publications at work in 1971-72, and it was a very solid camera, easily equal in construction quality to the LX, if not in features. I added one to my collection a few years ago, and after a bit of clean up it still works great. Easier to service than an LX.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 03-05-2018, 11:05 AM  
Easier spool loading?
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 11
Views: 394
For 35mm - Hewes stainless. Catch the sprocket holes on a couple of "fingers" at the center of the spiral and wind away. I used Nikor reels for 40 years and thought they were fine, but the Hewes Re better for the variety of film thicknesses around today.
I gave up on plastic decades ago as too fiddly when wet and doing many rolls.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-02-2018, 12:47 PM  
Asahi or Honeywell Spotmatic?
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 13
Views: 500
The photography market was really ballooning through the 1950s, as mass-production lowered prices of capable cameras. Previously Germany was the source for the best cameras, such that both the British and US governments had domestic companies copy the Leica camera for military use during the war, but the learning curve was such that both the British Reid and US Kardon only appeared at the end of the war, and without government contracts both folded.
Once the war was over people had more money and time for hobbies, and the Allies (US primarily) tried to shift the economies in Germany and Japan to peacetime goods, so the makers of military optics (Nippon Kogaku (Nikon), Asahi Kogaku, etc.) switched to cameras. Canon sold a lot through the PX system to GIs through the Korean war, and tried 2 or 3 marketing arrangements with US companies before finding Bell & Howell (I still have a "Bell & Howell / Canon" camera), while setting up their own Canon USA channel.
Asahi used Sears as their major American outlet under the Tower brand (along with other companies - Japanese and German). I also have a "Tower" 6x6 TLR made in Germany. People today don't realize how big the Sears camera departments were back then.
The camera Boom in the US began to slow by the 70s, so the US importers looked to other products, and the Japanese companies built their own US marketing organizations. Then as the market dwindled further most players dropped out.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-01-2018, 05:46 PM  
Asahi or Honeywell Spotmatic?
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 13
Views: 500
Lenses were just branded Asahi Optical and Super Takumar in those years
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-01-2018, 02:52 PM  
Gold Ricoh XR-P on eBay
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 14
Views: 693
Special gold camera editions date back to the 1920s when Leica produced some "Luxus" models of the original model 1 (or A in the US).Gold plating instead of black paint on the covers, and lizard skin for leather.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-01-2018, 02:48 PM  
Asahi or Honeywell Spotmatic?
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 13
Views: 500
In all probability Honeywell. Honeywell was licensed the Spotmatic trademark in the US and vigorously defended it on imported cameras. The Asahi branded models you find from those years were often carried in by servicemen who bought them while stationed overseas. Otherwise you would hear of tourists or direct impoters told to grind off the trademarks before the cameras could be brought in. (You see some on eBay like that.)
Those years would have been the original Spotmatic, not the Spotmatic II or other variation. I bought my first Pentax at that time - but an H1a as I couldn't afford the Spotmatic.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-01-2018, 11:31 AM  
Spotmatic spii 1/1000 problem keeps coming back!
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 8
Views: 414
It's not unusual to have such variation if all traces of old lubricant aren't thoroughly flushed out before applying the proper lubes. Ideally this is by disassembling so the ends of shafts and inside of bearings can be completely cleaned. I had similar issues with a 60's Pentax that I tried to clean without total disassembly, so I sent it to Eric. He sent back a photo of it on his bench with the shutter completely torn down. It has been fine for years since.
If this isn't done, and you try to adjust the curtain tension to overcome excess friction in the bearings, it is quite possible to over-tension and stress the springs so they begin to relax. Ideally, once the bearings are fully cleaned and re-lubed, the spring tension should be set by timing the curtain speed of each curtain, and setting tension no higher than necessary.
Often you can get acceptable performance with a lesser clean and "tweaks" - but sometimes a true disassembly and service is necessary.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 02-27-2018, 05:12 PM  
$$$$$ony A7iii
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 98
Views: 2,865
I've been very happy with my plain A7 as my "digital LX" solution. I have no autofocus lenses for it, but use my range of SMC-M legacy Pentax, with great results. I especially like the 20mm f4 on it for size and handling. I also use my Leica R lenses, where the 250 & 400 have been very nice.
I was never tempted by the other Sony A7-9 models until now, but even for manual focus, single-shot the A7III looks like a winner, with the high ISO and silent shooting. The IBIS would be nice with my long lenses too, as I'm not quite as steady as I was 5 decades ago.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 02-19-2018, 07:14 PM  
What's wrong with my color scans?
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 13
Views: 712
That's why I stick with processing and scanning B&W, and send out color film.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 02-15-2018, 09:01 AM  
Save the classics!
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 20
Views: 1,338
I agree it's a shame to trash old cameras if it's possible to fix them. I consider them "functional art" that have worth as creations in themselves, not just as tools to make images. I've spent more than is logical to fix old Pentax (and Asahiflex) and old Leica and Leica clones. But as a mechanical engineer by nature I appreciate the age when "High Tech" involved clever and precise mechanical items and not electronic toys.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 02-13-2018, 04:17 AM  
DSLR versus Mirrorless
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 47
Views: 1,693
I expect this trend is more of a transition. The last real disadvantage of mirrorless is the limited dynamic range of the EVF, making shadows black out in high contrast scenes so you can't see the details in the VF. Resolution, latency, etc. are constantly improving. While there is still something esthetically "magic" about viewing a true groundglass image, the complexity of the reflex mechanism makes the simplicity of mirrorless compelling. With the advances in electronic shutters even mechanical shutters will fade.
I still use SLRs for film with long lenses, but haven't used a dSLR since getting used to the A7. (But 90% of my shooting is with Leica Rangefinders - still mirrorless, but with optical VF.)
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 02-13-2018, 04:01 AM  
Non-Pentax K-mount cameras
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 18
Views: 1,167
The Miranda brand started as the Orion camera company in the very early 1950s, about the time Asahi began working on cameras. There is some suggestion they traded ideas with Asahi to get the instant return mirror for their pentaprism design. The "real" Mirandas did not use K mount. The Sensorex was their most successful line - very capable camera with TTL metering and interchangeable finders.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 02-11-2018, 03:40 PM  
Spotmatic F: non-Pentax lenses won't mount
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 4
Views: 351
I just checked the Mamiya 55 1.4 on my F, and you are right. The rear element is too large and extends deep enough to interfere with the added linkage in the F that detects the aperture setting. That lens does work well on. The Spotmatic and Spotmatic II and is a very good lens.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 02-11-2018, 02:58 PM  
Gear P0rn - post it if you got it.
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 5,306
Views: 602,854
I've used Pentax since the mid-1960s (H1a) and Leica since 1968. After retiring I've collected some of the models I couldn't afford through the years. These two Leica's (M5 and Leicaflex SL2) were pretty much the peak of Leitz engineering. Both are their "50 year" anniversary models from 1975, since they marketed the first 35mm camera in 1924-25:
Attachment 386987
The M5 was an outstanding user RF, with a great spot meter, that raised a small CdS cell just in front of the center of the shutter, and moved it away as the user pressed the shutter. A very selective spot. (The original Pentax Spot-Matic prototype also swung a spot CdS cell just under the focusing screen to measure a central spot as well.) The M5 was a bit larger than the "classic" M models and so users didn't like it, but it deserved better. I use a Voigtlander 50 1.5 Nokton on it which fits the size well.
The SL2 also used a selective spot meter, but a larger spot equal to the microprism area of the finder, with a piggy-back mirror behind the main mirror to direct the light down to the photocell, similar to the Pentax LX mirror structure. The SL2 also used a wonderful match-needle meter, which of course is easy to read in bright light, but also in very dim light as a button push turns on a small backlight for the meter needle. (This was before LEDs, which I find harder to see in bright light.) This has a period-correct 50 Summilux 1.4. The special hood holds any filters, and a small wheel on the side of the hood will rotate a polarizer filter to get the desired effect. The Leicaflex mirrors used a compound linkage to decelerate the mirror to avoid vibration
These are very solid but smooth and precise cameras, and are a joy to use.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 02-11-2018, 02:38 PM  
Spotmatic SP II curtain travel problem
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 1
Views: 280
Looks like the second curtain is dragging and moving too slow. The slit should actually vary width a bit from side to side, because the curtains will accelerate and move faster at the closing side (before the shutter brake acts), so the slit needs to be a bit wider to give even exposure. However, this looks like too much variation. A normal camera service (CLA) by a good Tech like Eric Hendrickson would resolve this. A good shutter tester will measure the speeds of both curtains as well as the exposure time at the right, center, and left edges so adjustments can be quite exact.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-08-2018, 03:10 PM  
K1000 meter does not work at 1/1000 (only)
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 5
Views: 390
The meter works depending on the combination of ASA setting and shutter speed. The K1000 manual shows the ranges - and you can find it for download on the Web.
Forum: Photographic Equipment for Sale 02-04-2018, 02:58 PM  
For Sale: SMC Pentax-M 20mm F4 (ultra wide for FF cameras) *reduced price*
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 13
Views: 1,456
Just a note to anyone considering this lens - it is one of my favorite lenses on the Sony A7. I also use a Leica M9 with a 21mm, but I like the results of the 20 f4 SMC-M on the A7 better. It's small size also feels right on the A7 (with adapter).
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 01-29-2018, 07:07 PM  
A Spotmatic oddity
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 13
Views: 937
I recall being told in the 1960s that trademarked cameras MAILED back to the US would require defacing the trademarks before the post office would release them. I've seen several cameras from that era with the trademarks just roughly ground off. Perhaps carrying in when returning in uniform avoided that issue.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 01-12-2018, 06:38 PM  
Where do you get your film?
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 20
Views: 917
I usually buy film and processing supplies from Freestyle.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 12-29-2017, 06:00 PM  
A try with the Sony A7...
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 7
Views: 711
I've used an A7 for some time now, but have no autofocus lenses for it. I use it only for my collection of old manual focus SLR lenses, primarily SMC Pentax-M from my MX and LX days. The smaller -M lenses are well matched to the A7 size, and the results on the A7 are very good. Manual focus with these lenses on the A7 is much easier than on my K-5, without using focus aids.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 12-20-2017, 05:50 AM  
Pentax LX problem
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 9
Views: 728
When the mirror bumpers in my LX deteriorated I could still get a sharp view in the finder, but the focus on film was different than in the finder, so that isn't your issue. Likely the diopter adjustment. I once got a used 6x7 meter prism that was quite blurry, and found the last owner had installed a diopter.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 12-19-2017, 05:25 PM  
Spotmatic SP battery cover stuck
Posted By TomB_tx
Replies: 8
Views: 443
The original Spotmatic battery cover had two small vent holes toward the ends of the coin slot. These are often plugged solid and hard to see from corrosion, but I've found you can sometimes work the pointed tips of a lens spanner into them and get enough leverage to get the cap off. After heavy corrosion it can be hard to get good battery contact to the cover, and from the cover to the bottom plate through corroded threads.
Sometimes the CRIS H-B battery adapter can restore meter operation, as the adapter is really a replacement cover that holds a watch battery.
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