Honeywell pentax es. Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F Review – A Class Act – By Bob Janes

Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F Review – A Class Act – By Bob Janes

Before I get to talking about the specifics of the Pentax Spotmatic F, I want to take you back to 1979 when I was a teenager. My brother’s first son had just been born. Mum, Dad and I went to visit, as did my sister-in-law’s parents.

I was mad keen on everything photography and camera based at the time, pretty much to the exclusion of my studies. My sister-in-law’s father (David) was a successful professional photographer with a good reputation in commercial product circles. While the grandmothers were cooing over the new baby, I quizzed David about his gear.

“I have my 35mm camera case in the boot of the car if you’d like me to bring it in for you to see?” he offered.

I nodded vigourously – he disappeared for a few minutes and returned with an aluminium camera case. He opened it up to show the neatly arranged camera and lenses in their foam cut-outs, just as you might expect – but the camera itself surprised me.

It was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F. A highly respectable camera, but by this time twice superseded by the KX and then the MX in the Pentax roster and not even possessing a bayonet mount. This pro was shooting with kit less sophisticated than mine. I made a mental note to myself:

Pro photographers don’t need the latest kit – they just need something they can rely on.

“ Would you like to see my favourite lens?” David asked. I nodded again, expecting to see some exotic super-fast classic come out of the case.

Instead he pulled a non-descript lens out from its cutout, wrapped in a soft cloth. I’m not sure what focal length it was, because half the front of the lens appeared to be missing – instead, epoxied in its place was a plastic lens, such as you might get in a child’s detective set.

“This gives wonderful effects – clients love the soft and dreamy quality of the shots… I’ve taken some of my best shots with this lens”

honeywell, pentax, asahi, spotmatic, review

I made a second mental note to myself:

A super sharp and expensive lens doesn’t necessarily give you the best photograph…

Unfortunately David is no longer with us (although I do have stewardship of an old Rolleiflex of his until one or other of his grandsons wants to take it on), but as a camera, the Pentax Spotmatic F will always remind me of him, and of those two valuable photographic lessons.

Vintage GAS

Back about 10 years ago, I started to pick up the dream cameras of my youth. I picked up a number of pre-Integrated-circuit manual exposure cameras from various manufacturers, including an early OM1, a number of SRT-101s and a few Pentax Spotmatics. A lot of these old cameras were crocked, but it was fascinating taking them apart and I even managed to revive a few.

One that worked like a charm from the start was my own Spotmatic F. Bought on ebay from someone local enough to pick it up from his place, it had a dinky little 28/3.5 SMC Takumar attached and worked like a charm. £16 was a bargain.


To start with I’d like to say a word about Pentax. Pentax was the brand that Asahi Optical started to use for their eye-level 35mm reflexes. They actually acquired the name from the East German bit of Zeiss, who had trademarked the name, which was originally a merging of ‘Pentaprism’ and ‘Contax’. There seems to have been a good degree of collaboration with Zeiss, which led to Asahi using the m42 mount which had first appeared on the Contax S. Years later Zeiss would also collaborate on the development of the K mount.

A lot of pros used Pentax Spotmatics. They were great little cameras – a pleasure to use and reliable.

The cameras were marketed across most of the world as ‘Asahi Pentax’, but in the United States the cameras carried alternate engraving on the top-plates, identifying them as ‘Honeywell Pentax’ and carrying an ‘H’ badge on the pentaprism, in place of the ‘AOCo’ logo used elsewhere in the world.

Takumar Lenses

Asahi’s lenses were branded ‘Takumar’. Takumar lenses earned themselves a decent reputation with high mechanical and optical standards and featuring excellent, class leading multi-coating. Unfortunately after switching to K mount and branding the main line of lenses as Pentax, Asahi cheapened the Takumar brand a little by giving it to a ‘budget’ range of lenses – but m42 Takumars are generally objects of desire.

There are two distinct lines of Takumars from those m42 days. All are high quality, but the cheaper range aims for compactness and relatively modest speeds. In times when f2.8 primes were common, Pentax had some wonderful diminutive f/3.5s. But if you wanted fast over small, you could get a faster-than-normal f/2.5 135 prime, plus some Thorium glass super-fast standards. The range was all there, with one of the largest varieties of standard lens focal lengths from any manufacturer.

Mechanical quality in those Takumars is excellent. Even 50 years on, focusing movements are buttery smooth: they are a pleasure to use.

A little ‘Spottie’ History

The Spotmatic prototype was first shown at Photokina in 1960 – It was innovative in offering TTL (through the lens) spot metering. However, by the time it actually made the market in 1964, it was not the first camera to offer TTL metering and, although they kept the ‘Spotmatic’ name from the prototype, it didn’t feature a spot-meter, judging exposure instead by averaging across the field of view with a bias towards the centre of the frame.

The Spotmatics have elegance and class. There is an Art-Deco quality to the pentaprism front that reminds me of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan. The film wind-on lever has no plastic tip, instead it is a wonderfully contoured, organic form, which manages in cast aluminium to be wonderfully comfortable to use, while the self-timer lever is almost sculptural. Even the typeface used for the body engraving was elegant.

The original Spotmatic had a ‘pointy’ pentaprism, without a fixed shoe. Budget models (the SP 500 and SP 1000) forsook the self timer. The Spotmatic II, added a hot shoe and a more sqauared-off pentaprism to the top model. The innovation of an electronic shutter along with lenses that were able to transmit aperture information to the camera body allowed two models, the ES (Electro Spotmatic) and ES II, with aperture priority automatic exposure.

The Pentax Spotmatic F

The Pentax Spotmatic F (or SP F as is engraved on the top surface of the top-plate) was the last of the Spotmatics to be introduced. It came out in 1973, and just two years later the whole Spotmatic line would be superseded by a new range of K bayonet-mount cameras.

The camera itself is fully mechanical apart from the meter and is quite basic. It will meter wide open with SMC Takumar lenses – these have two tabs inside the mount – one is fixed and lets the camera tell how far the lens has screwed onto the thread – the other moves with the aperture ring – its position relative to the fixed tab tells the camera what the aperture setting is. This is a clever solution to a tricky problem if you want to use a screw mount for open aperture metering, but not a problem you encounter with a bayonet.

The Pentax Spotmatic F viewfinder is very spartan. You get a microprism to aid focusing and a meter needle to centre on the right. You don’t see shutter speeds or apertures (one of the advantages of the K mount was that Pentax could use what Nikon refer to as an ‘Aperture Direct Window’ to see, in the viewfinder, the aperture set on the lens through a set of prisms – the KX, which effectively replaced the SP F, added this feature, while the K1000 was effectively the same spec as the SP F but without the self-timer or depth of field preview).

The Pentax Spotmatic F retains the stop-down switch on the left of the lens mount for depth of field preview and for compatibility with earlier Takumars or third party lenses.

Body layout is very conventional: It has a shutter speed dial on the right top-plate for speeds from 1 second to 1/1000 plus B, with X synch at 1/60 (fairly normal for cloth horizontal-run shutters) – a conventional hot-shoe sits atop the pentaprism. The ASA range is from 20 to 3200 (DIN is not displayed).

Also on the right side of the Pentax Spotmatic F top plate is the shutter release with a lock surrounding it, and, just beside it a small window that indicates whether the shutter is cocked or not. The wind-on lever is capable of being operated with either a single stroke or a number of shorter movements. The frame counter sits inside the hub of the wind-on lever.

On the left of the top plate is the rewind crank, which releases the back when pulled up. This is surrounded by a (purely informational) dial that allows you to set a reminder of the film type and length you have loaded.

On the front of the Pentax Spotmatic F you have the self-timer, which you operate by pulling down to the side and then pressing the little button that is revealed. Flash sockets for FP and X synch are over on the opposite side of the front.

Underneath you have a centrally placed tripod thread, a broad rewind button (with red dot to show film travel back into the cassette – stop rewinding as soon as it stops rotating and the leader will be left out of the cassette), and a battery chamber.

The Pentax Spotmatic F uses a bigger battery than some of the earlier Spotmatics. There is some debate about whether the ‘F’ has the same voltage bridge circuitry as earlier Spotmatics. Since the original version of this review was published I’ve seen a repair manual for the Spotmatic F meter through a post on the PentaxUser forum, which suggests that the bridge curcuitry is present in the SP-F, K1000 and KM. Debate will, no doubt, continue. The bridge circuitry allows Spotmatics to take 1.5v silver oxide batteries without needing to recalibrate, so if you can fit a battery in the camera of 1.35v or higher, the meter should work. If in doubt, check the exposure, or use 1.35v Zinc-air batteries.

Pentax Spotmatic F Issues

The stop-down switch on the side of the mount can be a weakness on Spotmatics (it is one control that gets a lot of use) – if you are buying one used try to make sure it moves well and clicks easily into place.

While earlier Spotmatics only turned the meter on when the stop-down switch was in the upper position, and turned it off as soon as a shot was taken, the Pentax Spotmatic F needs to have the meter on when the lens is opened up – for this reason the battery will drain unless you keep the lens cap on – so it is much easier to accidentally drain the batteries of an SP F (this may also be why the SP F was given a bigger battery than earlier Spotmatics).

The shots

A little context here, I am blessed with a good excuse for travelling – even in times of lockdown – I’m a volunteer transplant courier, carrying stem cells around the UK (and beyond when travel restrictions permit) – these are a few shots I took with The SPF on trips to Shefield, Heathrow and Bristol…

Summing up

Recently I’ve been running a lot of BW film through cameras. The other day I was debating whether to just slip the little XA2 into my for a trip, or to pack the Contax G1. Then I started to fiddle with the Pentax Spotmatic F, which had been sitting against the skirting board in the lounge for a while. I hadn’t had a film in for some years. I screwed one of my little Zenitar Fish-eyes on it and was amazed at how good it felt. It earned a fresh roll of film almost immediately. Having taken it on the trip I can’t think why I’m not shooting with this camera all the time.

As a camera, the Pentax Spotmatic F is not dripping with controls and features, but it is a fantastic little picture-taking machine that does pretty much everything in an elegant and stripped-down manner. At the end of the day character matters.

Pentax Spotmatic SP II lightmeter TEST

I just wish I could remember where I put that 28mm f/3.5 SMC Takumar…

of my reviews can be found here.

Honeywell pentax es


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シャッターは機械式と電子式のハイブリッド型です。 機械式シャッター:B(バルブ)、1/60~1/1000秒 電子式シャッター:1~1/1000秒(無段階電子シャッター) となっています。


こちらの修理レビューで、ESの後継機種であるES IIは何度か紹介したことがありますが、意外にも、ESについては、いままで一度も紹介したことがなかったカメラです。





Pentax Spotmatic Camera








・プリズム部品交換 ・シャッター不良修理 ・ミラーボックス動作不良修理 ・ミラーボックス遮光布不良修理 ・シャッタースピード調整 ・露出計調整 ・劣化モルト交換 ・ファインダー清掃 ・フィルム室清掃 ・外観清掃

Pentax Spotmatic Camera Review – One of the Longest-Lived Mechanical Cameras Ever Made 2000 1125 Chris Cushing Chris Cushing October 18, 2017 June 14, 2021

Volkswagen produced the Beetle in one form or another for more than six decades. Six decades of building one of the most simple, spartan family cars on the planet. And the Beetle outlasted every single one of its competitors. The Citroen 2CV lasted into the 1990s and the original Fiat 500 evolved radically until its final near un-recognizable descendant finished its run in 2000. The Beetle lasted until 2003. The Beetle even survived George Harrison. With a fundamental quality that carries a design beyond what anyone expected to be its useful life, some things are simply survivors.

When Pentax debuted the Spotmatic concept at Photokina in 1960, I’m certain no one at Pentax expected the basic chassis to survive in series production almost into the new millennium. The K1000, which we have called the ultimate student camera, stayed in production until 1997, 33 years after the original Spotmatic entered production. The biggest changes over these 33 years was the additions of a much improved lens mount, a flash shoe, and a new switch for the open-aperture meter. That’s all, folks.

Of course, the Spotmatic is best remembered for bringing through the lens metering to a mass market camera, thereby helping amateurs achieve better results much more easily.

An Exercise In Simplicity

The top plate of an original Spotmatic is a simple reflection of its spartan spec sheet. It has five things on it – a rewind crank, a shutter speed dial with ISO selector, a shutter release, and a film advance lever with integrated film counter. The camera also boasts a switch for the meter next to the lens mount, a self-timer on the fascia, and a battery compartment cover on the bottom plate. That’s it.

If you need a camera that facilitates restless fidgeting with levers, knobs, and dials, the Spotmatic is a poor choice.

The meter has two positions, on and off, and the meter is running from when you turn it on until you take a picture. Firing the shutter turns the meter back off, which brings a few practical or impractical side effects. Because the Spotmatic only meters stopped-down, having the meter on when composing a shot is not desirable, as it darkens the frame dramatically. This means the workflow involves either composing, metering and then shooting, or metering, switching the meter back off, then composing and shooting.

Like the Beetle, the Spotmatic offers little in the way of toys. There are no shooting modes, and even the meter readout is a simple center-point needle. Since the camera’s relationship with the lens aperture is effectively binary, the Spotmatic doesn’t even offer match-needle metering, like my Canon Ftb.

Build Quality

It’s easy to mistake heft for quality, and while the Spotmatic has a lot of the latter, it has surprisingly little of the former. At 681g, the Spotmatic is about 70g lighter than a Canon Ftb. Though heavier than an Olympus OM-1, and most compact manual FOCUS SLRs, it’s not an unwieldy monster. And let’s be real, until the OM-1 began the size conversation, few serious SLRs were smaller than the Spotmatic.

Despite the lack of heft, the camera feels extremely well made. Maybe not on Leica’s level, but well beyond anything made by Canon, Nikon or Olympus at the time. There is very little play in the film advance lever, and every control on the camera operates with some reassuring resistance. The tired metaphor of “it feels like a well oiled gun,” doesn’t really work here. Most of the controls on a Spotmatic feel like the adjusters on a lathe. They’re smooth, deliberate, and purposeful.

As Josh noted when this camera’s youngest relative last graced our pages, much of this functional elegance worked its way out of the camera by the end of the run. Where the K1000 can be clattery, the Spotmatic is refined. Indeed, of my elderly SLRs, only the OM-1 is quieter (though it feels far less sturdy).

The Meter

Its namesake is the Spotmatic’s greatest asset. While meters had appeared on cameras prior to the Spotmatic, none had integrated the feature so slickly. The Photomic finder on the Nikon F added a lot of heft both physically and visually to the camera. The original version didn’t offer TTL metering, and instead added a second meter-finder to the outside of the prism. Later variants did offer TTL metering, but still doubled the size of the finder and added a lot of weight to the upper half of the camera.

The Spotmatic integrated all meter functions into the body. This may sound trivial today, as modern shooters need to go out of their way to find new cameras without meters, but when the concept debuted in 1960 it was virtually unheard of. By the time the consumer model launched in 1964, Pentax had been beaten to the market by both the Topcon RE Super, and the cumbersome-looking Alpa 9d. Unlike the Topcon, the Spotmatic was a lasting hit.

Pentax’s original concept used true spot metering off a very small area, the final production camera used center-weighted metering for greater ease of use. The overwhelming majority of SLRs made for the next two decades followed suit.

I have two Spotmatics, and the meter on both is reasonably accurate. I tend not to use these cameras for shooting slide film, but the meter works brilliantly for more forgiving films. Because the readout is a single needle, exposure compensation in the modern sense is not really possible. There is no compensation dial with 1/3 stop clicks. If your subject is backlit, position the needle a little higher on the scale, and if the subject is dark position it a bit lower.

Unlike many later cameras with internal meters, the Spotmatic does not rely on a PX625 mercury cell battery. Pentax used smaller PX400 cells, and equipped the camera with an internal voltage regulator circuit. While the original 1.35v PX400 is no longer available, that is not really important. I use 1.55v silver oxide 387S cells in my Spotmatic, though in a pinch virtually any small hearing aid battery over 1.35v should work.

Too Many Lenses

The M42 mount has some drawbacks. The small lens throat means that fast telephotos are uncommon. Transmitting information from lens to camera is also challenging because there is nowhere for the necessary mechanisms to go. While some M42 lenses and bodies allow for open-aperture metering, most do not.

Of course, this is easy to forgive when you consider just how many lenses were produced in M42. Because the mirror box on the Spotmatic was designed around the deep, protruding rear element of the 7-element Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4, the Spotmatic is compatible with more of them than most. This database has nearly 1,600 M42 mount lenses, with manufacturers ranging from Zeiss, to Schneider-Kreuznatch, to Voigtlander, and dozens I’ve never heard of.

My current M42 lens collection includes mostly Super-Takumar lenses, but that’s mostly because I am a little obsessed with making everything match. I have a lovely Tamron 28mm f/2.8 adapted to M42 which mostly gets used on my Fuji X-E1. The FOCUS ring grip doesn’t match the ribs on the Spotmatic’s meter switch. In my mind, it just doesn’t work. If you’re not like me, the extraordinary lens selection is a treasure trove.