Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Spotty Dog?

I have a constant G.A.S. problem. That's Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I'm constantly searching eB*y for the next bargain for the DM gear shelf. Recently I've been searching for an Oly OM-2n, or a Nikon FE, an FG or maybe a Pentax SuperA. But prices of classic 70's / 80's SLRs seem to be on the up. Especially Pentax and Nikon. Weird. I think it might be the Lomo crowd realising that a Nikon FE for £45 is a much better deal than a Lomo LCA at £120. Damn. Who told them??

So, the new object of desire is a Pentax Spotmatic II. Strange but true. And I know what I'm getting into too. The first SLR I owned was in effect a Spotmatic copy. Screw mount lens, stop down metering, manual exposure, mechanical shutter, 1 - 1/1000 + B. The meter switch was in a different place, but pretty much a Spotty copy. I got rid of it as soon as I could afford something better!

Funny how things work out. I recently acquired a NOS set of extension tubes in Pentax M42 mount, only to find out they were worth exactly what I paid for them. I.e. Nothing! As I'd hate to bin them, I thought I could make use of them if I bought a cheap M42 50mm lens. I already have adaptors for M42-Pentax K and M42-Canon EOS, so could have a cheap macro setup for both my SLR systems. I just need a lens, and what better than a (Pentax) Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8? They go pretty cheap on the 'bay, but then I noticed a Spotmatic II with a Super-Tak goes for little more than the lens on its own . Hmmm... should I buy a Spotmatic?

OK, what am I talking about? Well, you know what a Pentax K1000 is right? A K1000 was basically a Spotmatic with a 'K' bayonet lens mount instead of the old fashioned M42 screw mount, and full aperture metering instead of stop down metering. So, it's the K1000's daddy, and quite revolutionary when launched in 1964. Nope, despite it's name, a Spotmatic doesn't have a spot meter, and it's not automatic in any modern sense of the word*, but they were very nicely made and still very usable today. I mean, what do you actually need that the Spotmatic doesn't have? Auto exposure? Auto wind? Auto-focus? Nah, you don't need any of those, he said, casting a glance towards the pair EOS bodies next to the keyboard...

*Automatic features of the Spotmatic include: Auto-return mirror, auto-diafram, auto shutter cocking, and auto resetting frame counter. If you've ever used a camera without these, you'll realise how cool these features are!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL!!! Yes, you don't NEED any of those things, just like you don't need that Spotmatic... but, since there's a lens attached that you want, why not? I never used a Spotmatic, but that screw mount I've dealt with. A friend used to have an old (well, it wasn't all that old back then) telephoto with a pistol grip on it, gee I don't even remember the model or info, and it had a Pentax screw mount. I still have the screw/bayonet adapter ring here somewhere...