Friday, February 03, 2017

a perfect body

A generous friend gave me this pristine Pentax Spotmatic SP.  It is very nice to have a reliable camera to which I can attach my assortment of Takumar lenses.  The SP model appeared on the market in 1964 and it signaled the arrival of a new vision of photo technology for a new era.  Pentax would refine the Spotmatic's features over the next decade, but this early model had all the essentials: pentaprism eye-level viewfinder, auto aperture stop-down, instant return mirror, through-the-lens light meter, a large number of accessories, and a big lineup of extraordinary lenses.

Here are some shots from the first roll through the camera.  I've been shooting a Spotmatic for over forty-five years.  Makes me wonder why I bothered with anything else.

This is not the best photo I've done of San Felipe de Neri, but it is interesting for me because it is the first I've done with my 24mm Super Takumar.  I like the the depth and sharpness.  There was very little light for the shot.  I think I set the speed to 1 sec. and the aperture to about f5.6, though I couldn't really see what I was doing.  I braced the camera on the back of a pew and hoped for the best.  I'll go back to try this again.


Jim Grey said...

It's good to have generous friends!

The shot of the house with the Nissan Cube is my favorite. That's a great brown, the car's blue complements the brown well, and the shadows are lovely.

JR Smith said...

A properly functioning Spotmatic is pure joy to shoot! And, in addition to delivering fine images, I find that the Asahi Takumar lenses have a focus feel that is quite remarkable and unique.

Mike said...

The whole Takumar line is really extraordinary. I left off using my radioactive ones for a while because I thought the yellow tinge was altering color. That is probably a bit silly, though, as I always end up adjusting the color on everything.

astrobeck said...

Very nice photos! Pentax is great and probably underrated by a lot of people.
The interior of the church is well done and I like the muted color of it.
Hope to see more from this camera dn color combo.

Andy Umbo said...

I had a last series Pentax with SMC screw mount lenses, before they went to the K mount. I wish I would have kept them. I never did much professionally on 35mm at all, but it was folly to have kept churning and replacing my 35mm stuff over the years. I look back on my collection of slides, and much of what I shot with that camera is seriously as good or better than any other system I owned. I also think the last series screw-mount Pentaxes seemed to have much quieter and far less vibration prone shutters than the K-1000, which seems very clunky.

Mike said...

Hi Andy.
I couldn't agree more regarding the Spotmatics and the screw mount lenses. They had elegance and precision that was lost in the later bayonet style. Also, I think the bayonet advantage was over-rated in terms of real usefulness. If you look back at the pros in action in the '60s you see that they were often carrying several bodies with the lenses in place that they might need. Later, good zooms took over that function.

Christopher Smith said...

I like your photos and I to have soft spot for Spotmatics they just feel right in your hands.
I have a Spotmatic F which is lovely to use I usually use Agfa Vista 200 which we are led to believe is re-badged Fuji C200.

Mike said...

Considering their quality, the Spotmatics are a great bargain today. I see them pretty often going for around $30. I mostly turn to locally available Fuji 200 for color with all my old cameras including the Pentax. I still like tri-x for b&w, but all the Kodak stuff is getting a bit pricey.