Pentax Spotmatic / SP

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Pentax Spotmatic / SP

The three Pentax cameras on my desk are Spotmatic SP, SP 1000 and SP 500. All look the same save for top speed variations on the SP 1000 and SP 500, being the top speeds respectively, and the self-timer on the Spotmatic.

The Spotmatic, introduced in the ’60s, and the SP’s later in the ’70s, look and feel to that effect, solid and respectable no-nonsense shooters. The classic Pentax cloth curtain combined with a 42mm lens thread is a giveaway. After so many years, all three look untouched by age, save for dings on top which seems to be the common malaise of that heavy bodies.  Despite evidence of dropping and banging their heads, neither show any internal damage or malfunction. Needless to say that any of their later counterparts would be out of commission once dropped.

Initially designed for spot measuring, hence the name, the system was later changed to multipoint. The SP’s I have still has the 1.8 / 55 lenses that they were sold with, still bright and clear. The only confusing moment was when I loaded a fresh battery to all without the needle response, just to remember a day later that there is an activating switch. The battery used is a cheap AG10, 1.5V rather than the recommended 1.35V which is no longer found. No accessory shoe on any of the SP or K series, but an add-on cold shoe is available and tends to scratch the bulge. Having no automatic option makes it a good beginner’s camera, forcing the shooter to think.

Shooting is simple. Set the speed, watch the needle at the finder, set to the middle gap by adjusting the aperture dial and voila.

The Pentax K series look and feel much the same. At today’s prices, the Spotmatic series are cheaper to buy than the later date K’s. The Spotmatic line was also sold under Honeywell banner. See current prices at the bottom of the page.

 

Spotmatic family table

Pentax SP500

Pentax SP500

Pentax SP 1000

Pentax SP 1000

Pentax Spotmatic SP

Pentax Spotmatic SP

 

Pentax Spotmatic and SP current prices

SP 1000
SP 600
Spotmatic
Spotmatic SP
Spotmatic SP II
Spotmatic SP IIa
Spotmatic F
Electro Spotmatic

ir1001

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