Pentax Spotmatic / SP

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Pentax Spotmatic / SP / SP 500 / SP 1000

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 the Honeywell banner. See current prices at the bottom of the page.

List number 2648 2390 2642
Brand Pentax
Model Spotmatic SP SP 1000 SP500
Manual Butkus
Format 35mm
Introduced 1974 1974 1971
AKA Spotmatic
Country Japan
Qty made
Initial price
Type Compact SLR
Body material Metal
Mode Manual
Weight 620 gr,  Body only 600 gr,  Body only 610 gr,  Body only
Class average weight 620 gr,  Body only
ASA range 20-1600
Kit lens 1,8/55
Lens make SMC Takumar
Filter size 49 mm
Lens mount Thread
Mount size 42mm
Shutter Focal plane cloth horizontal
Shutter make
Light meter TTL, lever activated
Winder Lever
Lock N/A
Speeds B, 1-1000 B, 1-1000 B, 1-500
Mirror Auto return
Viewer Fixed Eyelevel prism
DOF preview Yes
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe No
External sync X
Sync speed 60
Timer Yes, mechanical No No
Battery, original PX400
Battery, replacement AG10
Battery voltage 1.35
Integral flash None
Service / repair links See

Other Spotmatic models’ current prices

Spotmatic SP II
Spotmatic SP IIa
Spotmatic F
Electro Spotmatic

Spotmatic family table

Pentax SP500

Pentax SP500

Pentax SP 1000

Pentax SP 1000

Pentax Spotmatic SP

Pentax Spotmatic SP



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