Pentax Spotmatic

My father taught me how to take photographs. My first camera was a very old 120 format Kodak brownie. I guess it was decades old when I got my hands on it. My father had a Pentx Spotmatic that he bought in the late sixties. I was sometimes allowed to use it - with it's strange metering - althogh quite intuitive feedback. Fast forward to now and I bought myself 2 mint Pentax Spotmatic bodies and have carefully collected a very comprehensive set of Super Takumar lenses - as well as some Zeiss from East Germany - to make a very cool setup.


This camera is about as simple as it can get. It is almost all mechanical, and doesn't need batteries to fire the shutter, only to run the light meter. So if the battery dies, just whip out your light meter (I use one on the iPhone) and you can keep shooting away. All very convenient.  The best lenses for these are still as good as almost anything made today - especially the 50mm F1.4 "radioactive" lens (look it up) that you see on the photo above.

If anyone asks me how to get started in photography, I tell them to get one of these (or an Olympus OMx, Canon AE or Nikon FM) and blaze away with some film. Like driving a car, you get better when you really know how the machine works. Once you have honed your skills on these - cheap - cameras with film, you can really get the best from the very expensive and complicated cameras that you can buy today. This will slow you down and enable you to "see" the photo and know exactly what you will get, rather than shot-chimp-shoot like most digital starters seem to do. Give it a try. You can find these on Ebay or many other places for a couple of hundred US dollars - nothing to pay for the sheer quality of the product and the satisfication they will give. Just don't take them out in the rain.

© David Runacres 2014