Pentax Spotmatic SPII review

This is a review of the Pentax Spotmatic SPII 35mm manual focus slr camera.


The pictures in this gallery can also be viewed in full size here

My Camera

I bought this camera really because I want to increase my Pentax spotmatic collection, and I found this at an almost giveaway price of £7:50. Unfortunately, for that price I didn’t get a lens with the camera but the body is in superb condition with hardly a mark on it. For the pictures above I’ve added a Takumar SMC 55mm f/2.0 lens which is actually not the correct type of lens for the camera as it would have been supplied with a Takumar Super-Multi-Coated lens.

As I said above, this camera is in superb mechanical condition with every control working exactly as it should and only one part of the camera not correctly working. The part which doesn’t work is the metering, which although the meter responds to light when a battery is fitted, is completely inaccurate. For example in an almost completely dark room with a single table lamp running, at 200 ASA set on the film speed dial, the camera is suggesting an exposure of f/16 at 1/250 would be correct. This seems to be a common problem with spotmatics – I think all my examples either completely fail to work, or have a similar fault.

Because all spotmatics will eventually have problems with the mirror sticking, I lubricated the gear which causes the problem as a precautionary measure.

Pentax Spotmatic SPII Description

This description is just detailing the differences between the Spotmatic and the Spotmatic SPII. Please also see my review of the Spotmatic to evaluate the full camera.

From an historical perspective, the SPII was introduced in 1971.

From a point of view of the looks of the camera there are some very subtle differences in body shape, but the biggest difference is the addition of a hot shoe flash socket permanently fitted to the SPII which was missing on the original Spotmatic. The hot shoe can be switched to either X or FP flash sync using a switch mounted around the rewind crank, and the rewind crank switch is the other notable difference between the look of the SPII and the original spotmatic. As well as the flash sync switch, the film type reminder has been improved and can now show if the camera is empty, fitted with 20 or 36 exposure film and can also indicate the type of film fitted – either b&w, colour negative or colour reversal.

The one other notable change is the film speed range which has gone up to ASA 3200 from the ASA 1600 of the Spotmatic, giving an increase in the meter’s sensitivity.

It terms of handling this feels like almost exactly the same camera as the spotmatic. I can’t detect any difference in weight or body shape when using it, and the view through the viewfinder looks exactly the same to my eyes.

Pentax Spotmatic SPII specifications

  • Pentax Spotmatic SPII 35mm manual focus slr
  • Shutter range 1sec to 1/1000sec + B
  • Shutter cocked indicator
  • X & FP sync sockets
  • Hot shoe with switch selectable X or FP sync
  • Metered film speed range ASA20 to ASA3200
  • Metering ‘out of range’ indicator
  • Match needle TTL stop down metering
  • Self timer
  • Auto diaphragm
  • Comprehensive film type reminder
  • Self zeroing frame counter built into film advance
  • Tripod mount in base
  • Ser No 5213639
  • Manufactured c 1971
  • Handbook is here

 

 

 

 

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