The Pentax SPII or Spotmatic II is a well built mechanical SLR and because it uses the ubiquitous M42 thread for its lens mount there are a multitude of old lenses that can be used with it. You could try to find a solution for the fact that it originally used 1.35V mercury cell batteries including using newer 1.5V silver batteries but I personally don’t even bother with a battery. With its completely mechanical shutter you can measure with a hand held meter or digital camera and then just set the aperture and shutter speed as needed.
The Spotmatic cameras are minimalist in their design but also very attractive in my opinion.
It’s film cameras like this that produced the dreadful images that put many people off photography or drove them to buy expensive terrible early digital cameras. The notion of having a lens that covers 38-170mm sounds good but there are a few reasons that it isn’t. The maximum aperture of the lens is f5.6 at the wide end and f12.8 at the telephoto end, neither gathers much light. Couple that with the fact the maximum shutter speed was a paltry 1/250 second and its almost a guarantee that blurry images were going to result. But lets say you use some good technique and you do manage to get a blur free image there is still the fact that there is a boat load of chromatic aberrations (ie colour fringing) you’ll be waist deep in vignetting and only the center of the image is sharp. And by sharp I mean butter knife sharp not tack sharp. So why bother using this camera 15 years later? Good question, I suppose I too was lured in with the promise of a 4.5x zoom, thinking won’t that be fun, it wasn’t. So if you see one of these languishing in a thrift store bin its better to walk away and save your film for a more worthy camera. It’s hard to believe but there are a few 35mm film point and shoot cameras that attempted even longer telephoto zoom maybe I should try them.
I seem to attract light leaks with cameras like ants to a picnic or mosquitos to the one spot you missed with the repelant. All very annoying. I’ve been using my Ricoh R1 for a few years now without any issues and have been very pleased with it. Ricoh R1 with Color Implosion Ricoh R1 great camera design
Ricoh R1 in Niagara but then this happened.
There are some clues in the leak: It repeats on every frame, it is near the edge, it is a narrow strip. This all points to the light seal around the film canister window.
Taking a close look at the seal I could see that it had begun to deteriorate. I decided to look for a donor camera that would fit the bill. It isn’t until you nead something that you realize how hard it is to find. The variety of shapes and sizes for the seal material was unexpected not to mention the different textures and methods of adhesion. Not finding a perfect match I decided rather than doing the sensible thing and just blacking out the film window I would deprive a cheap camera of its seal despite its poor fit. A little extra strip of foam shouldn’t hurt either.
As you look at this you may be thinking well that looks unprofessional to which I would reply ‘It’s inside the camera and it does the job’
Here is the proof
And here are a few images from before the seal transplant.
It was just a little of a year ago that the Wood Lake fire occurred on the West side of Harrison lake. I originally went there after the fire was out and they had just reopened the road. Now I have returned to see what changes have taken place. Obviously slow growing plants like trees will take time to come back but those plants that grow rapidly like ferns and grasses have already started to cover the landscape. Its interesting to see so much happen over the course of a year and I plan to return again in coming years.
The MZ6 is a great little SLR that I have written about many times so I wont repeat myself here but I will post 30 random pictures taken using it with two rolls of either Kodak 400 or Fujicolor 200