Just inherited a Pentax Spotmatic and I have some questions.

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by jasc15, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. jasc15

    jasc15 Guest

    First of all, this is my first post here so I figure i would start with a hello to everyone. I post on other forums, so im quite familiar with forum etiquette (though this is the only photography forum i am registered with)

    Anyway, I recieved an old Pentax Spotmatic from my uncle along with an array of accessories including a 50mm f/1.4, a 150mm f/3.6, and an 80-250mm zoom (this thing is a monster) as well as a bunch of filters and a 2x & 3x teleconverter.

    After messing around with it, I noticed that the 50mm lens has quite a yellowish brown tint to it, the kind that screams old and musty. At first I thought it was just the prism, but after removing the lens, it was pretty obvious. Is there a way to clean the lens? I haven't looked at the other lenses since noticing this, so I'm not sure what their condition is.

    Also, whenever I set the shutter to 60 or slower and release it, the mirror stays up until i release the shutter again at a higher speed. I dont see any switch for a mirror lockup, so im assuming this is a defect.

    I've been wanting a fully mechanical camera for some time now, so if nothing else, this is a cool little machine to have.
     
  2. YoungPic

    YoungPic TPF Noob!

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    i also have a spotmatic, the problem with the shutter being locked up at low shutter speeds is common, in the early spots this was a problem due to the sealer inside the camera sometimes starts to deteriorate and makes the mirror stick up, thats the experience ive had anyways
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Old screwmount takumar 50mm lenses were among the sharpest of their time. Unfortunately the coatings were someone contaminated with unstable materials which would make them turn yellow over time. I have a few in my collection in various degrees of yellowing. I still use them for B&W as they are still as sharp as ever.

    You can google "yellow takumar pentax" or something to similar and read some of the details. There is a slight controversy over the coating as rumor has it that it is slightly radioactive which accounts for the yellowing of the glass.

    I believe they corrected the issue in later serials of the lenses. I've found a couple 50mm takumar screwmounts from ebay that are still clear.

    A good working spotmatic is an extremely fun camera to work with. Check ebay for lenses and such... talk about cheap.

    As for the mirror, you might want to take it in and consider a CLA. There is a fellow on ebay under the name "pentaxrepairs" that sells his services for a flat fee of around $55.
     
  4. CPayton

    CPayton TPF Noob!

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    I ran into a related post at the Pentax Forum shortly after reading this post. Looks like you can fix the yellowing problem fairly easily. Here's the link:

    Fix a Radioactive Lens
     
  5. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Here's the only link that tells you how to fix the yellowing of your Takumar:

    Fix_Takumar
     
  6. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    See, I knew where this was heading, Dimitri. :lol:


    jasc15: Do not try this at home! ;) Take your new-to-you Pentax to a repair shop for a routine CLA, as usayit suggested. It's well worth the small investment! New seals, lubrication, etc., will make your camera perform like new. You already have several lenses and filters, so you should have a ball with this system.

    Enjoy!
     
  7. jasc15

    jasc15 Guest

    Thanks for the help everyone.

    terri, when you said "Do not try this at home" i assume you meant the mechanical repair, not the lens discoloration removal. I know someone who used to work at a camera store, so i may take it there to have it looked at. As for the lens fix, im a little concerned about heating the lens (one solution i read on the link posted by CPayton) because of the lubricants inside. Ill ask about the lens when i bring it to the shop.

    Another minor problem im having is that i cannot remove the battery cover, it seems to be jammed (this happens with steel threads, particularly stainless steel, when there is no lubricant used in the threads). I may end up drilling some holes in the battery cover and buying a new one.

    Edit: oh, and what is a CLA? I assume it is some kind of inspection routine
     
  8. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you looked at the link Mitica put up there, you'll know what I meant about not trying it at home. Joke. :)

    CLA = clean/lubricate/adjustment, with other things added like new seals, etc, as indicated. It's like getting a tune-up for your car. Most older cameras will need one at some point. I've taken several of mine in and they always come out gleaming like new and work beautifully. Well worth the effort!
     
  9. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Seriously now... The yellow Takumar might work only for BW film for the colors on color or slide film will be shifting due to the yellowing. I'd get another 50/1.4, they're pretty cheap nowadays. Great lens, BTW.
     
  10. jasc15

    jasc15 Guest

    :lol: i did see that link, but I didnt know you were talking about that.

    before i go out and buy another 50mm lens, i guess ill just stick to my Nikon N8008 for color photography. Im just starting (having inherited the Nikon as well) so im not about to invest loads of money into it until I know I will benefit from it. Though I only have 70-210 lens for the Nikon, so it may be better to go for the Takumar 50 after all..
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I don't know how yellow it is, but I have a fairly yellowed Takumar and it worked great for black and white. In fact it worked great on a digital SLR as well, the yellowing being not that bad and easily corrected, but that's another matter. I'd say keep the lens and use it for black & white. There are millions of other lenses out there for the Spotmatic (look for anything in "M42" screw mount); not only Pentax/Takumar, but loads of other companies too. Usually they are really cheap, and it's very easy to get addicted to picking up and trying old lenses.
     
  12. jasc15

    jasc15 Guest

    I am looking for other M42 screw lenses now, but i was wondering about the quality of zoom lenses of this era. Should i stick with fixed focal length lenses?
     

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