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OT: your favorite M42 SLRs
Old 02-09-2006   #1
Little Prince
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OT: your favorite M42 SLRs

Sorry for this infringement on the understanding at RFF. But since this is my favorite place to ask photo-related questions (not just RF), I'll take the liberty.

I may want to get an M42 SLR for various reasons. Having no previous knowledge of the myriad available models, I'd like your input. Ideally I would like one of the really good M42 bodies as I don't expect to get more than one anytime in the foreseeable future. So put in your vote for what you think is a 'good' M42 body. I expect it's probably a Pentax. I mean 'good' in the usual sense. Nothing quirky or exotic.

That said, I want to be cheap on this one and wont spend a lot, if I do at all. I imagine old Pentax screwmount bodies ought to be reasonably cheap anyway but if that is not the case, may I ask for a middle-of-the-line alternative. A la Nikon FM.

If I wanted to spend, say 300 bucks (US) I would just get the new Bessaflex TM by Cosina as that would give me a good body which is new! But I probably don't.

Don't take this too seriously. It's for some fun projects and it *may* help serve an interesting new acquisition, which will be revealed later . Not RF related though .
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Old 02-09-2006   #2
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I used to have a Mamiya 1000DTL that was very good. Got it for cheap from St. Vinnies (~$20) with a nice normal lens. Since that's the only one I've ever used, it's all I can recommend

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Old 02-09-2006   #3
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I am a pentaphile and there are many good ones around. The Fujica M42 SLRs arealso very good and generally are co0nsidered to have brighter finders than the Pentax's.
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Old 02-09-2006   #4
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Spiritually speaking, the hometown fave for me would be the Pentax Spotmatic F (with a trio of late-model SMC glass for full-aperture metering, on the side). Second choice would be the new(ish) Bessaflex. Basic transportation, but solid enough, and a nice, bright VF. I don't do much SLR stuff anymore (all I have left is a somewhat-worn Olympus OM-2n), but the Spotmatic has such nice fit and feel, without being a hulk of a camera.


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Old 02-09-2006   #5
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I would suggest looking at this site for a good idea of what m42 models are out there and what features they have, http://anusf.anu.edu.au/~aab900/phot...as/cameras.htm

Personally, I have a Pentax SPII, Fujica ST701, Vivitar 450/SLD, Zenit EM, Yashica Electro and Practica MTL3. The Pentax & Fujica are very smooth and nicely made. The Vivitar is the most full featured model that still has a mechanical shutter and has a vertical metal shutter, as does the Practica and Yashica.
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Old 02-09-2006   #6
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The Spotmatic F would be a nice classic body. Personally, I would go with the Bessaflex, but you have already ruled that out. If I were to get only one body, I would go with the Chinon Memotron CE-I, CE-II or CE-III (or the GAF equivalent).

The Chinon will let you shoot aperture priority with any M42 lens (except pre-set lenses, of course), has a very accurate, relatively modern silicon photodiode (SPD) meter like the Bessas, and uses a readily available battery. They are well-built and very tough. The finders are brighter than the old spotties, and usually have a split-image and microprism collar, easier (for me) to focus.

They are very inexpensive.
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Old 02-09-2006   #7
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I agree with the Spotmatic F recommendations -- match-needle and full aperture metering (which means the great Super-Multi-Coated Takumars). I've been toying with the idea of getting one of the earlier Spotmatics, but am concerned about finding a long-lived replacement for those 400 series batteries they take.

An earlier Pentax I'd recommend is the SV (also called the S1a, I think, here in North America). No meter, but there is an externally mounted one you usually can find without too much looking. One interesting feature of the SV/S1a is the self-timer, which is set by turning a ring below the rewind crank.

Don't turn up your nose at the ES, which was the first autoexposure Pentax. It will work without a battery, if that's your concern; it just means there's no metering and you manually set the shutter speeds. (Even with the battery working, the meter will be switched off if you turn the dial off of the autoexposure setting.) I got a well-brassed one a few years ago and I like it a lot. It takes the 28 series or A544 batteries, all of which are reasonably available, even other than in camera stores. I like it better than the ESII, which requires four of the SR44 batteries which go in a very fiddly compartment below the lens mount.
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Old 02-09-2006   #8
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I want to vote for the old yashica TL Electro X. I have one that I bought a few years back to replace the one I had stolen in '75. This old camera has never let me down.
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Old 02-09-2006   #9
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I have a Pentagon (LTB?) with a sharp 50mm lens off ebay last year for $25. The meter was DOA, but it's a great "kamakazie" camera when going someplace the rig might get wreaked or stolen.
BTW- I'll sell it for the same price I bought it + S/H
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Old 02-09-2006   #10
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I like the Argus/Cosina STL1000. It is basically a Nikkormat with M42 mount. I've had one since I was 13, in 1970.
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Old 02-09-2006   #11
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I'm pretty fond of my Spotmatic, my only complaint is they seem louder then other cameras I've used. Their not for low profile situations, at least not mine.
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Old 02-09-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon

Don't turn up your nose at the ES, which was the first autoexposure Pentax. It will work without a battery, if that's your concern; it just means there's no metering and you manually set the shutter speeds. (Even with the battery working, the meter will be switched off if you turn the dial off of the autoexposure setting.) I got a well-brassed one a few years ago and I like it a lot. It takes the 28 series or A544 batteries, all of which are reasonably available, even other than in camera stores. I like it better than the ESII, which requires four of the SR44 batteries which go in a very fiddly compartment below the lens mount.
Will the ESII work with dead batteries, too, Nick?
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Old 02-09-2006   #13
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I also favor the Spotmatic F with SMC lenses like 28 F3.5, 55 F1.8, 50mmF1.4, 135 F3.5.
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Old 02-09-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Prince
Sorry for this infringement on the understanding at RFF. But since this is my favorite place to ask photo-related questions (not just RF), I'll take the liberty.

I may want to get an M42 SLR for various reasons. Having no previous knowledge of the myriad available models, I'd like your input. Ideally I would like one of the really good M42 bodies as I don't expect to get more than one anytime in the foreseeable future. So put in your vote for what you think is a 'good' M42 body. I expect it's probably a Pentax. I mean 'good' in the usual sense. Nothing quirky or exotic.

That said, I want to be cheap on this one and wont spend a lot, if I do at all. I imagine old Pentax screwmount bodies ought to be reasonably cheap anyway but if that is not the case, may I ask for a middle-of-the-line alternative. A la Nikon FM.

If I wanted to spend, say 300 bucks (US) I would just get the new Bessaflex TM by Cosina as that would give me a good body which is new! But I probably don't.

Don't take this too seriously. It's for some fun projects and it *may* help serve an interesting new acquisition, which will be revealed later . Not RF related though .

Honeywell Spotmatic chrome
Asahi Pentax S1a chrome
Asahi Pentax H1a chrome
Asahi Pentax SP 500 chrome
Asahi Pentax S1a black
Asahi Pentax SP black
Asahi Pentax ESII black

as you can see, I am a pentax kinda guy, they are strong and there is a guy that repairs them well and for very little money. lots of spare parts
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Old 02-09-2006   #15
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I also vote for Yashica. I have a Pentax and love it, but Yashicas never seem to go for more than $40, and the better ones have mirror lock up and more reliable LED meter readouts.

Richie
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Old 02-09-2006   #16
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I am a Pentax freak:

Model K Asahi Pentax
Black Pentax SV
Chrome Pentax S1a
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic II

I swore no more bodies, lenses though I am tempted with a 50 macro my techie has in his shop. Must resist gas...........

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Old 02-09-2006   #17
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The Voigtlander "Bessaflex", marketed by Stephen Gandy amongst others, is a great M42 SLR. Unlike any other model, it's NEW so no worries about how it'll work, etc. I have the silver, Topcon-like, model. Absolutely great. Amateur Photographer did a review on this model a few months ago and said very nice things about it.
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Old 02-09-2006   #18
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I have the Bessaflex and a really nice Yashica TL Electro X ITS. So another vote for the Yashica if you want to stay on the inexpensive side.

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Old 02-10-2006   #19
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Actually I don't know if I need one at all. But it kinda makes sense to me anyway so I think I'll get one. Now you guys have given me a lot of names to research and I have done so. Still, let me narrow down the field seriously by mentioning some preferences.

It would be great if the body offered:

MLU, as close to 100% coverage as possible in finder, interchangeable focusing screens

What matters NOT is:

AE (auto exposure), battery dependency and other features

I'm undecided about open-aperture metering ability. Do you know anything that meets these requirements? My own subjective preference is for a 'classic' camera. So I think I'd like some flavor of Spotmatic. Anyone know the difference between a Spotmatic SP, SPII and F?

Lens combos, etc is not important. Don't plan on getting a lens for it at the moment. Let me also mention that if you think any M42 body is especially suited to macro shooting, please let me know.

Nwcanonman, thanks for the offer but I think I'll pass on the Pentacon for now. I admit I've been tempted by the Contax S, D, etc.. (and Pentacons) before but right now I'm looking for ease of use, reliability and mainstream-ness. My desire is strictly utilitarian (apart from the 'classic' factor).

Running second to the Spotmatics are the Fujicas and the Chinon Memotrons. But I've read about compatibility problems with the Fujica mount on Stephen Gandy's site and reports from many who like the feel of the Pentaxes more than the Chinons. Something on the order of a 100 bucks should be all right. I think I can snag one as I don't care about cosmetic condition.
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Old 02-10-2006   #20
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Hi,
You need to move on to the Pentax K mount if you want interchangeable focus screens. None of the M42 had this.

SPII = SP with hot shoe. SPF = SPII with open aperture metering with SMC lenses.

If you more info try my website www.pentax-manuals.com Special Fujica section http://pentax-manuals.com/fujica/fujica.htm

Hope this helps

Kim


Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Prince
MLU, as close to 100% coverage as possible in finder, interchangeable focusing screens

What matters NOT is:

AE (auto exposure), battery dependency and other features

I'm undecided about open-aperture metering ability. Do you know anything that meets these requirements? My own subjective preference is for a 'classic' camera. So I think I'd like some flavor of Spotmatic. Anyone know the difference between a Spotmatic SP, SPII and F?

Lens combos, etc is not important. Don't plan on getting a lens for it at the moment. Let me also mention that if you think any M42 body is especially suited to macro shooting, please let me know.

Running second to the Spotmatics are the Fujicas and the Chinon Memotrons. But I've read about compatibility problems with the Fujica mount on Stephen Gandy's site and reports from many who like the feel of the Pentaxes more than the Chinons. Something on the order of a 100 bucks should be all right. I think I can snag one as I don't care about cosmetic condition.
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Old 02-10-2006   #21
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How about a Nikon F with Nikon/M42 adaptor?
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Old 02-10-2006   #22
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Ray, sorry to not get back to you before. Yes, both ES and ESII will work without batteries, though you only get B, 160, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and 1/1000.

Anand, of the Spotmatics, only the F has open aperture metering. I don't believe any of the M42 cameras had interchangeable screens, and I'm pretty sure also that none of the Pentaxes had mirror lock up as a separate control (though this might occur when operating the self-timer). Maybe the Fujicas offered these features?
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Old 02-10-2006   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Prince
I'm undecided about open-aperture metering ability. Do you know anything that meets these requirements? My own subjective preference is for a 'classic' camera. So I think I'd like some flavor of Spotmatic. Anyone know the difference between a Spotmatic SP, SPII and F?
The Spotmatic F, ES, and ESII were the last and latest screw-mount Pentax models produced, and these are the only three that offer open-aperture metering, and then only with SMC lenses. The ES and ESII have AE, and no user-selectable speeds below the 1/60 X-sync speed.

For ALL the goodies including mirror lockup, shift focus to the K-mount and look at the K2 and K2DMD, or the later LX. Even the tiny MX has interchangeable screens, using the same ones as the LX. Using M42 lenses on these loses diaphragm automation though, as with (AFAIK) all other adaptations to non-Pentax mount bodies too.

From what you've said, I agree with those who suggest the Spotmatic F as a fine choice. While I have 15 Pentaxes, the F is not among 'em..
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Old 02-10-2006   #24
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The first Pentax to have MLU as standard was the KX. It could be fitted to some of the Spots to special order. AFIK, none of the Fuji's offered it.

Kim

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon
Ray, sorry to not get back to you before. Yes, both ES and ESII will work without batteries, though you only get B, 160, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and 1/1000.

Anand, of the Spotmatics, only the F has open aperture metering. I don't believe any of the M42 cameras had interchangeable screens, and I'm pretty sure also that none of the Pentaxes had mirror lock up as a separate control (though this might occur when operating the self-timer). Maybe the Fujicas offered these features?
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Old 02-10-2006   #25
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As I mentioned before the KX has MLU. The MX had it's own set of screens. You can use the MX ones in the LX but not the other way round. The LX ones will throw the meter off in the LX by at least one stop. It doesn't affect the LX as the the metering is OTF.

Both adapters to use M42 lenses on the Fujica X-Mount cameras retains the auto stop down and one of also allows the use of most of the meter functions as well using the Fujinons.

Kim

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug
The Spotmatic F, ES, and ESII were the last and latest screw-mount Pentax models produced, and these are the only three that offer open-aperture metering, and then only with SMC lenses. The ES and ESII have AE, and no user-selectable speeds below the 1/60 X-sync speed.

For ALL the goodies including mirror lockup, shift focus to the K-mount and look at the K2 and K2DMD, or the later LX. Even the tiny MX has interchangeable screens, using the same ones as the LX. Using M42 lenses on these loses diaphragm automation though, as with (AFAIK) all other adaptations to non-Pentax mount bodies too.

From what you've said, I agree with those who suggest the Spotmatic F as a fine choice. While I have 15 Pentaxes, the F is not among 'em..
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Old 02-10-2006   #26
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M42?

Just about to reseal a Praktica MTL3 (when I get some isopropol alcohol for cleaning the old crud off) thanks to my foam kit from Jon Goodman here on the RFF and the meter sprung back into life with the aid of a battery adapter from John Neal (are all handy people called John/Jon?). Don't forget the Zenit's either, cloth shutters instead of the metal Praktica.

The Fujica ST605n handles better though and takes regular SR44 batteries and is smaller and lighter too. Off set tripod mount (ala Leica M) might be a problem though.

Pesonal preference, consider the Pentax MX, incredibly small and can be used with an M42 adapter without too much grief. Huge viewfinder with shutter speed, aperture (K mount) and exposure. Wonderful.
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Old 02-10-2006   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuikologist
How about a Nikon F with Nikon/M42 adaptor?
Not only the adapter wipes out any mechanical connection between camera and lens, it also contains a negative element so as to compensate the greater back-focus needed for the Nikon body, which impacts on the image quality.
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