PHOTOGRAPHY   © mike connealy
Pentax Spotmatic
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We bought a Pentax Spotmatic, slightly used, in 1970 shortly after arriving in San Francisco; I think we paid $100 for it. At the time, I was harboring the delusion that I might make a living as a free-lance photojournalist. It actually wasn't very hard to get pictures published in the local papers, and I also sold a few photos to the wire services. The classic Chevie sandwiched between the two J-Church streetcars appeared in quite a few papers and magazines, including one of the last issues of the old Life Magazine. I think I made about a hundred dollars with that shot; most of the wire service and newspaper stuff brought about $25 - not much of a living.
Margaret made somewhat more productive use of the camera in Idaho as a reporter for the Glenns Ferry Pilot. (I'll post some of those photos when I've tracked them down.)

The Spotmatic was one of the last great classics of Photography's mechanical age; it was all metal, yet compact and light-weight. It had a coupled, match-needle meter that operated through the lens, and a 1/1000 top shutter speed. The Takumar lenses produced images of astounding quality.
    The camera above-left is the same one purchased in SF thirty-eight years ago. It has had one tune-up in that time and works pretty much like new. The other is a slightly newer SP II model that came as a gift not long ago; it is wearing the incomparable Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 1:1.8/55 lens.
    I have acquired a few other lenses for the Pentax over the years. Probably the most useful has been the 135mm Mamiya-Sekor, which seems just as sharp as the Takumars; it is very handy for shooting public events where you often can't get quite as close to the action as you would like. When I need to get even closer, I can attach the 2X teleconverter. I bought the Super-Takumar 1:3.5/24mm about a year ago, mostly for architectural work; it is very nice for working close-up in tight spaces.
    The Spotmatic originally took a 1.35v mercury battery. I used a Wein cell battery in mine for some time, but they have gotten expensive, so I switched to using the little 1.5v watch batteries you can get inexpensively at the drugstore. Right now, I have an Energizer 392/384 in my camera. Since the battery is very small, I use a little rubber O-ring around the battery to make it fit snuggly in the battery compartment. The slight voltage difference from the original specification seems to make no difference in light meter functioning.

The Spotmatic user manual and the service manual are available on line.

Here are a few more recent photos from the Pentax:

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