Pentax Spotmatic F exposure meter needle stuck at top

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jack_leaf, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm hoping you'll be able to shed some light (pun intended) on a problem I am having with my Grandpa's beautiful Spotmatic F.
    I idiotically dropped it a couple of weeks ago and now the exposure needle remains constantly in the up position, even when I block out all light. It was working perfectly before this so I was wondering if anybody has any idea why it might be doing this? The only lens I have for it is my 50mm 1.4 SMC Takumar which I don't believe made contact with the ground but obviously the impact might have damaged it.
    Please let me know if you have any idea what's going on as I love this camera very dearly!
    Thank you,
  2. The meter movement may have been dislodged from its pivots.
  3. I think so too. The galvanometers in cameras usually use a quite simple toe bearing system. In some cases you might be able to push back the movement axis into proper position but I found that in most cases a damaged galvanometer is beyond repair. (There are bearing systems for galvanometers which are much more shock resistant but they need more space and are more expensive to manufacture.)
  4. yes you need help. I think the same meter parts were used widely, with early bayonet Pentaxes too, like the K1000, so someone will have the part if it has been destroyed.
    The lens is probably OK; very durable
  5. Thanks very much for the advice.
    Gutted to hear it might not be a
    simple fix :(
    Would you recommend I have it
    fixed? If so, can somebody please
    put me in touch with a repairer?
    Alternatively it looks like they
    go for £80 on eBay but I'd lose
    the sentimental value of course.

    Thanks again,
  6. It's only money. Once you spend it, you won't miss it. You probably won't drop it again. Hope someone knows a decent repairer.
  7. Hi all,

    Been a fair while since my first post but essentially I ended up buying another Spotmatic F online. It worked fine for a couple of months but then out of the blue the meter needle became stuck in central position. I figured this would be because battery ran flat so bought a replacement (Wein cell MRB400 1.35V - Wein Cell Mercury Replacement PX400 Battery 1.35V(Pentax Spotmatic SP500 SP1000) 750062011123 | eBay) which hasn't had any impact - needle stays central regardless of exposure to light.

    From what I've read online this battery should work but am I wrong? As advised on forums, I've left it for several hours with plastic cover off and still no luck.

    Could there be another reason that I'm having no luck?

    Thanks in advance,
  8. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.


    The Spotmatic F should take a PX625 battery. The smaller PX400 replacement you mention above fits the earlier Spotmatic models.

    I have had bad zinc/air batteries out of the package. If you haven't already, of course, check that the contacts and battery are clean.

    I have a Pentax ES II (Electro Spotmatic) that I acquired with a dead meter. The problem turned out to be a broken meter switch, located at the bottom of the camera. The two metal pieces were not making contact when I depressed the shutter release because the plastic base they were attached to was cracked. I was able to re-glue this piece and it works fine now.

    Not sure if the F is made the same way, but if your battery is OK it might be worth removing the bottom cover and taking a look.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  9. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the info.

    Sounds like I've bought the wrong battery then! Would these do the trick? 4 x GP LR9 PX625A V625 PX625 PX13 M20 1.5v Batteries | eBay

    If the correct battery doesn't do the trick then I'll look into whether it could be a broken meter switch. Is this quite obvious after removing the bottom plate?

  10. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.


    The 1.5v batteries should be fine. You can also get them in silver oxide, but they cost a good bit more and are harder to find.

    Actually, the meter switch on my ES II is activated by partially depressing the shutter release button. As I recall now, on the F the meter is always on unless you put the lens cap on. So my suggestion of looking at the meter switch may not help. You might want to see this older thread below:

    Spotmatic F Light Meter Problem

    Hope this helps,

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  11. Yeah, the Spotmatic meters will work fine with 1.5 volts. I've been using a 1.5 alkaline in my Spotmatic F for the last two years, although when it is depleted I will replace it with a silver oxide 1.5.
  12. This web site is probably one of the best for repair of Pentax cameras.

  13. Thanks very much for the info, chaps. Have ordered some PX625 batteries so fingers crossed at least one of my 2 spotmatic Fs will work with them!

    Out of interest, on a working Spotmatic F with no battery, where should the meter needle sit? Top/middle/bottom?

  14. Hi all,

    The PX625 battery works a dream but about 30mins after using my Spotmatic F the light meter started going crazy and then staying glued to the bottom intermittently. I've filmed a short video in the hope you guys might be able to highlight what's wrong with it. If you get chance to have a look please could you let me know?

    Thank you,
  15. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  16. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    You also might try turning the shutter speed dial, and see if this needle 'jumping' is happening at any particular speed setting.
  17. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the tips - have tried various combinations of ASA/shutter speed/aperture and can't work out a pattern. One trend seems to be that if either ASA is very high and shutter speed is long the needle moves to central point but does not fluctuate when bright light shone/lens covered. So frustrating?!

    Maybe it's time to take it in for repair?

  18. Hi Jack

    Harrow technical do repairs on Spotmatics. Well respected, I have used them a couple of times, once for a Spotmatic Body and once for a lens. Robin Gowing is the man, their web site is here:

    Pentax Camera Repair Specialists - Repair Prices - Harrow Technical

    It’ll cost you a hundred quid, but you’ll have a body to use for a good few years then

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