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new to forum - buy a Spotmatic?


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Greetings, and apologies if this has already been asked

numerous times. I spotted a Spotmatic for sale at a very good

price, including a 55 f/1.4 Takumar - about $US80 for both. A few

marks on the body, some dust in the finder, otherwise looks

good. There's also a 135 going pretty cheaply too. I guess one

reason is that everyone is after digital these days, or whizzbang

AFSLRs. What are the pros and cons of the good old Spotmatic,

and what should I watch out for? What batteries does it need?

Thanks in anticipation.

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Hello, David. Two sites that can give you some guidance are:

www.photoethnography.com/classiccameras/ and


Sorry I don't know how to do links.

My experience with Ebay is that descriptions are subjective in nature, and as such, there is a wide deviation found in the actual cameras/lenses vs. the for auction descriptions.

After you decide to do something, you might want to also check out KEH Camera. They have a lot of used equipment for sale. Their items have been graded by people who know their stuff, and you won't be disappointed. No $100. cameras for $10.00 though.

Happy hunting and good success.


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Hello David.


Many of us here really love Spotmatics, they can be really lovely cameras if they don't have any serious problems. You didn't note which Spotmatic you were looking at but here are a few problems I've seen over the years.


Shutter doesn't work at all speeds due to damage.


Mirror gets stuck and won't pop back down.


Meter doesn't work (on those cameras that have it). Note: For those cameras that do use a battery you will likely find it somewhat difficult to locate. There are kits made to convert the old battery compartment to a newer battery type, I personally haven't done this so I can't speak to it.


If the camera is a Spotmatic F look for screw mount lenses with a little pin.


The price, by the way, seems fair if it is a good working camera.

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spotmatics and older slr in general.

lots can go wrong with 30-40 year old mechanical cameras.

things age and grease and oil harden and collect dust.

but if it works or works well enough for you purposes- fine.

you can get a selection of lenses and many different ( unwanted and unloved) m42 screw thread bodies on ebay and from local dealers.


one big problem is the mercury battery. use a hearing aid battery - they have a shorter life ( 3-6 mos) aS opposed to 2 years for a mercury battery. the voltahe 1.4v is very close to the 1.35 of the original ( now forbidden) mercury cell. it has the same flat discharge charateristics, the "alkaling " 1.5v replacements have too high a voltage and a sloping . gradual discharge charateristic.

hearing aid batteried\s are less than $1.00 each us. the exact replacement WIEN cells cost $5.00.

a trick. after you pull the seal on a hearing aid battery, coat 2 of the 4 holes with nailpolish or crazy glue. this slows down the drying out process. and, in effctr, makes the 75 cent hearing aid battery about the same as the wein cell.


i am looking at m42 cameras on ebay - even saw a 1.4 lens for $6.00

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John, you are right about the Spotmatic's bridge circuit... I use 1.5v silver cells in my Spotmatic Motor Drive model too, no recalibration needed.


And it's also wise to expect any Spotmatic to be in need of a routine CLA, unless the seller can document it having been done recently. In the past few months I've had my Asahi Pentax K and Heiland Pentax H3 CLA'd; happy to have these veterans working smoothly. And the Electro-Spotmatic too, after which the technician commented that the ES was a very fine camera. I agree!

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