Pentax Spotmatic SP1000 (Asahi)

I got this camera from a friend who often gives me film cameras that are in a poor condition. She said, if I could fix it I could keep it. I had been looking for one as I had a yearning to try another Spotmatic since the first one I tried in Japan. Well, that was lucky. Here I am wanting to try one and I was just handed one. It was dirty and the battery cover was stuck, but it was a Spotmatic and an SP1000 which was different from the first one I tried. You can read more technical details here.

The SP1000 was produced around 1974 and is different from the original Spotmatic as it doesn’t have a self-timer. The name SP1000 denotes the highest shutter speed of 1/1000th. I remembered I had the same issue with the battery cover on the last Spotmatic I tried and knew the bottom plate was independent of any wiring. So I took it off and tried lots of things to loosen the cover. I tried freezing it, boiling it, soaking it in WD40, soaking it in vinegar, and finally drilling two holes in it to get better leverage.

Nothing I tried would budge the cover. I kept a lookout for a replacement bottom plate and battery cover on eBay. Eventually, I found a listing and ordered it.

And voila, once again the replacement brought the light meter back to life. There wasn’t really any need to go to all the bother as the camera worked very well mechanically, but if it could be fixed, it should be fixed.

Once that was done, I loaded it with the tail end of a roll of Ilford Delta 100 and went for a walk to make sure there were no light leaks and the meter was responsive. I tried two lenses, a Pentacon f2.8 135mm and a Takuma f2 55mm. Can you tell which lens shot which photo?

Yes, all working and the meter was working a treat.

One thing I did notice using the Spotmatic this time, the needle indicator for the meter goes in the opposite direction than I expected. It shows you what is needed not what you have. So if you are set to overexpose the shot the needle points to the – not the +.

In the first post I wrote that I didn’t really like that Spotmatic, well that one was written 5 years ago at the beginning of my film journey. How do I feel about it now? I love it, solid and reliable with a classic look. I do wish it had a split screen though. There are other features I didn’t mention in the first post too…

  • There is an indicator next to the film advance that shows red or black, red meaning “ready to shoot” as the shutter is cocked.
  • There is a switch on the side of the lens mount to turn on the light meter. That means it is not on all the time and therefore it saves your battery.
  • The meter switch turns itself off after you take a shot, again, saving your battery.

I am glad I now have a working one again. This great post says every film lover should own a Spotmatic, and now I do…again.

19 thoughts on “Pentax Spotmatic SP1000 (Asahi)

  1. Jim Grey says:

    I just bought an SP II from a reader with a 50/1.4 SMC Takumar attached. I’ve always wanted the 50/1.4! The SP II’s meter may not work, per the seller. I’ll find out when I buy and insert a battery. I’m not a fan of stopping down, which is why my main Spottie will always be my F.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nigelkell says:

    With regards to the meter, are you sure the battery is the right way up? In Spotties, unlike most other cameras, the +ve terminal is down in the battery box, Of course, whichever way it is, you just have to centre the needle……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy says:

      Well, would you look at that. I just put the battery back in and I tried it both ways…it works either way. The needle changes direction though. But you are right, as long as it is centered it doesn’t matter. Thanks for that.

      Like

      1. Roger B. says:

        Good and new info, that about flipping the battery over to make the meter needle reverse direction. I believe I’d prefer a meter that tells me “what I need, not what I have”. The K1000 is the direct descendant of the SP1000: Almost identical cameras, different lens mounts. Both are nearly indestructible if you can keep prism fungus at bay.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Peggy says:

        I don’t mind either type of indication really as I don’t tend to look at the aperture when I am using that style if light meter. I usually search for the center.
        I have the K1000, I should look at them side by side.

        Like

      3. Roger B. says:

        Addendum: The K1000, in addition to the lens mount change, also loses the meter on/off switch found on all Spotties. Another cost-cutting move that requires one to keep the lens capped when not shooting, to conserve battery life.

        Like

    2. Toby says:

      I remember looking into Spotties and split prisms years ago, Pentax forums is a great online information resource. The consensus seemed to be that while the majority have microprisms there are some with split prism. Tho it’s unclear for certain if any left the factory with one it was available as an after market add-on feature, so you might find one in time if you prefer it. Also it’s said that the later K range bayonet cameras have prisms that fit spotties, how true that is of a versions I don’t know. But something to bear in mind if a dead camera passed your way.
      Love the photos, especially the ferns.
      My guess is the slightly sharper images are the 55/2, trying to recall if that’s one of the “radioactive” lenses?

      Like

      1. Wim H.H. van Heugten says:

        According to Gerjan van Oosten’s Asahi Pentax Collector’s Guide, the SMC Takumar 1:2/55 is “radio-active’.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Francis.R. says:

    I purchased a Jupiter 37A lens, tried to mount it in my Canon EOS 7 film camera with and adapter but didn’t work. A short time after it I found a very affordable Canon EF 135mm f2.8 so that’s what I am using. Still I’d like to try my m42 lens. I will wait between a Pentax Spotmatic or a Chinon CS-4.
    As I shoot a lot with my 135mm, so much that in my cellphone I zoom to 5.4x to get the same perspective, I think I notice which is one if your photographs. Beautiful black and whites : )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wim H.H. van heugten says:

    Reversing the battery gives you a mis-reading. Reason for that is the fact that the meter is not centered with power-off. Simple test revealed that metering is 2 stops off (that’s my test result). Just put in battery either way. Set meter reading. Then swap battery direction. Meter again and notice difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy says:

      You are right, it is definitely different. Good to know, I think I will add a little diagram to the battery cover to remind myself which way it goes in. My photos came out OK, so I think the film must have had some lateral…or I used my spider sense.

      Like

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