The Pentax Spotmatic is a camera I had wanted for a very long time. I had owned various M42 bodies over the years such as Zenits and Prakticas; these were built like tanks but I had always found they inevitably broke down at some point. And as they are cheap to buy and charity shops usually stocked them I found that they were somewhat expendable.
After a load of Zenits had bit the dust, I wanted to get something that was built well and reliable. I went over to Soperfect Images in Plymouth and found a Spotmatic F on the shelf for a reasonable price. I decided to purchase the Spotmatic F on the spot, and so began my life with the Pentax.
The Spotmatic F was one of the last models in the Spotmatic series before Pentax switched over to the K Mount. The only thing that really differentiates it from other models is that it allows full aperture metering instead of needing to stop down the aperture. I must add that the only lenses that allowed such full aperture metering were the later versions of the Super Takumar lenses, which had small notches on the rear of the lens to couple with the body.
Since September 2017, it has been my main shooter for 35mm film. It’s no frills simplicity creates such an easy camera to use, and the M42 mount has a wealth of lenses to be used on the Spotmatic, as well as my Canon 5D. It’s been used for personal shooting and for university projects, but once I coupled it with the legendary Super Takumar 55mm f/2, t created a perfect match for what I shoot. But, as the M42 mount has a wealth of lenses available from all price points, it’s an easy system to get into. And as an added bonus you can convert that glass to fit on your digital cameras.
March 2018 came around, and we were hit with a freak blizzard – ‘The Beast From the East’ or the ‘Hysteria from Siberia’. University was closed and I was stuck in my town. The snow created the perfect opportunity to take some photographs. I had never shot in the snow as it never really happens to this extent in the U.K, so I seized the opportunity and went for it. I walked around the River Dart in Totnes with the Spotmatic F, 55mm F2 and a roll of Ilford HP5+. HP5+ is my go-to black and white film; it manages to stay tonally flat for those who like to work on their images and the grain is well controlled for a 400 speed film (depending on what developer you use, of course). Whilst I had a blast freezing my extremities and taking photographs, the Spotmatic wasn’t all to0 keen. Some of the snow had melted on the camera and waterlogged the body, but there’s nothing a dry cupboard and a box of rice can’t fix. Thankfully it was back up and running once the water had been absorbed by the long grain.
These five images were shot on Ilford HP5+ and developed in Rodinal at 20°c and at 1+50 dilution at home, and then scanned with an Epson V750 Pro at university.
I hope you enjoyed what I have created, you can find more of my work here – raygoodwinphotos.tumblr.com