5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Takumar 50mm f/1.8 on a Spotmatic (with 11 year old film) – By Nigel Cliff

On holiday in Northumberland, and needing to kill till time whilst wife and daughter were shopping, I wandered into an Antiques shop and was confronted by a Pentax Spotmatic with Takumar 50mm f/1.8. Now this is probably heresy but it was the dainty lens that I was attracted to not the camera, I know Spotmatics are legendary but I’m not a fan of cameras built like a tank however good they are… never had a Zenith either…

The little 50mm however was a different story silky smooth focusing, snappy apertures and sharp as a knife. I also thought it would be perfect for adapting to my Micro 4/3rds bodies. However, having got the Spotmatic, I thought I ought to give it at least one chance to impress. So lobbed in a roll of 11 year old Kodacolour 200 that was to hand and off we went to a 1940’s weekend at the Severn Valley Railway.

The experience was as I expected from the camera; everything worked perfectly apart from the meter. Sunny 16 was my salvation, although at the end of the day my arms were aching from the weight.

The view through the lens looked good though, and when I got the prints back I was not disappointed! I found lovely tones absolutely pin sharp results; it seemed that the 11 years had not diminished the film’s quality. Since then, although the Spotmatic has stayed on my shelf, it’s a bit to scruffy to bother selling. The Takumar has been in regular use though, and whether on film or digital, it never disappoints, giving lovely results and always being a pleasure to use.

Strangely it’s the only Takumar I own… Maybe another should be the next purchase

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  • Avatar
    October 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Nice shots with the SMC Takumar pictured. Have to say I have shot many times with a Spotmatic and Minolta SRT-102 and didn’t think they were heavy. The only camera that ever made me notice weight was shooting one day in San Francisco carrying a Nikon F with Photomic FTN and a 50mm f/1.4 hanging around my neck. I won’t mention a Koni Rapid Omega as that is obvious.

    • Avatar
      Nigel Cliff
      October 24, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      It’s probably because I shoot a Pentax MX for film and Micro 4/3rds for digital that I find the Spotmatic unwieldy

  • Avatar
    William Parker
    October 24, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    I agree regarding the Nikon F they can be a bit heavy but not that bad, I just find them awkward to with the photomic head fitted. I have around a dozen or more film cameras and I use a Panasonic GX7 for my digital work but have adapters to take Leitz screw and bayonet lenses and an adapter for screw Takumars. The latter are superb lenses and can be judged against any optic.

  • Avatar
    Graham Orbell
    October 25, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Nice photos and obviously sharp. I had a new Asahi Pentax around 1960, then 10 years later a couple of Nikon F Photomics. Fast forward to 1990s and Canon EOS 1n ( film) which I still have. Nowadays a Canon 5D 4 with my favourite Sigma 24 f1.4 Art lens ( and many other lenses ) There were many other cameras in between but they were always getting heavier and more complicated.
    But that’s progress. Or is it?

  • Avatar
    adam m
    October 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Just stumbled across your site. Very nice!
    It’s funny how personal all these things are. One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure and all that. 🙂 I have three of these, (well, one technically is not as it’s an SL… but basically the same apart from the meter). As you say the lenses are superb. And, personally, I love the bodies too. For me they feel and look like a proper camera!

  • Avatar
    Karl Valentin
    October 29, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Always this complains about weight – are you men or mice ?

    I personally get infected with the Pentax 67 and still need no sherpa to carry it.
    Remember there were once days when photo journalist run around with 2 or 3
    cameras around their neck while someone try to shoot them…..

    Just kidding

    • Avatar
      Nigel Cliff
      October 29, 2018 at 10:36 am

      I’m definitely a mouse Karl always liked smaller SLR’s

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