Pentax Spotmatic

My first grown-up camera was a Pentax Spotmatic that my mom gave me in my senior year in high school. Before that, I had used various cheap point-and-shoot cameras that used 110 film or, for a brief period, disc film. However, since I was starting to make forays into the world of 35mm photography using my friend’s K1000, my mom thought I should have my own. A couple years later I lost the camera when I moved from NY to Florida. My plans for storage of most of my belongings fell through, so I gave my roommates some money and asked that they hold onto some of my things until I could come back and get them a few months later. “Sure!” they said, they were happy to take my money… then they sold all my stuff to their shithead friends just as soon as they could. I have no idea whatever became of my Spotmatic, but when I got back into film photography 8 or 9 years ago this was the first model I picked up.

The Spotmatic was one of the first through-the-lens metering cameras upon its arrival in 1964. It’s a completely mechanical camera, the battery only controls the light meter. So if the battery dies mid-outing you can just meter by way of the Sunny 16 rule (or just download a free app on your phone), the camera will keep shooting. It’s a fully-manual camera with shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/1000, durable build quality, and reliable controls. The chassis is the same chassis that the popular K1000 model was built on, only using the M42 lens mount system rather than the bayonet-mount employed by the K1000, so think of it as a K1000 with literally hundreds of lens options. Mine currently is wielding a Mamiya lens that I’m not hating.

I don’t use this camera so much, I mostly bought it because I couldn’t -not- have it. So following are some example photos I shot with my Spotmatic in 1988.

Bob and his sweet mullet
Self-portrait, and experimenting with “solarization” in the darkroom