Pentax Spotmatic SP

This was quite a find, body and lens serial numbers match to the original documentation from Pentax!


Launched by Asahi in 1964, the Spotmatic became the first 35mm camera with TTL metering to sell in large numbers. One of the most notable aspects is that the meter is not actual a spot meter, presumably something changed between the prototypes shown at camera shows when the name was introduced and the model actually launched!

Technical Details

M42 screw mount lenses support automatic diaphragm for exposure, but manual stop down is required for metering – that’s the lever to the photographers left of the lens mount. Horizontal travel, rubberized cloth shutter offering 1s to 1/1000th is as standard as they come, including flash sync at 1/60th. You’ll notice there’s not hot shoe at all – this sample came with a shoe adapter that connected to the viewfinder accessory slots to hold a flash, but at the time of introduction on camera electronic flash was not a reality. Metering is of the simple match needle variety through the viewfinder, which features a fixed, ground glass screen with micro-prism center circle.

Why it’s special

Arguably the camera that really put Pentax on the map, the Spotmatic sold incredibly well and was popular with amateurs and professionals alike.

The Museum Sample

Purchased through eBay in March 2012 for $30 this was quite a find. The body and lenses have matching serial numbers from when they were sold new, as confirmed by the paperwork in the owners manual – which also accompanied the camera. It came with a very nice, 60’s era, wide embroidered strap, very period appropriate!

Additional Info

  • Manufacturer:Pentax
  • Year Introduced:1964
  • Year Discontinued:1976
  • Year manufactured:1969
  • Film format:35mm
  • Serial Number:2903205

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