Pentax SP1000

Pentax SP1000
12th October 2012

The first camera I owned was the Pentax SP1000 – This camera was introduced to me in Photography class at high school, and I continued to use them at school in photography from year 8 to year 12.

The PENTAX SP1000 replaced the SP500 as the budget model. It was basically the original Spotmatic (which had been introduced 9 years earlier) but without a self timer. It thus didn’t have recent advances such as the open aperture metering found in the Spotmatic F and ES series.

Think of the SP1000 as a screw-mount K1000, or rather the K1000 as the K mount SP1000.

The main thing it lacks compared to the ‘full’ Spotties is the self timer, its weight (neglible) and added complexity (they do sometimes fail). Thus it shares all the other Spotmatic strengths – compact size, rugged, well made, solidly designed.

If you care about aesthetics (and I do!), then the SP1000 is the youngest camera you can get with the original Spotmatic body shape. (The SP1000 has the add-on accessory shoe of the original SP and different lines than SPII.)

So, the bottom line when it comes to screw mount bodies: the Spotmatics are the best built and currently repairable cameras. They take modern batteries due to their bridge circuits. Their weak spot appears to be the stop down / meter switch which can get worn or dirty over time, and some of the competition’s solutions may be ergonomically better (Yashica TL Electros have a slide on the bottom right of the mount, easy to push or pull with either hand; the Fujica ST’s have a button under your right hand that you merely squeeze). However, the competition of the day often is not worth repairing – even if you can find someone willing to do so.

Stop-down metering. Yes, it can be a pain. However, in practice with manual metering you meter the thing you want to meter, apply any exposure shift you want, and then keep shooting until the light changes or you want something else. With an open-aperture metering camera the meter’s chattering at you all the time.

In summary, the SP1000 is a fine camera, often under-appreciated, lacking the cult following of the K1000. However, it is the cleanest, newest way to get an original Spotmatic.

Asahi Pentax SP1000Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax SP1000
Year introduced – 1973
Year discontinued – 1976
Mount – M42
Automatic aperture stop down – Yes
Metering – Stop down, centerweight
Meter range – EV 1 to 18
ISO range – 20 to 1600
DX ISO range – No DX coding
Exposure modes – Manual, B
Exposure compensation – Not applicable
Exposure memory lock – No
Shutter speeds (auto) – Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual) – B, 1 – 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical) – B, 1 – 1/1000s
Self timer – No
Mirror lock-up – No
Auto bracketing – Not applicable
Multiple exposures – Yes
Winder – Ratchet type rapid wind lever. 10° pre-advance and 160° advance angle
Flash hot shoe – No
Built-in flash – No
TTL/P-TTL flash – No
Flash sync speed – FP and X terminals – 1/60s
Flash exposure comp – Not applicable
Viewfinder – 0.88x (with 50mm lens)
Viewfinder type – Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction – No
Exchangeable screen – No
Depth of field preview – Yes
Image size – 24 x 36 mm
Battery – 1.3V mercury PX-400
Battery grip/pack – No
Size (W x H x D) – 143 x 92 x 88mm
Weight – 610g
Comment – This model was not sold in Japan


Taking Photos With A Nokia Lumia 900

Taking Photos With A Nokia Lumia 900
11th October 2012

Since buying a Nokia Lumia 900 (and a Nokia Lumia 800) I have had problems when taking photos (using the button on the side) of things close up and usually the subject is out of focus and the background in focus, although when it was taken with the button the screen said the subject was in focus. This resulted in taking a  few photos to get one good one. Very frustrating. I haven’t been the only one. Today I added a new App called Fhotoroom as I wanted to try what it could do. The two flower photos below was taken using Fhotoroom of a flower close up. As you can see its is in focus as it should be.

Taken with Fhotoroom
Taken with Fhotoroom – with Flash at night

Below are a series of photos that were taken with the standard software using the side button and with this app – you can see differences.

Taken with the Standard software using the button on the side
Taken with Fhotoroom
Taken with the Standard software using the button on the side
Taken with Fhotoroom
Taken with the Standard software using the button on the side
Taken with Fhotoroom

Cameras in Phones Are Now Better Than Compact Cameras from 5 Years Ago

Cameras in Phones Are Now Better Than Compact Cameras from 5 Years Ago
10th October 2012

It looks like the best cameraphones today can probably snap better photos than top-of-the-line compact cameras from over a decade ago.

Camera equipment rating service DxOMark announced today that it will be expanding its tests to cover the cameras found in mobile devices (e.g. cellphones, smartphones, and tablets). In its initial “first glance” of the industry published today, the service makes an interesting claim: that “mobile image quality is now superior to that of 5-year-old compact cameras” (so we were off by around 5 years).

Here’s what they wrote in a press release sent out today:

Mobile phone cameras have become a key feature for a large number of consumers: in 2011, more than one quarter of all photos were taken with a mobile phone. This trend has accelerated in 2012 – which may end up being the year when mobile photography surpasses traditional amateur compact camera photography.

Mobile phone image quality has also made considerable progress – for example, the image quality of the Nokia 808 PureView, in first place in the DxOMark Mobile rankings for still photos, is superior to that of a 5-year-old compact camera. And as for video, the best mobile tested in this category, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, outperforms the Canon Powershot 100.

As you can see from the chart above, though, cameraphones still have a ways to go before they can match the quality of the latest digital cameras on the market.