The Pentax SP500, Such a Steal it's Criminal!

2

The Pentax SP500, one of the best kept secrets of the film photography world. Lomography member Chocochipcookie tells you why you shouldn't pass on this gem next time you spot one.

I happened to have the good luck to purchase a box of used film cameras when I was at an auction this summer. There was plenty there to choose from anywhere from auto focus Canon’s to rangefinders like the Konica C35 and even the legendary “Black Brick” the Argus C3 (complete with three lenses and filters). But towards the bottom of the box, in a dusty forest green camera bag was a Pentax SP500.

I had heard of the legendary Pentax SP1000 and K1000, but not the SP500. The camera was launched in 1971 as Asahi Optical Corporation’s attempt at a budget model. Normally when one hears “budget model”, bottom shelf parts and horrible reliability comes to mind, but lucky for us Asahi never could quite figure out how to make a “cheap” camera.

The “500” in the name is a reference to its highest shutter speed, which is 1/500 of a second…or is it? Instead of re-designing a whole new shutter system to drop off at 1/500, they just changed out the shutter speed knob to one painted up to 1/500. You can turn the knob past 1/500 and you have 1/1000 just like the legendary SP1000. So, it’s like a SP1000, but at a cheaper price. Not bad huh?

Even newer replacement batteries work well with this thing because of the way the internal metering electronics were designed. With the help of a small rubber o-ring a #392 battery makes its home in the camera, or you can look for PX400 battery which is a direct fit (no o-ring needed). This camera is pretty top notch! In order to engage the metering you hit a switch on the left side of where the lens is mounted. This also will stop your lens down to the aperture that’s currently selected, so be aware of that.

In terms of lenses it takes the Pentax Screwmount SMC Takumar lenses as well as any other M42 threaded lenses. Also, if you have the metering engaged it gives you a Depth of Field preview too!

So don’t be fooled by the words “Budget Model”, this camera is almost downright criminal on how much a steal it is!

Find one today!

written by chocochipcookie on 2012-10-09 in #reviews #spotmatic #pentax-spotmatic #pentax-sp500 #camera #review #screw-mount #pentax #sp500

2 Comments

  1. belaf
    belaf ·

    I'm almost buying one! So excited

  2. chocochipcookie
    chocochipcookie ·

    Also a # 387 battery works too. Not sure if you would need an o-ring though. I'll have to ask someone who uses that battery.

More Interesting Articles

  • Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-05-02 in #gear #lifestyle
    Registering Moments With the Lomo'Instant

    Some people say instant photos bring about a feeling of nostalgia. Although I often use the Lomo'Instant Camera with different crazy accessories such as the Splitzer and color gels, I have to agree there is something about it — dreamy vignettes maybe? — that always makes me want to go back in time and experience it all over again. In the name of analogue photography and good old memories, we passed by some classic spots in Vienna and took one shot after the other. Take a closer look at our gallery.

  • The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015!

    written by jacobs on 2015-01-15 in #competitions
    The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015!

    Looking for a chance to share your best Lomo'Instant snaps with the world and win seriously cool prizes? Then we've got good news for you — The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015 is on! And even if you don't have a Lomo'Instant yet, now is the perfect time to get one. Pick one up now so you can join in on the fun!

    2
  • Geoffrey Berliner On Photographic Processes, Old and New

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2015-06-07 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Geoffrey Berliner On Photographic Processes, Old and New

    Geoffrey Berliner is the Executive Director of the Penumbra Foundation and the Center for Alternative Photography in New York. As the head of an organization whose goals are 'to be a comprehensive resource for photographers at any level' and 'to continue to publicize the impact photography has had and continues to have on culture, history and the arts,' his exposure to photographic materials -from 19th century gems to modern equipment- is so extensive, one cannot even begin to fathom just how much knowledge and experience this man has acquired. His collection of over 2000 vintage Petzval lenses is unparalleled, and the object of envy of both traditional and contemporary photographers. Although such lenses are reputed to require a certain level of skill to be used, Berliner seems to manage them with so much ease, producing splendid results.

    2
  • Shop News

    Horizon and DigitaLIZA Bundle

    Horizon and DigitaLIZA Bundle

    The Horizon and DigitaLIZA Bundle lets you mix and match your favorite Horizon Camera, Lomography 35mm film and DigitaLIZA 35mm

  • Film Photography Day Special: Buy Film and Get a Free Camera

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-21 in #gear #news
    Film Photography Day Special: Buy Film and Get a Free Camera

    Film Photography Day 2015 is fast approaching —do you have the film on hand to document the good times? We’re talking parties, dances, competitions, workshops, raffles, picnics and much, much more! If you don’t have film to last this gigantic 1 day festival of all things analogue, then now is the time to stock up! And even if you do, can you ever really have enough film? Nah, we don’t think so either.

  • Brisk Bokeh: The Top 10 Petzval Winter Destinations!

    written by jacobs on 2015-01-16 in #world #locations
    Brisk Bokeh: The Top 10 Petzval Winter Destinations!

    Common sense tells us that when the weather gets bitterly cold, it's best to stay inside and drink a cup of something warm. But when you have a primo lens like the Petzval, it's hard not to go on an adventure! Equipped with nerves of steel and a Petzval lens, these Lomographers around the globe bundled up and braved the conditions to capture the top 10 wintry (not so) hot spots.

  • Reviews on Rewind: Lomography Color Negative 35mm 800 ISO

    written by chooolss on 2014-11-30 in #reviews
    Reviews on Rewind: Lomography Color Negative 35mm 800 ISO

    If you'd be shooting in low light, at night, or in any other situation that would require a high speed film for best results, why don't you try the Lomography Color Negative 800 for 35mm cameras? Allow five of our community members to convince you with their respective reviews in this installment of Reviews on Rewind.

  • Shop News

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Done shooting and want your films to be processed? We can process your colour and black & white 35mm, 120 or 110 films! Development, prints and scans are also included. (Service availability depends on your markets)

  • Shift School Paris Photo Competition: The Winners

    written by efrost on 2014-11-05 in #competitions
    Shift School Paris Photo Competition: The Winners

    It looks like it’s time to get out the cameras and pack your bags. Together with the Shift School Dresden, we offered amazing prizes, including an insider trip to Paris, where you can take part in photography courses and visit the world-famous Paris Photo Tradeshow. Of course, there’s also a ton of Lomography prizes at stake like cameras, accessories and film so that the winner can capture memories from the trip on film. And now to announce the winners!

  • Meet our LomoGuru: ihave2pillows

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-04-18 in #people #lifestyle
    Meet our LomoGuru: ihave2pillows

    Ed Choi regards Lomography as one of the best things that happened to him. In this interview, the latest member to join the roster of LomoGurus talks about how cross processing slide films sparked a great friendship, taking instant photos in Himalayas, and creating the perfect double exposure photograph.

    3
  • Photographers on Why They Still Shoot Film (Part 2)

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-04-12 in #world #lifestyle
    Photographers on Why They Still Shoot Film (Part 2)

    It is Film Photography Day, and we are counting the ways the activity fuels the imagination. One photographer likens it to the soulful sound of an LP. Another chases its risk or does it with a leap of faith. But the consensus is clear: Film photography keeps people on their toes for the best possible shot!

  • Shop News

    Colorsplash your World!

    Colorsplash your World!

    At 30% off you can now color your analog images with 12 different color gels. Experiment with 35mm slide film and play with the built-in color flash for the most intense colors!

  • Requested Posts: Film Photography Day 2015 Edition

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-03-25 in #world #news
    Requested Posts: Film Photography Day 2015 Edition

    Hey, lomographers! Have your stories heard and lovely photos seen by your fellow community members and analog photography enthusiasts. Read this special call-out for community-written articles to be published between March 30 and the much-awaited Film Photography Day on April 12. As always, writing for the Magazine earns you Piggies!

  • 10 Films We’d Like to See at Cannes 2015

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2015-05-13 in #world #news #lifestyle
    10 Films We’d Like to See at Cannes 2015

    The Cannes Film Festival showcases some of the world's best cinematographic masterpieces. It is an annual event that is highly anticipated by fans and connoisseurs of both mainstream and independent cinema. This year's festival has officially opened and film buffs everywhere are excited, at the same time curious, about which film will win the Palme d'Or. We are in no position to predict the winner, but we do have our favorites, from the ones in competition and otherwise. In no definitive order, here is a list of 10 films that we'd like to see.

  • Upcoming Book by TASCHEN Features Norman Mailer's Photographs of the Apollo 11 Mission

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-06-03 in #world #news
    Upcoming Book by TASCHEN Features Norman Mailer's Photographs of the Apollo 11 Mission

    July 20, 1969 marked one of the most historic events in the history of mankind: on this day, the Apollo 11 crew finally landed on lunar soil. It was the culmination of a decade's worth of hard work, one that was witnessed by the whole world and remembered for the rest of time.