The first camera in the market to have through-the-lens (TTL) metering, the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic remains a popular option today for those who are looking for a basic yet workhorse of a film camera.
Introduced by Japanese camera maker Asahi Kogaku Kogyo (later Pentax Corporation) in 1964, the Pentax Spotmatic was a fully mechanical camera apart from its light meter, which was powered by a 1.35 volt PX400 mercury cell battery. It was also one of the first cameras to come with through-the-lens exposure metering. Its prototype, introduced during the 1960 Photokina, was originally equipped with spot metering. However, shortly before production, Asahi realized that spot metering would be too difficult to use, so they made the camera with average metering instead. Since the change was done too close to the production, the opted not to change the name Spotmatic. In the United States, the Spotmatic was imported by Honeywell, and was thus called Honeywell Spotmatic.
The Asahi Pentax Spotmatic used the M42 screw-thread lens mount designed by Zeiss and Praktica before the World War II. Asahi named their high-quality lenses Takumar, and the later improved versions with multi-coating were called Super Multi Coated Takumars.
- Type: SLR
- Image sensor type: film
- Image sensor size: 24 × 36 mm
- Film format: 35 mm
- Lens mount: M42 screw mount
- Focus: Manual focus
- Exposure: Manual exposure
- Flash: FP or X
- Flash synchronization: 1/60
- Shutter: Mechanical
- Shutter speed range: 1000 – 1 , B
- Exposure metering: Average, through the lens (TTL)
- Viewfinder: pentaprism eye-level viewfinder with a microprism focusing screen
- ASA/ISO range: 20 – 1600
- Film speed detection: No
- Battery: Mallory RM640, but 1.5 V silver oxide batteries can be used