Asahi Pentax M42

35mm SLR system • Discontinued


One of the most complete systems of 35mm photography.


  • Pentax - one of the first SLR cameras with pentaprism viewfinder that surpassed its existing counterparts in brightness, as well as the first Japanese SLR camera with the M42 screw mount. With its compact size, light weight, attractive design and ease of operation, the camera became a great success;
  • S - a short production model with standardized shutter speeds;
  • K - a model with support of semi-automatic diaphragm and a shutter speed range extended to 1/1000th of a second;
  • S1, S1a, S2, S3, SV - actually a K with some enhancements.


  • Spotmatic - the world's first 35mm SLR camera with TTL (stop-down) exposure metering. Its compact size, wide range of lenses and accurate exposure meter made this camera very popular;
  • Spotmatic II - a model with refined and improved metering system, for the Japanese market only;
  • Spotmatic IIa - a model with built-in Strobo-Eye automatic electronic flash sensor, for the American market only;
  • Spotmatic F - a model with open-aperture metering;
  • Electro Spotmatic (ES) - the world's first SLR camera with fully automatic electronically controlled shutter;
  • ES II - a model with shutter speed range extended up to 8 seconds and a self-timer.


  • Spotmatic SL - a Spotmatic without the exposure meter;
  • Spotmatic SP 500 and SP 1000 - a Spotmatic II without hot shoe and a self-timer, with top shutter speed of 1/500th of a second (SP 500 only), for export only.

Lenses for Asahi Pentax cameras were produced under the TAKUMAR brand. They can be divided into the following series:

  • TAKUMAR and Tele-TAKUMAR - early lenses with preset or manual diaphragms;
  • Auto-TAKUMAR - semi-automatic lenses. Introduced with the K;
  • Super-TAKUMAR - models with fully automatic diaphragm, a switch for automatic or manual diaphragm control, and improved single-layer coating. Introduced with the SV and S1a;
  • Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMAR - models with support for TTL open-aperture metering with the Electro Spotmatic (ES), ES II and Spotmatic F. Introduced from April 1971, when the Spotmatic II was released. These lenses had an index point for meter coupling, a cam linked to the diaphragm ring that transmitted the F-number to the camera, and a pin that prevented the diaphragm from being set to the manual mode by the switch;
  • SMC TAKUMAR - a cosmetic update with rubberized focusing rings. Came alongside the Spotmatic F.

Ranked among the very finest lenses of the time, TAKUMARs were noted for their superb resolving power which resulted in edge-to-edge sharpness even at full aperture. In addition to their superior optics, they incorporated outstanding mechanics.

Camera list

Model Shutter Metering Modes Year
35mm film SLR cameras with the M42 mount (17)
Asahi Pentax
aka Tower 26
M, 1/500 -- M 1957
Asahi Pentax S
aka Tower 26
M, 1/500 -- M 1958
Asahi Pentax K
aka Tower 29
M, 1/1000 -- M 1958
Asahi Pentax S2
aka Honeywell Heiland Pentax H-2
aka Honeywell Pentax H2
M, 1/1000 -- M 1959
Asahi Pentax S3
aka Honeywell Heiland Pentax H-3
aka Honeywell Pentax H3
M, 1/1000 -- M 1961
Asahi Pentax S1
aka Honeywell Heiland Pentax H-1
aka Honeywell Pentax H1
M, 1/500 -- M 1961
Asahi Pentax SV
aka Honeywell Pentax H3v
M, 1/1000 -- M 1962
Asahi Pentax S1a
aka Honeywell Heiland Pentax H-1a
aka Honeywell Pentax H1a
M, 1/500 -- M 1962
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
aka Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic
M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1964
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SL
aka Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SL
M, 1/1000 -- M 1968
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SP 500
aka Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SP 500
M, 1/500 TTL • WA M 1971
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1971
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic IIa M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1971
Asahi Pentax ES
aka Asahi Pentax Electro Spotmatic
aka Honeywell Pentax ES
E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1971
Asahi Pentax ES II
aka Honeywell Pentax ES II
E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1973
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F
aka Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic F
M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1973
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SP 1000
aka Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SP 1000
M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1974

M42 mount lens list

Accessories list

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