Asahi Pentax M42 system

Discontinued

One of the most complete systems of 35mm photography.

In 1957, Asahi released the 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 M42 screw mount. With its compact size, light weight, attractive design and ease of operation, the camera became a great success.

The short production model S (1958) received standardized shutter speeds, while the model K (1958) received semi-automatic aperture support and a shutter speed range extended to 1/1000 sec. Subsequent S series cameras were in fact the K model with some enhancements.

The Spotmatic was released in 1964 and became 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.

SP 500 (1971) and SP 1000 (1974) are budget versions of Spotmatic, lacking a number of features. Spotmatic SL (1968) is a stripped-down version of Spotmatic without the exposure meter. Spotmatic II (1971) received an improved metering system. Spotmatic IIa (1971) was made only for the American market.

In 1971, the Electro-Spotmatic was released, which became the world's first SLR camera with a fully automatic electronically controlled shutter. It was only sold in Japan and was a great success, resulting in its introduction to the global market under the ES designation and more reliable circuitry. ES II (1973) received an extended shutter speed range up to 8 seconds and a self-timer.

Lenses for Asahi 35mm SLR cameras were produced under the Takumar brand. Takumars and Tele-Takumars have preset or manual diaphragms. Auto-Takumars are equipped with semi-automatic, and Super-Takumar, introduced simultaneously with SV (1962) and S1a (1962) cameras, have fully automatic diaphragm. In addition, Super-Takumars have an improved anti-reflective coating and a switch for automatic or manual diaphragm control. Super-Multi-Coated Takumars, introduced simultaneously with the Spotmatic II (1971), received multi-layer anti-reflective coating and full aperture exposure metering support with ES, ES II and Spotmatic F cameras (with other Takumar lenses, only stop down exposure was available). Finally, SMC Takumars, which came alongside the Spotmatic F (1973), is a cosmetic update to Super-Multi-Coated Takumars. They differ only in the rubberized focusing ring.

Ranked among the very finest lenses of the time, Takumars are noted for their superb resolving power which results in edge-to-edge sharpness even at full aperture. In addition to their superior optics, the lenses incorporate outstanding mechanics. Each lens barrel is precision machined for accurate positioning of elements and smooth operation.

Camera lineup

M42 mount lens lineup

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