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Best metered M42 body which doesn't take an obsolete battery?

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Kitchen10, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

    What's the build quality like? How long do the batteries last?

    I'm not really looking for a selenium meter - I already have a Leningrad 4 which is fairly accurate for daytime shots but completely useless in low light, as most selenium meters are. Both the Leningrad 4 and the built-in selenium meter in my FED 4 are accurate to within a stop of my EOS 700D on center-weighted average mode when pointed at a white wall in daylight, but neither of them are reliable indoors or in dim conditions, which limits my range of subject choices somewhat.

    I rarely shoot B+W because I currently lack the facilities to process it myself and the prices labs are charging now are ridiculous! The main reason I want a new meter is that many of my cameras do not have a working meter or never had a meter in the first place. Because I shoot transparencies sometimes, I need an accurate meter. Hence why I'm looking for a newish model which I can rely on.

    EdReardon likes this.
  2. EdReardon

    EdReardon Member

    Totally understood with regards to E6, my cameras I use to make transparencies with are un-metered anyway so I generally would use an external exposure meter.

    As an instrument engineer though I'll chip in something that always bears out for all comparisons of meters, "Segal's Law."

    aka. "A man with one watch knows what time it is, a man with two watches isn't sure..."

    Never forget this when putting two instruments side-by-side for comparison.
  3. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Build quality seems adequate to me. The main casing is plastic, but reasonably solid. I tend to keep it in its pouch, but apart from that, I don't take any special care. I don't feel I need to panic if it happens to swing into something when hanging from my neck on the lanyard.

    The battery (CR2032) seems to last a reasonable time. I've had my L-208 about 2 years, and I'm still on the original, with no sign of fading, though health issues have meant I haven't been out as much as I'd've liked over the last year

    Overall, I'd say it's a good basic exposure meter, definitely bottom of the range, but adequate if you don't need bells and whistles like flash or spot metering . As a shoe mount, it's perhaps a little on the large size, being slightly bigger than classics such as the Kodalux
  4. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    o_Oo_Oo_ONot quite what I mean't:).

    I have never ever used so many emoticans in one post.:(
  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Perhaps not, but I would much rather use my Cosina/Voigtlander R2 than an FM2 any day of the week; I think it's a much nicer camera. Apart from being green, anyway. ;)
  6. hotwenxynt

    hotwenxynt In the Stop Bath

    I had a Pentax Spotmatic until a few months ago and that used to run on a Mercury 1.3v cell. I continued to use it with the PX625 silver oxide battery and the exposures were spot on. Apparently the type of metering that Pentax used was not voltage sensitive.

    If you want to move away from M42, the older Minolta SRT models are the same. I have a SRT303 and a SRT100X which both should have a Mercury Battery but have a PX625 Silver Oxide battery. When fitted with the same lens (50/F1.7 Minolta MD) they gave the same exposure reading as my Minolta XE1 using the same 50mm F1.7 Minolta lens which takes 2 x LR44 silver oxide batteries.

    Alternatively you could bring it all back into line by adjusting the film speed, so that the meter is fooled into thinking you have the correct battery - try it, it actually works.
  7. Two suggestions:

    The Praktica LTL is not an exemplar of fit and finish, but it is rugged (I bounced mine of a sidewalk, still worked and works fine), has perhaps the best implementation of stop-down metering out there, and by virtue of its bridge circuit metering will work well with a silver oxide cell rather than its original mercury cell, IF the silver oxide cell will physically fit. Mine was bought new in about 1973, IIRC, with a good 50 mm f 1.8 lens; the lens now needs a CLA but the camera body seems fine even after many years of inactivity. (I went over to the K mount system.) Have a look at this really valuable site on the Praktica marque: http://www.praktica-collector.de/175_Praktica_LTL.htm While the site doesn't discuss it the LTL has an excellent film loading system. See this http://www.cameramanuals.org/praktica_pdf/praktica_ltl.pdf Mike Butkus has many camera manuals on line, if you use this wonderful resource please send him a little money so he can continue his good work.

    Another good choice would be a Pentax Spotmatic. I have a recently acquired Spotmatic F; it gives full aperture metering with SMC Takumar lenses which have a modified mount to transmit aperture info to the body. Do be aware that while other M42 lenses will function perfectly on the Spotmatics, they won't give full aperture metering. The Spotmatics have truly excellent fit and finish, good viewfinders and have that "run forever feel." My Spotmatic F takes readily available cells and is a nice piece of "kit." Do note that other "Spotties" like the F have a meter slide switch on the left hand side of the lens mount, much more inconvenient than the Praktica system.

    My guess is that a camera which meters with aligning the needle to a fixed marker probably uses a bridge meter circuit which I think is relatively immune - within limits! - to battery voltage. Thus such cameras originally calling for mercury cells are fine with silver oxide if the cell will physically fit.

    Of the two possibilities I've listed, based on my personal experience, I'd suggest the Praktica for sheer value per dollar/pound, and the Pentax Spotmatic series for aesthetic quotient. Both are fine cameras.
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  8. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

    Wow, old thread now! I've been using a Praktica L I picked up for tuppence with a Prinz CdS meter that takes AA batteries for the last year or so. Works very well, and no pesky mercury cells to worry about! The L series are truly bulletproof, my Zenits are now relegated to shelf duty.

  9. cliveva

    cliveva Well-Known Member

    I know you said not to , but I used a Zenith EM without problems for many years, no battery, but only 1/500 max shutter. Still working, from new!
  10. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    It's an old thread, but anyway .. my choice is the Bessaflex TM
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  11. Kitchen10

    Kitchen10 Well-Known Member

    I've had a couple of Zenits in the past, but they were just too basic for my liking. I bought them for the lenses, really!

    Unfortunately my starving student budget can't stretch to a TM. Gorgeous cameras.
  12. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    Well - you learn something new every day! I had no idea that this existed. A certain online auction site currently lists several for sale - but gosh, they're a little on the pricey side!

    Cheers, Jeff
  13. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Ye gods, just looked at that site. Think I'll stick with the Prakticas.

  14. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I've always fancied the Topcon RE-Super which is what the TM is meant to resemble. They were the U.S.Navy's standard 35mm camera and according to some U.S. Navy guys they're even tougher than Nikon F.
  15. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  16. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    The majority of Bessaflex TMs on eBay have been offered as a BIN at around $500 rather that an auction and they've been bought quickly. They seem very sought after.
  17. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    I would dearly like one Roger but couldn`t possibly justify the cost.Besides I no longer have any M42 lenses.

    All the ones currently on Ebay are in Japan.
  18. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    I couldn't justify getting one either. I originally pointed them out on this thread just for information as it didn't seem they were generally well known.
    Kitchen10 likes this.
  19. kendavis

    kendavis Active Member

    I'm still searching for a decent MTL5B or 50 but I have A Chinon Memotron, a Memotron II and a CE3 automatic aperture priority and a CM3 manual (these are first of the smaller bodies). They are all still working, the CE3 and CM3 use the SR44 batteries, the bigger Memotrons use 6 volt S28PX batteries.

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