This camera is a close relative to the far more famous and successful Spotmatic. When the Spotmatic was released in 1964 it was revolutionary, being one of the first cameras to offer TTL metering in a reasonably prices consumer package. But it appears that Pentax chose to hedge their gamble on this new technology by offering an almost identical model but without the “revolutionary” light meter. It has a notch on top of the shutter speed dial for the clip-on light meter that was used in earlier models. Or of course, it could and frequently was used with a traditional hand held light meter. And back in those days there were a lot of photographers who simply chose to set exposure by making an educated guess. Sadly, that is a skill that has largely been lost in modern times.
So what did this camera have to offer? First, all the sleek looks and handling of the new and wildly popular Spotmatic. And secondly, a cheaper price tag because of the missing light meter. Personally I find the earlier SV to be a bit smoother and it feels a bit more substantial. Maybe that’s just because I know the SL was a budget model.
I found this camera on the junk shelf at Fujiya Camera recently. It worked fine at the store but then the mirror started sticking a bit at home. I pulled it apart and cleaned and lubricated the key lever. I took it out for a first test in very cold temps and the same lever promptly froze up after about 5 frames. I took a few more shots, just guessing at composition, focus and exposure and then decided to call it a day. After bringing it back inside and unloading the film I noticed that the mirror was working again. I guess I’ll give it another cleaning and see if I can get it to keep working even in cold weather.
Here are some photos taken with this camera.