Fifty years ago, Pentax brought out the last camera in its famous Spotmatic family.
The last camera saw Pentax marry the cheap-and-cheerful M42 mount to the new era of electronic automation. The Pentax ES II – the third camera in its short-lived “Electro Spotmatic” range – had both an electronically controlled shutter and a way for the camera to register which aperture the lens was set at.
The ES II is a real gem from the golden age of SLR design – just enough useful features to help creative photographers take great photographs but not enough automation to push the photographer out of the picture-taking process.
You might also like:
- Pentax ES II review
- Pentax ES II: The camera that took rock’s most iconic image
- The first Pentax camera was… East German
I first started shooting with the ES II back in 2007, after meeting rock photographer Pennie Smith a gig in London. Smith shot arguably the most famous picture ever taken on an ES II, the image of The Clash’s Paul Simonon smashing his bass which became the cover of the band’s seminal ‘London Calling’ album. I’ve since taken them around the world, from New Zealand to Transnistria, Romania to Borneo.
This YouTube video takes a deep dive into the ES II and why I think it’s one of the best SLRs ever made – a fantastic combination of old-school robustness and appealing automation, the perfect camera for photographers who want to make photographs on the fly, rather than just letting the camera do all the work.
(Be sure to subscribe to Kosmo Foto’s YouTube after watching the video – there are more videos like this appearing in the coming weeks.)
- Pentax to release ‘two film compact cameras in Spring 2024’ - 01/10/2023
- Iura: The wood-and-paper Soviet Leica-like - 01/10/2023
- Rare wood-and-paper Soviet camera selling at October auction - 30/09/2023