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Saturday, 14 December 2019


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Hi Mike,

Just google “beatax”, select images and there are a selection to view.

That’s sh*tty, but that’s why eBay has buyer protection. Use it, send it back. Even if it wasn’t a deliberate, it’s unacceptable. BTW, Linda shot mostly Nikon.

The camera that "captured rocks most iconic photograph" more internet hyperbole. Hard to take seriously. Ha!
Return the camera if possible. Excellent+ condition no, not close.


[Yes, the writing is blemished by the hyperbole. --Mike]

I have a NOS Pentax SL top plate and about a dozen bottom plates. It’s a piece of cake to remove them. Want a set?

In an old interview (I got it somewhere in an external HD that I can’t find) Ringo said that while on tour someone gave The Beatles four brand new Pentax cameras.
John, George and Paul soon got bored and never looked back, but he kept shooting and when he got back home he even got himself a dark room.
I think the interview was from late 90s/early 00s. He was still into photography then.

While I still sell on eBay I no longer buy. About half the time I got a good deal and all was well, and half of the time I got completely hosed. If I want used equipment I'll go to KEH. Not to turn this into an ad, but their grading system is extremely conservative. Their "ugly" is my very good. I bought an old Nikkor 105mm f2.5 described as "bargain" and for the life of me I couldn't find any reason not to call it "excellent.

You’re a camera nerd alright!

A cardboard and paste mock-up of a fifty-odd year old camera and you can tell to model it’s supposed to be... We’re not worthy.

You bought a camera outfit on eBay and want to return it to the seller? No problem!

As I'm sure you're about to hear from many, many readers, eBay now stacks the deck so far in favor of buyers, that it's possible to return anything, to any seller, for pretty much any reason, at just about any time.

And if for some reason eBay won't give you satisfaction, then you can file a complaint with PayPal and they'll almost certainly side with you.

And if both eBay and PayPal refuse you a refund and you funded your purchase using a credit card, you can file a complaint with the issuing bank and they will side with you.

In fact, you can even file complaints with all of them at the same time, just to speed up the process!

Go ahead, ask me how I know about this, then stand back as my rant picks up speed and I threaten to explode! 8^(

There's more on Pennie Smith's cover shot (and the album itself) here: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-49892621 If I get over to London before April, the exhibit at the Museum of London will be at the top of the list. The Guardian also ran a piece on it a week or so ago: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/nov/11/the-clash-london-calling-pennie-smith-photography

I hope you either returned the camera for a credit, or gave the vendor a very negative review for their blatant dishonesty.

I bought my first SLR in 1970. It was a 42mm screw mount Pentax Spotmatic knock-off: a Cosina Hi-Lite. I couldn't rise to the major funds that would be needed for the Pentax I really lusted after. And they did have some good adverts to add to the lust. One campaign (this was in the UK) showed a picture of a beat up Spotmatic claimed to be the camera of some famous person. One such I remember was titled, "Paul McCartney's Pentax". I still remember the scuffed lens hood it was wearing and the worn in leather after market strap. How I wanted one!

I have had an ESII for many years, brilliant camera and the auto-exposure system works very well.

When my 24mm Super Takumar, with its its extraordinarily large rectangular lens hood, is attached, it looks the total 'business'. (AKA the advertisement with, I think, Ken Russell, the UK film director).

I shall send you a pic of the combo if you like!

This KD Lang record cover may look familiar too:

I agree with previous comments—use eBay’s buyer protection and send it back for a full refund including return shipping (eBay provides a postage paid return label). Sellers need to be held accountable to keep eBay a good place for used equipment. I just returned not one but two cameras because of similar undisclosed problems. Very disappointing but if something is described as like new or excellent, we have the right to expect that when we fork over our money.

I just bought on ebay a Kodak no. 1 Panoram, and Darn, found it needs worked on too. Possibly just oiling for the swing mechanism but the springs for it do get old too. If I can fix it then it will be time to try it out.


Send it back - and give them a low rating to help other buyers.
(Do they have seller ratings?)

Enjoying your blog as always. A little wish for Christmas though...
Any news of Bakers Dozen??
Best wishes

I see the camefa on eBay's "sold items" listings. I'm glad you uncovered the deception. Returns are easy -- I did one a few days ago for a Konica Auto S3 which arrived with a bad meter (rendering the camera unusable). eBay will send you a return postage-paid shipping label. I hope you are not too far from a Post Office.

"Husband of renowned photographer Linda McCartney..." is the appropriate caption, thank you for that.

As others have noted, you are protected by eBay, which strongly favours the buyer.

That's Japan seller language (I know it well!) In my experience, the Japanese sellers tend to be quite scrupulous. I've been deliberately cheated several times on eBay, but exclusively by Canadian and US sellers. Japanese sellers have missed serious problems, but they have always made it right when contacted; you just need to show them the pictures and tell them what you want. Good luck.

I once saw a Pentax KX listed on eBay as "EX+++!" yet in the description of the camera the seller revealed that the light meter was dead. Curious definition of "EX+++" :-)

BTW: Almost every Pentax KX I've ever come across has a dead light meter. After lengthy troubleshooting of one I narrowed it down to either the photo diode itself or, more likely, an 8-pin surface mount IC (probably a dual op-amp).

Good article in the Guardian on Pennie Smith and that Clash photo: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/nov/11/the-clash-london-calling-pennie-smith-photography

So, if the dent hasn't perturbed the prism in any way, why do you care? It's a machine for making photographs, not a shiny toy, right? Even if it were in fact a shiny toy, the dent will make people think the owner has actually used it the way it was meant to be used, not kept it on a shelf. Do you think Pennie Smith's cameras have no dents?

[That's really not the point. The point is that it was advertised as a pristine camera in "Ex+++++ condition" with no major flaws, and that wasn't accurate. That's all we're talking about here. --Mike]

On the Pentax, give the guy the benefit of an explanation. Could easily be he never took off the hot shoe cover. Make contact and see how it goes -maybe the seller will make good?

Jim Marshall, Jim Marshall, Jim Marshall.......



The Clash? Come on.....

Too bad about the dented pentaprism on your Pentax Spotmatic. It almost certainly will lead to spoiled photos.

Long before eBay existed, I bought two used screw-mount SLRs from the same small-town camera shop. Both had slightly dented pentaprisms. The first one produced images on film that varied drastically from the image in the viewfinder. The second one couldn't focus correctly. Neither fault was obvious until I developed the film. The shop took both cameras back, but only after I showed prints to prove my case.

It's my impression from looking at photographs of press events in England in the late 1960s and 1970s, that Pentax cameras were widely used by the press there. Move to the same sort of events in the US or Viet Nam and Nikons and Leicas were pretty much all you see. But in England when Pennie Smith was working? Yes, Pentax was very common.

While not an essesntial info - the camera, that McCartney's husband is holding in that photo seems to be a black paint Pentax SV.
However, the differences between the SV and the Spotmatic are quite small from the outside.

As for the dent: develop a roll, and if the pics come out alright, re-negotiate the price.

For exchanging the top plate, it's really easy, as raizans said. Only keep in mind, that the little bolt/screw that holds the frame counter down, is a leftie (turn right to loosen, left to tighten).

Beatax probably based on the Asahiflex 11b - but it's missing any flash terminal, and the secondary eye level viewfinder. Production of the M37 screwmounts was discontinued in 1957.

The lens looks like a third party affair... :-)

My first camera was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic with the 55mm/f1.8. I split it 50/50 with my brother in 1966 or 1967, and my share cost me 3 weeks pay of my lousy summer job. Eventually I got a 135mm/f3.5 and the pleasure of turning the focusing ring on that lens was a sensual experience, if that isn't too fetishistic. Mechanical things can be such a treat to use.
I ended buying and selling a lot of gear, screw-mount and K-mount mostly, over the years on eBay and also with some online sellers. I only ever got one dud, a Canon T70, but the two lenses that came with it were ok and I used them for trade-in for something else.

They did the right thing!
I'm glad you reflected that in your feedback. Full marks to both of you.

I once sold a 17mm Tamron Adaptall 2 lens on Ebay to a man in Singapore. I'm in England.

He contacted me, saying he had never seen such bad haze, and suggested I send him some money (not via Ebay) because the lens wasn't worth as much as he had paid for it.

Yeh, right...

He didn't send me any proof of the haze, (it hadn't been there when I parcelled up the lens) and told me he had been into photography since 1972 so I should accept everything he said. I replied, saying that I first picked up an SLR in that year, but it wasn't my first camera.

He got the hint and stopped trying to con me. All the way through I was Mr concerned and helpful seller, just in case he went to Ebay. He didn't.

I’m beginning to think that the supply of good bargains on eBay has run out this year. As camera prices have risen over the last few years. Many sellers now seem to thinks people will just accept any old crap. I’m kind of reaching the end with it and just continuing the collector part of the hobby by buying from real camera shops.

Really not much different than the days of print ads. Remember the old Shutterbug print edition? In the mid '80s, I purchased through those classifieds a "Mint" Rolleiflex SL66. I opened the carton to discover one of the sorriest looking cameras I'd ever laid eyes on....a truly tattered thing. When I called the seller, he said that while it may not be exactly "mint", it was certainly "mint-Y". He went on further to reassure me that he was a "Pentecostal Holiness Preacher", and that I could "take pictures with that camera until JESUS comes!"

He did, fortunately, accept the return without much further objection.

Yeah, I'd like sellers to be more knowledgeable about their merchandise, and take the time to perform better inspections. At least this guy reacted about as well as you can to having messed up his inspection.

I seem to recall that David Bailey (who?) here in the UK used a Pentax ES and then an ES mkII and featured in magazine articles with it as well as, possibly, in Pentax advertising. That may well have helped the Pentax sales figures for those cameras until Bailey defected to Olympus.

Happy Christmas to Mike and all posting on and reading TOP. My good wishes to you all for the New Year, too.

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