9other Beauty cameras in my collection:


JapanBeauty Lightmatic SP [1963]



The Beauty Lightmatic SP is the forth and last of the Lightomatic series. Note that there is no o between the Light and matic, and the name is spaced as two words on the top plate of the camera, although for some reason, references (elsewhere) to the model often call it the LightOmatic. And that's about all there is on the Internet; a few references to the camera, but little information.

The SP was a 1963 update to, and perpetuation of the 1961 Lightomatic III, and quite possibly the last camera made by the Beauty Company. The name change is one of the most obvious difference, and other changes are mainly subtle aesthetic tweaks. I have highlighted these, and omitted the repetition of previously stated facts.

The differences are:

  • The top plate is slightly restyled/simplified. The raised frame containing the viewfinder/rangefinder windows has been reshaped. The meter window is smaller.
  • the size of the rewind knob has been increased so that the crank handle conventionally folds into it, and no longer sits in an indentation in the top plate.
  • The wind crank arm is less shapely and has gained bulk.
  • The frame counter has moved from 3 o'clock to 12 o'clock, relative to the wind crank.
  • The lens barrel has been changed. On the Lightomatic III the space between the aperture and shutter speed dials was silver. The Lightmatic SP has a silver film speed dial, and silver edges to the aperture dial.
  • There is a new film movement confirmation indicator, which is only revealed when the wind crank arm is operated (in other words, it's under the wind crank arm's rest position).

In terms of functional specification, the Lightmatic SP and Lightomatic III are exactly the same.

I can only assume that the retail price was also the same as the Lightomatic III; around £30 (about a week and half average UK wages).

Click here for a complete comparison of Beauty 35mm rangefinder models.



My Camera

I paid £6.51 for this camera in June 2015.

I bought the Light Matic SP because the quality of my other Beauty cameras has impressed me. It's a curio; you don't see them very often, and the lack of information made the camera quite appealing. I'd go so far as to say I think it's possibly rare - which is not the same as valuable - very much a case of collector me buying, rather than photographer me.

My camera is in nice cosmetic condition, but it has some serious issues. The shutter blades are stuck; they try to open, but something is preventing this. The focus adjustment only operates between 5' and infinity. The rangefinder image doesn't appear to move and is way out of alignment at all focus settings. The self timer is stuck. I can't properly check the condition of the lens, because I can't get the shutter to open (but it otherwise looks good from the front). On the plus side, the meter is lively. The seller said nothing about condition, so my bid was pitched accordingly.

Somehow the SP doesn't have the same quality feel as the III, and although the two cameras are very similar, the III has more charm. I also suspect there are a number of altered internal components, accounting for all the faults with a camera that shows few outward signs of heavy use or abuse.

It's always disappointing when a camera proves to be non-working, because their whole purpose (whether used or not) is to be capable of taking photographs. Equally, it's always disheartening when a seller is likely to be aware of problems (pimo_123) but fails to share information.





Beauty Lightmatic SP

Beauty Lightmatic SP

Beauty Lightmatic SP

Beauty Lightmatic SP