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Pentax ME Super 35mm SLRs
Out-of-production multiple function SLR.
Submitted by richard hale a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: November 21, 2011
Strengths: Small compact excellent handling vast array of lenses available reliable excellent hand held handling reletively cheap and easily replaceable in the event of terminal damage or theft Mechanical shutter speed availble (s/125) if batteries fail.
Weaknesses: Awkward on tripod lack of DofP review only winder facility available no motor wind
Fantastic little camera, Sturdy and reliable, Feels nice. Classic good looks in either chrome or black.
I first used Pentax's ME Super when I used to borrow my uncles, back in the 80's. In the 90's I bought my own s/h. I mainly used it when out for a walk with no particular intention to take pictures, as it was so compact, with a standard or wide angle len attached. Unfortunately it came a cropper whilst on holiday in Budapest as it slipped out of my hand onto a kerbstone, somehow jamming the shutter and twisting the film back. I have recently replaced it with another in very good condition for £70. I could have probably got it a bit cheper but it was easily worth this much to me, thats how much I rate these cameras.
The best thing about the MESuper is its size. If you can get the pentax 40mm 2.8 pancake lens (mine cost £90 4 years ago) it will fit in a jacket pocket, alternatively wear it under your armpit under a coat or jacket, no one will notice until you use it.
I have medium to large hands and they envelope the camera providing a snug grip. I tried a pentax LX once , and it, being just that little bit bigger, just did not feel right, Big cameras like Minoltas XE1 or the Pentax K1000 are not a probem for my paws though! I digress however.
The MESuper is really designed for handheld use, as the use of buttons to set shutter speeds in manual mode mean it is awkward to use on a tripod, your eye needs to planted to the viewfinder, shutter speed dials are far better than buttons in this situation. Most of the time, most of us handhold 35mm cameras and the little pentax really scores in the handling stakes here. The film advance is smooth, not as nice as a Minoltas, but far nicer than Canons or Nikons.
You can buy a nice ergonomic winder cheaply which provides good grip and balance if you use a short telephoto or zoom lens.
There are a massive range of lenses and accessaries available, but I think it better to buy Pentax's own Ka fit lenses rather than K fit or other proprietory brands, as the Pentax Ka ones provide full functionality aprt form AF of course, with their current range of DSLR's. If you don't have nor intend to get a Pentax DSLR, by all means get basic K mount leanses as they are optically very good and very well built with a nice feel to them, and cheaper.
The ME Super should prove reliable unless you do stupid things like drop it onto a hard surface. All you need to do is check that the light seals are ok, maybe get it serviced every so often and fire the shutter to keep it running. Your local camera shop should be able to advise, especially if its been trading for a few years as they will have seen and sold numerous of these little gems.. If something terminal should happen to it, it's dead easy to get another one as so many were made and sold. All those customers in the early 80's could not be wrong!
Purists might consider there to be a few shortcomings with this camera - lack of DofF preview, but really how often do you use that? In any case you can always use the DofF scale on the lense barrel, All those Leica RF buffs have done without for decades. Lack of motor drive facillity - but this is an amateur's camera not a pro's and with the cost of film processing these days motordrives might be considered an expensive luxury. Even the awkward tripod handling is not really relevant - This camera is about being light, compact and easy to take with you anywhere, providing good results. All of which it does very well indeed.
Would I recommend this camera? I certainly would with the proviso that if you really want a small compact SLR which is easy to use on a tripod and has DofF preview and can take a motorwind, buy a Pentax MX instead. You will of course lose your auto exposure and pay more for the privelage.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $70.00
Purchased At: rs-photographic newe
Similar Products Used: Pentax MX, Penatx superA, Pentax MZ5n, Pentax ist, Minolta Xk, MinoltaXE1, Minolta X700, Minolta SR1, Minolta SRT101, Nikon FM2, Nikon F3, Nikon F4, Olympus OM1n
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by J-Mortimer a Expert
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2008
Strengths: Versatile, Strong reliable metering, crisp, bright and expansive viewfinder coverage, abundance of quality lenses available, many system accessories to choose from (Winders etc), lightweight and compact, rugged and reliable build quality, slick handling and well laid out controls, great functionality, great classic looks.
Weaknesses: The only to my knowledge is a lack of Depth Of Field Preview, though this is just a small glitch and can easily be lived without after a little experience. There are other ways to judge this.
What can i say. WOW...What a Camera. I originally purchased my 1st mint condition used Pentax ME Super in 1998, well it was a gift more than a purchase and got on so well with the camera that a year down the line in 1999 i purchased myself a 2nd body with standard 50mm Pentax SMC 1.7 lens for a modest fee of £75 in mint condition and still boxed.
These two cameras have been literally everywhere with me and are still battling on with no problems whatsoever. Im a serving member of the British military ( Royal Marines Commando's specifically) so they've had to serve in some pretty tough conditions from the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan, the streets and wastes of Bosnia and also in a variety of other conditions from Kenya and Norway to the USA and Australia to name just a few. These two i own are in the same fantastic condition now as when they were first pruchased.Still working faultlessly and producing some fine images. My personal portfolio just keeps growing.
There is an abundance of quality lenses to be had secondhand both from Pentax SMC lenses to other manufacturers (Tamron, Sigma, Takumar to name just three) and a whole host of other ancillaries (MEII Winder, Independant Mfr Winders, remote releases etc) with which to expand your system. For a modest outlay of cash you can build a very versatile kit based on the ME Super. As i have myself. You have your automatic function/setting if the need arises and also the full creative option of full manual. Mine seem to spend their time permanently on manual as i find its the best way to get the image im after. I love that feeling of being in complete control of the image taking process.
This camera would suit a whole host of potential users in my opinion from Youngsters looking for an entry into SLR photography, photography students, keen amateurs and right upto Professionals looking for a back up to their usual Camera. The reasons for Buying this camera are, in my opinion, too many to list. Its rugged, reliable, accurate, precise and its extremely light and compact compared to many SLR's from its era and even compared with todays digital SLR offerings. I also own a Canon EOS 40D but thats just gathering dust.
All in all this is a true classic thats still as useable today as the day it was first unveiled. A true pleasure. Wouldnt give these up, not a chance.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $75.00
Purchased At: E-Bay
Similar Products Used:
Canon AE1 Program
The Pentax ME Super is the only one to have stayed with me though and will remain to do so.
Type of photography: People
Submitted by titrisol a Expert
Date Reviewed: August 5, 2008
Strengths: Size and weight are quite small
Very good light metering system
Availability of lenses and compatibility with all Pentax lenses even the new ones
Weaknesses: No DOF preview
A very well built camera, with most of the features you need
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Purchased At: received from collea
Similar Products Used: A wide range of Pentax Nikon and a few minoltas
Submitted by kurttarvis a Expert
Date Reviewed: June 23, 2008
Strengths: Strong sturdy design, both great manual and automatic features, great shutter, much smaller than many other SLR's
The Pentax ME Super is a cool camera. It is a lot like the classic Pentax K1000 with it's manual controls but also advances in technology and has very good automatic features as well. This, like the K1000 is a rugged long lasting SLR that has made it's mark on the affordable SLR market.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Purchased At: My aunt gave it to m
Similar Products Used: Pentax K1000, some old Minolta, Canon EOS 1N
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by elvin a Expert
Date Reviewed: March 27, 2007
Strengths: Strong, light, a lot of lenses possible with K-fitting, manual and half-auto and so much more (see http://people.zeelandnet.nl/elvin/foto )
Weaknesses: Well, not so much. maybe missing autofocus like in newer camera's
For me, this is about the best camera I have ever owned and still use it a lot.
i bought my first second-hand when I was a kid; my second camera ever, with tele and standard lenses. Later there came more and more parts and also another body of the same kind.
After years of use and also a lot of bumps on bikes, outdoors, in windmills and holidays, the bodies have merged to one still working and the other for parts.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $50.00
Purchased At: photoshop
Similar Products Used: MG, MZ-5, P-30, A-3
Type of photography: Other
Related ME Super Forum Posts
Hi Folks, My first post (just joined) and I'd like to pick the brains of other Pentax users please. I have an old Pentax ME Super SLR with a good set of lenses I bought years ago... the whole set has been gathering dust due my travels (easier with a cheap digital) but now I'm settled I'd like ... Read More »
I don't know what made me do it but when a friend offered a very good confition film SLR, the Pentax ME Super for $50, I bought it with it's 50 mm lens and a very nice Sunpak flash. I really admired these cameras in the 70s when they came out and when I used my Miranda Sensorex. Now I have to figure ... Read More »
Hi folks, New user here; I just bought a nice used ME Super, a camera I used to own in the mid-1980s, which I just loved. But this one...er...the ASA ring seems to be stuck. No matter how I lift and gently jostle the adjustment ring, it just will not budge from ASA200. Does anyone have ideas ... Read More »
Hi folks. The more I use my ME Super, the more I love it. Its small size with a small lens makes it easy to toss into the bag and go...It is durable and does not need to to pampered like DSLR's do....Besides, as I was waling through Elysian Park yesterday on my way to Hollywood to shoot a roll, I ... Read More »
Hi folks. I say ''my'' ME SUPER, but in reality, after today, I gave it to my son, Daniel. I spent the first hour or so teaching him how to use it and adjust the exposer etc and so, ''ALL'' these images where taken by my son. Some came out with some funky vignetting. I will post one of those up a ... Read More »
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