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Pentax ME 35mm SLRs

3.93/5 (15 Reviews)


  • Lens MountPentax K
    Camera TypeSLR (Single Lens Reflex)
    Focus TypeManual Focus
    Shutter Speed4 - 1/2000 sec
    Depth1.93 in.
    Height3.24 in.
    Width5.13 in.
    Weight15.68 oz.
    Product ID21761570

Product Description

Manual focus K-mount, autoexposure SLR made from 1976-1981.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bbbbbbbbb a Beginner

Date Reviewed: November 22, 2011

Strengths:    lock option
easy to use
great size
self-timer
easy to load


Weaknesses:    foggy viewfinder
battery operated shutter speed
not light sensitive


Bottom Line:   
I have inherited this from my Mom and used it for about 4 months. It collected dust in my closet for years until I discovered it's quite useful. I took it to summer camp to try it out with 400 film. It was a breeze to use with the help of a fellow film camera beginner. It took brilliant photos, but also some didn't work out. The colours were vibrant and the focus was beautiful. I would recommend this camera for an easy to use option. The aperture is a little tricky at first but I quickly learned it over the summer. Having the 100x option made it so much better! I have 4 lenses, but i tend to use the wide angle lens included. The macro lens i own is not helpful with focus, mostly just zoom. The two zoom lenses I own i haven't used much due to the speed of the film. I'm very excited to purchase another film camera in the near future!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   0-1 years

Purchased At:   inherited

Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Luisriva a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: March 17, 2011

Strengths:    Size and weight
Lens compatibility
Automatic but not really full automatic
Quality building
Battery grip / winder availability


Weaknesses:    Mirror slap may ruin some pictures depending on lens focal length and speed
The tiny little white button in the shutter speed dial
Focusing split circle is not always useful


Bottom Line:   
Before I chose this model, I researched the features of the Pentax ME, so I knew that it was NOT a full manual camera. Some people points out its lack of manual controls as a weakness, but if you want full manual control, then buy the MX instead.

This camera is well designed and has the right size and weight for small hands. I seriously doubt a guy with large hands can operate the small white button in the shutter speed dial to lock the camera.

It has the typical black leather layer over the metal body of that time. The viewfinder is very nice, however the focusing split circle is useless if you are shooting at moving objects, I rather use my view of the frame to adjust focusing.

The speed range provided by this camera is enough for most situations and also has a Bulb mode for longer exposition if needed.

I don´t plan to use this camera because I have a newer DSLR which I use with the old and new lenses.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $28.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Pentax MG

Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Narsuitus a Professional

Date Reviewed: November 20, 2010

Strengths:    Size/Weight--its relatively small size and light weight make it ideal for a backpack

Dependability--well-built, rugged, and very dependable

Focusing Screen--has a very useful split-image focusing aid surrounded by a micro prism focusing aid

Light meter--has a useful through-the-lens center-weighted meter

ISO/ASA--good range from 12 to 1600

Auto Exposure--accurate aperture priority

Auto Exposure Compensation--easy to use dial provides +1, +2 and -1, -2 f/stop compensation

Operation--so easy to operate that I didn’t even need an instruction manual

Shutter curtain--has a vertically traveling metal shutter

Shutter release button--threaded for a mechanical cable release

Shutter release dial--has settings for AUTO, 100X, Bulb, and Lock

Shutter release lock--prevents accidentally rotating the shutter release dial off of the AUTO setting

Battery--uses two inexpensive and easy to find 357 batteries

Battery Independence--Even when there is no battery power, the AUTO setting can still deliver one fast shutter speed (probably 1/1000 second). Also, the 100X second shutter speed still works for flash exposures and the Bulb setting still works for timed exposures.

Motor drive--has provision for a motor drive but that would defeat the small size and light weight attribute

Flash--offers hot shoe and PC flash connections

Tripod socket--since it is located in-line with the lens, it makes it easier to shoot panoramas

Cost--relatively inexpensive


Weaknesses:    Lens mount--wish it used the M42 screw mount instead of the bayonet mount because I have many M42 lenses but only one Pentax bayonet lens

Focusing Screen--not interchangeable

Light meter--no shutter priority or manual exposure modes. If those are needed, get something else like the ME Super

Auto Focus--this is a manual focus camera; therefore, this is a weakness only for those who need auto focus

Battery Dependence--needs functional batteries for the aperture priority auto exposure mode to work

Light meter--does not have a spot meter option

Auto Exposure Compensation Dial--labeled as 2x and 4x instead of +1 and +2; also labeled as 1/2x and 1/4x instead of -1 and -2.


Bottom Line:   
I bought this camera in a lot that included three Pentax Spotmatic bodies, two lenses, and an assortment of photographic accessories. I really did not want or need the ME body but after trying it, I was so impressed that I had to write this review.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Pentax Spotmatic
Nikon EM
Nikon N70/F70
Nikon F, F2, F3, F4


Type of photography:   Other


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dan Johnson a Expert

Date Reviewed: August 19, 2008

Strengths:    ME bodies are inexpensive and fairly plentiful.
Pentax optics are excellent.
K-mount accessories and other brand lenses are plentiful and cheap.
Very accurate meter.
Light weight yet quiet and remarkably vibration-free. (I've done macro-work with my ME and it never needed a mirror-lock.)
Has a hot shoe AND an X-sync port.
Can use a winder or a motor drive.
No manual mode. (I have cameras that are manual for when I want to get serious.)


Weaknesses:    Age.
Metal pentaprism housing dents fairly easily.
No manual mode.
No diopter adjustment. (a rarity back then on this level)


Bottom Line:   
For what it is - an amateur oriented auto-exposure only camera - the ME is as good as it gets. It's small and light yet it is relatively rugged. The center-weighted meter is very accurate. It's about as quiet and vibration free as is possible with an SLR, at least when not used with a winder or motor drive. The viewfinder is bright and contrasty. Pentax optics are excellent and lenses and accessories are very common and reasonably priced as the Pentax K-mount was almost universal. What more could you want.

It's not professional grade but never pretended to be. You want a pro-level Pentax manual focus? Buy an MX or LX or an old KX or K2MD. You want an outstanding camera for casual photography yet one that will give consistently excellent results? An ME is pretty hard to beat. Yes there are others just as good but I believe there are none better in its class.

I have several camera but I seem to always grab the ME when I'm going on a family outing and want something far more capable than a point-and-shoot and less troublesome than a digital.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $35.00

Purchased At:   Shutterbug

Similar Products Used:   Olympus OM1, OM20
Minolta X-700
Nikon FA
Canon AE1, and F


Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by rustedborg a Expert from Cincinnati, OH

Date Reviewed: June 13, 2002

Strengths:    Auto-Exposure mode (You set the F-stop, the camera sets the shutter speed.)





SOLID body in a small package. (I'd take this baby into a war zone.)





Pentax lens compatibility.





1/100 sync and Bulb settings





Compatible with ME-II Winder





Features exposure compensation dial built into the ISO dial.


Weaknesses:    No manual shutter speed settings. (If you need manual control, get the Pentax ME Super.)





It's a 20+ year old camera, so Pentax won't repair it ... you have to take it to a skilled local boy.


Bottom Line:   
Many people have reviewed this camera, but many of the reviews have factual errors that make this camera look worse than it is.





This is my FAVORITE Pentax backup body. And is a small, reliable tank that always delivers spot-on exposures!





I've owned modern $600+ SLRs that don't deliver the way this old girl does.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   eBay (with lenses+me

Similar Products Used:   Nikon EM, Pentax PZ-1




Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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