I borrowed a Pentax ME Super and now I wonder...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Lars Daniel, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Lars Daniel

    Lars Daniel Member

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    My friend is selling this Pentax ME Super, so I borrowed it to shoot a roll with it to check it out. And I really like it. I also have a fancy Canon 1v, but I find the small, light Pentax so appealing and with a very adequate set of features.
    However I am not going to buy this particular Pentax as it is too beat up (back does not close properly). So I am thinking: If I am going to buy a similar SLR, I might as well take a look at what is being loved by the APUG gang. What other candidates should I look at? What I like about the Pentax ME Super is:
    - Size & weight. I don´t want it bigger/heavier.
    - Auto and manual exposure with very clear readings in the VF.
    - Very nice and big VF.
    - Lots of rather inexpensive glass to be found. I would definitely want a fast 50mm. (Pentax has the 50mm f1.2.)

    This segment of (vintage) SLR is very new to me, so any input is appreciated.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Quite a nice camera to use, I had one in the early 80's with a power wider that I used shooting rock concerts, I also had an MX and overall I preferred that.

    Not sure what happened to that ME Super but I have a plain ME now (came with marriage :D) and another MX bought off this forum, great cameras and superb lenses. I also really like the older Spotmatics ad have an original as well as an F, far better build quality than the K & M cameras. I'd be tempted by the SIa on sale on APUG right now :D

    Ian
     
  3. Lars Daniel

    Lars Daniel Member

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    Ok, I have just discovered the Olympus OM series. Something like the OM2 looks like something I should check out.
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    If you're willing to consider Nikon, something like an FE is sweet and close, size-wise+feature-wise, to the ME. Carloads of NAI/AI/AIs lenses available, along with clean, lightly used bodies off the big auction site.It was a strong seller, which means abundant supply+low prices.
     
  5. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    Another plus for the Pentax line: All of the old K-Mount and M42 screw mount (with adapter) lenses will work with the newer digital bodies. While this is true to a certain degree with other brands, it's more so with Pentax.
     
  6. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    I have the OM2 and it is real nice, but the body is, or at least feels quite a bit larger than my ME Super. The ME Super is a good camera.

    Dave
     
  7. maderik

    maderik Member

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    The closest similar camera is probably the Olympus OM-2n. The VF is a little larger but it's also a tiny bit larger/heavier. The lenses tend to be somewhat more expensive than K-mount, but 50mm f/1.2's are not inexpensive in any mount.
     
  8. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    You could try to find a Chinon CE-4, it is the same size as the ME Super and has the same features, it also has the same Pentax-K mount and just as big and bright viewfinder. Old Chinons are not hard to find in scandivaia and they are usually very cheap. Here you have the full Chinon CE-4 manual at butkus.org:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/chinon/ce-4/ce-4.htm

    Here you have reviews on the Chinon CE-4 at fotosidan.se (in swedish):
    http://www.fotosidan.se/reviews/viewreviews.htm?ID=1764

    A great camera, i have had my CE-4 since the early eighties and it just keeps on working. I have also one CM-4 that looks just the same but is fully mechanical and works just as well without batteries, but the CM-4 do not have aperture priotity auto, or any features what so ever. But the CM-4 has even bigger viewfinder, but not by much, it does not even have lightmeter in the viewfinder, it is just outside and consists of three light diodes, two red and one green for correct exposure in the middle. The CE-4 on the other hand has an electro mechanical shutter, self timer, a PC-jack and AE-lock.

    Chinon also had a complete range of lenses, from decent consumer glass to some really good ones. The 28mm/f2.8 is good, so is the 135/f2.8 and the 50mm/f1,7 is as good as they ever be regardless of brand, a real performer, very sharp and also with a very nice creamy bokhe. Stay away from the 50mm/f1.9, that is quite soft, has a disturbing bokhe and makes pentagon shaped OOF highlights (has fewer aperture blades than the f1.7).
     
  9. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    Another vote for the OM and apart from a few, most of the zuiko lenses out there are not expensive. I don't have any of the expensive ones, so can't comment on how much "better" they might be, but I find the "ordinary" glass is as good as I need.
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I've been packing Olympus SLR's since the FTL (precursor to the OM system) my main body is OM-1 have an OM-4 and had in the past OM-10's and OM-2's, not to mention XA and XA-2. I prefer the full manual OM-1, tho I'd kill for an OM-3. The FTL used M-42 lenses.
     
  11. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    Yes, Pentax and Nikon has kept their mounts, so old lanses do fit and can be used. But it is _not_ "more so" with Pentax, it is less so since Pentax did not bother to make their new cameras fully compatible with the whole point of the K-mount they once invented. On a Pentax DSLR you have to stop-down meter using old K-lenses since the new bodies cannot mechanically feel what aperture the lens is dialed in to, they do not have that little pin sticking in the lens on the cartridge side of the mirror, the camera house pin that feels the aperture ring on the lens. Probably because Pentax wants people to buy new lenses instead of using old ones, by making old lenses clumsier to use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2010
  12. Jeff L

    Jeff L Subscriber

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    I was given an Olympus OM2 by a neighbour and love it. I just bought a zuiko 35 f 2.8 for it. Great combo for me. Love my Contax SLR's too but the OM2 really took me by surprise.
     
  13. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    OM-2 body: 136 x 83 x 50mm, 520g, viewfinder 97% coverage, 0.92x magnification
    ME Super body: 131 x 82.5 x 49.5mm ,460g, viewfinder 92% coverage, 0.97x magnification
     
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  15. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Sounds like you want an OM2n. I went from ME Super to OM2n. It was an easy conversion, because the OM2n is the same size, with an equally good viewfinder, a very usable manual mode unlike the pentax, and the lenses focus better (for me). The only thing I miss about the pentax is the shorter throw on the rewind lever.
     
  16. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I recently bought an ME Super at a roadside rummage sale. Cost me $20.00.
    A little spiffing up and it's as good as new. I bought it as a spare camera but I find myself using it more than my regular camera.

    It's got just enough automatic features to be useful when you want to work fast but it's not so automatic as to be difficult to use manually when you want. The lens on mine is ƒ-1.7. Viewfinder is bright. Controls are easy to operate. All my other Pentax lenses are interchangeable.

    Great camera!
     
  17. 6x9

    6x9 Member

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    If I remember correctly, OM glass has a tendency to flare bad.
     
  18. zumbido

    zumbido Member

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    This is not true of the more recent Pentax DSLRs, including the budget K-x. I just came inside from shooting origami boats in the park across the street with mine with the 50/2 SMC-Pentax.

    This issue that you raise--backwards compatibility--is far less true of Pentax than Nikon, Canon, or any of the other major players (quality is another discussion which... to each their own :smile: ). As noted by Karen Nakumara, who has more experience with these things than all but a tiny percentage of people in the universe:

    "The famed "backwards compatible" Nikon SLR system has enough incompatibilities and "buts" to fill an entire wall chart."

    http://www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/AsahiPentaxME.html

    But don't take her word for it:

    http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/slr-lens.html

    In fact, if you type "nikon lens " into google, "... compatibility chart" is second-ranked behind only "... reviews".
     
  19. zumbido

    zumbido Member

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    I loved both the OM2 and OM1n, but eventually sold them both after I found a pristine ME Super locally for peanuts. I wouldn't pretend for a second that the Pentax is better in some objective sense. They each have their points in favor. In the end I found them roughly equivalent shooters, so the Pentax won purely on familiarity (I started out with manual cameras by shooting and repairing K1000s on a college campus back when) and very slightly lower total cost of ownership. The latter was important with a new family, though the difference isn't enough that I'd have cared otherwise.
     
  20. zumbido

    zumbido Member

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    Out of curiosity, what did you find hard to use about the manual mode on the ME Super? I go between manual and AP without really thinking about it and didn't find it any more or less usable than my OMs, but I've been using Pentax a long time so it might just be some quirks that I'm used to.
     
  21. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    It has digital buttons to sequentially change the shutter speed. And the buttons don't even click. This is unacceptable since you can't tell by feel what shutter speed is set. You have to look in the viewfinder and press the shutter partway to see what shutter speed you have set! You can't quickly change the shutter speed by a large amount...you have to sit there pushing the button like 6 times in a row to change by 6 speeds.

    I also prefer the Olympus's nice, simple viewfinder needle to the column of LEDs and numbers cluttering up the ME Super's viewfinder. For me, manual mode on the ME Super is a tacked-on feature, and not suitable for dedicated use.
     
  22. zumbido

    zumbido Member

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    Oh, I see. That makes sense. When I want to work that way I'm nearly always using AP, if I put it on manual it's so I can do a manual version of shutter priority. When I want to shoot all-out, true manual I grab the FED-2 or Spotmatic so this hadn't really occurred to me. That's definitely a good observation if the OP plans on this being the primary, carry-everywhere camera and wants full manual.

    Though I did mostly tire of needles a long time ago. I like them in very bright daylight, not in any other situation.
     
  23. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    It is true, and one of the reasons my ME Super used to be my 'low-light' camera, that the ME Super LEDs are very visible in low light. Which is a good thing, since you need to be able to see them to know what shutter speed is set. With my OM, I can tell the shutter speed by feel. Most of the time when I shoot manual, I'm ignoring what the meter tells me anyway. In fact the meter on my OM2 is wrong anyway, so you have to ignore it.
     
  24. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    For me, the LEDs on the ME Super can be hard to see out in the bright sun. I find the OM-2 viewfinder needle much easier to see. The OM-2 also has a very smooth shutter. But I still love my ME Super.
     
  25. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    Since you already have a canon 1v why not consider one of the smaller canon EOS bodies, such as the rebel series or the 7-series? That way you could still use the canon lenses you already own. It could save you a lot of money and still give you a small light camera to play with.
     
  26. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I am in the process of selling off my Canon gear to go back to Contax so be careful. If you start using another camera you may dump the Canon. I have an ME Super in storage somewhere and the 50mm 1.4 Pentax lens which is one beautiful piece of glass. Shot with the 50mm 1.4 the only time I can remember using it. when I looked at the negs, I almost went to all Pentax-


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