I borrowed a Pentax ME Super and now I wonder...
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.
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 ) 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
Ok, I have just discovered the Olympus OM series. Something like the OM2 looks like something I should check out.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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:
Here you have reviews on the Chinon CE-4 at fotosidan.se (in swedish):
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).
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.
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.
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