The ME Super – Best Classic SLR?
I got my first ME Super in 2007 after some much earlier advice in 2001 when casually talking about classic cameras with a colleague at the time who was a camera fanatic. Anyway I bought one off ebay, took it to Paris with some FP4+. I however, being an inexperienced idiot forgot to set the ISO. As a result everything was way underexposed and I only managed to recover a few. Luckily I’d took a Digi as well.
Anyway I’ve owned one on and off since then and still love mine to this day. Yes they are better manual ones like the MX and better auto ones like the fancy AE1s but I think the ME hits a sweet spot with me.
Its manual enough if you need it, and can be as auto as any manual focus compact as well. Unlike the K1000, it’s not an over priced heavy beast, crappy needle exposure meter which I personally can’t stand. If you want to learn proper photography, buy an MX, smaller, cheaper and LED light meter if you need it. It’s all personal preference but thats my view.
This was a quick pic of our local Museum Beamish on FP4, very sunny day and no post processing, just quick scan.
The light meter is faily accurate and in manual mode is easy to change up and down the shutter speeds by looking at the LEDs. I must admit this is easier on the SuperA as it has a separate mini LCD display but its never bothered me. It does annoy some of my more traditional photography friends, but I like the 80s style LCD.
I have two, the black one pictured and a mint silver one as a backup. I bought a joblot of 3 MEs and a MEF off ebay for £20 last year with various faults. 2 were used for parts to fix the black one for me. The MEF actually worked fine so flogged that and ended up £30 up. The black one still has to be turned sideways to be cocked (a common fault) but its fairly reliable so I live with it. The original issue was just a sticky mirror. Fixed that and must have caused the winder fault.
So the pros – They are plentiful on ebay (although getting a bit thinner on the ground), are still under £50 mostly and if looked after are very good to use. They are a nice size like all pentax SLRs of the 70/80s. Theres 5 million lenses to pick from, all the later ones fit, K/PK/PKA etc. Good for self-film loaders as you can see when the film and stopped rewinding before it goes back in the can. If you just want a fun SLR that can be left on Auto or occasionally manual when you need it there ideal.
Only con really is the electronics. If you have a working one and look after it, it will be fine. Take the batteries out if your not using it for more than a few weeks. Alot on ebay have broken electonics and not worth fixing. A £15 camera with a sticky shutter is probably worth the risk as long as the meter works.
I struggle to pick between this and the Super A. The super A has a better grip and feel but I prefer the LED meter of the Super. 1.7 lens will do for most shots. I picked up a sigma 30-80mm lens at a boot fair for £4 including a Pentax MG lol so you can still find them.
Although my EOS 30/Elan 7 is now my ‘go to SLR’, I still like to take these older pentax’s out now and again when I get the chance.
People may argue Nikon’s and Canons of the same age are better. Your welcome to your opinion, this isn’t a review. Personally I think Nikons of the time are too expensive for ‘normal hobby users’ like me and Canons seem too plasticky around the top for my liking.