Pentax ME / ME Super

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Pentax ME / ME Super

In 1976, alongside the quintessential  K1000, Pentax had lined itself with the electronic era by presenting the ME and thereafter the ME Super. Petite SLR cameras, with a futuristic-looking control panel on top. Not sure what was the rationale behind it, as it made a simple shooting complex.

The Pentax ME camera is a tiny creature with permanent aperture priority, where the shutter speeds are set by the camera. The on-dial speed settings consist of L for the lock; Auto for well, auto, 100 for sync, and B. On auto mode, the selected speed is seen on the side of the finder, where an illuminated dot travels up and down by a speeds scale.

The ME super added M for manual mode, where the shutter speed is via two teeny buttons by the dial.  It takes fancy fingerwork to do so which is a nuisance. As settings allow little for creativity, there is a bracketing dial under the rewind lever. The whole concept may have been creative in the ’70s, but seems odd today. A similar configuration is on the Pentax Super Program of 1983. An extra manhole cover at the bottom is kept for a power winder.

On the positive side, the viewer is large and bright and there is a hot shoe present. The vertical shutter is metal and clicks like a happy billy-goat.

If all fails read the manual Dep’t: two batteries inserted upside down. The self-timer lever needs a push to activate, unlike normal cameras that pressing the shutter activates the timer.

In short, Pentax mixed all possible elements to create a camera awkward to use. Not sure how many were sold, assume not many.

Current value, Pentax ME / MV / MG / MX

Pentax ME
Pentax ME Super
Pentax ME-F
Pentax ME-SE
Pentax MV
Pentax MV-1
Pentax MG
Pentax MX
Pentax MX Japan Camera Show

Pentax ME user manual

List number 2543
Brand Pentax
Format 35mm
Model ME Super
Introduced 1979
Country Japan
Type SLR
Body material Metal
Mode Auto / manual override
Weight 450 gr,  Body only
Class average weight 560 gr,  Body only
ASA range 12-1600
Kit lens
Lens make SMC Pentax M
Filter size
Lens mount K mount
Mount size
shutter Focal plane vertical metal
Light meter TTL
Winder Lever
Lock Yes
Speeds B, Auto, 125
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation Yes
Shoe Hot, looks like an afterthought
External sync X
Sync speed 125
Timer Mechanical
Battery 675 2ea
Battery style Button
Battery voltage 1.35
Other Ready for power winder


Pentax ME

Pentax ME Super

Pentax ME Super

Left side cover removed, showing power winder adapter.


Left Pentax ME Super, Right Pentax ME.


Current prices of Pentax ME series

Pentax ME
Penatx ME Super
Pentax ME-F
Pentax ME-SE
Pentax MV
Pentax MV-1
Pentax MG
Pentax MX
Pentax MX Japan Camera Show

Pentax ME manual

1 Response

  1. The ME Super is actually a well-made and very usable little camera. I don’t know the exact figure, but Pentax sold a LOT of them. It’s worth noting that the 100x shutter setting on the ME and the 125x on the Super were mechanical shutter speeds, usable even if the cameras had dead batteries or no batteries. This was a pretty handy feature if you knew enough about photography to be able to estimate the correct aperture for a given shutter speed. Also, both cameras used 1.5 volt batteries, not 1.35.

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