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09-20-2011, 06:02 AM   #1
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Hi all, it's wonderful that this is here !! I am brand new to everything so I will be asking lots and lots of questions. Please bear with me. The most experience I have had with a camera is my dad's old Brownie, and then with the advent of disposables I thought my picture taking life was complete...lol. I was at a yard sale a few weeks ago and came across a Pentax ME Super, complete with flash attachment and several different lenses, nice leather case, etc. The man's daughter had purchased it while she was stationed in Germany and has moved on to digital. Had just had it cleaned and oiled or so he said. A steal at $5.00 for everything (except the instruction manual which I have since downloaded and printed off). Other than getting and installing new batteries, and loading film.........where do I start?? The lenses that came with it are: Rokunar 49mm, JC Penny Auto 2x Tele-Converter and a JCPenney Multi-Coated Optics (a zero with a vertical line through it) = 55 mm 1:4. 5f=80 - 200mm No.8235443. I'm already confused. There is nowhere close to take any kind of photography classes. Any type of guidance anyone can give me will be so greatly appreciated. I really am anxious to get started taking photographs.

09-20-2011, 07:34 AM   #2
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Well, I have a the ME Super as well... what can you say, it's a capable camera body. There's no worrying about sensor technology, just experiment and find what film works for what circumstances, and it seems you are quite comfortable with cameras on the whole. However, I detect more confusion around the lenses...

So the JC Penny 2x Tele-Converter: This is something you use to increase the focal length of any lens you have in front of it by the multiplier, in this case it's 2. You'll notice the tele-converter has a mount just like the ME Super on one end. That's to receive a lens. So if you have CAMERA --> a 2x Tele-Converter --> a 55mm lens, you end up with a 110mm lens field of view in the camera. The larger the number the more reach you have (will enlarge subjects in the camera viewfinder). Hence a 200mm lens will make an image appear much closer than a 35mm lens.

Next up a JC Penny Multi-Coated 55mm 1.4. This is called a normal or standard lens. For film anything around 50mm (+/-) is considered a normal view. The 1.4 number is your MAXIMUM aperture (or f-stop). The lower the number, the larger the aperture opening. The larger the opening, the more light the lens lets in... and the less depth of field you have. In a nutshell, a lens with a lower aperture number the more background blur you will be able to create.

Typing this out now makes me realize really how much there is to it, and I think I'll just refer you here for a primer. Good luck and enjoy it.
10-01-2011, 04:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by firefly Quote
Next up a JC Penny Multi-Coated 55mm 1.4. This is called a normal or standard lens. For film anything around 50mm (+/-) is considered a normal view. The 1.4 number is your MAXIMUM aperture (or f-stop). The lower the number, the larger the aperture opening. The larger the opening, the more light the lens lets in... and the less depth of field you have. In a nutshell, a lens with a lower aperture number the more background blur you will be able to create.
Well he was a bit wrong about guessing this lens, but the rest of what he says stands true. The strikethrough-zero stands for "diameter" and it means that the lens takes a cap which is 55mm in diameter. The focal length is a variable 80-200mm, so it's a zoom lens. 1:4 is another way of saying f/4, and that is the aperture of the lens. It's a constant aperture, but in zoom lenses you will actually find things like f/3.5 - f/5.6 too - what this means is f/3.5 at the wide end and f/5.6 at the long end (values are random).

That 49mm of the Rokunar is not a focal distance, but the diameter of the lens cap too. It must be a 50mm or a 55mm f/2. That is a "standard" lens, which means it gives you a normal view through it. The zoom lens is a telephoto - it makes distant things look closer. There are also wide angle lenses. These have focal lengths smaller than 50mm.

So you have a film camera, a prime lens (fixed focal length, no zoom), a tele zoom and a teleconverter. Not so bad to start with, but I sure hope that the film camera is in working condition, because you're going to have a hard time if it isn't. You will want to put a film through it, here's
. You can find consumer-grade film (200 ISO, color) almost anywhere. The most common are Kodak Color Plus/Gold and Fuji C200/Superia, Gold and Superia being the better ones. Anyway, get the cheapest film. Do not spend a lot on it - about $2 should be ok.

So next you will shoot the 36 photos available on the film, preferably in a short time, because you will want to see if you have a fully functional camera before doing any important pictures with it. When the advance lever will go no more, it means you reached the end of the film. Do not force it. To unload the film, there is a small button on the bottom of the camera that you must press, to disengage the film from the spool. Then you have to rewind the film back into its cassette (with the door still closed!!), which is a very cool activity because it is sooo 80's. I'm sure you will realise when there is no more film to rewind, after that you can pop the door open (pull the film rewind knob upwards) and take the film canister out.

The next step will be to bring the film in a shop which can develop it (it should cost around $1, so don't get fooled). Remember that developing does not produce any pictures on paper, it just processes the film so you can look at it. Scanning it or printing would cost extra.

Well, there sure is a whole lot to read about photography, too much to be covered in a single post. But this is pretty much what you have to know in order to get going. The ME Super has an auto-exposure mode as well as a manual exposure, so you shouldn't care that much about getting right exposure, but keep an eye on the values used, so you can replicate them later. You will find yourself guessing different light conditions, say "1/250 at f/2.8". At ISO 200, that would make a well exposed picture at shade, in a bright day. Don't ask me how I know that With time, maybe you will use the manual exposure mode on your camera more than "auto", which is a good thing to increase your skill.

Bottom line, don't forget about composition and taking interesting pictures, and enjoy your experience with the camera!
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