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11-17-2015, 01:59 PM   #1
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Please help, I'm lost. Oh, and greetings!

So, I just registered here. I just found a Pentax ME Super s/n 2334845 at Goodwill in my town for $3.00! It looks in GREAT condition, but I know absolutely 0, zilch, none, nada, lol, about cameras. Any info anyone can give me on what to look for in terms of quality, or checking for damage is greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!!!

11-17-2015, 02:11 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

Sorry, can't help you much with film cameras...
11-17-2015, 02:46 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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Here's kinda what I do when I'm checking out an old SLR like the ME Super. You can get an idea of how much a film camera has been used by opening it up and looking at the pressure plate. To open the back, pull up on the rewind knob. When you're facing the back of the camera, it will be the knob on the left...or the one without any numbers on it. When you pull up on that, the hinged back of the camera ought to pop open. The pressure plate is on the inside back of the camera. It's designed to hold the film flat against the film rails. If a camera has been used heavily, there will be some light scratching on the pressure plate. That's not a reason to automaticallly rule out the camera, but it's good to know. If you haven't done so already, push the rewind knob back down and close the camera back up. Next, try to advance the shutter by cocking the film advance lever on the right side of the camera. If it doesn't want to advance, chances are that the shutter is already cocked, so push the shutter release button on top to see if the shutter will trip. If the shutter doesn't fire, check to make sure that the dial around the shutter release isn't set to "L". That stands for "Lock" and it's there to keep a person from accidentally tripping the shutter when they don't mean to. The ME Super has an electronic shutter, I believe, so even if the shutter doesn't trip, don't give up. It may simply need new batteries. I think there's one manual shutter speed on the ME Super so you can use that to test the shutter. On the dial surrounding the shutter release, there's a little white button. Push that down and rotate the dial to where it says, "125X"...then push the shutter release button again to see if the camera fires. If it does, I'd wind the camera and trip the shutter several more times just to make sure it's working. If the shutter fired without having to go to the 125X setting, chances are that it still has working batteries in it. Look through the eyepiece and lightly press down on the shutter release. That should turn on the light meter and you should see some numbers inside the viewfinder. Again pressing down on the little white button on the dial surrounding the shutter release, move the dial to the "M" setting. The two tiny black buttons next to the dial are how you change the shutter speed on an ME Super. Look through the viewfinder, watch the numbers inside, and push the little buttons to change the shutter speed. Wind and trip the shutter as you go through some of the speeds and listen to see if it sounds like it's getting faster or slower. That will tell you that the shutter is probably changing speeds like it should. If all that stuff checks out, about all that's left is to turn the camera over and take the top off the battery compartment to make sure the batteries haven't purged. If they have, then there's a good chance that the camera will give you trouble in the future, if it wasn't already doing so. A battery purge is usually a death-blow to a camera. If you have a lens to use to test the camera, you can also check to see if it's stopping down properly, but most times if this other stuff checks out, the lens linkage is probably working, too. Good luck! $3 for an ME Super is a great price.
11-17-2015, 02:52 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Loved the ME Super, my first Pentax camera though I paid a bit more
Great detail from TaoMass for you - enjoy it!

and Welcome!

11-17-2015, 03:13 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Welcome to the forum, even if it turns out not to work... for $3 it will make a nice desk paperweight.
11-17-2015, 10:32 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Here's kinda what I do when I'm checking out an old SLR like the ME Super. You can get an idea of how much a film camera has been used by opening it up and looking at the pressure plate. To open the back, pull up on the rewind knob. When you're facing the back of the camera, it will be the knob on the left...or the one without any numbers on it. When you pull up on that, the hinged back of the camera ought to pop open. The pressure plate is on the inside back of the camera. It's designed to hold the film flat against the film rails. If a camera has been used heavily, there will be some light scratching on the pressure plate. That's not a reason to automaticallly rule out the camera, but it's good to know. If you haven't done so already, push the rewind knob back down and close the camera back up. Next, try to advance the shutter by cocking the film advance lever on the right side of the camera. If it doesn't want to advance, chances are that the shutter is already cocked, so push the shutter release button on top to see if the shutter will trip. If the shutter doesn't fire, check to make sure that the dial around the shutter release isn't set to "L". That stands for "Lock" and it's there to keep a person from accidentally tripping the shutter when they don't mean to. The ME Super has an electronic shutter, I believe, so even if the shutter doesn't trip, don't give up. It may simply need new batteries. I think there's one manual shutter speed on the ME Super so you can use that to test the shutter. On the dial surrounding the shutter release, there's a little white button. Push that down and rotate the dial to where it says, "125X"...then push the shutter release button again to see if the camera fires. If it does, I'd wind the camera and trip the shutter several more times just to make sure it's working. If the shutter fired without having to go to the 125X setting, chances are that it still has working batteries in it. Look through the eyepiece and lightly press down on the shutter release. That should turn on the light meter and you should see some numbers inside the viewfinder. Again pressing down on the little white button on the dial surrounding the shutter release, move the dial to the "M" setting. The two tiny black buttons next to the dial are how you change the shutter speed on an ME Super. Look through the viewfinder, watch the numbers inside, and push the little buttons to change the shutter speed. Wind and trip the shutter as you go through some of the speeds and listen to see if it sounds like it's getting faster or slower. That will tell you that the shutter is probably changing speeds like it should. If all that stuff checks out, about all that's left is to turn the camera over and take the top off the battery compartment to make sure the batteries haven't purged. If they have, then there's a good chance that the camera will give you trouble in the future, if it wasn't already doing so. A battery purge is usually a death-blow to a camera. If you have a lens to use to test the camera, you can also check to see if it's stopping down properly, but most times if this other stuff checks out, the lens linkage is probably working, too. Good luck! $3 for an ME Super is a great price.
Wow, thank you guys (TaoMaas expecially, lol) for the wealth of knowledge. So, I've determined the batteries are dead, and will be picking some up first thing tomorrow, but it seems that everything else is working. Of course, I don't have any 35mm film to test it out, but that's on the list for tomorrow. You should see how clean this thing is. The pressure plate that you mentioned is pristine, or looks so to me. I really have no basis for comparison, but I only see one, tiny, hairline scratch. And by hairline scratch, I'm talking finer that frog hair, lol; virtually non-existent. I can't believe I found this gem for $3.99. I'll post some pics, if anyone is interested. I've never been into photography, but just looking through the viewfinder on this thing is getting me all excited about taking some shots. Thanks again, and maybe this will turn into a new hobby. Does anyone know, by chance, a good resource for information on getting started with aperture settings and whatnot? Is certain film better than others? I know there's different speed film, or is that the right term? Like I said, I'm a total beginner. One more question, the black textured material (not sure what it's called but it reminds me of Tolex on a guitar amp) is starting to peel away on the front from the sharp corners where it meets with the lens. That seems to be the only damage. Should I try to glue that back, or leave it be, and if so, what type of adhesive is recommended? Finally, here's some pics...

Last edited by Vicioustuna2012; 02-17-2017 at 01:23 PM.
11-18-2015, 05:24 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Oh wow...you didn't say it had a flash and lens. Even if the camera was dead, the flash and lens are worth more than what you paid. Nice find!

Edited to add: Check the lens review section on this site to see what folks say about that lens. It's an M-series 50mm f1.7. https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-M-50mm-F1.7-Lens.html
11-18-2015, 06:54 AM   #8
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Here is a link to the ME Super camera manual.

http://www.cameramanuals.org/pentax_pdf/pentax_me_super.pdf

Here is a thread discussing the batteries you will need.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/82280-what-b...-me-super.html

Tim

11-18-2015, 10:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Oh wow...you didn't say it had a flash and lens. Even if the camera was dead, the flash and lens are worth more than what you paid. Nice find!

Edited to add: Check the lens review section on this site to see what folks say about that lens. It's an M-series 50mm f1.7. SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Yea, unfortunately the flash had four AA batteries still inside that must've been at least ten years old. It's full of battery acid. I'm going to try and carefully dismantle and clean it. On another note, if you look in my third and fourth picture, you'll see that the black textured tape is beginning to peel away from around the lens area. Any advice on what to use to adhere it back, or should I leave it alone? I'm curious as to whether it has been peeled back to access the screws? Maybe it has been repaired? Oh, and thanks again

Last edited by Vicioustuna2012; 02-17-2017 at 01:22 PM.
11-18-2015, 02:10 PM   #10
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That might have been pulled back to access the screws, but also could have just started to peel on its own. I have an MX, which is from about the same era as your ME Super, and its covering started to peel years ago. Unfortunately, it's been so long ago I can't remember what I used to stick it back down. I want to say that I used a tiny bit of contact cement. You could probably use Super Glue as long as you didn't get it on those screws...and I'd be careful not to get any into the body.
11-20-2015, 01:58 PM   #11
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I have a couple of old M series lenses that have started to do that. Nothing to worry about. Glue it if it becomes a problem, otherwise don't worry.

Film wise, it depends on what you're shooting. For natural light out door portraits, Kodak portra 160 is hard to beat (but will be useless indoors). A slide film such as velvia 50 will be great for landscapes, but terrible for portraits and indoors (very punchy colours). Kodak ektar 100 is similar to velvia, but is a bog standard colour film (rather than slide, which will cost more to develop). Higher ISO films (eg portra 400, or Fuji pro 400) will work well (ish) indoors, but that comes with slightly noisier images.

For black and white, illford hp5 is fairly decent (if you're developing your own rolls, then just buy the cheapest you can find until you've mastered the knack of loading the developing tank).

The best thing to do is just experiment. Every film has slightly different characteristics. Some of the super cheap colour films, remind me of my childhood photos. Cross processing slide film as C41 will create some crazy Instagram hipster style results. Buying a random collection of expired films off eBay will give you some unexpected results. Play around, that's what make film photography so enjoyable!

---------- Post added 11-20-15 at 10:05 PM ----------

Ahh sorry, just noticed you were talking about the camera leather. Pliobond will do the trick, usually nothing to worry about though
11-20-2015, 06:10 PM   #12
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DO NOT BUY FROM CAMERALEATHER.COM
It is a scam site that never delivers, and never responds. They rely on the fact that PayPal will only get involved within 30 days, but CL state a six weeks or more lead time. I'm still waiting for my leather two years later..... It is a scam. Don't give them any money.
05-12-2016, 02:24 AM   #13
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Update!

So, I've cleaned this sucker up and have been using it for quite a while. I've since found that it came with a Pentax 50mm f/1.7 lens all metal. Damn, this thing is a brick and I absolutely love it. The flash was garbage, and I haven't tried a new one, so I'm not sure if the hotshoe is good or bad. Not an issue so far though. I'm loving this camera so far though. Just looking through the viewfinder gives me inspiration, and it's opened doors for me artistically. I'm no 'photographer', and everything I post here is amateur stuff. That being said, here are the results of the Pentax ME Super I bought at Goodwill for $3.99

Last edited by Vicioustuna2012; 02-17-2017 at 01:22 PM.
05-12-2016, 03:28 AM   #14
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Nice pics, That lens produces some stellar images. My manual focus skills are going down the tubes with age. I need to replace mine with a f 50 1.7.
Joe
05-18-2016, 08:53 PM   #15
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Great pix! Nice find with the camera!
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