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07-19-2011, 03:09 PM   #1
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ME Super or KM?

Hey everyone, I'm taking an intro photography class and I'm not too happy with the lender camera they provided me with. It's a canon EOS 650, which is a nice camera, but I would really like to learn on a manual focus and be forced to learn how to use different shutter speeds and aperture settings myself.

I've done a fair amount of research on MX's, KX's, KM's, ME Supers and even Super Programs. I was set on an MX, but all of the ones I find are a little outside of what I would like to spend on a camera for this class or are in rough shape. I have the opportunity to get an ME Super (body only) with new foam seals and decent warranty or a KM (body only) for about the same price. I have 2 lenses that will fit them (both k-mounts right?) so I'm looking for user opinions to see which one I should get.

Keep in mind I'm brand new to film photography and SLRs in general (I've only had a week and a half of classes thus far) so if you could be sure to explain the major advantages of each camera in terms I can understand that would be great. Thanks in advance.


EDIT: A little about the class: We have to take, develop and print all of the pictures ourselves. We're using Kodak 400 ISO Tri-X B&W film and printing on Kentmere RC paper.


Last edited by skier08; 07-19-2011 at 03:27 PM.
07-19-2011, 03:14 PM   #2
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why do you need a warranty exactly? my old film bodies are all built like tanks (ME, Program Plus, K1000).
if given the choice between those 2, i'd pick the ME super. It has the faster max shutter speed, faster sync speed for flash and is smaller/lighter as well
07-19-2011, 03:22 PM   #3
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I guess i really don't, i just wanted to add in that there is one included with the Super. I've had two people try to lend me cameras, a Ricoh and a Nikon FG, and I think the mirror foam on both was shot, so a warranty may be useful if the foam doesn't hold up.

Last edited by skier08; 07-19-2011 at 03:28 PM.
07-19-2011, 03:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The ME Super is a forum favorite but I'd suggest you opt for the Pentax KM.
FWIW the Pentax K1000 was an economy version of the KM, and the most
often recommended camera model for students learning film photography.

Chris

Could you give me a reason for the suggestion?

07-19-2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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I'm not sure of the exact dates, but the ME Super is about 30 years old, KM older. I figure either one would need service to make sure it's still in specs. Since the ME Super seems like it has been serviced, I vote for that one, or get the KM serviced.
07-20-2011, 12:21 AM   #6
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If the ME Super is in good working order with new foam, go for it. It's rather reliable with high magnification viewfinder which is great for manual focus. There is nothing wrong with the KM but usually the older K series are in worse condition, and being fully mechanical, the shutter speeds aren't as accurate as electronic shutters, a minus for slides. Also, mechanical shutter being that old has to be serviced to be within tolerance. Personally I don't find DOF preview useful.
07-20-2011, 09:01 PM   #7
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I have 2 MEsupers that both get used regularly alongside my dslr... My black copy with 'M'-40mm 2.8 is my prefered street set-up... People notice it less than my K-x which ups my confidence in grabbing the shot... My black and silver MEsuper came with a 50mm 1.7 attached to it for 55...
I just wish film was cheaper...
07-20-2011, 10:39 PM   #8
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I have both. If you have other film cameras I would have suggested the ME Super, but because film SLRs are fairly new to you, I'd recommend the KM.

The KM is a great place to start and it's a very reliable, yet simple-to-use camera. You'll probably use DOF preview more often than you'd think in a film class for assignments.

The ME Super is a nice camera, but if you don't have the budget to get both, I'd just go with the KM. Later, if you're still interested in an ME, they're readily available for cheap.

07-22-2011, 06:48 PM   #9
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I've never used the KM, but after several ME and ME Supers, I'd say get that one, the only 35mm I ever liked better was the K1000 I started with. ME Supers are built like tanks and get great pictures.
07-23-2011, 11:02 PM   #10
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I recently aquired two ME Supers. They really are small. Instead of putting a lens on the camera, I feel like I am putting a camera on the lens.
07-25-2011, 08:29 AM   #11
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Hehe...Good point, I had a K1000 and a KX before I got my first ME Super, both a good bit bigger cameras, and it took me a couple of weeks to get accustomed to the feel of the smaller camera, but once I did it became my favorite Pentax. I need to drag one of them out, get some seals and oil and fix it up. The only film camera I have that works any more is the Minolta SRT 101. Great camera but I'd love to have a working Pentax 35mm again.
07-26-2011, 04:27 PM   #12
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I have never had a k-mount film pentax, but had a spotmatic, and several other slrs from the early k-mount era. These are all old cameras and you have to expect them to need very expensive repairs. "Toughness" has really nothing do with it - it's a matter of age-based deterioration.

If your funds are limited, you have to consider whether film or digital is your future, and that might depend upon the program your enrolled in as much as your personal preference.

Paul
07-26-2011, 05:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
... very expensive repairs.
Nonsense.

Eric Hendrickson will restore nearly any Pentax 35mm manual focus SLR to top condition for around $80.
So repaired it will last on average twenty years.

How much will the digital photographer spend on upgrades in that time?

Eric Hendrickson Pentax Camera Service: http://www.pentaxs.com

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 07-26-2011 at 05:24 PM.
07-26-2011, 07:14 PM   #14
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I haven't used a KM, but I own and use a Super ME. I used it for my intro to photo classes and found it perfect for the assignments I was given. We had a couple assignments where we needed to use an "aperture priority" mode which the Super ME has. And for the rest of the more advanced assignments, you can use it completely manually.
07-26-2011, 09:57 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Nonsense.
Agreed. Of the many old Pentax cameras I own I've never had to service even one. Granted I live in the desert so humidity doesn't get to take its toll on them, but I also take care of my equipment.

I purchased a KM on eBay a couple years ago and the meter is way off, so I'd like to get that one serviced, but other than that my oldest K1000 I've had for more than 20 years was purchased used and it still looks and functions as if new.
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