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10-28-2015, 12:01 PM   #1
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Pentax ME Super - Blank Rolls?

I know this is a super beginner question but am I loading the film in my Pentax ME Super wrong?

I haven't had a problem with rolls coming up blank in the past but three of my past four rolls have come up blank (two in the studio, then one I shot at the beach developed, and my latest came back blank again). I've been noticing there seems to be more slack in the film than I would like when loading it but again, haven't had this problem before. When I load it I insert the leader in the magic fingers, and rewind the film toward the left of the camera till it catches the sprockets. Should I be doing anything with the rewind lever or something or is this a mechanical problem with my camera? Testing it now the shutter is firing fine so I don't imagine that would be it, unless something is wrong with my winding mechanism as a whole.

Also, I've been shooting on this camera for almost a half year now and haven't had this problem in the past and I don't think I've changed the way I load it? Really hope this isn't a problem with the camera itself though, any help is appreciated.


Last edited by photolady95; 10-28-2015 at 12:25 PM. Reason: fixed typo
10-28-2015, 12:49 PM   #2
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I've had this issue with a spotmatic. In my case it's caused by the rewind button on the bottom plate unscrewing itself to the point where it can't pop back up -- defeating the film transport locking mechanism. I have to screw the button back down (counterclockwise, by grasping it between thumb and finger) to get the film advance working again.

Anyway, my procedure for ensuring that film transport is actually happening is to tension the rewind crank by taking up any slack as soon as the film is loaded and the back is closed, then, when I advance the film, the crank will visibly spin. If it fails to spin, I know the film isn't loaded properly.
10-28-2015, 12:55 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsmithhfx Quote
I've had this issue with a spotmatic. In my case it's caused by the rewind button on the bottom plate unscrewing itself to the point where it can't pop back up -- defeating the film transport locking mechanism. I have to screw the button back down (counterclockwise, by grasping it between thumb and finger) to get the film advance working again.

Anyway, my procedure for ensuring that film transport is actually happening is to tension the rewind crank by taking up any slack as soon as the film is loaded and the back is closed, then, when I advance the film, the crank will visibly spin. If it fails to spin, I know the film isn't loaded properly.
Thanks man, if it is a mechanical problem I'm just wondering why one roll developed between the four that didn't? At this point I'm considering just buying a Super Program as a replacement considering it would cost me about as much as roll of film + development anyway and I've already sunk too much money into test rolls that have come up blank.
10-28-2015, 01:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kfreud Quote
Thanks man, if it is a mechanical problem I'm just wondering why one roll developed between the four that didn't? At this point I'm considering just buying a Super Program as a replacement considering it would cost me about as much as roll of film + development anyway and I've already sunk too much money into test rolls that have come up blank.
I have a ruined film (opened back before rewind) that I keep for testing film transport -- being careful not to completely rewind the leader into the cassette (or if I do, it's easy enough to pop the cassette open to retrieve it). If the shutter's not the problem then it has to be the transport, or your loading technique.

10-28-2015, 01:16 PM   #5
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The ME Super is notorious for developing problems in the film advance. It is cheaper to replace than to repair.
10-28-2015, 01:20 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
The ME Super is notorious for developing problems in the film advance. It is cheaper to replace than to repair.
Word, love the camera but I was thinking about upgrading anyway. Any problems I should be aware of on the Super Program before I buy if you know of any?
10-28-2015, 01:31 PM   #7
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Not just ME Super

QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
The ME Super is notorious for developing problems in the film advance. It is cheaper to replace than to repair.
One of the factors that seems to affect the ME Super is the motor drive that could be attached. I'm not sure where, but I think I read someplace that it winds too hard and can break a certain tab inside the winding mechanism. The symptom is usually a winding lever that doesn't do anything; it never even cocks the shutter.

I have 4 ME Supers. One works fine, the other three are dead. I have seen film transport problems with the otherwise reliable MX too, but the ME series is inherently unreliable in many areas other than film transport. Repair is useless because something else will break, sooner or later.

The ME is like Minolta's XG series. Fun to use but not made to last.

---------- Post added 10-28-15 at 03:34 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by kfreud Quote
Word, love the camera but I was thinking about upgrading anyway. Any problems I should be aware of on the Super Program before I buy if you know of any?
I have a Super Program. Works fine except the shutter release doesn't work all the time. You sometimes have to press extra hard to get it to take a picture. I don't know if that's a common problem or not - just sharing my experience. I think the Super Program and Program Plus and various other incarnations are much the same as the ME Series. Not the most reliable choices out there.
10-29-2015, 02:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kfreud Quote
When I load it I insert the leader in the magic fingers, and rewind the film toward the left of the camera till it catches the sprockets.
Insert the leader and advance the film wind to tension the film across the gate. Confirm that the sprocket teeth are engaged top and bottom and close the film door. Again, the sprocket teeth must be engaged both top and bottom. It is those teeth that move the film, not the takeup spool. Wind on until the film counter is at the "1" mark, taking care that the rewind knob rotates with each advance.

If the rewind does not rotate, the advance is not engaged. It is that simple.


Steve

10-29-2015, 06:26 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Insert the leader and advance the film wind to tension the film across the gate. Confirm that the sprocket teeth are engaged top and bottom and close the film door. Again, the sprocket teeth must be engaged both top and bottom. It is those teeth that move the film, not the takeup spool. Wind on until the film counter is at the "1" mark, taking care that the rewind knob rotates with each advance.

If the rewind does not rotate, the advance is not engaged. It is that simple.


Steve
Yah, thanks for the advice. I make sure both sprockets are engaged whenever I load film, so I'm pretty sure it's a mechanical problem at this point. Thanks again though!
10-30-2015, 12:22 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kfreud Quote
I make sure both sprockets are engaged whenever I load film, so I'm pretty sure it's a mechanical problem at this point.
OK...so you have been able to confirm that the drive sprocket is not engaged to the film advance mechanism and is free-wheeling? This may be assessed without film in the camera simply by working the advance mechanism while lightly resting your finger on one of the drive sprockets.

Assuming that the film transport is working, I guess the next step is to check whether the shutter is actually exposing the film. This also may be done with the back open. There is no need to sacrifice a single frame of film to troubleshoot.


Steve

(Usually the first evidence of failed film transport is getting 50 exposures from a 36 exposure roll and it only taking three or four revolutions of the crank to rewind the film...we all know it because we have all done it...)
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