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07-02-2016, 11:04 PM   #1
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Just discovered the ME Super but worried I may have a faulty camera and/or winder

Hello, all...
New poster here, but far from new to film photography, having started in the mid-60s with two original Spotmatics, later adding an ES.
I later moved on to Nikon (for my manual focus cameras) and Canon EOS for both film and digital.

However, I was recently reminded of the elegant little ME Super and MX cameras - very welcome as I've recently had a shoulder repair! So, I thought I'd try one to see if it felt as good as it looks. This week I purchased what appears to be a very well cared for ME Super. The transaction, on Ebay, also included the ME 2 power winder, three lenses, and a very nice compact case.

After cleaning out the corrosion from two batteries the previous owner had left in there and installing a fresh LR44, I began playing with the camera. Winding felt fine, shutter sounded great, and the metering looked good in all modes.

Then, everything started going "odd." I inserted four AA cells in the power winder, but noticed the tray, while it seemed to "lock" was not flush with the winder body, allowing perhaps 1/8" of the batteries to show when closed. This also caused intermittent operation, unless I pressed in on the tray. I had installed Lithium batteries and I thought perhaps they could be just longer enough than standard alkalines to cause the issue. So I bought a set of non-Lithium AAs but found the same issue with closing snug.

Upon loading a roll of film, I got further down the rabbit hole, as the winder sounded odd as though it was struggling to do something before it triggered the shutter. I also noticed the film rewind crank was not turning backwards. I unmounted the power winder and tried to use the camera by itself - only to find that the shutter button had become non-responsive - it travels downward but nothing happens in any mode. Additionally, the winding crank will not move, so film cannot be advanced

As the camera felt so normal and positive in testing it without film, I can only guess that whatever might be wrong with the winder has messed up something in the camera. Or vice-versa ??

It's not like I've lost a ton of money on this, as the seller stated it was untested and would accept returns. But the fact is, I really fell in love with the camera's elegant compactness and precision feel; and with the winder attached, it feels just fine in my large-ish hands.

Therefore, I'm willing to investigate repairs, but thought I'd first ask if the issues I have described might happen to ring a bell with someone more experienced than I with this type of Pentax SLR. Or, could I have possibly overlooked something critical, being much more familiar with the ins and outs of Nikon and Canon?

Thanks so much for any guidance!

07-02-2016, 11:26 PM   #2
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I suggest you rewind the film until it releases, not fully, and remove it. Then check the function of the camera, making sure the mirror moves correctly. If the winder doesn't fit, it may be for another model Pentax.
07-02-2016, 11:53 PM   #3
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The Winder ME II is supposed to work with the ME Super (I own one and use it on my Super Program). That being said it can be fiddly to attach and the switches/settings must also be correct. You can download a copy of the manual from:

Pentax Accessory Manuals

(password to open the PDF is "Pentax")


Steve
07-03-2016, 03:47 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MewersDad Quote
...I got further down the rabbit hole, as the winder sounded odd as though it was struggling to do something before it triggered the shutter. I also noticed the film rewind crank was not turning backwards. I unmounted the power winder and tried to use the camera by itself - only to find that the shutter button had become non-responsive - it travels downward but nothing happens in any mode. Additionally, the winding crank will not move, so film cannot be advanced

As the camera felt so normal and positive in testing it without film, I can only guess that whatever might be wrong with the winder has messed up something in the camera. Or vice-versa ??
...
I'm very sorry to read this, but I'm afraid it is the very well known "ME/ME Super"-disease. If you google the net for "ME super ramblings", you will find a text which describes your phenomenon and other potential ME/ME Super faults. The problem is a tiny plastic damper inside the camera on the mirrorbox mechanism which disintegrates itself over the years. Its chemical remainders spread over the mirrorbox mechanism and make the release mechanism somewhat sluggish. This problem may not show up while you move the winding crank carefully and manually, but once the winder operates at full steam, the mechanism will freeze after a few cycles.
The good part of the message is that DIY repair is possible, however you need a good assortment of fine mechanical tools and soldering skills.

07-03-2016, 03:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
I suggest you rewind the film until it releases, not fully, and remove it. Then check the function of the camera, making sure the mirror moves correctly. If the winder doesn't fit, it may be for another model Pentax.
Hello UMC, and thank you for your very useful reply. Your next-to-last sentence exactly describes what I experienced after using the motor winder. I am glad to know this can be repaired, as I do like the compact and precision feel of this camera. The one I purchased looks like it has hardly been used, and from what you wrote, I'd imagine there's a good chance that another used body would have - or soon develop - the same frustrating issue. While I do not trust myself in DIY camera repairs, I will run this by my camera technician to see if he can restore proper working order at reasonable cost. One thing I did not initially relate but noticed today, is that the rewind release button on bottom of camera is stuck in the up position. Would this be part of this same issue?

Steve, thank you for your input. I did download the manual for the winder, confirming it is the correct unit for this camera and that I used it correctly until the issues arose. What I still fail to understand is why it does not latch fully (i.e., is not flush with the edge of winder) such that operation is intermittent unless I press inward.
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