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07-06-2017, 12:24 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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5 (outdated) Reasons to choose Pentax

At the middle of the summer 1981 I purchased a brand new Pentax ME Super. This was the five major reasons:

1. A window next to the winder arm to control film movement.
(Assists the user in rewinding film into the cassette without losing the tip of the film).

2. Shutter speeds are selected with up and down buttons rather than the outdated wheel.

3. The shutter speed is displayed in the finder.

4. In the event of battery failure, the camera can continue to operate at a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second.

5. Seperate manual mode in addition to AUTO.

07-06-2017, 02:49 PM   #2
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You must also have considered the 1/2000 shutter speed which was pretty fast for a consumer camera at the time. And you must have noticed that glorious viewfinder. And it's just so tiny.
07-06-2017, 03:28 PM   #3
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My entry to Pentax was also in 1981, and it was a used ME Super.
The reasons to go Pentax, however, were totally different.
  1. Till then, for 8 years I had used an East German Exa500 + Exakta Varex (VX1000) with just a Domiplan 2.8/50, and West German (Isco) 35 and 135mm primes. During the last part I had added a Soligor zoom (can't remember the range, it reached to tele, but was average with an excellent close focus capability). And I had a 2x TC, tripod, and a macro tubes set. When I expected to need poster sized prints, I borrowed my fathers 4x4 camera.
  2. In summer 1981, I made a combined 3 weeks studies/camping trip with my then girlfriend, her brother, and a friend to northern and southern Italy. It was mid summer, and no way to correctly estimate exposure with the extreme light and slides film. At home in Germany, with years of experience, I always carried a light meter with me, but very seldom used it. The result was, that I decided I would NEED a SLR with light measuring through the lens.
  3. In the first half of the 1970s, I had been a frequent customer of a small photo shop, where I delivered my color negative films for development, and who handled my needs of ordering special equipment and/or spares. And, for a long time, the "star" of their show case had been a Asahi Pentax Spotmatic (the body which killed German camera manufacturers, not Canikon!). The raving revues had always impressed me, but as a student it was completely out of reach for me. Just the Spotty body was twice as much as my 2 Exakta bodies with 3 primes (price dumpig, as East Germany desperatly needed West German Marks for imports).
  4. I decided to save for a new system. I did never think of starting with any of the many manufacturers other than one of the then "Big 5" (Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax). Of these, for some reason I ruled out Canon completly - I don't know anymore why, I probably did not like the brand for reasons not related to photography.
  5. Selecting Pentax was probably helped by the fact, that the girlfriend of a friend of mine was a professional photographer, used only LX bodies, and was specially more than satisfield with the SMC 1.4/50 (and I was stunned by the pictures she had taken, specially industrial/architecture ones from a work in Saudi Arabia). But the main reason for choosing Pentax was the fact, that I knew I would not be able to switch to a complete new system in one step, for lack of money. And there was the BIG advantage of Pentax: because of the widely used K mount, building up a new system could be made step by step. This was not possible with the others of the "Big 5".
So I sold my complete Exakta system to another student, and with that money I bought (special offer) a Photo Porst SLR with a 2.0/50mm lens. I forgot the exact type, but the body had a K mount, and - feature wise - was identical to the Pentax ME, at less than half the price.
I was not very satisfied with the lens - it was slightly faster than the Domiplan, but not too much better concerning IQ. When I saw an "unbundled" new SMC Pentax.M 2.0/50mm for DM 99, I immediatly bought it (big improvement!), and soon after I found a used ME Super. Selling the Porst+lens payed for it.

During the next 2 years, I bought (and sold again, most of them) a lot of lenses, new ones (Tokina only) and used ones. And then I found a nearly unused Super A with the A 1.4/50mm for half the price of a new one (which would have been roughly DM 1300 at that time, today more than a K-1).

I was late in to digital - I had decided I would do that step only when it would offer comparable resolution (to what color slide film could do in the 1970s), at a comparable price. Soon after the start of the DSLR era, German magazines had calculated, that theoretical at least a 12 MP sensor would be needed. And then there came the point when film became just too expensive for every day use, and so I did not wait any longer and bought a new K200D body. I am still very satisfied with that camera, and with RAW and today's NR software even ISO800 shots are manageable without visible degradation. But just now I am considering a K-5 or K-5II, mainly for LV, composition (shift replacement), and cropping.

The ability of the ME Super to shoot with 1/125 without batteries did not add to my initial considerations. But roughly 6 months after the purchase, the camera dropped 1 meter to concrete. Electronic was dead, but all mechanics still worked. And just when this happened, I had a lot of invitations for parties just to deliver pictures. And with the auto thyristor flashes of that time, I could use the camera just as usual. Only after finishing these jobs I got it repaired (exchange of the motherboard).

Last edited by RKKS08; 07-19-2017 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Signature addad
07-06-2017, 03:56 PM   #4
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The ME Super was my first SLR camera. I still have it and have with my M50/1.7 and ME II auto-winder attached. Still works wonderfully and shoots fantastic images. It and my Spotty-F are my favorite 35mm film cameras. Recently acquired a Super-A with an A50/1.7 lens and I feel it's going to give the ME Super a run for the money since it's basically a ME Super with a PK/A mount.

07-06-2017, 04:15 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripper2860 Quote
The ME Super was my first SLR camera. I still have it and have with my M50/1.7 and ME II auto-winder attached. Still works wonderfully and shoots fantastic images. It and my Spotty-F are my favorite 35mm film cameras. Recently acquired a Super-A with an A50/1.7 lens and I feel it's going to give the ME Super a run for the money since it's basically a ME Super with a PK/A mount.
After purchasing the Super A, I started badly missing the P mode with the ME Super (for unexpected shots), and I really appriciated the TTL flashing (for macro only, otherwise I preferred Auto Thyristor).
Of the four possible modes, I think I never used Tv.
And, after using the K200D, I REALLY appreciated the extreme vibration-free shutter of the Super A! Not so good with winder, but this I used only for party shots with flash, where vibrations did not matter.

Last edited by RKKS08; 07-19-2017 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Signature addad
07-06-2017, 04:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
After purchasing the Super A, I started badly missing the P mode with the ME Super (for unexpected shots), and I really appriciated the TTL flashing (for macro only, otherwise I preferred Auto Thyristor).
Of the four possible modes, I think I never used Tv.
And, after using the K200D, I REALLY appreciated the extreme vibration-free shutter of the Super A! Not so good with winder, but this I used only for party shots with flash, where vibrations did not matter.
P-Mode / Auto Mode? On the Super-A you have 2 P modes -- Programmed AE on the Super-A is set by by moving the dial to the AUTO setting and with an A lens, set to the aperture ring 'A'. You can also set aperture priority AE mode by selecting AUTO on the dial and setting the aperture to your desired setting on the lens aperture ring (just like the ME Super). Oh -- and the Super-A has a DOF preview, which I really missed on my ME after shooting a friends Pentax K2. As far as flash goes -- I still use my Sunpack Auto Thyristor Flash with the ME Super.

Both the ME Super and the Super-A are great cameras and honestly, none will take the ME Super's place in my heart. Too many memories and great images during my late teens and 20's are associated with that camera and the kit M50/2 lens..

Last edited by ripper2860; 07-06-2017 at 05:16 PM.
07-06-2017, 05:05 PM   #7
dmr
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My entry to Pentax was the Spotmatic (the black "press" model) {blow on fingernails, wipe on blouse} back in the early 1970s. Why? It was kinda my dream camera at the time and my brother had an older Pentax (HV?) and I liked that one. My second choice would have been the Nikon F, but the Spotmatic seemed less clumsy, to me, anyway. Plus, it was cheaper.

My only complaint was that it was very slow and clumsy changing the screw mount lenses. Because of this I traded for the K1000 and used it for my more or less main camera up until recently. Although I got this mainly because it was much quicker changing lenses, I got a zoom very soon after, so that was kinda moot.

The K1000 and the 28-135 zoom both got wonky not too long ago so I shot mainly with other cameras, both film and digital. I loved shooting with that combination, but both were old enough to vote (old enough to be grandparents, actually, if you push it) and I procrastinated doing anything. Due to some lucky finds, I recently came about two K mount Pentax bodies, both in great shape, one a MG and the other a black, with some brassing, MX {blow-wipe}. With those came, respectively, yet another f/2 normal prime and a very low end (f/4.5) Vivitar zoom.

Now that I have two good bodies, I sent both my totally-flaky and somewhat-flaky zooms in for estimates on un-flaking them, and I shiver with antici ... ... {say it!} PATION.
07-07-2017, 10:56 AM   #8
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@ripper2860
QuoteQuote:
P-Mode / Auto Mode? On the Super-A you have 2 P modes -- Programmed AE on the Super-A is set by ...
This misunderstanding is obviously caused by different handling of the expressions in German and English language.
In the Super A era, the abbreviation "AE" was not introduced yet (meaning some component of the exposure setting is running automatically, without specifying which it is). It was needed after the introduction of AF, to distinguish the two auto processes.
Despite the fact that "AE" is now printed on camera bodies and used also in German speaking manuals, in our language it is (still) not very commonly used.

By the way, with this definition the Super A offers 3 automatic modes (in digital speaking: P, Av, Tv). Of course, only if you use A, F, or FA lenses.

Also the introduction of these abbreviations (by the Japanese companies!) is somehow strange.
When the first cameras started to offer automated exposure, in German the "auto" process was highlighted, not the preset one.
So Tv and Av (digital speaking) were (and often still are) called kind of reverse: "aperture automatic" and "shutter time automatic".
It seems today's abbreviations are a compromise. "v" (Tv,Av) stands for the German "Vorwahl" (= preset), but "B" and "Z" for "Blende" (= aperture) and "Zeit" (= time) did not work, as B ("bulb") had already been used for decades. So the Japanese mixed English and German for Tv and Av.

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