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11-14-2010, 03:12 PM   #1
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Pulling out my dad's old ME, what do I need to do to get it up and running?

I've been really thinking about picking up a Pentax K-x, but I'm afraid that I won't use it as much as I think I would and it'd be a waste so I decided to pull out my dad's old Pentax ME to start taking pictures with. It hasn't been used in years and has sat in a leather case with 2 lenses (a 18-55 and a 55-300 I believe, both Vivatar). Should I take it in to get cleaned or is there some type of process I should do before I get some decent film and start shooting?


Also, once I get the pictures taken, is just taking the film to somewhere like Costco/Walmart fine or is it better to go to dedicated places?


Thanks for any help.

11-14-2010, 03:53 PM   #2
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The ME is a very stable camera. Mostly metal on metal so you don't need to do a lot to get it up and running and the chances it is accurate is pretty high. If the meter is working you should be good. Two things to watch is corrosion in the battery compartment and sticky mirror bumper and sticky back door seals.
11-14-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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Should I run through a roll of cheap film first? Or even take it in somewhere and have it cleaned?
11-14-2010, 04:11 PM - 1 Like   #4
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First things first...Before even trying the shutter or anything else:
  • Check the battery compartment for any evidence of corrosion. Clean is good.
  • Check the condition of the door seals and mirror bumper foam. If the seals and/or bumper are even slightly sticky or gummy, they will need to be replaced. This is particularly true for the mirror bumper. The mirror strikes the bumper when it swings up to make the exposure and flips back down afterward. Sticky material may then be flung onto the surface of the focus screen where it will be very difficult to remove. You can replace the seals/foam yourself (see interslice on eBay for kits) or simply have the camera CLA'd.
If the both of the above look good:
  • Run through the operating instructions in the camera manual. A copy of your camera manual may be found HERE (donation appreciated).
  • Buy some film and enjoy the camera!
You can still get color print film at many drug and variety stores (Walgreen, Target, etc.) and many also still provide processing for color print film. As for processing...I use my local pro lab for C-41 color print film since they charge the same as Costco and provide somewhat better results. For B&W film, unless you have a real camera store nearby your best source is probably online. I buy from freestylephoto.biz or from digitaltruth.com. I do my own B&W processing since it is much cheaper than paying for the lab to do it.


Steve

11-14-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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Eric posted before I got my message done. If the camera needs any work including a general CLA (Clean, Lube, Adjust), he is the man to talk to. He repaired and CLA'd my KX and I cannot speak more highly of the quality of the work. Eric is the best.


Steve
11-14-2010, 04:31 PM   #6
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I couldn't take it to a local place for CLA? I have a couple camera repair places within a couple miles of here. I'll look through the camera later today or Tuesday (downloaded the manual from the pentax site earlier); busy with work/school all day tomorrow.

For colored film is there any specific brand/product I should look for or are they all pretty much the same. I haven't bought film in quite some time. The last time I used a film camera (which was this camera) was in highschool for film class, but we rolled/developed/printed our own film.
11-14-2010, 05:51 PM   #7
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Without wanting to belittle your camera... the ME is a fine unit and I own one myself. But you can buy these cameras from as little as $15 used.

The cost of doing a CLA is so much more than running a roll through and buying another ME if it doesn't work, it hardly seems worth doing.

If you're just starting off again, I'd get Kodak CN400BW film which can be processed at Walgreens but gives you very fine grained Black & White images. Switch to colour film when spring rolls around
11-14-2010, 06:21 PM   #8
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I live in California. There is no difference between the seasons, lol.

11-14-2010, 10:26 PM   #9
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lol! Yeah I forget that not everybody lives in Canada!

Still, CN400BW is still pretty nice film to start with.
11-14-2010, 10:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
Without wanting to belittle your camera... the ME is a fine unit and I own one myself. But you can buy these cameras from as little as $15 used.
Unfortunately, the other $15 ME would also need at least new seals.

If the seals are are shot (most likely), get the kit from interslice (Jon Goodman) on eBay ($10 including shipping) and do the seals yourself. All it takes is a steady hand, good light/eyes, the kit, lighter fluid, and a pair of tweezers.

Steve
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