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01-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #1
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Bought a lot of Pentax film cameras

So, I've been looking for dead, broken, junk cameras for an art project. I found a guy on eBay selling 8 Pentax bodies, marked as non-working, for parts, for $40 Buy It Now, so I jumped on it.

I received the bodies today, and.... they're not junk. Every single body works! No sticky shutters, several of them had good batteries and working light meters, and all the bodies are in pretty nice shape, actually.

Here's my score: 2 ME's, 1 ME Super, one MX, one MG, one black MV1, one Spotmatic (no hotshoe) and one Spotmatic-F (with hotshoe).

I think I want to run a roll through each of these to make sure there are no light leaks or meter issues, and then give a few to my local university's photography classes.

My question is... out of all of these, which is the one I should keep and use for myself? I've got my eye on the ME-Super, as it appears to be the only one with both auto and manual controls. I don't see a lot of difference between the ME, MG, and MV-1. The MX is obviously full manual, just like the K-1000, but with a better focusing screen and light meter.

Charles.

01-30-2013, 09:01 PM   #2
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I would keep ME Super, it has 1/2000 shutter speed and you likely to need it when shooting with faster lenses you have. However, I will also keep MX for it's even gorgeous viewfinder.
01-30-2013, 09:02 PM   #3
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The MX!
And congrats with your luck with this purchase - who would have thought it possible!
01-30-2013, 09:10 PM   #4
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+1 MX and MESuper (IOW, keep 2)!!

01-30-2013, 09:32 PM   #5
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I don't understand why the MX seems so popular. It's not significantly different from the ME Super that I can tell, other than having a less useful light meter and no auto mode. The MV-1 at least is a sexy black, even if it is the most basic of this bunch.

Charles.
01-30-2013, 09:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChopperCharles Quote
I don't understand why the MX seems so popular. It's not significantly different from the ME Super that I can tell, other than having a less useful light meter and no auto mode. The MV-1 at least is a sexy black, even if it is the most basic of this bunch.
Shutter and Viewfinder. However, I felt limited by 1/1000 max shutter speed.
01-31-2013, 12:09 AM   #7
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How are the shutter and viewfinder any different from the Super ME? The viewfinders look identical, and I can't tell any difference in the shutters.

Charles.
01-31-2013, 03:33 AM   #8
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Keep the MX. It sets the standard by which all cameras are measured. You don't even need to put film in it to feel superior. .

(Yes, I know it won't register with 99.5% of the population but - hey - you wouldn't be shooting with Pentax if you cared about that!)

01-31-2013, 06:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChopperCharles Quote
I don't understand why the MX seems so popular. It's not significantly different from the ME Super that I can tell, other than having a less useful light meter and no auto mode. The MV-1 at least is a sexy black, even if it is the most basic of this bunch.

Charles.
If having all shutter speed available when batteries die or interchangeable focusing screens is not important or significant but having aperture priority automatic exposure is, then it may be that the ME Super is best for you.

Last edited by LesDMess; 01-31-2013 at 08:18 AM.
01-31-2013, 07:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChopperCharles Quote
How are the shutter and viewfinder any different from the Super ME? The viewfinders look identical, and I can't tell any difference in the shutters.

Charles.
The MX has a 0.97x 95% viewfinder. The ME Super viewfinder is 0.95x 92%.

The MX has a horizontal cloth focal plane shutter, the ME Super has an electronic focal plane shutter. The MX can shoot at any shutter speed without batteries, the ME Super can only shoot at the sync speed without batteries.

Here is what Bojidar Dimitrov has to say about the two...

QuoteQuote:
2. MX

This is one of Pentax's simplest and most robust cameras. It features manual focus, manual exposure and fully manual flash operation. It is fully mechanical, and uses batteries only for its light meter. The MX does, however, offer DOF preview, self-timer, interchangeable screens, and interchangeable backs. The viewfinder offers an optical readout of the selected lens aperture and shutter speed as well as five LEDs that indicate how far the manually-set exposure is from the camera's recommendation: 1 EV or more under, 1/2 EV under, identical, 1/2 EV over, 1 EV or more over. The camera is extremely small, light, and easy to use. A winder and motor drive are available as optional accessories.

On the negative side, the camera's design is from the late 1970's and supports only center-weighted metering, has a slow flash sync-speed, no mirror-lockup, and no flash automation of any kind. Parts for the MX are getting difficult to find.
QuoteQuote:
3. ME Super/ME Super SE

This manual focus camera is from similar vintage as the MX, and is also very light and small. However, it is targeted at a different group of users. It lacks the "pro" features of the MX (DOF preview, full mechanical construction, interchangeable screens, aperture indication in the viewfinder) but offers convenience. It has aperture-priority operation in addition to full manual, dedicated flash, wider range of shutter speeds, faster X-sync, etc. While it offers some mechanical speeds, it relies on batteries for showing its full potential. It is plentiful on the second-hand market, and is simple to learn and use. Finding a repair place for this body is not so difficult, and parts are relatively easy to come by.
01-31-2013, 07:19 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The MX has a 0.97x 95% viewfinder. The ME Super viewfinder is 0.95x 92%.

The MX has a horizontal cloth focal plane shutter, the ME Super has an electronic focal plane shutter. The MX can shoot at any shutter speed without batteries, the ME Super can only shoot at the sync speed without batteries.

Here is what Bojidar Dimitrov has to say about the two...
Quote: 2. MX

On the negative side, the camera's design is from the late 1970's and supports only center-weighted metering, has a slow flash sync-speed, no mirror-lockup, and no flash automation of any kind. Parts for the MX are getting difficult to find.
But of course we know that we can get the MX - and I understand all mechanical shuttered Pentax, to lock up the mirror by quickly hitting the shutter button.
01-31-2013, 07:52 AM   #12
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Interesting. Well, I'm debating running film through each of these. All but the ME Super look like they have good light seals, nothing seems in trouble except for the mirror foam. Every one needs that foam replaced, but that's not terribly difficult or expensive.

The Spotmatcis are interesting. What does the lever do on the left side of the camera, near where the AF/MF switch would be on a dSLR? DOF preview? I don't have any screw mount lenses.

I'm both really surprised and slightly disheartened about this haul. I mean, it's awesome to pick up 8 working cameras for a song... but I wanted 8 broke-ass cameras for a song. Now I feel like I shouldn't use three of them on an art project, because they're good cameras. Hrmph.

If I do use three of them, I'll need to source some cheap 50s or 28s (two K and one M42) to slap on these. Project is at least not destructive to the camera... I want to build something like this: Stars for Streetlights: How to Make a Lamp from Vintage Cameras

However, I was planning on leaving the cameras 100% intact. Instead of the JB Weld to hold them together (which is pretty ghetto), I bought several hotshoe-to-tripod-screw adapters, and I was going to create a wooden base to properly support the metal tube that holds up the light bulb and lamp shade, and then use some bailing wire to attach the cameras to it non-destructively.

Charles.
01-31-2013, 08:07 AM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
Marie/Underground Crafter
Wow. I think I will try to get some vintage cameras from my mom's collection to make one of these! Thanks for sharing.
There are some sick people out there!
01-31-2013, 08:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChopperCharles Quote
The Spotmatcis are interesting. What does the lever do on the left side of the camera, near where the AF/MF switch would be on a dSLR? DOF preview? I don't have any screw mount lenses.
Depressing the lever stops the lens down and turns on the meter. The Spotmatic F has open aperture metering, so like the K1000 the meter is always on unless the lens cap is on.
01-31-2013, 12:03 PM   #15
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ME Super and MX for bayonet
and both Spotties for M42s
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