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09-14-2013, 04:05 PM   #1
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Getting started with an ME super.

Hey there all you film masters!
ive been shooting digital for....as long as i can remember, other than learning on a pentax k1000 back in high school maaaaaaany years ago now. recently i dug out and had a play with my dads old canon A1, and i knew i had to get myself a film body. originally wanting a MX, i found a good condition Me Super with a 50 1.7. so ill keep my eyes peeled for a MX, or maybe even a K2 or something in that size range. but for now..... the ME super will do the trick.
im going to order a few rolls of ilford xp2 to play with, as i can get it developed at the local store here and see my results quickly. eventually, i hope to do my own negatives, and then buy myself a scanner.
but for now, that combo will do me to learn on!
a few questions however....
i live in australia, where it is generally SUPER bright. so to overcome the 1/2000 shutter speed, if i want to shoot a few portraits wide open in bright light (say at 1.7, or if i use my 1.4 50mm) can i set the iso of the XP2 at iso100 safely? to underexpose it? or would you only go as low as iso200? and also.... i will get a ND filter, so for wide open shooting, would i be better off getting a ND8? i would only use it for 'creative' shooting, and then usually shoot around f11-f16.
Lastly..... where can i buy light seal kits? im quite handy and could replace it easy enough i think, and is there anyone in australia who does decent CLA's on old cameras? wouldnt be too cheap to send it to eric! haha
thanks for any help
:-D

09-14-2013, 04:56 PM   #2
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ND filter is your friend. Calculate how many stops you need and go from there. Do NOT set XP2 to other than base ISO.

Light seals?

http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/seal/Pentax_ME.pdf
09-14-2013, 05:06 PM   #3
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ah i see. i had heard somewhere that you could push xp2 to around 800, or down to 200 if need be. must have misread it. so im better off just shooting it at 400, and underexpose if i need to?
cheers
and thanks a lot for that PDF, it will be very helpful!
09-14-2013, 07:49 PM   #4
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ME Super is an awesome and one of the best old manual film cameras. I say this to everyone because its the only consistent reason half the ME Supers out there don't work - replace your light seals before you do anything. So many people test fire the shutter and the mirror sticks to an old soft mirror foam and then confused they try to force the film winder or shutter curtain or something else, and ultimately break it. Other than that, enjoy =)

09-14-2013, 09:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pixelvandal Quote
ah i see. i had heard somewhere that you could push xp2 to around 800, or down to 200 if need be. must have misread it. so im better off just shooting it at 400, and underexpose if i need to?
cheers
and thanks a lot for that PDF, it will be very helpful!
Actually, XP2 can be exposed over quite a wide ISO range.

The following is copied from the Ilford product info sheet:

"Although rated at ISO 400/27, XP2 SUPER can be exposed over the range EI 50/18800/30. When higher speed is needed, XP2 Super can be rated up to EI 800. For finer grain, when speed is less important, rate the film at 200/24, although for finest grain it can be rated as low as EI 50/18 if required.

The practical applications of this wide exposure range are very important. XP2 SUPER can be exposed at a setting to suit the job. The benefit of variable speed also provides security against inadvertent over or underexposure."

My personal experience with the film bears this out.

For a beginner with the ME Super, I recommend rating XP2 at 200. Meters on simple cameras such as this tend to be fooled into underexposure more often than not, so rating the film at a lower speed is a simple way of compensating for that behaviour.
09-14-2013, 09:57 PM   #6
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thanks for the tip John, and yes, i thought i had read something like that, looks like i wasnt mistaken :-)
09-15-2013, 01:20 PM   #7
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The issue with XP2 is the processing. Do it yourself and you can push/pull within spec. But if sending out to a lab I would not do either.

Portra 400 can take it, but I did not like my XP2 pushed.
09-15-2013, 03:15 PM   #8
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XP2 at 200 used o be dreamy or portraits and weddings!

Be not afraid, if you are ging to do a portrait do it in a shadry place, that way you avoid harsh shadows

09-15-2013, 04:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The issue with XP2 is the processing. Do it yourself and you can push/pull within spec. But if sending out to a lab I would not do either.

Portra 400 can take it, but I did not like my XP2 pushed.

The ISO rating range described on the Ilford spec sheet is for standard C-41 processing. No push or pull processing required for ISO 50 to 800. I do not particularly like XP2 rated at 800 (although it is perfectly useable), but it is very nice at the lower ratings.

Last edited by John Poirier; 09-15-2013 at 05:15 PM.
09-15-2013, 11:19 PM   #10
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C41 film, which XP2 is, handles over exposure extremely well. Like mentioned, you can shoot it at iso50. But unlike digital cameras, film doesn't handle underexposure well.
Also you can control the amount of light with your aperture, not only your shutter speed. I'm in australia too and rarely ever I thought I needed an ND filter or shutter speed faster than 1/1000.
Besides, the disadvantage of shooting portraits wide open in bright light is, you going to get a lot of CA and the image isn't going to be all that sharp. I would stop down at minimum to f2.8.
Also if you shoot head shot portrait you would want a longer focal length than 50mm. Something between 85 to 135mm.
09-15-2013, 11:55 PM   #11
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I have a 135mm for those :-) I almost forgot, being full frame the DOF is already going to be shallower than the apsc sensor I'm used to. Waiting on my rolls of xp2 to arrive! Thanks so much for your feedback everyone, much appreciated. Are there ever any film day meet ups in the brisbane/gold coast/ se Queensland area? Don't know if any members are close by to me?..

regards

pavel.
09-17-2013, 08:48 AM   #12
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In addition to all the good advise, find out for yourself. Take a test roll, find conditions in question, bracket your shots and check the results. Another variable in this equation will be the camera's meter. You need to get some experience with the gear under your belt.
02-01-2014, 03:54 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pixelvandal Quote
can i set the iso of the XP2 at iso100 safely? to underexpose it?
This is a great article for those of us considering trying XP2:

The Online Photographer: How To Shoot Ilford XP2 Super

From which I quote:

"For shooting in extremely bright and/or contrasty lighting, like harsh full sun and shadows, use EI (ISO) 100. This insures adequate shadow detail, and the highlights won't block up."

Well worth reading the whole thing…
02-02-2014, 04:13 AM   #14
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As mentioned above, unless you're developing film yourself (or using a really good lab) you can't really push/pull film.
The basic labs just use the default times/chemical temps under the assumption of box speed, and they usually won't do a shorter time to pull your film (they often use automated machines, so to pull or push would mean changing the machine settings, and running your film only... nobody elses)

Shoot it at box speed and use an ND filter if you want wide open.



As for repairs, in Melbourne there is CR Kennedy, who are Pentax Australia, they do repairs and services, but I'm not sure how old they do...

The other option is Shutterbox in Camberwell, who have a terrible website, but thankfully very friendly service.
Shutter Box - home

I haven't needed to have a camera repaired yet, so I can't comment on either's quality of work first hand.
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