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01-15-2014, 04:44 PM   #1
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Recommendations on a new Pentax film SLR to replace my dying ME Super?

I posted this in the film photos thread and received some helpful responses, but it seems as though this type of question warranted its own thread. Here's my post:

Hey folks, looking for an opinion. Sorry if this is the wrong place, but this is the only thread I'm familiar with. I've been shooting with my ME Super for a couple of years now, and on a recent trip around the country, it started to freeze up on me, meaning I would fire the shutter and it would stay open for minutes until finally randomly freeing up. It only happened once or twice initially, but by the end of the trip, it was doing it consistently and I had to stop shooting with that camera. I'm not even sure a CLA would fix this issue, and I'm not even sure it's worth the ~$100 to get a CLA on a ME Super. So, my question is this: If I were to buy a new camera, what would you all recommend? What is one of the best quality Pentax film cameras of this type (manual/auto, aperture priority, etc.) that's going to last? I know of the LX, but I'm not looking to spend $500 on a manual focus film camera. What are some other options? Thanks for any suggestions.

Responses were:

wkraus: "I think your request would warrant a new thread in the Pentax Film SLR Discussion forum--that would probably get you more attention.
I'm not sure if there really is a model that will give you all you're asking for. The most reliable old cameras would be the all mechanical models without auto exposure. If you want what you have been used to, another ME Super would be a cheap option. I have no experience with that model. In the 1980s I used a Super A (Super Program in the US?) along with my MX. I bought it for the TTL flash function which was great (better in fact than the current P-TTL flash with its considerable delay). However, in comparison with the MX I had a significantly higher number of shots with camera motion blur--apparently due to less efficient mirror/shutter dampening. And I noticed that the 1/125 was in fact closer to 1/100, something which the metering system took into account, so it was intentional--probably because they did not manage to get the 1/125 flash sync that they promised.
The LX (which I used next) is a great camera by any standards, although it might need servicing (but you have Eric over there, I'm quite jealous for that!). You should be able to get one for $200 to 300, unless it has to be near-mint.
In the 1990s I got a Z-1p (PZ-1p in the US) which is a great camera too but rather big in comparison to other Pentax models. Some people consider it ugly too, but I never had a camera that fit better into my hands. Later I also used a MZ-5n which is lovely--elegant, compact and offers all you can ask for in a film camera except the possibility to use lenses without an aperture ring in manual mode (which the Z-1p or Z-1 can handle). However, it is not very solid and tends to have problems with the mirror getting stuck. I'm afraid that all the later Pentax models are less durable than the old all-metal manual models. Hope that helps!
"

aurele: "So far, the SuperA has been a work horse for me. It work with all lenses, whether or not it have an aperture ring.
An issue can occure however : half pressing the shutter button can not start the metering in some case (short raison : some grease preventing the contact to happen).

The other body is the MZ-5n. Very simple, quite efficient. It can use a grip that allow the use of standard AA batterie. Lightweight. Supercheap and widely available. and so on.
An issue can occure : sticky shutter / sticky mirror as Wkraus explained it."


Does anybody have anything else to add? Thanks for any suggestions.


01-15-2014, 04:54 PM   #2
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Another ME Super?

The Super Program (Super A) is another good option, though it would be good to note that the TTL feature requires a compatible vintage flash. Current generation TTL and PTTL flashes may be limited to fully manual mode if they don't have an on-board sensor.*


Steve


* ...learned the hard way AFTER buying the Sigma EF-610 DG Super...
01-15-2014, 04:55 PM   #3
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For about $5.85 you can mail your camera to Eric Hendrickson in Tennessee for an evaluation. he will email you an estimate to repair your camera - and he is the best there is in North America. If you refuse the estimate I think he will actually mail the camera back to you for free. $63 plus postage for what will be a like-new MESuper with a 6 month warranty is a better deal than anything else you are likely to try.
01-15-2014, 05:21 PM   #4
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I'd suggest either repair that ME Super, or just buy another one.
They are a really good little camera.


If you want a change though, the Super-A is great.


It really depends what you want, if you want more features like autofocus, full auto, motorwind, etc, then I'd suggest the later ones like the P series (full auto, no AF), the SFX (auto everything), or the MZ series (auto everything)

My personal preference though is something pre-P series.
They tend to be less plasticy and a bit more rugged.
They also tend to have more mechanically operated parts than the later cameras, and as such are easier to fix on the fly if needed.

01-15-2014, 05:24 PM   #5
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I am familiar with Eric. He CLA'd my k1000 a few years ago. I guess I just wanted to see if there's another model out there to buy and send to Eric that might exceed the quality and capability of the ME Super. I should add that I like to shoot at night and I like to let the ME Super guess on auto exposure (it does quite well) and wondered if any other models are as good or better in that respect. I'm still a novice compared to people around here and figured it would be worth asking. Maybe repairing the current camera is the way to go after all.
01-15-2014, 05:31 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxk1000denver Quote
I should add that I like to shoot at night and I like to let the ME Super guess on auto exposure (it does quite well) and wondered if any other models are as good or better in that respect.
As above, the SUPERProgram / Super A is the next step after MESuper. I think uinxrevolution has one FS here (maybe CLA'ed) in a massive sell-off thread. I had one for a while and it was really nice.

NEW ITEM! Pentax Super Program, Recent CLA, brilliant condition with 100% working genuine Motor Drive A (Not a winder, a real motor drive...5FPS, double-A battery powered, with portrait shutter button.) $125

Last edited by monochrome; 01-15-2014 at 05:53 PM.
01-15-2014, 05:34 PM   #7
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If you want an upgrade get an LX
01-15-2014, 05:43 PM   #8
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I'd prefer a traditional manual focus body with manual film advance (less to go wrong and use small/cheap batteries). Although the MZ-5n is a very good camera (or the MZ-M if you want a very good auto-wind manual camera), I'd be concerned about reliability with the advanced bits and pieces.

If you want a traditional body with aperture priority & manual, you don't have many options. Your only Pentax choices are: ME Super, P50 (P5), P30n/T (P3n/T?), Super-A (Super Program) and Program-A (Program Plus?). The P30 (without the 'n' or 'T' only offers Program & Manual). Of these, the Super-A & ME Super stand out.

The problem is that all of these cameras are 20+ years old by now and you might buy one with similar problems to your ME Super (or one that develops problems later). Your only real defence against this is to buy from a reputable dealer (preferably with a warranty). You could take a chance on ebay but remember that when bidding. My experience tends to suggest that mechanical shutters are more reliable than electronic ones with cameras this age.

It is certainly worth considering getting an estimate for a repair.

John

01-15-2014, 05:52 PM   #9
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I would send it to Eric as well. These old cameras have "issues" once and awhile, they are just like cars. It's cheaper to fix them than to ditch them for another one. Any additional film cameras you get will also likely require a visit to Eric, so you may as well keep and fix the old one.

Phil.
01-15-2014, 06:32 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Rebuilding the ME Super shutter is one of Eric's specialties.
If you like the camera send it to him for evaluation.

Chris
01-15-2014, 06:59 PM   #11
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I totally agree with an evaluation by Eric, and if he services it you will have a reliable camera that you know and like. I have one I plan to send to him that was my wife's first SLR.
01-16-2014, 08:54 AM   #12
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Thank you all for the suggestions. It sounds like getting the ME super fixed is my best bet. I might also check out the Super Program as well just to see if there are any features I would use. Thanks again!
01-16-2014, 12:11 PM   #13
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As other said, send the camera to Eric... and your ME will be just as new for maybe less money than you will have to spend on a new body in very good condition.
01-17-2014, 08:38 AM   #14
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I will ditto the above; get the ME fixed! This from a guy who loves his old film cameras; $35 to get a Mamiya 500DTL CLA'd, got an AE-1 Program in the shop which will probably cost more to fix a stuck shutter than I paid BUT...after it's done I should get many years out of it! Rather than buy another one and maybe have problems with it later...
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