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08-08-2016, 12:42 PM   #1
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Possible issue with ME II Winder

Hello, all...

I recently purchased a lovely ME Super with the ME II motor winder. As documented in a previous post, there was an issue inside the camera which caused the manual winding and shutter button to become inoperative after just a few trial shots using the ME II. As I loved the compact feel of the camera and it appeared to have been well cared for, I invested in a repair and the issues were corrected.

Yesterday was my first opportunity to go out shooting with the camera. For the first test roll, I used a 24 exposure load. I did all of the shooting with the motor winder attached.

Normally, I shoot 36-exposure rolls, so it was a while before I realized - Holy Smoke - I HAVE to have shot more than 24 frames! On closer examination, while the motor winder sounded normal, I noticed the rewind crank was not turning backwards. So, I guess I must have exposed that last frame a dozen or so times!

Most of my previous experience with motor drives has been with Nikon SLRs, using either MD-12 or MD-15 motor drives. In all cases, these setups will clearly let you know you've shot the entire roll by refusing to trip the shutter or advance the film.

So, I'm curious: Is this simply a known "quirk" of the Pentax ME II? When one's eye is pressed to the viewfinder, especially while doing a series of shots, it's easy to overlook whether the rewind crank is properly turning in the opposite direction after a shot, and obviously in this case, hearing the shutter release and the accompanying whir of the winder motor, it's easy to be misled into thinking the shot was made.

If this is "normal" for the ME II used with an ME Super, guess I'll have to get used to having a finger near the rewind crank, but I'll greatly appreciate any guidance from users more experienced with this combination than I.

Many thanks!

Steve

08-08-2016, 06:19 PM   #2
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IIRC I had an ME Winder II on my Super Program, back in the day. My recollection was that it would stop winding at the end of the roll. That was some 15 years ago, however, and that recollection may not be accurate.
08-08-2016, 07:29 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cthulhugan Quote
IIRC I had an ME Winder II on my Super Program, back in the day. My recollection was that it would stop winding at the end of the roll. That was some 15 years ago, however, and that recollection may not be accurate.
What he said... ^^^ Edit: See my full retraction below...


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-10-2016 at 08:41 PM.
08-08-2016, 08:40 PM   #4
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One of two things happened:
The film was not loaded correctly and never got pulled out of the cassette, so you never exposed a single frame

Or the film got pulled out of the cassette after frame 24, and you kept shooting on air.

I would recommend opening the back of the camera in a dark room or changing bag if you have not opened it already.
If the film is on the take up side, you can pull it out (press in the rewind button), and seal it up in a dark bag or other light tight container and get it processed.
If the film is on the cassette side, you likely have nothing exposed, and can reload it and try again.

I had ME, MX & LX bodies with winders on them, I don't think I ever pulled a roll all the way out of the cassette with any of them.
The Pentax "Magic Needles" can be fiddly, I got used to them, but they can be a challenge if you are used to a take up spool that had a tooth to engage the film leader (Nikon).

08-08-2016, 11:39 PM   #5
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Thanks, all, for the quick responses.
@K-Three - Film was indeed loaded correctly, as it did wind back into the cassette, taking the normal amount of cranks to do so.
@All - To reiterate, the winder did what it was supposed to do : Tripped shutter and advanced film, 24 or 25 times (it was a 24-exp roll) BUT...After those frames, it kept tripping the shutter and making "winding-like" noises. So, no I wasn't shooting on air, but I sure overexposed the hell out of the last frame until I realized what had been happening! This was not a quirk. To get a handle on this, I loaded another 24-exp roll at home, kept lens cap on, selected fastest shutter speed, smallest f/stop in Manual mode, and clicked away the entire roll. At the last exposure, the winder made a bit of a straining noise (easy to miss when shooting, say, trains!) and I noticed the rewind crank was no longer turning backwards. However, as was my experience yesterday, the winder/camera made sounds very similar to when film WAS being advanced. What I'm trying to figure out here is why this is so different from my Nikon SLRs where the motor drive will simply stop advancing and will not trigger the shutter -- i.e., no ambiguity as to when the film is fully shot. On this Pentax arrangement, it seems the only way to be certain is to rest a finger next to the rewind knob and ONLY when it stops turning in the opposite direction do you KNOW you've shot the whole roll, and it's time to reload -- no matter what sounds the drive and shutter/mirror are making!
So, ALL I'm trying to determine is: Is this behavior NORMAL for an ME Super with ME II motor winder? Or do I need to have camera and/or winder repaired?
08-09-2016, 10:52 AM   #6
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To be more specific, once it reached the end of the roll my winder stopped cocking the shutter of my Super Program. The behaviour you are seeing us not typical (thanks Stevebrot for confirming my recollection). I'd at least try another roll or two of film before sending it in, though.
08-10-2016, 07:30 PM   #7
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You've got a faulty winder or camera/winder combination. it could just be bad contacts, try cleaning the electrical contacts on the top of the winder and the bottom of the camera.
If still no joy, you need to either get that winder serviced or find another one.
not sure if the replacement cost for a working winder is more or less than a repair

you may want to contact Eric Hendrickson, He works on film vintage Pentax and may have insight as to if this a simple fix or a replace it fix.
08-10-2016, 08:40 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cthulhugan Quote
My recollection was that it would stop winding at the end of the roll
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
What he said... ^^^
Guess who was wrong?

I own the winder as well as a compatible camera, but it has been forever since I have used it. I do, however, have the manual and guess what it says in the section on "Film Rewind":
Fig. 18 When you reach the end of the film roll, the sound of the winder unit will suddenly change and the camera film rewind crank will cease to turn. At this point, check the exposure counter to ascertain if all the exposures have been made. (NOTE: The LED indicator lights constantly when you reach the end of the film in the C mode. It still flickers in the S mode, however, so be sure to check the exposure counter before rewinding the film.)
Fig. 19 Next, push the film rewind lever of the winder unit (i.e. the lever marked "R") in the direction of the arrow; this locks the camera film rewind lever in the upraised position so that you may rewind the film rewind crank in the usual manner.
Sorry for leading everyone astray


Steve

08-10-2016, 11:04 PM   #9
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Huh. I guess the manual trumps a 15-20 year old memory. I might just have to run a roll of film through mine for old times sake. I'd need to find a battery for the Super Program, though.
08-31-2016, 11:06 AM   #10
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I finished a roll yesterday using my Winder ME II. Below are my configuration and observations:

Configuration:
  • Winder ME II in EX+ condition with fresh batteries
  • Pentax Super Program camera in EX+ condition*
  • Auto/125X lever in "Auto" position**
  • Mixture of C (continuous) and S (single) shooting
  • Camera operated in Program mode
Observations:
  • 2 fps seems to be a bit of an exaggeration. I found it easier to shoot in "S" mode than to wait on "C".
  • The Super Program/Winder ME II combo is heavy and has similar heft to my K-3 with same lens mounted
  • End-of-roll behavior was interesting. The manual indicates that there will be a change in winder sound at end-of-roll, though more accurately, the change is that there is no sound from the camera, just the winder. Neither mirror nor shutter mechanism cycles after end-of-roll. The winder actuates, but that is it.
  • Film rewind can be a bit of an adventure. The interlock between wind mechanism and rewind button is not very robust. As a result, I had to continuously depress the rewind button in order to fully rewind the film.
Not having one of the bodies having a manual shutter speed, I was unable to test battery-free body operation with the winder attached. The same is true for testing the mechanical shutter speed (1/100s or 1/125s) found on compatible M-series bodies.


Steve

* The Winder ME II was released for the ME Super, but is also fully compatible the Super Program (Super A), Program Plus (Program A), ME, ME F, and MV-1.

** The ME Super, ME, ME F, and MV-1 have the mode dial option of a mechanical shutter speed for X sync and battery-free operation. The manuals for both cameras and winder are explicit that the Auto/125X lever should be in the "125X" position when that shutter speed is chosen. The manual for the Super Program (my camera) makes a point that the "Auto" position should always be used with that camera.
08-31-2016, 12:09 PM   #11
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Thanks, Steve...

...and everyone else who addressed my concern!
While all of my previous motor winder/motor drive experience has been with Nikon F-series and Canon EOS cameras, the behavior I noted with the Pentax ME Super/ME II combination (i.e. continuing to release shutter and activate mirror even after final exposure was made) seemed entirely illogical.
It's a great relief to know my instincts were grounded, and that I can now advise my tech with confidence that something is indeed amiss.
Steve, thank you also for the detailed observations.
While I was a happy Pentax user in the Spotmatic and ES era, I'm definitely a newbie to the ME Super, but have been loving its compact form factor, especially after undergoing shoulder surgery!
It's a joy to use this little guy - or at least it will be a more complete joy - once it and the winder will play nice together.
Even bought a Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 and a Pentax M42 adapter as an "homage" to my earlier Pentax days when I owned one of these ;-) Also, a 28 and a 150 from that same era. Such a nice combination of earlier-times solidity and ME Super compactness!
Best regards,
Steve
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