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11-09-2018, 05:09 AM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
A year later (1981) for the AE-1 Program. For several years, there was extreme competition with features being matched on the next year's models or at 18 months. The AE-1 Program was a logical extension of the AE-1, but at a higher market segment with a more sophisticated feature set. The AE-1 continued as active product until 1984.

FWIW, I was in the market at the time and following the developments very closely.


Steve
I grew up in a camera store or on the road with my dad who sold cameras to dealers for Canon then Pentax. I suspect we have similar levels of exposure. My mother's ae-1 is in my closet. I also shot Nikon at the time she got it.

I'd say the answers in the thread are all pretty accurate, the exact overlap not being there and minor jumps in features being more or less important to different people.

For me the age, the new electronics, and the intended market were my criteria. The ME super is a closer feature match I will concede.

11-09-2018, 08:22 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I'd say the answers in the thread are all pretty accurate, the exact overlap not being there and minor jumps in features being more or less important to different people.
Agreed!


Steve
11-09-2018, 10:02 AM   #18
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The ME was contemporary with the AE-1. It was released in 1976. They made 50 000 a month....
11-09-2018, 06:57 PM   #19
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The Canon AE-1 was a huge sales success.
It was the model that finally brought 35mm SLR photography to the masses.
Consequently other manufacturers scrambled to market something similar.

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11-10-2018, 08:44 AM   #20
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Funnily enough, the big shock feature of the AE-1 that set everyone else back on their heels, and rushing back to the design board, is one that no-one cares much about these days.

But at the time, it was a big deal to offer a moderately-priced SLR that had provision for a winder. Even if it was only two frames per second, that "click-whirr, click-whirr" was catnip to amateur photographers who could now indulge in a "pro" feature at less than a pro price. They still use that sampled sound in movies and televison shows, regardless of what camera is actually in the actor's hands.


Nikon quickly re-worked their EL body into the EL-W so it could add a winder. And as noted above, Minolta, Pentax, and Konica were soon coming along with winder-compatible competitors.

It could be argued that Olympus really started the ball rolling a few years earlier with their OM-1 and OM-2 bodies, but they were marketed as semi-pro offerings, and had both high-speed motor and winder accessories.

Canon really scored a home-run with their AE-1 at the time, and the ability to buy an inexpensive winder for it really helped its appeal.

Today, of course, few film photographers today care about winders. Film is a precious resource, and is used up carefully. If you need speed, you need digital.

And yes, if you were camera shopping in 1980 and were looking at the AE-1, Pentax hoped you'd consider their ME Super. The ME was more in line with Canon's AV-1.
11-10-2018, 08:54 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
Funnily enough, the big shock feature of the AE-1 that set everyone else back on their heels, and rushing back to the design board, is one that no-one cares much about these days.

But at the time, it was a big deal to offer a moderately-priced SLR that had provision for a winder. Even if it was only two frames per second, that "click-whirr, click-whirr" was catnip to amateur photographers who could now indulge in a "pro" feature at less than a pro price. They still use that sampled sound in movies and televison shows, regardless of what camera is actually in the actor's hands.

---

And yes, if you were camera shopping in 1980 and were looking at the AE-1, Pentax hoped you'd consider their ME Super. The ME was more in line with Canon's AV-1.
Don't forget that the ME also offered a winder - 1.5 fps with the first version. And both the AE-1 and ME were introduced in 1976. In 1979 right around the time the ME Super was about to be introduced this ad ran: Wayback Machine It was clearly aiming for the AE-1 with the jib about metal (AE-1 is made with a lot of plastic).

But I'd rather have the ME Super and I'm sure Pentax was happy to sell them as it was a little more upscale.
11-10-2018, 10:02 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
But I'd rather have the ME Super and I'm sure Pentax was happy to sell them as it was a little more upscale.
Not only more upscale, but only a few dollars more expensive too. Below is a link to forum member @Nesster 's copy of Adorama's April 1981 ad showing street prices for Canon, Pentax, and many other cameras. An AE-1n was listed at $244.95 with 50/1.8 against the ME Super with 50/1.7 at $247.95. The AE-1 Program had not been released yet.

Adorama April 1981 | Nikon Yashica Contax Olympus Canon Mino? | Flickr

If I find an ad from 1976-1978, I will post that link too.


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11-10-2018, 10:50 AM   #23
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I found the Adorama ad from March 1978. Looking at the prices, I can see why I was not in the market. Cameras were expensive!

-- Pentax K2 with f/1.7* = $321.00
-- Pentax ME with f/1.7 = $260.00
-- Pentax KX with f/1.7 = $224.00
-- Pentax MX with f/1.7 = $249.50

-- Canon AE-1 with f/1.8 = $269.95
-- Canon AT-1 with f/1.8 = $220.00
-- Canon FTb-N with f/1.8 = $219.00

-- Olympus OM2 with f/1.8 = $336.75

I threw in the manual exposure models and the Olympus for comparison and figure I would probably have bought a KX (or maybe an OM1 at $235) if I had been in the market.

All sizes | Adorama (March 1978) price list | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Steve

* The ad says f/1.7, but more likely the lens would have been the Pentax-K 55/1.8 for the K-series bodies.


Last edited by stevebrot; 11-10-2018 at 10:55 AM.
11-11-2018, 10:48 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
Canon really scored a home-run with their AE-1 at the time, and the ability to buy an inexpensive winder for it really helped its appeal.
And you can still buy an inexpensive winder for it! I think I paid $5 for mine.

QuoteQuote:
Today, of course, few film photographers today care about winders. Film is a precious resource, and is used up carefully. If you need speed, you need digital.
Yep. I have it permanently attached to my AE-1 I find that body's size, shape, and weight a little off without it but it mostly just allows me to forget about advancing the film, rather than using it for speed. That is, when I even remember to turn it on.
11-11-2018, 11:03 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I found the Adorama ad from March 1978. Looking at the prices, I can see why I was not in the market. Cameras were expensive!

-- Pentax K2 with f/1.7* = $321.00
-- Pentax ME with f/1.7 = $260.00
-- Pentax KX with f/1.7 = $224.00
-- Pentax MX with f/1.7 = $249.50
Am I weird about thinking the MX is the best of those Pentax cameras listed?
11-12-2018, 01:55 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Am I weird about thinking the MX is the best of those Pentax cameras listed?
Personally I prefer the MX but there are plenty of folks round here who prefer the KX.
11-12-2018, 09:01 AM   #27
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Wow, thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'm gathering shutter priority wasn't a very common thing with Pentax. I suppose aperture priority isn't too much of an issue, as I also shoot a Canon A1 and often on AP to capture my toddler zooming around and don't have time to adjust for changing light so it's not a completely foreign mode to me. But unlike the A1, Pentax works on stop down metering, correct? I'm also gathering Canon really had a very good feel for convenience. I'm sure Pentax cameras are fine pieces of equipment but Canon seems to be a bit more convenient, especially for the average shooter
11-12-2018, 09:13 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium4Matt Quote
Wow, thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'm gathering shutter priority wasn't a very common thing with Pentax. I suppose aperture priority isn't too much of an issue, as I also shoot a Canon A1 and often on AP to capture my toddler zooming around and don't have time to adjust for changing light so it's not a completely foreign mode to me. But unlike the A1, Pentax works on stop down metering, correct? I'm also gathering Canon really had a very good feel for convenience. I'm sure Pentax cameras are fine pieces of equipment but Canon seems to be a bit more convenient, especially for the average shooter

Stop down metering? Not for a very very long time. Even m42 bodies had moved to open aperture metering before k mount was released. Modern dslrs from pretax use stop down metering with older lenses but not film cameras.
11-12-2018, 09:19 AM   #29
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I can’t find the link, but I was curious a year ago, and found an article that explained that when auto exposure first popped its head up in SLRs some manufacturers (Pentax, Nikon) started with aperture priority, and some started with shutter priority (Canon.). A lot had to do with how the lens systems were designed, and how easy it was to implement given their existing design. To my knowledge Pentax never made a solely shutter priority camera. They started with aperture priority, then added shutter priority with the SuperProgram. If you turned on both (set the shutter to “auto” and the lens to “A”) you got full program autoexposure. But if you want to shoot the SuperProgram in shutter priority only, you can very easily, you just need to make sure you have an A series lens, and dial it to “A”. Then you can choose whatever shutter speed you want, and the SuperProgram will figure the matching aperture for the exposure it determines.
11-12-2018, 10:39 AM   #30
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An advantage of aperture-priority AE models is that DOF preview can be used in AE or manual exposure modes
(if the camera body is so-equipped).

My Canon AE-1 and later A-1 bodies had DOF preview but it was very inconvenient to use.
It almost seems to have been included as an afterthought.

Chris
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