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3 Days Ago   #1
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Whatís the Pentax version of the Canon AE-1?

I started my photography shooting Canon DSLR. Along the way I branched out to film and naturally picked up an AE-1 secondhand. Recently I graduated to medium format and bought myself a Pentax 6x7 which I love. Thatís when I discovered the fantastic Asahi glass. I want to get a Pentax SLR to add to my collection so I can start dabbling more with Asahi glass but I have no idea where to start in finding a camera body. Iíve done some research online and itís all a bit confusing trying to figure out where each camera stands. It may be a silly question so please donít crucify me for asking, but is there a Pentax 35mm camera that is just like the AE-1 in terms of ease of use and features? The K1000 was recommended but someone told me the light meter is always working until you place the lens cap on but I donít want to bother with putting the cap on and taking it off just to save the battery. Any other suggestions? Thanks

3 Days Ago - 1 Like   #2
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I'd place it with the Super A both in rough time of introduction (Late-70s to Early-80s) and features.
Pentax Super A / Super Program - Pentax Manual Focus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications
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The K2 is also a good choice. I started photography (SLR) with a Canon AE-1P. I’m not sure how many Pentax film cameras I have now, but my K2 seems to be very similar. The K1000 is a dependable camera, but I like to shoot aperture priority sometimes which it can’t do. For smaller size with the options you are looking for, the “super” versions are good choices, ME super, Super A or the Program Plus.
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium4Matt Quote
Any other suggestions? Thanks
Do you want/need auto exposure or is manual fine? That's probably your biggest choice to make in terms of which bodies to look at...

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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I'd place it with the Super A both in rough time of introduction (Late-70s to Early-80s) and features.
Pentax Super A / Super Program - Pentax Manual Focus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications
That's more sophisticated than the ae-1. The ME is a contemporary and like the AE-1 was intended as an automatic exposure camera that dad was small and light. Like the ae-1 a winder was available. Like the ae-1 if the battery died you were hosed.

Of course the ae-1 is shutter preferred but can be overridden buy taking the lens off A. The ME is only able to adjust its aperture priority exposure using+/- 2 stops.
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium4Matt Quote
What’s the Pentax version of the Canon AE-1?
That would be the ME Super, which debuted in 1980, a few years after the AE-1, but addressed the same market segment. The ME Super differs from the AE-1 on several points, the most significant being size (smaller), metal build, full information viewfinder, open-aperture metered manual, and the use of aperture-priority exposure automation rather than shutter-priority. The ME Super is fully compatible with all K-mount lenses having an aperture ring as well as most M42 lenses using stop-down metering.

Note: While it might seem strange that the ME Super came a few years after, it helps to realize that the industry as a whole were caught by surprise by the AE-1's 1976 debut and what it offered to a non-sophisticated user at a moderate price point. Nikon responded with the FE in 1978 and more directly with the EM in 1979. Minolta offered the XG-7 in 1977 followed by a more robust competitor, the XG-9, in 1979. Ricoh offered the XR-2/XR-2s as direct competition in 1979.


Steve

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3 Days Ago   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That would be the ME Super, which debuted in 1980, a few years after the AE-1, but addressed the same market segment. The ME Super differs from the AE-1 on several points, the most significant being size (smaller), build, full information viewfinder, open-aperture metered manual, and the use of aperture-priority exposure automation rather than shutter-priority. The ME Super is fully compatible with all K-mount lenses having an aperture ring as well as most M42 lenses using stop-down metering.


Steve
I can see that. By then the AE-1 program was out, so perhaps that was more directly comparable?
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium4Matt Quote
is there a Pentax 35mm camera that is just like the AE-1 in terms of ease of use and features? The K1000 was recommended but someone told me the light meter is always working until you place the lens cap on but I don’t want to bother with putting the cap on and taking it off just to save the battery. Any other suggestions? Thanks
The K-1000 was much "clunkier" than an AE-1 ..... it reminded me more of a Praktica camera than a Canon of that time period. I'm not sure exactly what features an AE-1 had, but both my ME and my Super Program were similar in 'feel'. I still have my mother's AE-1 Program, and it is very close to the ME and Super Program in size and weight.

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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
I'm not sure exactly what features an AE-1 had
  • Low price
  • Lightweight due to plastic over metal construction
  • Shutter priority automation with metered aperture visible in viewfinder
  • Compatibility with all FD and FDn lenses and partial compatibility with FL series
  • Non-metered manual
  • Winder compatible
In all, a bit more primitive package than the AE-1 Program.

Steve
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
By then the AE-1 program was out, so perhaps that was more directly comparable?
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.


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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
  • Low price
  • Lightweight due to plastic over metal construction
  • Shutter priority automation with metered aperture visible in viewfinder
  • Compatibility with all FD and FDn lenses and partial compatibility with FL series
  • Non-metered manual
  • Winder compatible
In all, a bit more primitive package than the AE-1 Program.

Steve
So, finding a Pentax that matches exactly may not be possible - IIRC, the ME {I had the 'SE' variant} had aperture priority automation with metered shutter speed visible in viewfinder. The Super Program would give "shutter priority automation with metered aperture visible in viewfinder" if you used KA-mount lenses with aperture ring always set on 'A' position.
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
So, finding a Pentax that matches exactly may not be possible - IIRC, the ME {I had the 'SE' variant} had aperture priority automation with metered shutter speed visible in viewfinder. The Super Program would give "shutter priority automation with metered aperture visible in viewfinder" if you used KA-mount lenses with aperture ring always set on 'A' position.
I shot the AE-1 in high school. From my recollection the Super Program is pretty darn close to what it was and what it could do, but perhaps I am recalling the AE-1 Program.
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
So, finding a Pentax that matches exactly may not be possible
True enough, but I'll second your recommendation of a Super Program (or even a slightly less refined Program Plus) since 40 years have gone by since the introduction of the AE-1. The OP shouldn't feel ashamed of taking advantage of the superior features of newer Pentax SLRs and working Super Programs and Program Pluses are readily available. I have an AE-1 in a box somewhere here, it's like a Radio Shack TRS-80 compared to an IBM PC.
3 Days Ago   #14
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ME Super is roughly equivalent and was the AE-1's contemporary.

Chris
3 Days Ago - 1 Like   #15
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As has been said, if you are looking for shutter priority, you will have difficulties finding an appropriate Pentax.

The ME - Super (1980 - 87) is contemporary and easy to use but has aperture priority (and manual mode). Although the buttons for setting the time are seldom needed, they are no match to the wheel of the AE-1.

The Program Plus/Program A (1984-88) ist the equivalent of the ME-Super to the AE-1 program - aperture priority and program mode. Well built.

The P30n (1988-1990) and P30t (1990-97) are the latest models (of the MF) with aperture priority and program mode (and manual), but feel a bit plastic and only have auto-iso, which is their real drawback. You can get them quite cheap and most of the time with working seals. Do not confuse them with the P30 (without n or t) or the P50.

The Super program/Super A (1983-87) addionaly gives you aperture priority. But those buttons .... Otherwise it's a step up from the AE-1 program with TTL-Flash and some more features.


For program or shutter priority you need "A" type lenses. They have a green A on the aperture ring.


If you are content with aperture priority you may consider a Chinon CE-4 or a Cosina CT-3 which are contemporary to the AE-1 and as easy to use. Ricoh is an option as well.

Last edited by Papa_Joe; 3 Days Ago at 02:06 AM.
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