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05-23-2009, 03:02 PM   #1
Ole's Avatar

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Pentax ME

Year introduced
Meter range
1 - 19 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Av, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-2 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
8 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
1/100s, B
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
External winder 1.5 fps
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
0.97x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
2 x S76
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
131 x 82.5 x 49.5 mm
460 g
PENTAX ME: The original, black leather
PENTAX ME SE: Brown leather

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K10D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K100D Super  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 

Last edited by Ole; 05-10-2010 at 09:38 PM.
06-03-2009, 02:37 PM   #2
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I tried really hard to like the ME, but when it came out I was pretty well "accessoried out" with the M42 stuff and the Spotmatics and could see no advantage to transitioning to the M-body. Then I picked up a used MG and it became my day-camera and travel kit. The M-body was a great travel camera and brought about the M- and A-series K-mount lenses. I later picked up a few busted ME's for the lenses attached but can't claim to have ever shot a roll of film with one.

But the ME does have a place in my heart because it was the first Pentax body I ever totally disassembled. What an experience. I gained tremendous respect for the people that conceived of, drafted drawings for and assembled these remarkable machines.

The penta-prism from that body still resides SOMEWHERE in or on my desk and even drifts to the top once in a rare while.

02-12-2010, 11:52 PM   #3
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Location: somewhere around
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Received this a couple of days ago and I'm in love.
I don't find the lack of manual mode sucha huge issue. In fact I like the way it is making my life easier with less choices to make.

The shutter is Seiko and a genuine masterpiece. the blades are so fine it looks at the first glance they form a continuous curtain when you cock the shutter.
I find the camera itself an incredible thing by size and ergonomics. I love the led's in the HUGE viewfinder. Even in lowlight you can estimate the shutter speed.
I don't miss the DOF preview. again the viewfinder size compensates for that.

I guess I'm lucky 'cause I bought this for around 30 $ and in EX condition. The previous owner hardly ever used it. The battery cap is almost untouched, that makes me think he was never using it, but stored it instead. It retains it's full functionality.

I also own a SP II and a Super A. Both are gorgeous cameras, but this small sweetheart wins a high place in my heart.

Edit: My ME is jealous. I've got myself a broken ME Super for a bargain, fixed it and put it to it's paces.
Also is lil more used and abused than the ME, so I'm not worried about it so much.


Last edited by octavmandru; 04-11-2010 at 07:48 AM.
06-23-2010, 09:41 AM   #4
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Pentax ME Camera Review

Pros Rugged, small, perfectly formed
Cons Viewfinder irritatingly dirty, no TTL
Rating 8
Price na
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Bright viewfinder
Diminutive size
Rugged lens and tripod mounts
Machined ISO dial is one of the many pleasant aesthetic details
Shutter sound

Camera Review
Taking a picture with the ME is a bit louder than the MX and ME-S, and the slower maximum shutter speed and heavier weight is also probably a result of the shutter mechanism, "Seiko version 1". Its got oodles of style, being more compact than the MX, and with cleaner lines than the ME Super, lacking the additional mount for the ME-S manual buttons. The brushed steel style breathes quality and unfortunately catches people's eye: you will get singled out for not using digital and a plastic P30 or MZ-M will be better at flying under the conspicuous consumer radar.

The winder is smoother than the MX without film in, but with film, the MX has a mechanical advantage (longer throw of the MX winder). The exposure value adjustment is something which the MX doesn't have: you could put an extra stop of exposure on every shot with the ME, although this can obviously be accomplished with ISO, the implementation on the ME is nice. The MX also has a noticeably larger viewfinder, although the viewfinder in the ME is a joy to use in comparison to my digital ist DS. In fact, I took the viewfinder out of a "for spares or repair" ME and popped it into my ist DS as I like them that much.

The ME Super represents a fractional technical improvement on the ME. I'd be more inclined to believe the meter in the camera, rather than switching to manual, so I think the ME-S' buttons are of limited value. If you are shooting black and white or colour negative, just overexpose one stop if you are unsure, using the left hand exposure dial. The ME Super has an additional shock absorber in it, which the ME is missing. Mirror slap could be an issue, unless you have wrapped your meat hooks around it, and is one area where I wonder whether a more modern camera would be better. In my limited experience, maybe the ME Super feels a bit better in this regard, but this only really comes into play at slower shutter speeds. Replacing the mirror bumper helps here, and is easy to do.

Last edited by whojammyflip; 11-28-2010 at 01:22 AM. Reason: update
12-02-2010, 09:35 PM   #5
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Pentax ME Camera Review

Pros like driving a standard auto
Cons sometimes like driving a standard in traffic
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) $100 including 4 lens + flash
Years Owned 2

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Fantastic value for someone who wants to learn about photography fro the ground up. It is almost entirely manual with a simple light meter to help gage speeds and such. It performs in precisely as promised - not more or less. The size, weight and general mass of the camera are substantial yet not overwhelming. It feels comfortable and secure in your hands.

Camera Review
This camera is a treat to own and handle. The photos are just like the ones you can produce with photoshop and a DSLR, but without even the cost of the software. Really, the camera makes you stop and think about what you are doing, take the time to set aperture and dial in you manual focus using your hands, you eyes and your own sense of just what you want to see. I have a DSLR, a digital point and shoot and a now older digital SLR like and none quite give me the joy and sense of discovery and amazement as when I receive my photos back from one of the few places in town that still develops film in less than a week. The camera works as promised and then some. For $100 I purchased it locally from an online add that promised it was the sellers grandfathers camera. The gentleman delivered it to my home within the included hard camera case along with a Pentax flash that simply required new batteries, and four lovely Pentax lenses : 28mm, 50mm - favourite, 135mm and a 70 - 200mm. Al lenses work perfectly. The photos are not as crisp or detailed as high end current fodder but the photos contain elements of mood, an aura of ambiance and a real sense that someone took the time to compose and execute a photo that is more than a snapshot. If you love photography, or are willing to let yourself fall for someone a little older learn to then get one of these littel cougar cameras.
Sure you can buy a new Lexus automatic in lime green metallic but when you can drive a Classic Jaguar E Type standard in British Racing green, you'd be crazy to miss the opportunity. Attached are three photos from this box of light.
Attached Images
12-20-2010, 08:51 AM   #6
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Location: Colorado
Posts: 103
Pentax ME Camera Review

Pros Manual, super-easy, LED exposure lights, great lenses
Cons Wicked mirror-slap in slower speeds
Rating 3
Price (U.S. Dollars) $100?
Years Owned Since 1979

I can recommend this camera: No

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Small, metal, manual camera.

Red LED exposure lights in the viewfinder.

+/- Ev compensation on left-top.

Good veiwfinder.

Camera Review
I really loved this camera, and it went all over South America with me on my walkabout. Small, easy-to-use, and I really prefer the red LED exposure lights over the black needle.

Perhaps the best feature of the ME are the manual lenses, which can be found easily and cheaply on local craig's list of eBay. Smooth as silk focussing.

I got out my old camera recently, and was really disappointed in the usage at slower speeds, which is why I can't recommend it. The mirror slap was easily transmitted to the hand. Maybe this vibration hits after the image, but I don't trust the ME below 1/60.
02-09-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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Pentax ME Camera Review

Pros light, well-conceived, durable
Cons lack of manual controls
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) ?
Years Owned 35

I can recommend this camera: No

Value, Features, Performance & Size
All automatic (apart from autofocus), but no choice to go manual.
Small. Too small for me but YMMV.

Camera Review
It probably depends on what you want. This camera was more or less forced on me, I wanted (at that time) the Canon Aex-1 or so. But I was a minor, and gave in, as the saleman and my father insisted this was a better camera for me.

The good thing is that in retrospect I liked Pentax. But I never liked the ME. In fact, I bought the KX as soon as I could (manual controls, good ergonomics, not so dependent on batteries). More recently, I moved on to the K-x and 645, 645N.

Ultimately, mine lost the flash shoe. I still have it in my drawer....

Commercially, the drive to sell small bodies may have been justified. personally, I've always preferred the K-series until the LX appeared.

05-02-2011, 12:36 PM   #8
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Location: Edinburgh
Posts: 91
Pentax ME Camera Review

Pros Small, rugged, good auto metering in majority of situations
Cons Lack of manual modes, iso range only up to 1600
Rating 6
Price (U.S. Dollars) 60
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Automatic metering with Ev compensation +/- 2 stops, manual focus with self timer. Bright large viewfinder with shutter speed indicated by red light on the side. Small size (great for carrying in a day pack with a small lens)

Camera Review
I bought this camera used from a second hand shop, and found it like the other members of K series; durable, tough, easy to use, and aesthetically and ergonomically pleasant.

The auto metering produces good results and the exposure compensation is able to tweak the settings just enough when needed.

I would like to see the iso go up higher to 3200 or 6400 as I use film capable of these speeds. This inability is my biggest gripe, as I would ideally use this camera for low light night street shooting and feel 1600 is too slow for this.

For those beginning to usie film cameras the pentax ME is very user friendly, all you have to do us wind, focus and shoot.

I would recommend it with the warning that you will, in some circumstances, regret the lack of a manual mode. If you get this as a starting camera you won't learn as much as you would with a Kx, K1000 or similar. I have recently purchased a ME Super, which does have a manual function, and so I don't anticipate using the ME much in future.
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