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04-05-2010, 11:55 PM   #1
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Just got myself an ME Super

So, being relatively new to photography, I started digital with the K-x and have learned a lot and had a blast. Being on a budget, I've been using a lot of M lenses and the kit lens. I decided that I wanted to try film and get the most out of my M lenses, so on the way to me now is an ME Super in supposedly good working condition.

However, although I'd say I know my K-x in and out, I know next to nothing about how film cameras operate. What should be things I should check for with the camera, first and foremost, to make sure it works properly? What is the general process for correctly exposing, loading, and developing film? (that last bit I don't expect anyone to fully describe, as I've heard it to be a fairly long process). What's the best way to just have fun using film?

Sorry for the newb questions, although I don't suppose this should go in the beginner forum, as I've always thought that to pertain more to beginners with dslrs. If this is in the wrong place, I apologize.

04-06-2010, 01:47 AM   #2
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First off, if you haven't got a manual, download a copy here Pentax ME Super instruction manual, user manual, PDF manual, free manuals

Read about how the lights in the viewfinder work. Its an aperture priority camera so put it in auto and make sure the shutter speed changes for different aperture settings. Its probably worth fitting a couple of new batteries because when they get low they give some strange meter readings.

I would check the meter readings against a proper light meter or failing that, compare it to the readings from your DSLR. I found that my ME super was underexposing compared to my two other cameras. I compensate by setting the ISO lower than the film I'm using so for example when I'm using 400 ISO film I set the iso dial to 320 which seems to do the trick. Make sure the light seals are good. If you shoot a few rolls and find out that the seals are letting in light, you can buy seal kits very cheaply.

Good luck with your new camera.


Its a great little camera. I treat mine like a compact as its small enough to slip into my pocket.
04-06-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
First off, if you haven't got a manual, download a copy here Pentax ME Super instruction manual, user manual, PDF manual, free manuals

Read about how the lights in the viewfinder work. Its an aperture priority camera so put it in auto and make sure the shutter speed changes for different aperture settings. Its probably worth fitting a couple of new batteries because when they get low they give some strange meter readings.

I would check the meter readings against a proper light meter or failing that, compare it to the readings from your DSLR. I found that my ME super was underexposing compared to my two other cameras. I compensate by setting the ISO lower than the film I'm using so for example when I'm using 400 ISO film I set the iso dial to 320 which seems to do the trick. Make sure the light seals are good. If you shoot a few rolls and find out that the seals are letting in light, you can buy seal kits very cheaply.

Good luck with your new camera.


Its a great little camera. I treat mine like a compact as its small enough to slip into my pocket.
Thanks for the advice. Looking through the manual quickly, it seems fairly painless to operate. I'm now slightly more concerned how much it's going to cost to develop in the long run

Anyone have any recommendations for good places online to send in your film to get developed into negatives, but not necessarily for prints? I'm probably going to get a decent photo scanner and end up only getting prints of the ones I want, and putting the rest on flickr or something. Is there a point in getting 4x6 prints?
04-07-2010, 01:48 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote
Thanks for the advice. Looking through the manual quickly, it seems fairly painless to operate. I'm now slightly more concerned how much it's going to cost to develop in the long run

Anyone have any recommendations for good places online to send in your film to get developed into negatives, but not necessarily for prints? I'm probably going to get a decent photo scanner and end up only getting prints of the ones I want, and putting the rest on flickr or something. Is there a point in getting 4x6 prints?
I don't know if you are going to be shooting b&w or colour but if its b&w then why don't you develop the film yourself. You don't need a darkroom for that, just a changing bag which will cost very little and small rotary tank which should only cost a few dollars. Then all you need is the developer/stop/fix chemicals which again are cheap.

I really don't think there is any point in getting 6x4 prints. I print my own stuff and the smallest I will use is 7x5 but my prefered size is 12x9.5. I've got 50 sheets of 16x12 waiting to be used but I'm keeping that for something special.

04-08-2010, 11:43 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote
Thanks for the advice. Looking through the manual quickly, it seems fairly painless to operate. I'm now slightly more concerned how much it's going to cost to develop in the long run

Anyone have any recommendations for good places online to send in your film to get developed into negatives, but not necessarily for prints? I'm probably going to get a decent photo scanner and end up only getting prints of the ones I want, and putting the rest on flickr or something. Is there a point in getting 4x6 prints?

These days, except for a few expensive pro labs, almost every place uses pretty much the same automatic processing machines, so the only real difference between them is how clean they keep the machine, and how often they replenish the chemicals.

I take my film to Costco. The young ladies who run the photo lab there do a good job of cleaning the machine and replenishing the chemicals. To develop negatives only, the cost is about $2 per roll.

My suggestion is to find a local one-hour lab that does a good job and go there. If you send it away, you probably aren't going to get much better processing, unless you pay a LOT more, and you have to wait a week.

As someone else said, developing B & W film yourself is not difficult and can be fun. Once you get the hang of it, there is a lot you can do in the development stage, such as push processing, to control the process for different effects.

If you don't want to bother with developing your own film, but still want to try B & W, Kodak makes a B & W film that is developed in the same C-41 process that their color negative film goes through. Any lab that develops color negatives, can process this "Chromogenic" B & W film. I believe it is called BW400UC.

I have an ME Super and I love it. Its a great little camera. Some people like its small size, while others prefer a little more bulk. If you end up using it a lot, you can buy a battery grip/motor drive on eBay for around $20. This adds the bulk and provides a 1.5 (I think) frame-per-second motor drive. There are two: the Pentax Motor Drive ME and the Pentax Motor Drive ME II. Either one will work with your camera.
04-08-2010, 12:28 PM   #6
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If it is possible for you to get hold of a book that was published in the eighties named "Pentax ME super Book of Photography" I think you will find answers to most of your questions.
Good luck with the ME super. I like the camera, even if I just have posted a question regarding a small problem with mine.
04-08-2010, 02:25 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
I don't know if you are going to be shooting b&w or colour but if its b&w then why don't you develop the film yourself. You don't need a darkroom for that, just a changing bag which will cost very little and small rotary tank which should only cost a few dollars. Then all you need is the developer/stop/fix chemicals which again are cheap.

I really don't think there is any point in getting 6x4 prints. I print my own stuff and the smallest I will use is 7x5 but my prefered size is 12x9.5. I've got 50 sheets of 16x12 waiting to be used but I'm keeping that for something special.
I've looked into developing B&W, and it sounds like fun. If all goes well with using the camera in general, I'll look into getting the materials for the summer when I have more time.

QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
These days, except for a few expensive pro labs, almost every place uses pretty much the same automatic processing machines, so the only real difference between them is how clean they keep the machine, and how often they replenish the chemicals.

I take my film to Costco. The young ladies who run the photo lab there do a good job of cleaning the machine and replenishing the chemicals. To develop negatives only, the cost is about $2 per roll.

My suggestion is to find a local one-hour lab that does a good job and go there. If you send it away, you probably aren't going to get much better processing, unless you pay a LOT more, and you have to wait a week.

As someone else said, developing B & W film yourself is not difficult and can be fun. Once you get the hang of it, there is a lot you can do in the development stage, such as push processing, to control the process for different effects.

If you don't want to bother with developing your own film, but still want to try B & W, Kodak makes a B & W film that is developed in the same C-41 process that their color negative film goes through. Any lab that develops color negatives, can process this "Chromogenic" B & W film. I believe it is called BW400UC.

I have an ME Super and I love it. Its a great little camera. Some people like its small size, while others prefer a little more bulk. If you end up using it a lot, you can buy a battery grip/motor drive on eBay for around $20. This adds the bulk and provides a 1.5 (I think) frame-per-second motor drive. There are two: the Pentax Motor Drive ME and the Pentax Motor Drive ME II. Either one will work with your camera.
Thanks for the wealth of info! I wasn't aware that photolabs could just process negatives without having to get prints for such a cheap price. Definitely good news

Would there be a point in using special B&W film made for a color process when maybe I could just desaturate in PP? Or is a mindset of film to avoid doing PP all together? I wouldn't mind that.

I think I'll do fine with the size. I don't mind the size of the K-x, and people say that's small.

QuoteOriginally posted by helibosse Quote
If it is possible for you to get hold of a book that was published in the eighties named "Pentax ME super Book of Photography" I think you will find answers to most of your questions.
Good luck with the ME super. I like the camera, even if I just have posted a question regarding a small problem with mine.
Hmm, well that's cool that there's an entire book on it. I may look into that, thanks!

Hope your problems can be solved easily enough.
04-08-2010, 03:03 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wshi Quote
Would there be a point in using special B&W film made for a color process when maybe I could just desaturate in PP? Or is a mindset of film to avoid doing PP all together? I wouldn't mind that.
You can get C-41 BW film (BW film that develops in color chemicals) if you're not set up to develop your own. There are many fine posts in the forums here of it.

You can scan without ever using a graphics editor to post process your shots. But, IMHO, you'll need to edit them for best results. Scanning BW you can't use the ICE feature to help remove dust, for example. You'll need to clean up small specs with the healing tool or something in editor. So get a can of air to blow off those negatives best you can and keep clean surfaces on the scanner.

I prefer to turn off all scanning extras like sharpening and what-not. I adjust the brightness/tones with it. Scans will look flat and not very good. But they will clean and sharpen up in the editor. Typically, in the graphics editor I apply a smart sharpen, some degree of regular sharpen and curves to adjust tones and contrast. Sometimes a little masking is called for to burn or dodge an area.


Last edited by tuco; 04-08-2010 at 03:09 PM.
04-14-2010, 09:14 PM   #9
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Where can you get the seal kits for the ME cameras at?
04-15-2010, 02:53 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulbald2 Quote
Where can you get the seal kits for the ME cameras at?
Pre-Cut Interslice Seal Kit Pentax ME, ME Super, MV - eBay (item 110517371450 end time May-08-10 18:12:39 PDT)
04-17-2010, 01:55 AM   #11
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Seal kits for Pentax ME

I bought a set of seals from: Jon Goodman [jon_goodman@yahoo.com]. Jon has a very good description that shows how you can replace all seals in your camera step by step.
04-17-2010, 01:37 PM   #12
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Just received it today! Unfortunately, there seem to be problems, but hopefully it has to do with me being ignorant of film cameras...

Condition looks great, but light seals look like crap. Included lens, a kiron 28-70 has a faulty aperture; it does not stop down.

On the camera itself, the most concerning aspect so far has been this: I can set the shutter speed under M mode for "2s" or 4s" (this is without film) and all shutter speeds look exactly the same. It is certainly not a multi second exposure. I can confirm this by putting it in auto mode and having a dark scene. The meter appears to be working perfectly, but the shutter always seem to be what I would imagine to be 1/125 sec, as that is the flash sync.

However, this brings up another possibility. Is it possible that I simply need to change the battery? The seller noted that the battery may need to be changed, but the light meter appears to be working okay, so I am doubtful. Another point is that B mode works perfectly, so I am doubtful that the shutter is truly messed up...

Opinions on the matter? I will probably go try to pick up some new batteries later today.
04-18-2010, 12:16 AM   #13
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Worn out batteries

You dont need to buy new batteries, first check if those in the camera are OK. Aim camera at the sky and press the trigger half way down. Now you can see the diodes light up. If the are twinkling, exchange batteries. If they are steady, keep the batteries.
04-24-2010, 08:33 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by helibosse Quote
I bought a set of seals from: Jon Goodman [jon_goodman@yahoo.com]. Jon has a very good description that shows how you can replace all seals in your camera step by step.
I also bought a kit from Jon Goodman. Great service and outstanding step-by-step instructions. Good price.
05-01-2010, 07:25 AM   #15
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I also got myself a ME super, alongside M 50mm f1.7 lens which is why I bought it. My ME super seems to have a broken light meter. I have downloaded the manual for camera so my batteries are right and contacts cleaned. Next thing I'm planning to do is check the wiring etc. So I'm asking if anyone here has repair manual for ME super? It would help a lot for me to do that task and check if light meter indeed is broken.

Would be great to have that body working, but the mechanical 1/125th shutter is limiting

thanks in advance

-Juho
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