Pentax ME

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Pentax ME

Maker: Pentax

Dates: 1977-1979

Variants: chrome, black, SE

Camera Type: 35mm SLR

Focusing: manual


Lens mount: Pentax K

Shutter: focal plane Seiko MFC-E
metal curtains, vertical travel
from 8s to 1/1000

Exposure meter: TTL, open aperture,
center weighted

Exposure modes: aperture priority

ASA/ISO range: 12 to 1600

Finder screen: fixed

Flash shoe: fixed hot shoe

Flash speed: 1/100

TTL Flash: no

Motor drive: external winder ME I (1.5i/s) or ME II (2i/s)

Battery: 2×1.5V

Weight: 460g w/o lens

Number produced: unknown

In 1977, Pentax introduced two small 35mm SLRs, the MX and the ME. These models were Pentax's response to a new trend towards compactness in SLR cameras, which began with the launch of the Olympus OM-1 in 1972. In fact, an ME is even smaller than an OM-1, by several millimeters in every dimension. At about 460g, the ME is also 60 grams (2 oz.) lighter than an OM-1 or OM-2. The ME remains among the smallest 24x36mm format SLRs ever made [1]

The Pentax ME is an aperture priority automatic camera, with an electronic focal plane shutter operating from 8 to 1/1000 sec., with electronic flash synchronization at 1/100. The shutter curtains are metal and travel vertically. In typical operation, the user cannot manually select shutter speeds; however an exposure compensation dial around the rewind crank allows -/+ 2 stops of adjustment to the automatically-selected shutter speed.

The exposure meter is of the standard TTL open-aperture center weighted type. It is activated by a slight pressure on the release button. The shutter speed chosen by the camera is displayed in the finder using a series of red LEDs; but the selected aperture is not indicated.

Without power from two 1.5-volt button cells, the only shutter speeds usable are B and the flash X-sync speed of 1/100 sec. When the batteries are depleted, no LEDs light up in the viewfinder and shutter timing on "auto" reverts to an uncalibrated, minimal value. The user who fails to notice this may be deceived by the normal-sounding camera operation, but this results in blank or greatly-underexposed film[2].

The Pentax ME has a 0.97× viewfinder, covering 92% of the field. The finder screen is fixed, with a split image and a microprism ring in the center.There is a hot shoe on the top of the prism, and a self-timer. The dial around the release button has four mode positions: L (lock), Auto, 100X (1/100, X sync) and B. The Pentax ME can attach an external winder ME I (1.5 i/s) or the later ME II (2i/s). The Pentax ME can also mount a Dial Data ME databack, or the later Digital Data M databack via a cord adapter.

The ME offers interchangeable lenses with the K bayonet mount. The SMC Pentax-M series of compact lenses were introduced together with the ME and MX .

The Pentax ME exists in chrome or black finish, and a limited edition called ME SE had a brown leather covering with the chrome finish.

This model was followed in 1979 by the more advanced Pentax ME Super and the simpler Pentax MV.

Notes

  1. The size of the Pentax ME is 131 x 82.5 x 49.5mm (W x H x D), but the 1959 Topcon PR was smaller at 130 x 82 x 71mm (W x H x D) - where the depth includes a fixed 50mm lens.
  2. This is in contrast to most other brands of SLRs using electronically-timed autoexposure, where a dead battery disables the shutter entirely. Examples include the Olympus OM-2 or the Minolta XG series.

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Pentax K mount SLR Cameras
K2 | KX | KM | K1000 | MX | ME | ME Super | ME-F | MV | MV1 | MG | LX | Super-A | Program-A | A3 | P30 | P50
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