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REVIEW: Pentax ME F



Reviews
Posted by Bengt Köhler Sandberg 2014-02-28

Pentax ME F

Made between 1981 to 1984.
The ME F was a newer and modified version of the Pentax ME-Super.
But it was not a replacement and the ME-Super was discontinued the same year as the ME F.

Here are the difference to the ME F.
- Focus assistance mechanism.
- Apparently a brighter finder screen but I can't say that I can see much difference.
- Needs 4 batteries (1.5v) instead of 2

Technical info

Lens mount: PK
Shutter: 1/2000s to 4s + B
Auto shutter setting can have much longer exposure than 4s.
And I got a exposure longer than 3 min at ISO 100 and f/1.7 in total darkness.
Light meter: Through the lens, center weighted (ISO 12 - 1600)
Battery: Four 1.5v SR44
Flash: Flash hot shoe + PC sync connection (sync 1/125 sec)
Weight: 445g

Self-timer


Takes standard 135 film
24×36 mm negative size.

Operating
Pentax ME F


Viewfinder:

Really good size and brightness.
Is has a very nice focus aid system which is a little bigger then normal and works very well.
This is also the first SLR from Pentax with a focus assistance mechanism.
It works just like it do on a modern camera with info in the viewfinder plus a beep sound when it found focus.
The sound can also be turned off.

Info:
Left side has all the shutter speeds plus over and under info, a little led light showing which is used.
There is also led showing if you use the M setting and a warning led on top which blinks if you use the exposure comp.
Then in the bottom middle you have the info for the
focus assistance.
It has three leds, one round green in the middle and two red triangles on both sides of the green one.

Focus aid:
Split screen and Microprism


Shutter type:

Focal plane
Vertical metal blade.

Electronically controlled.


Build quality:

Body is all metal and it's very nice and solid!
The shutter button and the dial around this is however plastic but still feel quite good.
Battery door is however a bit plasticky.

Look, feel and sound:
Simple but a nice look.
It has a very nice solid and quality feel to it.
Buttons and dials also feel nice.
Shutter and mirror nois are okay, not the worst but I wouldn't call it quiet.








Usability:

Just like the ME Super is is a camera that have aged very well and is still a very usable one today.
It is also the first SLR that supports a AF lens from Pentax.
This early system did however not catch on and the SMC Pentax-AF 35-70mm f/2.8 was the only lens made for this.
And it is apparently a very slow, bulky and heavy one.
This system do however also work with MF lenses where it is instead a focus assistance.
Can say that is something I miss in any SLR made for MF lense.
But it work okay and it is not in the way so no harm done, plus you can turn it off.

The auto shutter and exposure comp system works great but lacks any way to lock the shutter here.
This also has the M shutter setting which I'm more used to.
It works quite good but are a bit slower to use because you change the shutter speeds via two buttons.
You read the light meter by looking at the over or under info in the viewfinder which will blink if the exposure needs to be adjusted.
And you will get a correct exposure when none of these are blinking.
This is similar to many cameras and this system works good but here it's quite the space between the over and under leds and they are not very big.

The light meter is also sensitive and takes modern batteries.


Conclusion:


This is a really nice one!
It's small, lightweight and has a really good viewfinder.
Great build quality and are very
reliable.
But unless you feel that you want the focus assistance system I would prefer the ME.


A more normal manual shutter dial would have been nice.
But I usually stick to one shutter speed and then adjust the aperture so I don't see this a bigger problem.
Would also been nice to have a mirror lock or equivalent.

This is however the same camera as the ME Super but with added features.
And I think most people that buy these old cameras to use them today will probably not care about the extra features which was nice and fancy in 1981 but not so much today.
This also needs more batteries and a more advanced camera often means more things that can brake.
So I would probably go for the ME Super instead of this if I had to choose.



Thumbs up:
Great build quality and feel
Reliable
Viewfinder
Light meter
Size and weight

Thumbs down:

No mirror lock or equivalent.
A bit slow to work M setting


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