Pentax ME super

35mm MF film SLR camera


Production details
Announced:December 1979
System: Pentax K (1975)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Pentax K [45.5mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm film
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:4 - 1/2000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Physical characteristics

Manufacturer description #1

Pentax would like you to recall the days of manual through-the-lens metering. Or, if you don't mind dating yourself, the days when a meter was something you carried in your hand and used to meticulously measure light. So that you could turn the act of making an exposure into a true act of creativity.


Pentax makes several automatic exposure single-lens reflex cameras. So you know we're highly commited to this form of photography. No matter how advanced you are in photographic technology, there is no substitute for automation for its speed in responding directly to your images.

And yet, when you have the time to analyze your subject, the light and a mental image of the final photograph, there's no substitute for the control of manual metering.

To assimilate these two very distinct photographic philosophies, we developed the ME Super.


Until the advent of the Super camera, most automatic cameras featured manual control as something of an "add on" feature. They could be used for manual in many cases. But never with the full facility of a camera built for manual metering.

In the ME Super, there are two discrete systems. One is a fully automatic, electronic, aperture-priority exposure system of outstanding accuracy. It will yield near-ideal exposures under a wide range of conditions.

The other system is the innovative Pentax ElectroTouch manual override, in which we replaced the ubiquitous shutter speed dial with a pair of push buttons. When you press one, the speed increases; when you press the other, it falls. It's a system that would do justice to the best-conceived all-manual camera.

In every sense of the word, the Pentax ME Super is two cameras in one, neither of which compromises the other in any way.


With the ME Super's manual control, you can make virtually instantaneous exposure adjustments, fine tuning the light or bracketing for security. As a critical photographer, you know that as little as 1/2 stop can mean the difference between an exciting photograph and an also-ran.

With the ME Super, total control is literally at your fingertips.


Something else you'll find on the ME Super is a top shutter speed of 1/2,000 second. It's only on a few cameras in the world. And it isn't on any in the Super camera's price range. This high speed is an invaluable feature for stopping ultrafast action or shooting in bright light with high-speed films.

And it, too, is available at the touch of a push-button switch.


There are times when you're faced with lighting that can't be accomodated by any manual or automatic system without continuous compensation. So that's just what the ME Super has. Its handy exposure compensation dial lets you set the camera to compensate for high-contrast scenes (in the snow, at the theater) and continue to shoot either automatically or manually as if the light were normal.


A fine camera is nothing without a fine system of lenses to back it up.

Each of the more than 40 Pentax lenses in out line is Super-Multi-Coated (a 7-layer Pentax innovation) on every surface. It's costly and time-consuming. But it reduces flare to negligible levels and increases contrast and color saturation to a corresponding degree.

Pentax lenses are a perfect match for Pentax cameras, with a consistent optical performance, color rendition and "feel" from focal length to focal length. And each features the Pentax bayonet mount (another Pentax innovation), one of the fastest and most secure ever designed.


The ME Super has become, in a very short time, one of the most popular new SLRs ever introduced. It is the ideal non-compromise camera, whether your photographs are based on the instant reactions of automation or the studied manipulations of manual.

Manufacturer description #2

TYPE: 35mm SLR camera with aperture-preferred automatic exposure; "pushbutton" electronic manual; auto flash sync (with AF 200S and AF 160 Units)

MOUNT: Pentax Bayonet Mount with fully automatic diaphragm linkage

SHUTTER: Seiko MFC-E2 vertical-run metal focal plane shutter; automatic shutter speeds electronically controlled between 4 sec. and 1/2000 sec. (stepless variation); electronic manual shutter speeds at 14 viewfinder settings (varied by dual pushbutton controls), plus mechanical settings of "125X" and "B" (operates without batteries at mechanical settings); selection via exposure mode dial; shutter button lock also provided

AUTO FLASH SYNCH: Synchronizes automatically with AF 200S or AF 160 Flash Units at 1/125 sec. via hotshoe in both "AUTO" and "M" modes. LED flash synch/ready indication provided in viewfinder

MANUAL FLASH SYNCH: Direct X synch via hotshoe or cord synch via X socket on camera body; 1/125 sec. flash synch speed at "125X" setting of exposure mode dial

SELF-TIMER: Delays shutter release 4-10 seconds

EXPOSURE METERING: Open aperture, center-weighted through-the-lens light metering by GPD cells. Exposure range from EV 1 - EV 19 (ASA 100 with 50mm f/1.4 lens). Film speed range: ASA 12 - 1600; 3-color LED shutter-speed readout in viewfinder. (20-35 sec. display given on particularly pressing shutter button which acts as metering switch +/2 EV exposure compensation via dial (1/4X, 1/2X, 2X, 4X)

VIEWFINDER: Silver-coated pentaprism finder with split-image/microprism focusing screen; shows 92% of the picture area, 0.95X magnification with 50mm lens; -1.0 diopter eyepiece (accepts correction eyepieces)

VIEWFINDER INDICATIONS: 2-color shutter speed readout: GREEN LEDs indicate speeds from 1/60 to 1/2000 sec. (adequate range for handheld shooting) YELLOW LEDs give camera shake warning for speeds from 4 sec. thru 1/30 sec.; RED LED "OVER/UNDER" exposure warning; RED LED exposure compensation warning, "M" (manual) exposure warning when "M" LED is continuously lit, "M" auto flash ready indication when "M" LED flashes; auto flash synch indicated by GREEN LED at "125X"

FILM LOADING: Magic-needle quick/sure loading

FILM ADVANCE AND REWIND: Single-stroke, rapid wind lever, plastic-tipped for winding comfort. 135° throw with 30° standoff angle. Rewind via film rewind crank. Couplings provided for use with 2 fps Winder ME II automatic film winder (also accepts Winder ME)

EXPOSURE COUNTER: Automatic reset type

BATTERIES/BATTERY CHECK: Two 1.5V silver-oxide batteries power electronic systems in both AUTO and "M" exposure modes. LEDs in viewfinder flicker when batteries are low, cease to light on battery failure

BACK COVER: Standard camera back with spring catch; removable for use of camera with Dial Date ME; memo holder on back

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

Travellers' choice


Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

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Cannot compare the lens to itself.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.