Got a New Camera

I have a new camera. For me, that definitely merits a celebration and a new blog post. So while you’re sitting back, reading this and opening a bottle of champagne for the occasion, let me tell you about it.

A week ago my grandparents came by to visit and brought (you guessed it) a camera from an estate sale that they had been to. The camera is a Pentax ME Super 35 mm SLR, which came with six prime lenses, a 2x teleconverter, and a flashgun. The ME Super is a significant step-up from my older K1000. It has aperture-priority autoexposure, a redesigned film advance lever with a short throw (much easier and faster) and a split-image focusing screen. The new focusing screen means that the image is split into two halves in the center and is brought into focus by aligning the parts of the image. If I want, I can still fine-tune focus by rotating the lens barrel until the picture in the viewfinder looks sharpest or focus until the “sparkles” in the microprism ring of the focusing screen are gone.

There are a few things that I don’t like about it. The shutter speed dial has been removed and replaced with two buttons, which change the shutter speed to a higher or lower value. These buttons aren’t necessarily easy to use while looking at the light meter display in the viewfinder. I’ll have to work with it more to see how much of a problem it is. Another thing is that the split-image focusing is difficult to do if there are no vertical lines in the scene, though I can generally overcome this by flipping the camera 90°. Also, in order for me to find the correct shutter speed in manual mode, I have to look at the OVER and UNDER LEDs on the left side of the viewfinder. I almost have to strain to see that far into the corners. Perhaps this is easier for people without eyeglasses.

From top-to-bottom left-to-right: CPC PHASE 2 f/2.8 28mm; SMC PENTAX-M f/2 85mm; SMC PENTAX-M f/3.5 135mm; SMC PENTAX-M f/4 20mm; SMC PENTAX-M f/2 50mm (on camera); SMC PENTAX f/2 85mm f/2.8-4 100mm lens hood; RYKA 2x Auto Tele-Converter; SMC PENTAX-M f/4 200 mm; PENTAX AF200T flash