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AsahiPentax ME SE

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1976-1981. 35mm SLR camera. Special Edition with split-image focusing.

Asahi: Pentax ME SE camera

Camera featured in these collections: jeremywscott ChrisandHolley bill339 boriscleto

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by bill339 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:52 pm

The Pentax ME SE was released in 1976 by the Asahi Optical Company and was last produced in 1979. The SE stands for Special Edition and had brown leather and a chrome finish. The camera used Asahi’s new K-mount for lenses and was intended for advanced amateur photographers. It had groundbreaking features for that time: a sophisticated aperture priority metering system, camera control of the shutter speed, ±2 stop exposure compensation, and 1/100 sync speed.

Even now, 25 years later, the ME remains a good camera for student photographers. It's very tough, clad in a chrome metal body. K-mount lenses are very inexpensive and retain full compatibility with even the most recent Pentax bodies (unlike the Nikon system*, you can use the oldest K body with the newest K lens with almost no exceptions). So if you ever decide to go auto-focus, auto-everything you can retain your excellent optical quality K-lenses as you migrate up.

The ME is surprisingly compact. If you get one of the "pancake" 35mm lenses, you can even use this camera as a pocket camera. It's small, has great lenses, is practically indestructible, and if you did manage to break it you're only out a $100 or less. The camera features aperture priority metering. You set your desired aperture on the lens, the camera starts metering when you pull the wind lever into its forward 30° ready position. On the left side of the viewfinder is a display of the shutter speeds from 8 sec to 1/1000 second. The camera will tell you which shutter speed it has selected. You can then choose to override it by selecting a different aperture, or by engaging exposure compensation of +/- 2 stops in 1 stop clicks. The ME has the ease of use of a point-and-shoot with the versatility of a SLR (which was Pentax's goal all along).

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