Pentax ME F

I saw this camera for sale on eBay for parts/not working. The description said the battery cover was stuck. I knew the ME F was very much like the ME Super and thought, I think I can fix that! So I bought it, for a bargain price.

When the camera arrived the battery compartment was indeed stuck. I unscrewed the bottom plate and there were batteries in the compartment. Luckily they weren’t leaking and the compartment showed no damage. I took them out and replaced the plate. Next, I tried pressing the battery open button and voila, the compartment opened without an issue. I am not sure why the cover got stuck, but it seemed fine now. I put in fresh ones and the lights came on. Maybe one had swelled and was due to burst. I got there in the nick of time.

I had come into contact with this model before, but it didn’t work. I then became a little obsessed with finding another. Finally, here I am with a seemingly working model. I researched it and found it is basically an improved ME Super with a focusing assistant for the very first autofocus lens. Without the lens, it is an ME Super with a focus indicator in the viewfinder. That made me think, sometimes we really want something, like a newer model. Something bigger, better, faster. I have lost count how many times I have upgraded something or bought a new digital camera and then realized the old one was perfectly fine.

Without that all-important lens, with the autofocus built in, this one was exactly what I already had. I didn’t need it at all. You can read more about it here, with technical details galore. 

Oh well, now I have it I might as well test it as I have a few Pentax K lenses. The camera works in aperture priority mode or manual mode. The “A” for auto on the lens I chose did not work on this camera, which was tricky when I accidentally went passed f22 by mistake.

Here is the test roll. It was very underdeveloped, I am still having issues adjusting to Ilfosol 3. I corrected the shots in Preview, well the ones I thought were worth it.

As a point of note, I do not like the new WordPress gallery. The old one would arrange the photos in a much more pleasing manner. The new one leaves big gaps unless you choose to crop the images for the thumbnails which I did for the camera shots and will do for the next test roll. I wanted to try the camera again after finding out about the auto issue.

There were taken on a lovely December afternoon around St.Aidens. The light went away quite sharply throughout the roll. The well-lit shots are fine, but the backlit ones caused this example to struggle. I took a similar roll with another camera and that coped much better with backlight. This camera, with both rolls, seems to underexpose a little.

Even though I love my Pentax ME Super, I just did not take to this version or example. I say example as it might just be this one, another MEF might be perfectly ok. I am going to give this to a geocaching friend with the remit to overexpose by 1 to half a stop.


Pentax P30T

As you know I have returned to England for a while. When I was sure I was coming back I bought some cameras on eBay to be delivered here before I arrived. I thought these would keep me amused while I am out of work and lazing around. This was the first one I tried. I still have a few draft posts from Japan, I will publish those eventually but I wanted to post one from the UK.

Oh and this was the state of my bed when I arrived.

my bed

I forgot some of the things I ordered and ended up buying a camera I had already tested and gave away.

This camera was in one of the biggest parcels as it came with a bag, a zoom lens and a few filters. I took the 50mm from another Pentax camera to try it.

As you can see it was a little dusty on the outside, but the inside was clean. The zoom lens’ front glass had loads of gunk all over it. Nothing I tried would get it off. So I resorted to very a very gentle toothpaste mixture. That cleaned it, but I would not know if I damaged it until I tried it. Nothing lost for me as I didn’t pay much for it, do not try that at home though.

This camera was on my hit list after I read this blog. I then looked for photos on the net, particularly Instagram. I loved the look and colour of the body. This great blog gives a lot more technical details and instructions on how to use the camera.

I plonked in some Fuji Venus 800 that I got out of the gatcha machine at Suzuki Camera and headed for Harewood House.

The camera was light and very easy to use. The 800ASA film and the f1.7 aperture was perfect for inside the recreation of the gardener’s house which was quite dark. I loved this camera and am torn as to which I like more, this or the ME Super. And that is tricky as I just made the ME top of my current top ten. The ME looks more vintage, but the P30T’s grey finish has its own charm.

Here is my test roll.

I left the body on Auto and for the most part, left the lens on Auto too. Inside the gardener’s house, I changed the lens to aperture priority to make sure I knew there would not be any camera shake. The goat photo was taken using the zoom lens I cleaned as were the berries and the sunflowers with the fence. It is not great, but acceptable considering it was badly damaged.

I was also surprised by the film as I got it in a random machine for $2.50 as you got 2 films for $5. I was expecting it to be expired, but it performed beautifully. I great day out on a cloudy day, but a great film and camera coped with it perfectly.

Get yourself some Venus 800 here.

Keep or Sell: I eventually decided to sell it as I much prefer the Pentax ME Super and realised I would probably never use it again. Plus I don’t like keeping bodies without lenses.

Pentax MZ-30 (ZX-30)

This camera was released in 2000 and you can find a plethora of technical details here. I was looking for a shorter focal length lens for a body I already. I found the lens attached to this body.

Even with the larger lens on, this camera felt fairly light, with the shorter lens on it was delightful to carry. The plastic body makes the camera light, but not as pleasant to hold. This site has loads of individual reviews of this camera, most say the camera is very easy to use and reliable. I agree it has everything you might need, including iso selection and double exposure. The only issue I had was with the body, the battery compartment door was really weak and the plastic there was already warped when I got it. I don’t feel this example’s door will last much longer.

I arranged a walk in a park looking for birds and nature for Earth Day this year. Unfortunately, I gave my Nikon Zoom lens to a friend to try out. That left me with no digital camera with a zoom. So I decided to take this camera with both lenses, a 28-80mm, and 80-210mm. With some fuji 100 film, these are the shots I got.

There are three shots practically the same as I thought the camera jammed, but it turned out it didn’t. But, wow look at the colours, I wish I didn’t like fujifilm so much. The fungus on the lens didn’t seem to affect the pictures. The camera focused really quickly and was spot on, even in the dappled light.

If you are interested in the area I went to it is Kitayama Park in the Sayama area of Saitama. It was a lovely day with great company. I completely forgot my lunch and thought there would be shop in the park, but there wasn’t. My friends shared their food, which was very kind, vegan food, perfect for Earth Day.

Keep or Sell: I am tempted to keep this one as I have the lenses now and don’t think I have kept a Pentax autofocus camera before. I prefer this camera to the SFX, due to the double exposure feature and the lightness, though I do know the SFX is a better camera. Each to their own I suppose.

Pentax SFX (SF-1)

This camera can be found very cheaply on eBay. I found one example before, but nothing I did would make it fire up. I ended up taking it apart for fun and giving the lens away, I should have kept it. Now here I was with another example and no lens. I went wombling and the only Pentax autofocus lens I could find was an 80-210mm, so I bought it. I will try and find another, smaller focal length lens soon.

But what to do with a big zoom lens…go nature watching of course.

The lens wasn’t quite long enough to fully capture the herons and egrets. I wasn’t quite quick enough to capture the fleeing pheasants, but the one popping his head up makes for an interesting photo. The last photo was to test the flash, which worked perfectly. This was the first Pentax SLR with a built in flash. In fact, it was the first SLR ever to have a flash with through the lens metering of a flash system. You can find more technical information on this 1987 camera here.

For a dull day, this camera performed very well. The combination of the lens and body was a little heavy for me. I have another, lighter Pentax SLR body to try out so I will keep the lens.

Keep or Sell: The body is not something I will keep. It is also too heavy to post for the price it is worth. So I gave it away.

Pentax Efina – APS

It seems aps cameras in Japan are not worth the metal/plastic they are made from. I disagree, they are great cameras, pity there is a dwindling supply of film.

It has a pleasing combination of metal and plastic. Plus it has a sliding cover, I love those. It is like opening a door on Star Trek (I am not admitting to making any kind of noises while doing so). It was originally released in 1997, which was early for an APS camera as the film was rolled out in 1996. This one has all the regular features of this type of camera, but also a dial on the top like an SLR…but without the same settings. Still, it is convenient.

There was no film inside this time, but I recently bought some in a shop…a shop. I bought nearly all of it. So I popped one in and left the camera in my bag when I went to take photos for a friend. She wanted photos of her three-year-old son. He was easy to capture as he was such a cheery little fellow. So after I gave him the camera to play with.

He actually did very well. This camera was perfect for a young child as he could insert the cartridge and then it was locked inside, so no fogging. He told us where to stand, how to pose, and said, “one more shot, look this way”. After prying the camera back I took it on a walk with some students and their parents.

The path was through trees, so the light was dappled.

Finally I thought…Oh, indoor shots.

What a super little camera. Easy enough for a 3yr old boy and a ??yr old woman to use, inside or out, up or down a mountain.

Keep or Sell: Given away, I have all the APS cameras I need.


Pentax SF7 or SF10

This is another of those cameras with 2 names. One for the Japanese market, SF7, and one for the American market, SF10. I bought it from a junk bin very cheaply because I had a Pentax lens without a body which I had from a previous junk find. This was as cheap as buying a lens cover.

It was produced in 1988. I found this ad on YouTube that says the funky display acted as an inbuilt manual.

You can find more technical details here. I found the controls a little clumsy to use and the camera heavy with or without the lens. I don’t particularly like the look of the camera either. This reviewer found the same but ultimately liked it.

I took the camera to a school picnic and let a student play with it for a while. He took some shots and seemed to like it a lot. But did it work?

The focusing is a bit hit and miss, I suspect due to camera movement rather than the ability of the camera. Though it is one of the first cameras to feature auto-focus. I took the two photos of the man with his dog and crow. I changed the focusing point for these photos and the camera handled it well. The spider shots used the macro function of the lens. The exposure seems to be spot on, even with the backlit photo of the boy holding the seagull camera. They were all taken on a pretty dull day.

I don’t think I would bother using the camera or the lens again and it is too heavy to ship anywhere from Japan. I much prefer the look and feel of the Z range of Pentax cameras. So, for now, it will go in my box of cameras labelled ??


Pentax ME Super

While I was in England for the summer I bought a few cameras on eBay. I did not get a chance to try all of them. Not this one though. I tried this one the day after it arrived. There are a few reasons for this. Here is the long story behind the camera.

Firstly, I had no intentions of buying another camera this summer, but a gift box arrived with a few unexpected items inside. One was a Tamron 2 Adaptall mount for a Canon camera. To be honest I had no idea what this mount was used for, internet to the rescue. Hmm, a lens that would fit many cameras, hence the “adapt-all”. Unfortunately, I did not have one of these lenses, internet to the rescue again, or eBay to be precise.

The cheapest one I could find came with a Pentax K mount. Perfect, a different adapter ….you might see where this is going.

The lens arrives and I try to swap the mounts, but try as I might I could not get the Canon one on my AE1 or A1. I wish I had found that website before I gave up, but no. So now I have a lens and no camera. Hello again eBay. I won a bid on a great package. A Pentax ME Super with a 50mm lens, with a case and all the manuals. Awesome, the Tamron lens I had was a 28mm. The whole lot arrived within a few days…but…

It didn’t work 😦

I will not repeat the words I said at the time. The issue was the battery compartment, surprise surprise. It was completely stuck and probably had some corroded batteries inside. There was no evidence on the outside. I contacted the seller and he offered me a refund, but I said I would work on it first if he accepted there might be some scratches on it. He said, “Go for it.”

Thinking of the gentleman who gave me the original adapter, who once wrote..soak the whole thing in vinegar, I decided to JUST take off the bottom plate and soak that in vinegar overnight.

The plate came off easily and there were no attached wires, the batteries dropped right out.


There was very little damage inside the camera, but still, the compartment was stuck. Being in the UK, suffering from jetlag, and no Konbinis around, I opted for the malt kind of vinegar…good for chips, good for corrosion??
So I left it sitting overnight and tried it again in the morning.


But would the camera work after suffering from corroded batteries.


I was so proud of myself. Persistence is the key to success. So said Winston Churchill and Ray Kroc, plus a few million others.

And now finally, for the camera review.

The ME Super was produced from 1979-84 and it is tiny. I added a shot of it next to a Yashica for comparison, I thought that was more appropriate than a banana. As you can see from the photos, it has everything you might need, auto, manual, shutter lock, Bulb, ASA control, exposure compensation, a film advance window, and a battery override of 1/125th. To set the manual speeds you use the two black buttons next to the shutter. The film winder action is smooth and fairly short. Inside the viewfinder is a scale which lets you know the intended shooting speed with a green light, or orange for an issue. There is an over and under red warning light, but it will still fire. Here are some more technical details.

I loaded it up and went for a walk around my home town/village.

I love this camera! I also love the deer sign…you have as much chance of seeing a unicorn around there. Anyway, the camera is so light and easy to use. I love the Tamron Lens, it is a perfect addition to the 50mm. I loved it so much I brought it back to Japan with me, which was actually a bit dumb as I have a few here already. When I have it in the same country as the Canons I own I will try the adapter again.

Did you notice the two similar shots of the building? I tried seeing what would happen if I left the camera on the wrong setting, in this case over exposing by forgetting to adjust from being inside the Hepworth Museum….on purpose honest. It coped well.

Keep or Sell: The whole package is mine. When I put it with my other cameras here I realised I had a couple of other Pentaxes, the Spotmatic which I just fixed 🙂 And another, as yet untested one. Maybe I am switching my allegiance from Olympus or Yashica??

Plus a big thank you to my friend who sent the original adapter. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has a blog I can link to…he should get on that 😉


Pentax Auto 110

After I got a pack of three 110mm films for another camera I was on the lookout for other 110 cameras to buy or find, and test. I did a search online and decided on this camera so I bought one on eBay. Once I put in some batteries and loaded the film, it didn’t seem quite right. The film would not advance smoothly. It usually takes two movements of the film advance to cock the shutter, but it just kept moving and the numbers rarely changed. As the numbers are built into the film I knew there was an issue.

The camera I had a 24mm lens. So I looked for another with a different lens. I ended up finding another one with an 18mm lens attached. Plus, I also found a 50mm lens from another seller. If the second camera worked I would have the full setup…excluding the later lenses that were released.

BUT, wait…a 110mm camera with interchangeable lenses? WOW. It was originally produced in 1978, this site has a great history and review. This site has some technical details. It is the one and only sub-miniature SLR ever made. It is awesome. It feels great to use and surprisingly sturdy. The viewfinder is bright and easy to focus with. An orange light appears when the shutter is depressed half way and there is insufficient light, it turns green if everything is ok.

I took the second camera to Leeds and it worked perfectly. Here is my test roll using all of the lenses at some point.

I was especially pleased and impressed with the shot of the market ceiling. I have tried that shot with other cameras and they never cope with the backlighting, yet here is a 110 camera capturing it perfectly.

Keep or sell: keeping!!

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