|Pentax ME-Super Body (1980-1986)|
|Pentax 80-200 f/4.5 1 touch zoom (1979-1984). This Zoom was dubbed a "1 touch" because the large central grip accomplished both the zooming (by sliding the grip fore-and aft) and focusing (by rotating).|
This section time wise predates the Pentax A system. It is here out of order because when I first wrote this section I didn't include it, and the Pentax-A page includes the introduction to the Pentax K mount system
Pentax introduced the K mount in 1975 which featured 3 K series camera bodies, the K2, Kx, and KM. The Km was a low end all mechanical model that soon morphed into the legendary K1000 which was sold for many years as an an entry level camera. Indeed the K1000 was notable for having an extraordinary 21 year production run (from 1976 to 1997).
Complementary to the all mechanical model K1000, Pentax manufactured an 'all electronic' model which was introduced at the Pentax ME. It was one of the smallest 35mm SLR's in the industry. It was notable in that it completely lacked a shutter speed control. You could set the aperture manually with the lens ring, and on board electronics selected the shutter speed and displayed in the view finder a red diode marking the speed selected.---a very small 35mm SLR that was intended to 'point, focus, and shoot.' Consistent with the "M" theme of the ME Pentax went through their lens line and redesigned many where feasible to make them physically smaller, and those lenses were designated 'PENTAX-M' lenses, although they generally were not functionally different from the original K mount lenses that were usually known as SMC Pentax lenses (SMC=Super Multi coated). The Pentax-M line was replaced with the Pentax-A line with the introduction of the Pentax Super Program in 1984 which used the upgraded KA lens mount. The KA lenses were all different in that that an an "A" position on the aperture ring for "Auto". In that position is was possible for the camera body to determine and set the correct aperture setting. Also a series of steel balls embedded in the mount passed information about the lens to the camera body. These Pentax-A lenses remain easily usable on the digital bodies of today as long as you are willing to manually focus them as they predate by a decade the advent of 'auto focus'.
The ME was ultimately make in several variants both upscale and down scale. The ME-Super shown here was the upscale variation---different in that it had push buttons that allowed the user to force a shutter speed.