(Book preview) The Pentax ME: In praise of an overlooked 35mm SLR

I haven’t forgotten, if perhaps you understandably have, that I want to publish a book of photographs from my Pentax ME. It’s an overlooked camera if ever there was one, and I think it’s high time its praises were sung. I just finished the manuscript, and I wanted to share an excerpt with you. My soft goal is to make it available for purchase by the end of the month.

Second Pres
50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200

Second Presbyterian

This grand church on North Meridian Street in Indianapolis is one of the places I like to go when I’m testing an old camera. It’s so photogenic! And I love how in this shot the sky’s color is like you’d find on a postcard.

This building was completed in 1960, but the congregation dates to 1837, making it one of the oldest in the city. It’s one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in the United States. It is perhaps best known for hosting the 1990 funeral of Ryan White, a boy who contracted AIDS via blood transfusion at a time when this disease was ill-understood and greatly feared. His fight to attend school in his hometown of Russiaville, about 45 minutes north of here, made the national news and was instrumental in helping our nation understand that AIDS was not just a “gay disease.”

Over 1,500 people attended White’s funeral, including then-First Lady Barbara Bush, Michael Jackson, and Elton John.


23 responses to “(Book preview) The Pentax ME: In praise of an overlooked 35mm SLR”

  1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    Wonderful picture! Second Pres may be the most traditional building I have ever seen among those of its era of construction.

    Bill Hudnut (the longest serving mayor in Indianapolis history) was senior pastor there for nearly a decade before entering politics in the early 70s.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I had no idea Bill Hudnut was a pastor and served there!

      1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

        I recall that both his father and grandfather had been ministers and he followed the same path as a young man before deciding that politics was his true calling.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    I Love the ME/MX size body. I owned an MX back in the late 80’s, and it made me remember how really great those Pentax lenses were!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It is hard to go wrong with Pentax glass!

  3. dan james Avatar

    Jim, all the best with your book!

    I had an ME after having an ME Super, so was anticipating something of a downgrade when I first used it. But it was nothing of the sort, I enjoyed it just as much (and its siblings the MV and MG)!

    And as you’ve said the Pentax K mount glass is excellent, not just Pentax-M, but there are also gems from Ricoh and Chinon in 50mm.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There’s all kinds of goodness available in K-mount glass! Although after just getting a roll back from the processor’s I think I’ve decided I don’t like my 28mm f/2.8.

      1. dan james Avatar

        Yeh I had a Pentax-M briefly and didn’t keep it. The Yashica ML 28/2.8 is very good (C/Y mount) but I didn’t keep that long either, I just can’t get my head around 28mm with an SLR.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I don’t like the twisty distortion. At all. And maybe it’s my scanner but I’m getting softness I don’t like.

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Just bought a Pentax MX which should arrive today. Looking forward to test driving it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      oooo jealous!!

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      p.s. I’ve been having Pentax LX dreams lately. Have you checked those out?

      1. dan james Avatar

        You didn’t read the post on Casual Photophile by any chance? I’ve been looking at the LX too, but just beyond my usual budget really.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I do, and I did, and droooooool.

  5. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Yeahhhhh…check your email :-)

  6. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    Another K mount fan here. I got a ME Super a decade ago to replace a stolen K1000, and when I finally got a DSLR this year, I went with a Pentax K-x.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve thought about going Pentax if/when I go DSLR just because I can use all my existing lenses!

  7. Photobooth Journal Avatar

    Stupid WP Reader won’t load the photo! Good luck with getting the book finished. I hope it goes well!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Just need to lay it out! Shouldn’t take too long.

  8. Christopher Smith Avatar
    Christopher Smith

    I have both the MX and ME both great cameras although I prefer the MX for its full manual control.
    Good luck with book looks like a good project.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The MX is on my list!

  9. Sam Avatar

    I remember Ryan’s story, so sad but I think his efforts were heroic. Congrats, I can’t wait to see the book!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Sam! Coming soon to an online store near you.

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