Film Photography

Time to send my Pentax ME out for CLA

My much-loved Pentax ME has developed a light leak. Much sadness.

Cincinnati Zoo

Bodies go for so cheap on eBay that I considered for a minute just buying another one. But I’m on my third body already — all three wound up with some minor problem. (Should that be telling me something?) Rather than try the camera lottery again, I’m just going to send this one to Eric Hendrickson for CLA (clean, lube, and adjustment) and new seals.

Cincinnati Zoo

I first saw the leak earlier this year when I had some black-and-white film in it. I immediately went into denial. The roll I shot at the zoo came back from the processor’s with so many affected images that I couldn’t avoid reality any longer.


This also solves a mystery. You might remember a couple shots I shared several weeks ago where I couldn’t remember which camera I used to shoot them. Well, the light leak in the corner of this shot from that roll tells the story. And I had to be shooting my 80-200mm f/4.5 SMC Pentax-M Zoom lens on it to get shots like this one.

Eastern Star

While my ME is out of commission, I’ll just have to fall back on my delightful and pristine Pentax KM when I want to shoot from my collection of Pentax lenses. Life is good.


10 thoughts on “Time to send my Pentax ME out for CLA

  1. Nitin Khanna says:

    Great Pictures i must say. Its very important to be creative when it comes to capture pictures like these.. Appreciate your hard work and efforts. As an photographer i can understand it needs a lot of patience and creativity. Even i also try to reach and capture up-to this level but i am not that perfect. You can have a look at my work at if you want to and let me know how is it. I would love to hear from you.

  2. Heide says:

    Waaaah! Very sorry to see so many frames marred by a light leak, Jim ā€” but also very curious to read that you’ve had the same problem with a couple of other ME bodies. As a fellow ME fan I’m really glad to hear you’re going to invest in fixing this particular body and keeping it on the road. I expect with a little CLA TLC it will serve you well for another two or three decades!

    • Well, the first one, the wonder lever fell off. The second one’s meter never seemed quite right. This is the first one to develop a light leak! Old cameras!

  3. You will be very pleased with Eric’s CLA/Repair. Since he gets Pentax cameras from all over the world and it’s just him doing the work, the process takes awhile…but ooooo is it worth it!

  4. Christopher Smith says:

    I normally replace the light seals myself on my cameras if everything else is working okay, but I suppose if you want a full CLA it’s worth sending away.
    Nice photos Jim.

    • I suppose I could replace the seals myself. But I do want to make this my “forever” ME so I’m willing to invest in a CLA at the same time.

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