My Pentax ME is back from being overhauled!

My Pentax ME had developed a light leak, so I sent it off to Eric Hendrickson for repair and CLA (clean, lube, adjustment). It came back looking and smelling like new. There really is a new-camera smell!

Naturally, I dropped film right into it. My son had given me some Kodak Gold 200 for Father’s Day, so that’s what I used. Here is said son photographed with said film.


My sons had come over for the weekend so I invited the rest of the family for a cookout. It was early July, and I was very close to having the house ready to list for sale. So we threw a little bash to say goodbye. Naturally, my dad had to tell his stories. Here he is in mid-story, with Margaret watching me take the photo.

Dad & Margaret

My garden’s flowers were at peak, so I photographed them. I think half the exposures I’ve made all spring and summer have been of my flowers.


I didn’t know a Pentax ME could operate as smoothly as mine does now! I’ve owned three, you see. While all have worked well enough, it wasn’t until shooting this roll I understood how roughly they all operated. The controls are all supposed to feel silky smooth. Truly, this overhaul made my ME, a camera I’ve always enjoyed, twice as joyful to shoot.

I do need to double-check the meter, however. Eric’s service includes calibrating the meter, but to my surprise my daylight photos all looked a little overexposed. Thankfully, a half-stop down on Photoshop’s Exposure control is all they needed to look right. However, blazingly bright days have characterized this summer. Images I’ve taken with several other cameras have benefited from some fiddling with the Exposure control. My ME is probably fine. But if something isn’t quite right, the sooner I get it back to Eric the better.

Tiger lily

Oh, here’s one more flower shot. I’m just so pleased with my gardens this year. They’re the best they’ve ever been. I hope the person who is buying my home loves these flowers at least as much as I have, and cares well for them.


Margaret and I walked Indianapolis’s Warfleigh neighborhood to see how we liked it, as we continue to consider where we might like to settle one day. The Meridian Street bridge over the White River borders this neighborhood. I love to shoot this bridge, even if this isn’t much of a photograph.

Under the Meridian St. Bridge

While making this walk, the metal cap that covers the winder unscrewed itself and disappeared. I noticed it while we walked, so we retraced our steps in hopes of finding it. No luck. So I emailed Eric to explain. A few days later a spare cap arrived in my mailbox. Very nice.


10 responses to “My Pentax ME is back from being overhauled!”

  1. Heide Avatar

    Yay! How wonderful to hear that your trusty ME is back and better than ever, Jim. It served you well with these lovely family memories.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks H! Good to have it back.

  2. Johnny Martyr Avatar

    Thanks for the write-up and nice photos. It’s very good to hear of someone sending a lower cost classic camera out for a full CLA rather than letting it fall into that “it’s cheaper to just buy another one” bucket. I imagine the number of recently CLA’d ME’s out there is rather low. I think that supporting our repair techs and keeping all the cameras that we enjoy, regardless of retail value, working 100%, not just working OK, is critical to keeping film photography alive and well. I shot my first gallery exhibit on a Pentax ME Super. They are wonderfully small, quiet, affordable cameras that are capable of quality images as you’ve shown here. Personally, a little overexposure on print film is how I like to start when editing anyway. What lens did you use?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I have to admit – this is my third ME. I was in the “cheaper to replace” camp as the first two broke. But then I figured it out: if I didn’t draw the line here, I would just keep buying MEs. This CLA was less expensive in the long run!

      I used my 50/1.4 SMC Pentax-M for these photos. It’s a very clinical and clean lens. I actually prefer my 50/2 for everyday work.

  3. Mark O'Brien Avatar
    Mark O’Brien

    Sometimes we feel that when an old camera is having problems, we can just find another one to replace it, which is just sort of like kicking the can down the road. Eventually, we realize that every camera we own is older than we want to admit! I had a Nikon FM that was in near-mint condition, but the meter wasn’t working. My local repair guy – Dave’s Camera Repair in Chelsea MI, fixed it, overhauled it, and it’s like a brand-new camera. It definitely is worth a CLA for a camera that you want to use regularly.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m learning this. After three Pentax MEs I realized I had to draw the line, that they would all eventually fail from old age. So I rejuvenated this one. And it cost me just $65 plus shipping.

  4. tbm3fan Avatar

    It is great that Eric is here for us to handle Pentax cameras. I first sent a camera to him 10 years ago and he has now done eight. If someone drops off a Spotmatic in my office, three people have, I send it out to Eric. I just wish there were others comparable to him to deal with makes like Yashica, Minolta, and Nikon to name a few of my more common ones.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Mark Hama is the man on Yashica. I own a Yashica-12 he overhauled and it’s great.

      Nikon F2s should all go to Sover Wong in the UK. I have a Soverized F2 and it is good for another century I’m sure.

      I did a post on repairs some time ago and gathered other recommendations:

      Some of these guys have been at this for so long that I feel like we all need to hurry and get our cameras to them before they retire!

      1. tbm3fan Avatar

        Sending eight Pentax cameras out at $65 plus shipping for each isn’t bad. Now what would it be to send out only 10 Yashicas? That could get expensive since when you think about it Eric is extremely reasonable.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I don’t know Mark Hama’s pricing – I bought my Yashica-12 already CLAd by him. I have a Yashica Lynx 14 I’d like him to overhaul though!

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