In 1977, Pentax had introduced two compact 35mm SLRs, the MX and the ME, after the Olympus OM-1 presented in 1972 had introduced a new trend for compactness in SLR cameras. The Pentax ME was replaced in 1979 by the more advanced ME Super.

In 1981 a derivative of the ME Super called Pentax ME-F was launched. The differences with the ME Super were:

  • focus assistance mechanism
  • brighter finder screen
  • different finder magnification
  • 4 batteries (1.5V) instead of 2

The focusing assistance mechanism had a selector lever with three positions: high aperture lens, small aperture lens, off. An LED in the finder and a (de-activatable) beep told the user that the subject was in focus. The lens mount had five electrical contacts. The dedicated SMC Pentax AF 35-70/2.8 zoom lens allowed full autofocus, but incorporated four AAA batteries. The Pentax ME-F was the very first TTL autofocus SLR to reach the market. It is a representative of the prehistory of the autofocus SLR, together with the Olympus OM-30. The first really successful autofocus SLR was the Minolta 7000.

The Pentax ME-F was an aperture priority automatic camera, with an electronic focal plane shutter from 4s to 1/2000, synchronized at 1/125. The shutter curtains were metal and had a vertical movement. For manual mode, the speed-selector knob, usual at the time, was replaced by two buttons, up and down, to select the shutter speed. The exposure meter was of the standard TTL open aperture center weighted type. It was activated by a slight pressure on the release button.

The Pentax ME-F had a 0.87x viewfinder, covering 92% of the field. The finder screen was fixed, with a split-image and a microprism ring in the center. The shutter speed chosen by the camera or the user was displayed in the finder, the aperture was not.

There was a self-timer and a hot shoe on the top of the prism with an additional contact for dedicated Pentax flash units. The selector around the release button had five positions: L (lock), Auto, M (manual), 125 and B. The Pentax ME-F could attach the external Winder ME (1.5 i/s) or the later Winder ME II (2i/s). The Pentax ME-F could mount the Dial Data ME databack or the later Digital Data M databack.

The lenses were interchangeable with the K bayonet mount. The compact SMC Pentax-M lenses had been introduced together with the M series.

Production stopped in 1984.


Pentax K mount SLR Cameras
K2 | KX | KM | K1000 | MX | ME | ME Super | ME-F | MV | MV1 | MG | LX | Super-A | Program-A | A3 | P30 | P50