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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 the automatic model, but it had no manual mode. It was replaced in 1979 by the simpler MV and the more advanced ME Super, which was the smallest and lightest SLR (440g) available, with the following changes:
manual mode added
shutter speed range from 4s to 1/2000, sync at 1/125
additional shoe contact for dedicated Pentax flash units
different finder magnification
The marking "ASAHI" in the pentaprism housing was eliminated sometime between the ME and the ME Super
The Pentax ME Super was an aperture priority automatic camera, with an electronic focal plane shutter from 4s to 1/2000, flash synchronized at 1/125. The camera also shoots manually (no battery) at the 1/125 flash speed. The shutter curtains were metal and had a vertical movement. For manual mode, the customary shutter knob 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 Super had a 0.95x 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 Super could attach the external winder ME (1.5 i/s) or the later Winder ME II (2i/s). The Pentax ME Super could also mount a Dial Data ME databack, or the later Digital Data M databack via a cord adapter.
The lenses were interchangeable with the K bayonet mount. Together with the ME and MX, the SMC Pentax-M series of compact lenses were introduced.
The Pentax ME Super existed in chrome or black finish. There was a special edition called ME Super SE, only sold in chrome finish; the differences are the SE marking and the diagonal instead of horizontal split-image device in the focusing screen.
A derivative with a primitive autofocus mechanism, called the Pentax ME-F, was released in 1981. Production of the ME Super stopped in 1986.