The 5 Best Pentax ME Super Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: April 9, 2020
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The Pentax ME Super is a very good 35mm film SLR camera. This post is going to cover the 5 best lenses for the Pentax ME Super, and also a few alternative lenses.

Here is the 5 best lenses for the ME Super:

  1. Kit Lens - SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7
  2. Wide Angle Lens - SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8
  3. Portrait Lens - SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5
  4. Zoom Lens - Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5
  5. Macro Lens - SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro

The best Pentax K mount lenses are categorized by cost and kind of photography. There are a number of proposed alternatives to choose from that are in price ranges ideal for the value of the camera.

Standard Lenses

The following are a few 50mm focal lengths that can be used with the ME Super. Back when the camera was sold as new, there was often an offer bundling a 50mm lens as kit for a discount.

The 50mm is often called a standard lens since the angle of view for the lens is close to what the human eye sees.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7

  • "Kit" lens for the ME Super.
  • Excellent value.
  • Light, small, and compact.
  • 49mm filter threads.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

If you don't already own it, a solid first lens to acquire for the ME Super is the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7. The 50mm f1.7 is easy to find, is very affordable, has good image quality, lightweight, and streamlined. More photos have been taken with this lens when compared to any other lens.

The second version, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, is also a good buy.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4

  • Exceptional optics.
  • Improved output due to optical multi-coatings.
  • Easy to find.
  • Comparatively low-priced.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 is nearly a stop faster than the f/1.7, at the added cost of additional weight and size. Expect to pay more than you would for an f/1.7 or f/2 lens. The prior version, SMC Pentax, and later revision, SMC Pentax-A, will both work with the ME Super.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2

Similar to the other camera brands, Pentax released a 50mm "halo" lens. The resulting SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 is a quite large, fast, and high-priced hunk of glass.

The lens can be challenging to come across since it can be used on Pentax DSLRs so the desirability extends beyond use with 35mm film cameras. If you want to track down a copy you'll need to check and see what is offered through weeks or months.

Find at: eBay or KEH

Alternative Options

Down below are a few other good lenses that are comparable possibilities. In addition to 28mm or 35mm focal lengths.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 50mm f/2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 35mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Wide Angles

SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8

  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Super Multi Coating (SMC) to improve performance.
  • Many copies can be found.
  • Relatively low cost.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8 isn't the best option. The reality is, many people might not consider it a wide angle lens. Then again, it is a whole lot cheaper than any wider option.

There is an abundance of wider Pentax focal lengths to pick from, but they're possibly way higher-priced or third-party choices have obvious barrel distortion. Beyond that, it is easy to see chromatic aberrations and other optical flaws in third-party lenses.

More Alternatives

The general relationship for pricing is simple to understand. The wider the field of view, the costlier the lens is going to be. Fast lenses will also be more expensive.

Also, keep in mind that vintage wide angle lenses don't have all the corrections that modern wide angle lenses have. The most obvious issue with older wide angles will be visible barrel distortion.

SMC Pentax-M 20mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 18mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 24mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Portrait & Telephoto Lenses

SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5

  • 85mm substitute.
  • Excellent value.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Widely available.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

85mm focal length lenses were not as frequently used as they are today compared to when the ME Super was initially released back in 1980. 100mm or 135mm focal lengths were more commonly used because of their lower cost.

You can see the price difference when checking what's available.

More Alternatives

There are many telephoto lenses to select from. 85mm and focal lengths longer than 135mm are going to be more expensive.

SMC Pentax 85mm f/1.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 85mm f/2.2 SoftAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 120mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Zoom Lenses

Before the release of autofocus, in the early 1980s, there were a few lenses made by third-party companies that performed better than what Pentax was offering.

A good deal of these top performers were released under the Vivitar brand. Zooms with the Vivitar Series 1 branding are going to have the best optics you can expect to see from an older zoom lens.

Unfortunately, obtaining copies of these lenses in usable condition can be quite difficult. Keep in mind, no vintage zooms offer exceptional performance. If you see a copy on sale that is cheap enough, it could be worth picking up.

Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5

  • Covers a popular zoom range.
  • Great for wildlife or portrait photography.
  • A rare time when a third-party lens is the best choice.

Also found at: eBay and KEH

More Alternatives

Here are several more options that you can take a look at if you need a zoom for your ME Super. None of them are going to be incredible, and you would most likely be better off buying a couple of primes.

SMC Pentax 85-210mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 45-125mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Pentax Macro Lenses

Macro lens options for the Pentax ME Super have problems with availability. The available supply of Pentax K mount options is limited, which increases prices higher than you'll pay for comparable Canon FD mount or Nikon F mount options.

SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro

  • Ideal focal length for 1x magnification.
  • Widely available.
  • Mediocre value.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

A few people online have experienced balsam separation of the front doublet. This is troubling because even a small amount of separation will grow gradually and make it unusable. If you see any signs of balsam separation, avoid that lens and keep looking.

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens manufactured by Komine
  • The second best vintage macro lens I've used.
  • An outstanding lens for close-up photography.
  • Can achieve life-size magnification without needing an extension tube.

Also found at: KEH and Adorama

The best vintage macro lens I have owned, the 90mm Vivitar, was manufactured for a variety of mounts. However, it's tough to get a copy that's got a Pentax K mount.

The Vivitar 55mm is my second favorite vintage macro lens. Take into account that it does have less working distance when compared to the 90mm. It is great for table top and close-up photography, but it is not the best if you want to take macro images at 1x magnification.

Both of the Vivitar macro lenses were built by Komine and were released under several brand names. If you decide to look for a copy also look under the Panagor, Elicar, Quantaray, Spiratone, and Rokunar brand names.

There is a Vivitar 90mm Macro Review and a Vivitar 55mm Macro Review.

For shooting photos at macro magnification (1x), focal lengths in the 90mm-105mm range will be the best option. You will have a large enough working distance to have the ability to use flash, while avoiding excessive weight and excessive costs that come with longer focal lengths.

More Options

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/4 MacroAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Lester A Dine 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Used Pentax Lenses

Demand and supply will set the cost of vintage manual focus lenses. During the past few years, film photography has risen in popularity, which has increased prices.

Added pricing pressure is caused by Pentax DSLR users purchasing and collecting lenses. Third party producers generally do not produce anything for the K-mount, unlike the Canon EF or Nikon F lens mounts.

Marketing circumstances are regularly changing, and unexpected changes can lead to changes in prices. Nevertheless, the relative prices between alternatives should be similar.

Taking a look at several websites is a smart way to get reliable market information. If you are lucky enough to discover a great deal, buy it because the best deals usually do not stick around.

What Lens Mount Does the Pentax ME Super Use?

The Pentax ME Super uses the Pentax K lens mount.

Introduced in 1975, the Pentax K mount is still being used in cameras today. It’s a replacement for the M42 screw mount that was used in previous cameras like the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Over time changes have been made to add autofocus, CPU contacts, metering information, and electronically controlled apertures.

Provided that a lens has an aperture ring, it will be compatible with Pentax film cameras. However, it doesn't make sense to spend money on expensive features that will not be used by the camera. The exception would be if you also own Pentax DSLRs.

It is also possible to use the older M42 mount lenses by using an adapter. People like to do this as some of the previous Takumar lenses are spectacular. Even so, I wouldn't encourage doing this as finding them with focus rings that aren't tight can be tricky.

Lens Cap Size

The standard lens cap and filter ring thread diameter used on the majority manual focus Pentax K mount lenses is 49mm. Lenses were sold with slip-on caps, not the more typically used center-pinch kind today. If you look at what's available, you'll find a lack of matching lens caps being sold with lenses.

Be aware that big front elements will need larger filters and caps.

The benefit of using a standard thread size is that you only need only one filter set.

Pentax-M vs Pentax-A

Pentax-M and SMC Pentax lenses were designed to include a stop-down coupler which provides the camera to have a mechanical linkage to the lens. The stop-down coupler makes it possible for the camera to know the aperture is set so that the light meter will meter correctly without being required to use stop-down metering.

The Pentax-A series added the feature for the aperture in the lens to be controlled by the camera. Cameras that are compatible with the Pentax-A changes have the capability to do shutter priority and aperture priority modes.

However, because that capability isn't compatible with the camera, it doesn't make financial sense to spend money on capabilities that the camera can't use.

Related Posts

That's it for information regarding the best lenses for the ME Super. Here is additional info that will provide you with more info about the camera can be found at the links below:

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