2017 Camera of the Year

Another year of film shooting, and this year’s most frequently used camera is . . .

The Pentax ME.

I have a lot of cameras, but which one I’m inclined to use at any given time is largely a matter of mood. This year I really enjoyed shooting with my collection of Pentax K-mount lenses, which is why the ME got so much use. But it wasn’t just that model—I also ran film through my ME Super and MG. These are simply variants on the ME that look and handle in much the same way.

For those unfamiliar, the Pentax “M” line is very much a product of the 1970s, when SLR manufacturers aimed to make their offerings more compact, largely spurred on by the sudden appearance of the ground-breaking Olympus OM-1, in 1972. Pentax’s response was a line of cameras that were both smaller and lighter than the OM-1 and, in my opinion, are some of the finest SLRs ever produced.

The aperture-priority automatic Pentax ME was the first in the company’s M line and was introduced in 1976. (For chapter and verse on the ME, check out Jim Grey’s book, “Exceptional Ordinary,” or pop over to his web site for his reviews of the ME here and here.)

The ME Super came out in 1980 and added full manual control. My other Pentax M is the MG—a simplified version of the ME that appeared in 1982 and proved to be the end of the line. The MG retains the aperture-priority shooting mode of the ME, but loses the shutter lock feature and has a slightly smaller viewfinder. I’ve found all three to be highly capable shooters that produce splendid results. (I’ll be doing a full review of them at some point in the future.)

An hourable mention this year goes to my trusty Yashica T4 Zoom, which also saw a lot of film in 2017 as my go-to point-and-shoot. You can read my review of the T4 Zoom here.

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One Response to 2017 Camera of the Year

  1. Jim Grey says:

    I’m delighted that the ME is your pick! And thank you for the links to my book and blog.

    The ME was among the first SLRs I bought. I’ve bought plenty other SLRs since, but few I’ve liked more.

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