In 1977, Pentax introduced two compact 35mm SLRs, the MX and the ME. These followed a trend towards smaller size in SLR cameras inspired by 1972's Olympus OM-1.
Of the pair, the ME was the autoexposure model, but it lacked any manual shutter-speed settings. In 1979 Pentax replaced the original ME with the simpler MV and the more advanced ME Super, which had the following changes :
- manual mode added, which lights a green indicator LED in viewfinder
- shutter speed range from 4s to 1/2000, sync at 1/125
- over- and under-exposure LEDs blink
- blinking "EF" indicator LED when exposure compensation dial is moved away from standard 1x position
- additional shoe contact for dedicated Pentax flash units
- -1.0 diopter eyepiece (changed from -0.5)
- The marking "ASAHI" in the pentaprism housing was eliminated sometime between the ME and the ME Super
The "Super" version is also a fraction of a millimeter taller than the original ME, although the difference is imperceptible in use. Both are exceptionally small bodies for a full 24x36mm format SLR.
The Pentax ME Super is an aperture priority automatic camera, with a focal plane shutter electronically timed from 4s to 1/2000, and with flash sync at 1/125. The shutter uses vertically-traveling metal curtains. For manual mode the ME Super uses two buttons, up and down, to select the shutter speed, rather than a more conventional rotary dial. The exposure meter is of the standard TTL open aperture center-weighted type. It is activated by a slight pressure on the release button, which should illuminate one or several LEDs at the left edge of the viewfinder.