Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The First Tee

OK so down we went, last Thursday morning it was, to Portstewart when the NW200 road race practice was on.  Just to see what the craic was.

There were a few folk around, the weather was pleasant and we saw a few bikes fly past, like this one:

I wasn't close enough for the bikes, really, this is just an idea of what you see for a split second as they hurtle past at speeds well into 3 figures.

I was using a new one for me, a little Pentax ME Super what The Brother sent over last Christmas.  The euphoria was slightly tarnished by HM Revenue and Customs, who took their pound of flesh (yes, VAT and handling charge still apply on a 25+ year old camera).  It had been lying in a drawer in Chicago somewhere for the best part of 20 years getting no attention.  A couple of new batteries and it seemed to fire up OK, and from the look of these negs all the seals are still OK.  Good news.  On the front of it I had a petite 135mm f/3.5 lens.  Usefully it has a 49mm filter thread, so I was able to swap the yellow filter on Missy's OM1 and put it on the SMC Pentax-M.

I'd never used an ME before and it really does fit in the hand really nicely.  It's tiny - even smaller I think than the OM1, and that's saying something.  And that 135mm lens is also very compact, it's a combination you could take almost anywhere.  As you can probably tell, I liked it - a lot.  The ME Super is aperture priority auto most of the time (no shutter speeds on a dial or anything like that).  You can override it and there are various buttons on the top dial where the shutter speed should be but I'm not quite sure what they all do yet.  In the viewfinder you get a view very similar to a Nikon FM3a - all the shutter speeds are shown down the left hand side and a little green LED lights up against the one that the camera's brain thinks is more or less correct for the chosen aperture.  I left it on auto for this film and the camera seemed to cope fine.  The speeds go up to 1/2000 and the 135mm lens stops down to f/32...pretty impressive stuff.

Rather than take the bikes, badly, I thought I'd take some shots of people, also badly.

This gentleman came ready for all the action and had positioned himself on the top of the First Tee of the 'Old Course', as it is known in Portstewart, which runs alongside the road for the first (and last) few holes.

Lucky for him the golf course was closed that day, due to the racing.  Lovely view there if he'd turned himself around...Inishowen in the background and all.


  1. Ah, so I see that you got your hands on one of the lovely little ME Super things :) Great cameras they are for sure, and yes... small. Or handy, or whatever you like to call them. Pushbuttons to control the shutter times up and down in manual mode, but you'll get used to them. The aperture priority auto should work very well, so might not use the manual mode too much on this one. M, 125x and Bulb will still be working should your batteries suddenly dry out, but they should last forever on this little fellow.
    Nice set of snaps there, Michael. The equipment used in the race is a bit different these days compared to the old snaps you posted a few days ago :)

    1. As you can tell I'm rather taken by the ME. A lovely little piece of engineering, and not too much electronics :) I'm thinking of investing some hard-earned ££ in a 28mm, which would give me nice 28-50-135 set. Good for travelling with - that's the idea.

      Yes, the older negs are usually big, 6x9 or similar. The negs are lovely to work with, but the camera not ideal for sport :)

    2. That reminds me that my father got some old Vivitar 28mm for his Pentax ME Super. I might have to take the trip to see if I can find them things at some point :)
      50mm and a 28mm, that was his setup those post Spotmatic years. ME first, then ME Super as you might remember I told you all about

    3. Vivitar used to make some decent glass, as far as I recall. Their Series 1 system in particular used to be well rated back in the day.