Often forgotten now, there was a revolution in 35mm camera design in the 1970s that dramatically decreased their size and weight. When Pentax introduced the ME Super in 1980, it took advantage of this revolution. The ME Super is much lighter than the old workhorse Pentax K1000. While the ME Super is a manual focus film camera, it has a range of consumer-level automated features. For example, the camera will select your shutter speed based on your aperture choice. The camera was not designed with the professional photographer in mind.
Check to make certain the Pentax ME Super has fresh batteries. You can ascertain a general idea of their strength by turning the camera on and setting the exposure dial to either "M" or "Auto." If you get a steady light through the viewfinder in the meter area, the batteries are fine. If one of the lights flickers by any of the numbered meter settings, replace the batteries. The battery compartment is on the bottom of the camera. Turn the large battery compartment door, located on the left of the bottom plate, and then insert two batteries with the positive side down.
Insert the lens into the lens mount on the camera body by lining up the dots. Then, turn the lens clockwise until it locks. Any K-mount Pentax or third-party manual lens will work on the Pentax ME Super.
Load the film. Set your exposure dial to 125x, as Pentax states before you load the film. Then, open the back door of the camera. Pull up on the film rewind knob on the left of the camera to open the back. Leave it up. Place the 35mm film cartridge into the camera with the spool pointed downward, and then push down the rewind knob to engage the film cartridge. Take hold of the film leader and draw it across the back of the shutter curtain. Make sure the sprocket holes engage the sprockets in the right film chamber. Insert the film leader into any of the slots on the permanent film take-up reel. Advance the film with the advance lever on the right top of the camera. Close the camera back and make certain it locks. Keep winding the film advance, and clicking the shutter until the frame counter reads "1."
Take your Pentax ME Super out for a test run. Press slightly on the shutter button to get meter readings. Turn the lens aperture ring to adjust the aperture opening. In "Auto" mode, the camera will choose the shutter speed. If you prefer more manual control, set the dial to "M," choose your aperture and then choose your shutter speed by pressing one of the two buttons just to the right of the viewfinder.
The Pentax ME Super will take pictures without batteries, but only in manual mode. It will not provide you with meter readings without fresh batteries, but you can use it if you either guess at the exposure or use a hand-held light meter. Shoot a few rolls of film indoors and outdoors as tests before you need to shoot something more important. Develop the film and look at the prints or slides to gauge your trials with the camera. This will give you the feel of the camera and help you to shoot better images.