The camera was a development of (and one of two replacements for) the Pentax ME. Both feature semi-automatic (aperture priority) operation, and are part of the Pentax M series which included the manual Pentax MX and briefly the semi-automatic, automatic-focus Pentax ME F. The ME Super added a manual mode to the feature set of the ME. Since the ME Super was a better-specified camera than the ME, a lower-specification model was introduced at the same time, as the lower-end replacement for the ME: this was the Pentax MV, a short-lived model quickly replaced by the Pentax MV1.
The ME Super has an electronic focal plane shutter with metal curtains and a vertical movement. Shutter speeds are selected with up and down buttons rather than the conventional wheel. They run from 4 seconds to 1/2000 of a second, with flash synchronization at 1/125 of a second. The hot shoe features an additional shoe contact for dedicated Pentax flash units, not seen on the preceding ME.
In the event of battery failure, the camera can continue to operate at a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second. This feature was lost in later, more fully automatic models such as the Pentax Super-A, contributing to the long-lasting popularity of the ME Super. Two LR44 (or equivalent) batteries power the camera.