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Pentax K1000

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42 112,759 Sun September 10, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $60.50 8.70
Pentax K1000

Pentax K1000
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Pentax K1000
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Pentax K1000
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Description:
The iconic Pentax K1000 was Pentax's classic intro level film SLR, which gained a very high popularity among photography students due to its rugged build and low price.

The original K1000 was basically a KM without depth of field preview and self-timer. The K1000 became very successful and was produced from 1976 to 1997. The top and bottom plates were changed from metal to plastic in the final production run. In 1997, the ZX-M replaced the K1000 as Pentax's intro-level manual offering.

The main variants are the K1000 (black leather, microprism focusing aid) and the later K1000 SE (black or brown leather and with a split image focusing screen or a combination microprism/split image screen).

K1000
Year introduced
1976
Mount
K
Meter range
3 - 18 EV
Meter pattern
c
ISO range
20-3200
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
M, B
Exposure compensation
Not applicable
Exposure memory lock
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (auto)
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual)
1 - 1/1000s, B
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
1 - 1/1000s, B
Self timer
No
Mirror lock-up
No
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
Multiple exposures
Yes
Winder
No
Built-in flash
No
TTL flash
No
P-TTL flash
No
Sync speed
1/60s
Flash exposure comp
Not applicable
Autofocus
No
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
No
Viewfinder
0.88x
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism
Diopter correction
No
Exchangeable screen
No
Depth of field preview
No
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
No
Battery
S76
Battery grip/pack
No
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 91.5 x 49 mm
Weight
620 g
Price History:



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Senior Member

Registered: September, 2017
Location: South Wales
Posts: 108

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 10, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Robust, quality build, straightfoward, battery-less operation, range of lenses
Cons: Very vanilla, no self-timer, sluggish metering, manual only, no speed or aperture info in viewfinder

A strange one. Out of date when introduced (1976) yet made for over 20 years; touted as a "family camera" yet lacking a self-timer; out-sold the superb professional-grade manual-only MX even when they were the same price or close*.

A bit of history : Pentax introduced the "K" range in 1975 : the K2, KX, and the bottom of the range KM. The first two were new, but the KM was basically the old Spotmatic F with its M42 lens mount replaced by the K bayonet. But fashions quickly changed to smaller lighter bodies so the original Ks were replaced within a year or two by the smaller M series. But Pentax were left with the KM/Spotmatic production line and a stockpile of components such as the now outdated and slow CDs meters. So they used the facility to re-launch the KM, stripped of all "superflous" features, as the cheapest SLR on the market - this was the K1000. Among the "superflous" features removed were the self-timer and depth of field preview.

Nevertheles its popularity was (and still is) of almost cult intensity. One reason was that during its time it was invariably recommended as the camera for students starting art courses. To others, its stark solid simplicity appealed; it is the VW Beetle of the camera world. It was produced until 1997 to a design which in pedigree was a Spotmatic of the early 1960s.

There is no doubt that, once the exposure and focus are set correctly, the K1000 can take pictures as good as any Pentax 35mm film camera ever made, even the mighty LX. It uses the same lenses and was made with the same precision - except for the later years when manufacture was outsourced to China with increased use of plastic.

* In the UK, circa 1985, at least
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2016
Location: Porthtowan
Posts: 17
Review Date: October 24, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Robustness, simplicity, low cost and fully mechanical
Cons: A split-image focussing aid would have helped

Okay, what do I mean by robustness? I mean a strength and reliability that made it suitable for teenagers... it will happily survive a mountaineering trip, a heavy metal gig or a drunken party. The simplicity and low price made it very suitable for absolute beginners. Compared with the slightly later MX it lacked the depth of field preview, self-timer and system accessories. As for the price, it was the only big five camera for under a ton.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577
Review Date: January 19, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Classic feel, match-needle meter, shutter clunk
Cons: No Dof preview

There's not much left to be said about the K1000, but I'd like to come at this review from a slightly different angle: before I owned one, I was very sceptical about the K1000's appeal - it seemed like an overhyped, overpriced, lesser-featured version of my Spotmatic F and I didn't understand why people kept paying the higher prices for them that are often demanded here in the UK when there are so many other similar cameras out there. However, when I saw a minty one going for a good price with an M50/1.7 on it in a local charity shop, I decided to give it a go, and there started my journey.

Six months on and I love my K1000. I love the way it feels, the way it sounds and the lovely pictures it takes when combined with old Pentax glass. I still don't think I'd pay the inflated prices I often see them going for (one camera shop near me wants 100 for a well-used body) but find one at the right price and you'll definitely come to love it like I love mine.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2012
Posts: 21

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 2, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Built like a tank. Utterly reliable in bad conditions.
Cons:

I bought mine new in 1984 and carried it for a year of student travel in India, Nepal, Burma, and Thailand. It has been as high as 17,000 ft in the Himalayas and a couple of miles underground in the mud of unmapped Eastern U.S. cave systems. It has proven to be completely reliable for 30 years of use.

The K1000 is also a fantastic bargain for students who are learning photography. It is a completely manual SLR which forces the user to really learn the basics of aperture, shutter speed, etc if one wants to get the great shots.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 12

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 28, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very simple light-tight box. Utterly reliable. Great haptics. Great learning tool.
Cons: No DOF preview, no split screen (in basic version)

This was my first SLR, bought in new in 1989 or so. I still have it, and still use it.

I have other Pentax film bodies--an ME, a Super Program, an SP1000--but I still prefer my K1000.

It's been totally, utterly reliable. I think I've replaced the meter battery once or maybe twice since I bought it. But it keeps going and going and going....

Even though it's the cheaper, later Hong Kong version (with plastic top/bottom covers), it still feels just right: great in the hand, great weight, great feel to the advance lever and shutter button, great viewfinder.

It's a great way to learn the basics of photography, with no gimmicks or unnecessary features: just a reliable light-tight box with a meter needle in the viewfinder. It allows you to learn and concentrate on the bare basics of photography: subject, composition, exposure, focus.

It's good enough to disappear and stay out of your way.

K1000 + Tri-X + D76. That's all you really need.





   
New Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 30, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, Design, Price, Simplicity, Feel, Durability
Cons: NOTHING!!!!!!!

Wow, just wow, for a very simple answer, no matter who you are, you should buy this.

Okay, onto the detail. This thing is built like a tank, no matter how hard bang mine or how much I drop it, this camera is a beast. It lasts and lasts and lasts. It is priced cheaply and is such a great beginners camera because there are only three settings, not an endless amount of digital menus like today or things like self timers back then. It feels lovely in hand with a solid metal build and a nice leatherette it feels like a luxury camera.

Anyone and everyone needs this camera, there is a good reason for it being the longest produced SLR ever.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Greensboro,NC
Posts: 496

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 14, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: full manual, rugged, fully mechanical
Cons:

My very first film camera. My dad bought it in the late 70s to use while he was in college. It was used after that to take pretty much every family photo until they got a digital camera in 2004. My dad gave it to me in 2006 when I started taking photography classes. So my rating may be skewed because this camera holds a lot of sentimental value. But lets talk more about the camera.

This camera is full manual, meaning you set all of the settings yourself. This is the best way to learn the relation of shutter speed, aperture, and film speed (iso). I highly suggest that if you are new to photography that you grab one of these and put a few rolls of film through it. You will learn so much and it will help you slow down and really think about the pictures you are taking. I really believe that this camera has helped me become a better photographer overall by not having auto modes and forcing me to learn how to do things the old way. The build quality of this thing is amazing, its heavy and big and feels substantial in your hands. Mine is the all metal version and I love it. It feels like you are holding something of value. Also these cameras were built to last. Mine has taken thousands of photos and hasn't had any work done on it since it was bought in the late 70's. It still has the original light seals and I even have the two lenses that were bought with it and they both work like new as well. The only thing I've changed on it is the batteries and the leather. Its a great camera and every pentaxian should own one.

TLDR This is a great beginner camera for learning on, it's solid and reliable, you should buy one right now.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2010
Posts: 469
Review Date: July 11, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Full manual.
Cons:

Brand new in box. I only offer this review to point out that the perfect price is falling.

I have a working MX and sold this example at a profit.

Edit: It was a black leather Special Edition.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 3
Review Date: June 2, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I had this camera for 2 months. It's nearly new one I am very with it and its all things very very well. You can find my photos taken with K1000 and Miranda 28mm f2.8. I used Ilford Delta 100 ASA film.









   
Forum Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 66
Review Date: January 3, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality, appearance, metal, feel, simplicity, viewfinder
Cons: Slightly slow meter, needle, battery runs out quickly without lens cap

This camera is great. It's simple, easy, and straightforward to use. I've used mine for quite some time now, it's awesome. The sound it makes is beautiful, and the overall use of the camera is easy. The only part that annoys me is that without a lens cap, the battery runs out quickly. I don't see why Pentax didn't just incorporate a switching mechanism into the camera, like a half-press on the shutter. The needle annoys me a little because it's kinda hard to tell exactly how underexposed or overexposed you are. Other than that, this camera is great. Definitely recommended for anybody looking to get into film photography.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 9
Review Date: October 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sheer Simplicity, SUPER RUGGED, exellent build quality
Cons: maximum shutter speed

This K-1000 was given to me by my parents as a 8th grade graduation gift. I have shot thousands of shots with this guy. Super reliable, only need a 357 batt for the meter. I just love the giant viewfinder and the simplicty of this beast!!!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2013
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 2,336
Review Date: October 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: All manual
Cons: nobody cooked up a digital back for it

If you want to learn the basics of speed, aperture and light while enjoying doing it, this is the one for you!! I received mine as a graduation present in 84 and until 09 was still giving it a lot of use. The all manual nature of the camera is the best part!! I learned much about the interactions of shutter, aperture and film speed. And the best part I didn't realize I was learning anything. I never missed a shot because I didn't have an all auto machine gunning rig! It became second nature to set the values then focus then shoot. Add to that amazing workmanship and quality materials make for an almost indestructable machine. Still going strong after almost 30 years in my hands!!!

Yes I gave it a 10! That is what it means to me! And since it was the like the longest in production camera ever, I'm not alone.
Joel
P.S I'm gonna get her and take for a spin.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 1,316
Review Date: September 11, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, User-friendly, Easily Learned, Very Capable, Attractive, Inexpensive
Cons: No DoF Preview, no Interchangeable Focusing Screens

My only wish for the K1000 would be that Pentax had designed all four of the old Ks with interchangeable focusing screens. Beyond that, even though a DoF preview would be nice, it's not really a necessity.

This camera really can do anything that an up-market model can do -- it just takes a deeper understanding of how the camera works. Exposure bracketing? Do it yourself but no problem. Double exposures? Sure, but it's fiddly. High-contrast setting compensation? Sure, if you meter off an area with your subject's approximate illumination. This camera can take any picture you see in your mind if you know how to use it properly.

You'll learn how to take a picture with this camera in a minute. You'll learn how to capture an image with it in a few years. And that journey, learning to capture an image, will be enjoyable, exciting, and much more informative than with an automated camera.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Capital Federal, Buenos Aires
Posts: 10
Review Date: July 20, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Hi guys I need help with this wonderful piece of history. My grandpa gave me his old Pentax KX (same as k1000 but with timer and film speed manual set) that looks brand new by the way :P

Im having problems with the film speed indicator and its pin. It used to spin and work well but sometimes it cames loose and spins ineffectually.

If the lightmetter is on and I change the film speed to a higher asa value, the lightmetter needle is supposed to go up, isn't it? PLEASE HELP becasue I don't know if it's working properly.

THANK YOU!!
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Posts: 276
Review Date: June 9, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: strudy, motivating for learners, cheap, common
Cons: can't see the whole viewfinder if you wear glasses like me (not huge problem though, you get used to it)

I own 2! One was my initial companion and the second comes with a wide-angle lens, it was so cheap (lens + camera = $40) so I just bought both, no brainer. I guess when you shoot film a second K1000 simply saves you the trouble of changing lens/film type. So I carry both on trips.

The function is so basic it forces you to focus on the basic exposure settings (i.e. shutter speed and aperture). Just get one if you want to master exposure from scratch. Good to master manual focus and manual exposure too. You will learn everything that a modern DSLR won't teach you.

My meters are still fine and quite reliable, although during sunny days I simply use the Sunny 16 Rule.

Finally, I wrote a short article about my experience with K1000 here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/news/mastering-exposure-using-the-classic-stude...tax-k1000.html
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