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Pentax K1000

Reviews Views Date of last review
44 137,253 Sun November 1, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $60.50 8.69
Pentax K1000

Pentax K1000
Pentax K1000
Pentax K1000

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).

Year introduced
Meter range
3 - 18 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
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
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
Multiple exposures
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Not applicable
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 91.5 x 49 mm
620 g
Price History:

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Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2018
Posts: 304
Review Date: November 1, 2020 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Rugged, works without a battery
Cons: No Dof Preview, No Split prism

A friend gave me two of these, both in need of some TLC. He had used these since high school and for various photo assignments over the years. I have gotten one working again and am very pleased with the results. The version I'm using is a made in Japan model. The other non-functioning model is a Made in Hong Kong version.

To start, these are rugged, heavy cameras that if maintained, will last. Much like its predecessor the Spotmatic, the K1000 has the match needle metering. In fact it feels identical in my hands. The only complaint other than no Dof preview or no split prism is the meter system on this one underexposes slightly is i need to keep this in mind. If I'm setting up a shot, I use a separate meter to get it spot-on. They also take the old M-42 lenses with a simple adapter. Though you will have to use them stopped down, the results are equally pleasing as the K mount bayonet lenses!

I've already blown through several rolls of film and have no complaints. This camera is a joy to use (if you like old cameras like I do). Its simple and makes sense as it was designed to be the entry level model.

One point I'm surprised about is how expensive these cameras are for what you get. There is defiantly a cult following around them. But if a Dof preview and split prism are a deal breaker, them you can pick up a KM for a very reasonable amount and have all the experience with a little more convenience and affordability.

All said and done, I rated this camera the way I did because it is fun to use, feels substantial in the hand and yields hassle-free good results. I can't ask for more than that!
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 12, 2020 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: It's a Spotmatic with a bayonet mount
Cons: Too trendy so too expensive for what it is

I love this camera because it's as lovely as what came before it in Pentax design and manufacturing history. It's gorgeous, but it is ridiculously expensive to buy.

Superb solid Spotmatic SP1000-style camera that is fully mechanical - except for the metering system - just as the cameras that preceded it. It is no more sensational than those cameras, though. The trouble is that these cost a ridiculous amount between $120 and $160 and a Spotmatic goes for about $50 to $80 if you are not being ripped off, or much less than that if you get an SP1000. In Europe people are very keen to pay even more. I have no idea why this happens, but it does have a very fashionably trendy following in countries like the UK.

The bayonet mount allows both M42 lenses (with an adaptor) and P/K lenses to be used.

Light metering tends to vary - or fail with time - and you can find many K1000's with a tendency to over-expose by a stop or two. Because the light meter is a needle-type, it can be difficult to see in dark conditions.

They tend to be very clunky and loud cameras. Don't believe what people say about replacing the mirror buffer to reduce the "clunk" as this does nothing to buffer what is basically a loud mechanical system.

More up-to-date versions were made in China with a tough and flexible impact-resistant ABS plastic top and bottom. These do not have "Asahi" wording and the logo on the prism case. Some people hate that plastic "invasion" of a previously metal design so the value is less, but ABS is strong. It also stops awful dents in the top cover, although you can get cracks if you are a total butterfingers. Biking and motorbike helmets are made of ABS plastic and all modern cameras from the 1990's to date use it. But if you are a bit touchy about that and you want the "all metal" ideology to rule, then pay about twice or three times more cash for what is otherwise exactly the same camera inside. Because they are newer, the Chinese versions can be in better condition, and with better working light meters; although that will vary depending on previous owners.

Great for people with big hands, and it is heavy. If you want a smaller and lighter bayonet mount camera by Pentax - that is fully mechanical - then think about an MX. If you want a better camera overall, and you are not bothered about mechanical cameras, look at the ME Super. If you want to enjoy the beauty of M42 screw mount lenses and a much cheaper form of film photography with as good - if not better - quality of photography then read around the SP1000 or the SP500 or think about the Spotmatic camera. But if you really want the mechanical K1000, then the KX or KM are exactly the same thing with added extras. I can't recommend the K2, though.

Registered: September, 2017
Location: South Wales
Posts: 1,532

3 users 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, silly prices.

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.

People keep recommending it for beginners on the basis that it forces you to learn about exposure, and their assumption that it is inexpensive. It was indeed inexpensive originally, but since about 2015 K1000 prices been inflated due to having a cult or nostalgic appeal. There are other manual-only cameras for much less money, and most auto cameras have a manual mode too - you could probably buy two or three of them for the price of one K1000.
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.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577

1 user found this helpful
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

2 users 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.

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

2 users 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

2 users 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.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Greensboro,NC
Posts: 503

2 users 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

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
Location: Oregon
Posts: 496
Review Date: July 11, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K1000: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Full manual.

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 


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: Barnett MO.
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.
P.S I'm gonna get her and take for a spin.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,436
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.
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