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Pentax KM

Reviews Views Date of last review
10 86,296 Tue June 14, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
90% of reviewers $58.33 8.67
Pentax KM

Pentax KM
Pentax KM
Pentax KM

The Pentax KM was one of the three original K-mount cameras introduced by Pentax as a replacement for the Spotmatic family of screw mount cameras.

The KM was basically a Spotmatic F with bayonet mount and a more modern look. From the Spotmatic F it inherited the beloved and easy to use center-the-needle metering at full open aperture. The technical specifications are almost identical with those of the Spotmatic F.

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
0.87x, 93%
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 52 mm
622 g
Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-10 of 10
New Member

Registered: June, 2016
Posts: 1
Review Date: June 14, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: rugged build quality, nice balance, smooth wind on, simple viewfinder
Cons: no mirror lock up

I acquired my KM in July last year for £50 including a 55mm f2 lens. I wanted the camera as a reasonably priced back up to my ME Super. I was immediately struck be the nice feel and balance of the camera and its simple operation. All appeared to be working correctly until about Xmas when the slow shutter speeds, 30th and below would stick. Off to the camera doctor it went. Upon return and £80 lighter I found I had a beautifully clean and accurate camera almost like new so I viewed the initial problem philosophically:-
In 1981 when I started seriously to enjoy photography would I have considered £130 for a good quality machine and lens which would last decades good value? Absolutely! Allowing for inflation I have got an absolute bargain.
I prefer this model to the K1000, not because it has DOF, but because it has a self timer. I often lose,forget or manage to break cable releases so I find this addition essential. I like to use it with its original lens or a Tokina 70-210 f4-5.6, or Pentax ka 35-70 f4 as these balance nicely with the camera. The small prime m series lenses which go so well with the ME Super feel and look silly on this body IMO.
Subsequent to my purchase I got a black KX body for £65. As other posts have mentioned this has a much more comprehensive feature list, including mirror lock up and full information viewfinder. I like the MLU on the KX but the viewfinder information I can take or leave. I find it difficult to decide which I prefer out of the 2 models because I prefer the wind on of the KM, so for me both have their pros and cons. However I would be perfectly happy with either model if I had to make a choice between the 2.
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 27
Review Date: April 4, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: solid, DOF control, easy to use.

Got this camera as a second Pentax body in addition to my KX. I like it (almost) just as much for the same reasons;

-solid build quality, nice size for my hands
-convenient K mount
-uses silveroxide batteries
-goes on without batteries

Compared to th KX it doesn't have mirror lockup and lacks shutter and aperture info in the viewfinder. I never use mirror lockup though and don't necessarily have to see more info then + and - and a needle in the viewfinder. A quick look at the top of the camera gives you the rest of the info as well. So compared to the KX the viewfinder is even more clean and basic.

I would always prefer a KM over a K1000. One of the main advantages of using a SLR is that you can 'see what you get'. It seems very silly to me not to be able to control DOF on a SLR. With the K1000, you can't. With the KM, you can.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,436
Review Date: September 11, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax KM: No | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Simple to Use, Easy to Learn, User-friendly
Cons: A bit of an odd child in the lineup

This camera is basically a K1000 with a DoF preview and self-timer. Honestly, there's no reason to get this instead of a K1000 and an add-on self timer. Those old clockwork self timers that screw into the shutter release button are pretty awesome anyway.

I like my KM. I leaned "no" for my recommendation to suggest it, but would have answered "maybe" if that were an option. If this and the K1000 were the same price, I dunno, get either one. They're the same camera anyway.

I just don't really feel like the KM has a reason to exist in the K lineup. The K2 and KX I get, totally, and the K1000 as well. But adding the fourth is kind of like having three thoroughbreds and, for fun, then getting a musk ox. It's a fine camera with nothing whatsoever wrong. And I love the DoF preview, but I always find myself asking "what's the big whoop?" when I use it. I like my K1000 more, and the KX, too. The KM does double duty with the K1000 but not enough to be a viable in-between for the K1000 and KX.


Registered: August, 2012
Location: Queensland
Posts: 3,990
Review Date: August 20, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid Metal Quality
Cons: Limits are sometimes seen as negatives. I accept them.

Bought this off Craig's list in very good condition with seals redone. I think of it as my big MX. I love the heavy feel of it along with lasting quality. Others have mentioned it's limits so I won't repeat them, except to say if you don't need a feature, then it is one less thing to go wrong.
If you like the K1000 then you like the KM by default, unless you hate the self-timer and depth of field button. The body is basically carried over from the Spotmatic era, with a change to the K mount.
The most important thing one needs is a good lens and a sold camera to mount it on, along with the appropriate film. They are the essentials for a good picture. The other stuff is just to make it easier to get. Mine has the underrated M 50 f2.0 which took this photo
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Cardiff, UK
Posts: 49
Review Date: May 17, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid, well-designed, and reliable
Cons: Not many: viewfinder not as bright as one might hope

This was my first Pentax (I was in my early teens). It came with the 55/1.8 and I loved them both. I still have them after something like 34 years. This camera never broke down. It's heavy, maybe, by MX/ME standards. But it is just a fine camera overall,even if the viewfinder could be brighter. A perfect first camera - more so than the K1000, I think, if only because of the depth of field preview button.
Inactive Account

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Klaipeda
Posts: 3
Review Date: April 19, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: fully manual, DOF preview, built like a tank, LR44 or SR44 batteries
Cons: none

It was my first SLR camera and I bought it from private seller in Lithuania. Didn't know much about Pentax cameras when decided to by this KM and was very happy I did it. Later I found that KM is like K1000 on steroids - with DOF preview and self timer functions added. I like needle metering very much and glad that it is accurate. Well built, easy to operate camera.
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2006
Location: Lincoln, UK
Posts: 229
Review Date: May 27, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 


The pros and cons have been covered by the other reviewers.

To me this was always the K mount version of the Spotmatic F. It was the middle of the line up of the first 3 cameras, The K1000 being the bayonet version of the SP1000 ie a cut down cheaper version for students.

Because of the "reputation" of the K1000 and it's longevity you could often get a better camera for about half the price.

Two points to consider. Unless it has been done in the last 20 years or so, you will need to get it serviced to be able to use it. Unless they have been replaced, the original seals will be a gooey mess and the shutter is likely to start capping.

Better than a K1000 but the KX is even better!

Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 7,347
Review Date: June 16, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Famous K series looks and build.
Cons: No mirror lock-up, no shutter release lock leaver, no

Pros Famous K series looks and build.
Cons No mirror lock-up, no shutter release lock leaver, no "Judas" window.
Rating 8
Price Black - $150.00, Silver - $50.00 (Estimated, was purchased in a kit)
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
The KM is kind of unique as it has the looks of a KX but some of the features of a screw mount Spotmatic. It shares the same soft Eveready case as the KX. The KM was the least expensive K series body from the original 1975 line-up.

- Famous K series looks and build. (Comes in black & silver)
- Easy to use/set film speed (ASA) dial.
- DOF preview button.
- Self Timer.

Missing Features Compared to the KX.
- No mirror lock-up.
- No shutter release lock leaver.
- Meter is turned on by removing lens cap.
- Matching needle meter system.
- Unable to see shutter speed or aperture setting (Judas window) from viewfinder.

Camera Review
The KM is the latest addition to my K series body collection and my recent "Black" looks as good as a K2.

Overall not a bad Pentax body, but you can get a KX for close to the same price and the KX is a better overall choice.

However as a fully manual film camera for “students” this is a way better choice than a K1000 and is around the same price.
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
Posts: 773
Review Date: April 13, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: adds useful features (not frills) to popular K1000
Cons: no light meter switch

I've done my share of shooting with K1000s, like many other people here. At those times, the one thing I keep finding myself wishing for is depth of field preview. Once in every ten shots or so, it's of critical use in composing more confidently in three dimensions. But now I have a KM. It is essentially identical to the K1000, except it adds the DOF preview feature and a self-timer.

On a recent road trip where I had brought along a KM, an LX, and an ME Super, I found myself reaching for the KM most of the time.

To me, the charm of the KM is the viewfinder, which it shares with the K1000 and Spotmatics. It's big enough and bright enough to be involving, but it's also undistracting; there are no lights, no icons, no numbers. Just that simple needle. Strictly speaking, that makes it less informative than the heads-up displays you are probably used to, but you might find an upside, which is a stronger Zen-like sense of connection with the subject.

Prices on KMs seem to vary quite a bit. Sometimes you can find them cheaper than a K1000 in similar condition, because the latter is so much better known.

The only thing I wish Pentax had done differently on this model would have been to add a tangible meter switch; it is always on when the lens is uncapped. I worry sometimes about forgetting the lens cap and running the battery down.
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Sterling, VA, USA
Posts: 6,275
Review Date: October 29, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax KM: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


The KM was my first ever SLR and I have it to this day and it's going strong. I'm getting ready to send it and my MX off for a cleaning but only out of a desire to further extend it's life. This camera was also AWOL for about 6 years after I loaned it to my son to take to college. When he came back the KM was nowhere to be found until about 6 months ago when I found it buried in a box of his clothes when cleaning and sorting stuff in the garage. Needless to say I was thrilled and relieved at the re-discovery.

These cameras are built like rocks or tanks and will take any punishment you can dish out. Mine has been everywhere from the summit of Pikes Peak to the depths of some of the deepest caves in Tennessee and Alabama. It's been wet (never dunked), it's been frozen, it's been roasted and it's always delivered.

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