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Pentax SP1000

Reviews Views Date of last review
9 46,231 Wed March 6, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $47.27 8.67
Pentax SP1000

Pentax SP1000
Pentax SP1000

The PENTAX SP1000 replaced the SP500 as the budget model. It was basically the original Spotmatic (which had been introduced 9 years earlier) but without a self timer. It thus didn't have recent advances such as the open aperture metering found in the Spotmatic F and ES series.

Asahi Pentax SP1000
Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax SP1000
Year introduced
Year discontinued
Automatic aperture stop down
Stop down, centerweight
Meter range
EV 1 to 18
ISO range
20 to 1600
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Manual, B
Exposure compensation
Not applicable
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
B, 1 - 1/1000s
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
Multiple exposures
Ratchet type rapid wind lever. 10 pre-advance and 160 advance angle
Flash hot shoe
Built-in flash
TTL/P-TTL flash
Flash sync speed
FP and X terminals - 1/60s
Flash exposure comp
Not applicable
0.88x (with 50mm lens)
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
1.3V mercury PX-400
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 92 x 88mm

This model was not sold in Japan
Price History:

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New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 6
Review Date: March 6, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: It's all good
Cons: Fiddly Spotmatic metering system

It's a Spotmatic without a timer; nothing more or less than that. Pretty much all through the 1960's and 1970's Pentax were making cameras that were ridiculously similar to each other. Lots of Camera manufacturers are doing the same today. It's called "marketeering" and it makes people think it's a good thing to trade in their old camera and pay more for a new one, when the one they had was perfectly fine. So don't fool yourself into thinking the SP1000 is any different in massive terms to all the others made by Pentax at the same time with the fiddly and now seriously outdated Spotmatic metering system. Secondhand reviews are also rather questionable at times, I think. It's always strange when the weaker speed-range SP500 is scoring more than a high specification SP1000 camera that is exactly the same camera beyond that one feature that makes the SP1000 clearly a much better buy. The SP1000 is a great camera and it works as well as every other 1000th second shutter speed camera made by Pentax with an M42 screw thread mount. The metering battery is not a problem - as some people make it out to be - as you can pick it up on Ebay for $5 (same as a 36 exposure film) and it lasts years longer than a modern thin 1.5v replacement and the rest of the online blurb about Spotmatics and battery alternatives is online for you to wade through. Mind you, I really don't like the Spotmatic metering system. It was pioneering back in the day, but now it's dated. It wastes time and adds to an overly complicated dual button setup that is clumsy and rough in low light conditions. So forget the onboard metering and use a hand-held light meter instead. One thing about Spotmatic-type cameras like the SP1000 that is questionable is that they are good for students of photography. Any mechanical camera is good for that with the exception of any Pentax camera with a M42 mount. The M42 screw mount range is not at all applicable to learning because secondhand collectors with lots of disposable income have over-inflated the cost of lenses to crazy prices. Takumar ("Taks" if you want to be cool) lenses are also often full of dust and fungus and carrying scratches and damage as they are so ancient and stored badly. Sellers really rip you off for a clean and fully operational one. And is there any evidence that "Taks" are genuinely better quality photo providers to the Pentax SMC A or M range of PK bayonet camera lenses? Don't take peoples' words for it, but look at the photos they take with their 3 or 4 times more expensive lenses. Actions speak louder than words!

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 867
Review Date: February 17, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Accurate shutter speeds, overall feel
Cons: meter probably isn't accurate

I don't have much experience with this camera. It was the rear lens cap for a lens I wanted (a 50/1.4 Super Tak). But once I had it in my hands I began to discover a few things. The first thing I noticed was that its slow speeds are very accurate. Most old mechanical cameras I come across of this vintage -- and even newer -- have sluggish slow speeds. This Pentax's slow speeds were crisp and accurate. I can time by ear up to 1/60 and it was obvious to me that speeds up to 1/60 were accurate, and chances are, the rest of them are too.

The overall fit, finish, and operation of this camera are a pleasure to experience. Fit and finish are superb. The film wind crank has a positive feel to it with just the right amount of resistance.

It took me a long while to find a battery for this camera's meter. The meter responds to the stop-down switch and to light, but I would not be willing to claim that it is accurate. Best to use the Sunny F/16 rule or other guidelines and/or a hand-held meter.

Mine came with a clip-on accessory cold shoe. Handy to have and I recommend it. You can find one on eBay for a few bucks.

Mine came with a genuine leather neverready case. I never use these cases when out in the field, but I will frequently store the cameras in them when they're back home. Such is the case with this one.

New Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: Arnhem, Netherlands
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 27, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: An NN Spot
Cons: Battery

This camera and two lenses is all I need for a good photography project. No flashy names on its front - just Asahi Pentax. No shoe, no self timer, no unnecessary bells or glitter, just the things I need to take a picture.
I got it for 27 euro including the original leather case, a smc takumar f2 55mm and shipment. Had to make my own battery adapter (cut off a slice of a plastic dowel that fits perfectly around a small 1.5volt battery) and I will have to renew the light seals sometime soon. Still this is a steal, for an epic camera with its silky controls and plain, non distracting viefinder. Only one thing counts: the pictures.
The other lens I carry is the Tak 28mm f3.5. It's on the camera 95% of the time, only every once in a while I like the shallow depth of field of the 55mm. So I guess I'm not a 100% basics photographer after all, but the SP1000 certainly fulfills all of my wishes.

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,398
Review Date: September 5, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: No | Price: $3.18 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Quality, familiarity, focusing screen, ergonomics
Cons: No self-timer, redundant in the Spotmatic lineup

Taken alone and by itself, this is a worthy camera. Compared to other available Spotmatics, it's worth passing it for one of the higher-end bodies, all things being equal. It's hard to complain, honestly, about this or any other Spotmatic. The variations are somewhat insignificant -- this one only lacks a self-time when compared to the Spotmatic. I like my SP 1000 and have used it a good deal, but I don't recommend it over an SPII or SPF. I may even recommend an SP 500 over this if the SP 500 is cheaper since the functionality on them is the same (or very near.)

Junior Member

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 35
Review Date: March 19, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Simple (more than K1000), cute hot shoe accesories, body built.
Cons: It battery classification

I Think Pentax SP advertisement "Pentax Are Always Easy To Use" perfectly fit addressed to this camera.
Actually mine is $55 = body + M42Fujinon 55/2.2 + Kenko MC W4 d49mm and a dead meter (again like my K-1000; it needs a iPod Pocket Meter) .
In those age My SP1000 was still really massive and still a fine battle workhorse (maybe need CLA);
as a beginner i thought i like K-mount better, but for nostalgic (someone elses i know; im still young); and it fine DOF preview i rate the SP1000 = 8. after i complete (get) my asahiflex, spf, es, original asahi pentax, tower, and other asahi pentax collection surely i give more rating than SP1000.


Registered: August, 2012
Location: Queensland
Posts: 3,466

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 20, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Quality with perfect simplicity
Cons: Not for those who want automation

I won't add much to the previous well done posts except to make one point. This SP 1000 and the K1000 are the same camera with different lens mounts. This actually makes the SP1000 a better choice than the K1000 for students. Why? Because it is the screw mount 42mm lens that supplies the ability to see your depth of field via a switch on the lens - something I think is important to experiment with for those learning about taking photographs.
The simplicity of these cameras is what makes them so delightful. They can take pictures as good as those costing ten times as much, but one is spared having to deal with features one seldom uses yet often break down. Their simplicity lets you focus on the picture, not how to work the camera. It doesn't have the hot shoe of the K1000, so you need a flash with a chord to plug in the socket.
About the light meter battery: I couldn't find any that were originally designed to fit, so bought a packet of those Chinese button cells on sees in dollar stores. A (very) small one also known as LR41 also fits and it doesn't matter if the voltage is 1.55 volts as the SP 1000 takes that into account. If I remember, the + points into the camera, which I think is different from other cameras I have.
Just remember, you don't give up quality with the stripped down SP1000, you only give up features such as a timer and hot shoe. You use the same brilliant lenses that the Canon guys buy to fit to their cameras with an adapter.

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 30, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: It is a Spotmatic
Cons: no built in hot shoe, no self timer

simple and rugged, don't need batteries to function
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Posts: 353
Review Date: January 26, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: simple and rugged
Cons: mercury batteries!

Pros simple and rugged
Cons mercury batteries!
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) $100
Years Owned 30

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Don't need batteries to function.

Camera Review
This was a gift from my wife to back up the SP500 I already owned. These are the same size as a Spotmatic, it just doesn't have a self timer. It has been used in the Colorado mountains in the winter and Arizona in the summer, and it just works!
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: NJ USA
Posts: 13,056

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 7, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax SP1000: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: It is a Spotmatic
Cons: Only if you desperately need a self timer

Pros It is a Spotmatic
Cons Only if you desperately need a self timer
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 30
Years Owned 4

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
The aesthetics of the original Spotmatic simplified and purified.

Camera Review

rikenon sp1000 by Nesster, on Flickr

Pentax SP1000 front and back by Nesster, on Flickr

Think of the SP1000 as a screw-mount K1000, or rather the K1000 as the K mount SP1000.

The main thing it lacks compared to the 'full' Spotties is the self timer, its weight (neglible) and added complexity (they do sometimes fail). Thus it shares all the other Spotmatic strengths - compact size, rugged, well made, solidly designed.

If you care about aesthetics (and I do!), then the SP1000 is the youngest camera you can get with the original Spotmatic body shape. (The SP1000 has the add-on accessory shoe of the original SP and different lines than SPII.)

So, the bottom line when it comes to screw mount bodies: the Spotmatics are the best built and currently repairable cameras. They take modern batteries due to their bridge circuits. Their weak spot appears to be the stop down / meter switch which can get worn or dirty over time, and some of the competition's solutions may be ergonomically better (Yashica TL Electros have a slide on the bottom right of the mount, easy to push or pull with either hand; the Fujica ST's have a button under your right hand that you merely squeeze). However, the competition of the day often is not worth repairing - even if you can find someone willing to do so.

Stop-down metering. Yes, it can be a pain. However, in practice with manual metering you meter the thing you want to meter, apply any exposure shift you want, and then keep shooting until the light changes or you want something else. With an open-aperture metering camera the meter's chattering at you all the time.

In summary, the SP1000 is a fine camera, often under-appreciated, lacking the cult following of the K1000. However, it is the cleanest, newest way to get an original Spotmatic.
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