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07-10-2010, 12:02 AM - 12 Likes   #1
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I Use A K1000

I use a K1000. I'm not sure I understand why. I have lots of other cameras to choose from. I enjoy taking pictures with my digital cameras, and I love the detailed quality of the medium format photographs that I take as well. My K1000 seems somehow antiquated and out of place sitting on my desk amid the rest of my autofocus, auto-winding, auto exposing and auto-loading cameras. It has no display screen or digital read out to distinguish it. It doesn't require a big battery or a battery charger. Somehow it just doesn't seem to fit in. I am always feeling sorry for it so I frequently pick it up and take it with me.

I use a K1000. There is something reassuring about the solid simplicity of this camera. It is not confusing. There are not so many switches and buttons that I have to stop and think about which ones I should use…and when. I have never once missed a picture with this camera because I didn't understand how a certain function worked or which button or dial to use to activate the camera. The shutter dial clicks when I turn to each speed and I can turn the dial and count the clicks, knowing exactly where I'm at all the time. The same with the aperture ring. I don't need a little window. I have never waited for this camera to wake up or been frustrated because the autofocus refuses to lock on and allow me to take my picture. When I use this camera it is me that is slow and deliberate, not the camera. The camera waits for me to tell it what to do, and that's the way it should be.

I use a K1000. Nothing happens accidentally with this camera. There are no excuses. I cannot claim that I forgot that the mode dial was set on Manual because there is no Mode dial, and the camera is always on manual. I am never expecting a Program setting to make a decision for me, and then caught unawares when it does not. I am always aware that the Program setting for this camera is in my own mind. I am responsible for the shutter speed, not the camera. I am responsible for the aperture and the depth of field, not the camera. I am responsible for ensuring that my photo is tack sharp! I am responsible for eliminating camera shake. This camera doesn't second guess me, it does exactly what I tell it to do, even when it shouldn't.

I use a K1000. When I lift this camera and look through the viewfinder I am only thinking about the picture, not the camera. What exactly am I photographing? Have I framed it the way I want? Am I trying to isolate something from its surroundings or do I want to show it as part of a larger whole? How do I foresee the picture, what will it look like? This camera is not pretentious enough to be about itself. I don't have to think about the camera. I know where the controls are and what they do. It is only about the picture.

I use a K1000. Making an image is all about the light. With this camera I am always thinking about the light. Is there enough? Is it the right kind? Is it in the right place? Do I need to add more of it? How will it look on the film? Do I want a filter? If so, which one do I want? The K1000 gives me exactly the right tools to control the light, and not a thing I don't need.

I use a K1000. I am not distracted. I am not worried about which button controls exposure lock and whether the autofocus has focused on the right thing. I'm not concerned whether I am using matrix or spot metering. I don't take a picture and then look at the histogram to evaluate the lighting after the picture is taken, I think about the lighting in advance.

I use a K1000. I am not really a student and yet I am always a student. With this camera I am continually learning. There are many nuances to taking a picture and the K1000 requires that I learn those nuances. It doesn't automatically do it for me. But it doesn't get in the way of that learning either.

I use a K1000. It is a very, very reliable camera. I take care of it as best I can but it has never failed. When I press the shutter button the shutter fires. When I throw the lever to advance the film, it advances unless I am at the end of the roll. It has been rained on and snowed on. It has taken pictures in a North Dakota winter at 42 below zero (Fahrenheit of course) and it has reliably responded in the Nevada desert at 115 degrees. I bought it used and have no idea how many pictures it has taken but it has gone through a couple of hundred rolls during its' stay with me. The battery has died but the camera has never stopped yet.

I use a K1000. Like my camera my accessories are very simple. I use a remote shutter cable that does not require electricity. I can use almost any flash I want, even flash bulbs if I can still find them. I don't worry about automatic settings with my flash. It is all manual, just like my camera. I have a very fancy and solid tripod, but I've also successfully used some pretty cheap tripods to stabilize this camera as well. It has successfully taken pictures with every lens I have ever bought (and with my lens buying addiction there have been many.)

I use a K1000. Most people don't believe me but focusing is usually very simple and very quick. In fact, I can often take my picture faster then your camera can lock focus so you are allowed to take the picture. I can walk down the streets of my town taking perfectly focused pictures without ever lifting the camera to my eyes, and no one is the wiser. There is no whining, whirring autofocus lenses, there are no noises of film advancing following a shot. When I reach the end of the roll the film does not suddenly begin re-winding.

I use a K1000. I have lots of other cameras but I don't really need them, just like I don't really need another hammer. They are both tools, one drives nails, the other takes pictures. To take good pictures one must learn to use the tool, the camera. Like the hammer the K1000 is simple to learn and doesn't get in the way of learning to take pictures. But, like learning to use the hammer, there are many subtleties that need to be learned in order to take good pictures. And like a hammer, when I get to cocky I can make a mistake and hit my finger.

I use a K1000. There is a special feeling of pride that comes when I take a really good image with the K1000. I look at the picture and realize that this is mine. It came from my understanding and my creativity. It wasn't the product of matrix metering or special, computerized exposure algorithms. It didn't fortuitously appear in a rapid-fire string fired off in hopes of getting something good. I planned for it and I waited for the right moment. And when the opportunity arrived I was ready. I made this picture and it is mine!

I use a K1000. It isn't pretty. It isn't glamorous. It isn't fast. It isn't fancy. It is really just a box with a shutter and a lens. You put film in it and you take pictures. This camera makes it pretty easy to take pictures. If you carry a K1000 it is for the pictures. If I were told one day that I had to get rid of all my cameras but one, it would be tough, but the K1000 is almost certainly the one I would keep.

I use a K1000. It is no longer a spring chicken, but neither am I. Somehow we just seem to work well together.

This picture of the Ruby Mountains in Northern Nevada was taken in May 2010 using a Pentax K1000 SE with a Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 at about 180mm using a B+W Circular Polarizing filter.

07-10-2010, 08:33 AM   #2
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Nicely said!! That’s true with the simpler film bodies you think more about composing the shot than messing with the cameras settings. With a K1000 you control everything and just have to focus & centre the meter needle. There is nothing else to worry about!

07-10-2010, 11:34 AM   #3

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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Nicely said!! That’s true with the simpler film bodies you think more about composing the shot than messing with the cameras settings. With a K1000 you control everything and just have to focus & centre the meter needle. There is nothing else to worry about!

So true but with a K1000 and similar metering systems, you really need to know when to not center the needle.
07-10-2010, 12:47 PM   #4
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Very well put Pioneer. It's how you use your camera! If you know how it works, and as Tuco said, know when to center or not center your needle. With experience this is second nature.

I had my Spotmatic II serviced a few years ago and the meter calibrated. I imediately saw that I had to relearn my metering. It was very accurate, again. I had used this camera so long I still use it today to meter my 6x7 shots.

My Spotmatic, the predecessor to the K1000, is like wearing a glove after 26 years of use. It does what a camera should. It holds the film flat in a convenient container and governs the amount of light with a basic shutter. With the addition of fine Pentax glass it is capable of fine images. It is I that is the limiting factor. It is I that make the images. This is where the photographer should be. Its an almost Zen feeling. Less is much, much more.

Thanks for bringing that feeling back for me today.

07-10-2010, 02:41 PM   #5
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That's exactly how I feel about my Spotties and why I like them better than my Fuji digital.

07-10-2010, 02:47 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by nightfly Quote
My Spotmatic, the predecessor to the K1000, is like wearing a glove after 26 years of use. It does what a camera should. It holds the film flat in a convenient container and governs the amount of light with a basic shutter. With the addition of fine Pentax glass it is capable of fine images. It is I that is the limiting factor. It is I that make the images.
Ahhh! Another kindred spirit.

Don't misunderstand me. I own other cameras, and I enjoy using them very much. The K1000 is not the perfect camera. But there are days when it seems that the muse has deserted me. You may have had them as well. Those days when you catch yourself getting too worried about how you should set a particular function, or whether exposure lock is also focus lock. On those days I can pick up my K1000 and head out the back door for a walk. What camera do you grab?

Somehow it never seems to fail. As I walk and handle my K1000 the technology and the complexity seems to fall away and my mind begins to clear. I start to see my surroundings again. I catch myself lifting the camera to my eye and looking through the viewfinder. I'm not taking a picture, just reminding myself what the world looks like through the viewfinder again. I start to think about my picture again. Because I know this camera so well, and because it is so simple, my concerns about how best to use the camera fall away and I began to notice the light.

For me that camera is the K1000. For you it is your Spottie. For others it is some other camera, for many it may not even be a Pentax. I feel sorry for those who have moved so fast and so far from their beginning point that they have lost that one camera that fit them that way. Or worse, maybe they have never had it in the first place.

Somedays the muse returns, somedays it waits awhile. But I always enjoy my time with my K1000. I hope you enjoy time with yours. Don't believe that advertising hype. It's not really the camera that is important...It is you!

By the way, I forgot to add, I haven't had to read the manual to remind myself how something works in years. I do still have the manual...I think...somewhere!

A beautiful iris in my backyard. Shot with my K1000 SE and the Pentax FA 100mm f/2.8 macro in June 2010. Woww!! Over 30 years old and shooting digital as well.
I know the picture isn't perfect...I did mention that I'm still learning...Didn't I.?
07-11-2010, 04:08 PM   #7
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Wonderful words - and I also live by them - my old Konica TC. Treasured photographs from trips to Europe, Africa - and no batteries required, never missed a beat.

Well said - right from the heart - and the Viewfinder. Thank you.

07-11-2010, 11:30 PM   #8
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I use a Yashica Lynx 1000 (circa 1962)

I use a Yashica Lynx 5000 (circa 1966)

I use a Ricoh Singlex TLS (circa 1969)

I use a Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL (circa 1969)

I use a Pentax KX (circa 1976)

I use a Ricoh XR-2s (circa 1980)

I use an Olympus XA (circa 1980)

I use a Ricoh XR7 (circa 1982)

I use a Chamonix 045N-2 (2010)

Each of these cameras are both simple and sophisticated in their own way and each are capable of producing memorable least they are memorable to me!


(Have a strange desire to own a Zorki 4 AND a Bessa R3M...good thing I already spent my camera money, eh?)

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-12-2010 at 06:17 PM.
07-13-2010, 12:56 PM   #9
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I knew we had photographers on this board, but not writers, and especially not poets.

I want to make this into a poster.
07-13-2010, 01:08 PM   #10
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Wow. I use a K1000 too. I like my K1000.
07-14-2010, 07:53 AM   #11
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Beautifully said.

For me, this has been the K1000 for a while; now the Pentax MX. Everything said still applies, though. I grab the fully manual body, a 28mm lens, a 135mm lens, some filters, walk and think.

It's the antithesis of the digital "if I upgrade my body my photos will improve", camera-as-video-game mindset.
07-14-2010, 08:23 PM   #12
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I feel much the same about my spotmatic. It's simple, it's mechanical. It's always ready. With the right lens, from the right position, at the right time, I can take good pictures. Great pictures even. But it is me who takes them. The camera is my tool. Which is a nice feeling, it's much more satisfying to do it yourself than to have the camera do it for you.
Pioneer might have put it more eloquently (Lyrically, poetically, if you will) but it's a common sentiment around here.
08-01-2010, 10:44 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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This is my K1000. There are many like it, but this one is mine.....
08-02-2010, 03:52 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChatMechant Quote
This is my K1000. There are many like it, but this one is mine.....
08-02-2010, 06:44 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
I feel much the same about my spotmatic.
I examined my recently acquired K1000 and SP1000 bodies side by side.
The resemblance is remarkable.


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