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10-27-2010, 04:04 PM   #1
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K1000 exposure meter does not register in low light

Title says it all.

About 5 years ago the camera was used in broad daylight to take some shots, the results were dark photos.

I cannot attest as to why, so I brought it out of the closet to see for myself what the camera would do.

I replaced the battery (with the right type) put in iso 400 film, set film speed to 400 on the dial.

The exposure meter seems to work when there is enough light i.e. I am pointing the camera at the single light on in the room and it's night time. Aperture and shutter speed changes make the dial move.

If I point away from the light toward a subject lit up by the light the dial stays in the middle even after adjusting shutter and aperture, basically it no longer responds.

I still need to finish my roll of film to develop it to see what the results are, but I am curious to know if this is normal behavior i.e. the camera requires a certain amount of light to operate the exposure meter, or if this is an indication of a problem?

The lens used is an SMC pentax-k 24mm f2.8 -

10-27-2010, 04:29 PM   #2
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The meter's reported sensitivity is EV1 - EV18. EV1 would be approximately a subject lit by dim ambient artificial light. It's hard to say if that is your case. What might help is to compare the K1000's reading against another camera known to meter properly under varied light conditions.
10-27-2010, 04:46 PM   #3
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Here is a link to the camera manual:

Pentax K 1000 instruction manual, user manual, PDF manual, free manuals
If the meter needle never falls below the mid-point regardless of light, the meter is not functioning properly. From what you describe, that is highly likely. If you have a camera repair place near you, they can check the meter and will usually do so for free. If not, the conventional wisdom on this forum is to refer you to Eric Hendrickson:
http://www.pentaxs.com
He is top notch for Pentax repair and very fair with his rates.


Steve


P.S. It was tempting to say that the problem is with the lens and that I would be very willing to dispose of it properly for you, but I decided to be good.
10-27-2010, 05:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
The meter's reported sensitivity is EV1 - EV18. EV1 would be approximately a subject lit by dim ambient artificial light. It's hard to say if that is your case. What might help is to compare the K1000's reading against another camera known to meter properly under varied light conditions.
A small correction. The published specs for the K1000 meter are linear from EV 3 - EV 18 at ISO 100. EV 3 is about 1/4 the brightness of the interior lighting in most homes. Translation: If you can see to read, the meter should have plenty of light.


Steve

10-27-2010, 05:33 PM   #5
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Because of the limitations of its meter the K1000 wouldn't be my first choice for low light shooting.
But if used carefully the meter is adequate for nearly anything you can photograph without a tripod.

The K1000 metering system uses a CdS cell and is not especially sensitive in low light.
In use you should not expect to see vigorous needle movement in extremely low light.

The meter pattern in the K1000 is an "averaging" type, which means it reads the entire focus screen equally.
Special care should by used metering with a wide angle lens such as your SMC Pentax 24/2.8 .
In bright daylight the broad expanse of sky taken in may tend to inflate the meter reading, resulting in dark photos.
In especially dark scenes the reading may be artificially low, resulting in overexposure of the main subject.
It's a good idea to get a close up reading of your main subject, or even better an 18% gray card in the same light.

Try some more photos in bright daylight, metering carefully as described. If the meter does not seem
to be working correctly and/or the photos are still underexposed your camera probably needs repair.
If so, Eric Hendrickson is the person to send it to. He will make it work like new for little money.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 10-27-2010 at 05:47 PM.
10-27-2010, 05:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
In use you should not expect to see vigorous needle movement in extremely low light.
Thanks Chris for noting this. In low light the needle will "creep" along at a very leisurely pace.


Steve
10-27-2010, 08:18 PM   #7
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Also, if the pictures that you took 5 years ago were dark, have you compared the metering against a camera you know is metering correctly, or taken the camera in to get the meter calibrated?
10-27-2010, 09:32 PM   #8
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For the record, I just metered a EV1 area with my one-degree spot meter. And I was able to get a reading with a centered needle from my K1000 on 100ASA at 1 second @ f1.2 on that same area.

By time you can hardly see the needle in the view finder anymore, then you are reaching EV1.

10-27-2010, 09:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
For the record, I just metered a EV1 area with my one-degree spot meter. And I was able to get a reading with a centered needle from my K1000 on 100ASA at 1 second @ f1.2 on that same area.

By time you can hardly see the needle in the view finder anymore, then you are reaching EV1.


Well, that definitely sounds like EV1! Goes to show that published specs are not the same as real world!


Steve

(You have a f/1.2 lens for your K1000?!)
10-27-2010, 09:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote


Well, that definitely sounds like EV1! Goes to show that published specs are not the same as real world!


Steve

(You have a f/1.2 lens for your K1000?!)
The specs I found said EV1 - EV18. Yes, a SMC-A 50mm f1.2. I've had that lens for a really long time.
10-27-2010, 10:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
The specs I found said EV1 - EV18. Yes, a SMC-A 50mm f1.2. I've had that lens for a really long time.
I was just going off the manuals at Butkus and pentaximaging.com and what Dimitrov has on his site. Might it be possible that there was a meter and/or spec change between K1000 variants? Not a big deal to me and hope you did not take offense.


Steve
10-27-2010, 10:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I was just going off the manuals at Butkus and pentaximaging.com and what Dimitrov has on his site. Might it be possible that there was a meter and/or spec change between K1000 variants? Not a big deal to me and hope you did not take offense.


Steve
Mine was from an advertisement. And we know how those guys like play with numbers Indeed it may be "linear" in the 3-18 range.

My favorite marketing exaggeration is those shop vacuum cleaners. I think it was the Sears shop vac that says something like a whooping 5 horse power!! Well, if you do the math, you're not going to get more than something like 2.3HP from a 15 amp, 115V outlet that is most common in US homes, IIRC. And you really need a safety factor so the actual HP needs to be much less in use.
10-28-2010, 06:39 AM   #13
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Original Poster
QuoteQuote:
If the meter needle never falls below the mid-point regardless of light, the meter is not functioning properly. From what you describe, that is highly likely. If you have a camera repair place near you, they can check the meter and will usually do so for
Yep, that's what happens unless enough light is available. My MX might be doing the exact same thing but it's much more extreme when judging EV.

QuoteQuote:
Because of the limitations of its meter the K1000 wouldn't be my first choice for low light shooting.
Yeah I have a K100D for my main shooting. I'm just bringing these 35mm out of the closet to learn a couple new things, and to see if they even work. Generally I only can use them after work, which at this point in the year it's getting dark. I'll take it out for a lunch break in the next couple of days too to capture some foliage.

QuoteQuote:
In use you should not expect to see vigorous needle movement in extremely low light.
I might be experiencing this. When the needle and shutter is dead on, one shutter speed up or down leads to the needle falling out of center range. Obviously i expect it to move a little but I'm not sure that it should fall out of that central area.

QuoteQuote:
I think it was the Sears shop vac that says something like a whooping 5 horse power!! Well, if you do the math, you're not going to get more than something like 2.3HP from a 15 amp, 115V
And even 2.3Hp is asking a lot out of a 15 amp plug: chart. I just had to go through this with my fiancee because shes looking at vitamix blends and is like look at this other brand, it's advertising peak 3hp....versus vitamix 2hp.

QuoteQuote:
Eric Hendrickson
You know I live in New Haven CT where Yale is out of. I would think there would be camera repair shops all over the place but I can't seem to find them. I might just contact Eric; thanks for the recomendation.
10-28-2010, 07:52 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Capslock118 Quote

And even 2.3Hp is asking a lot out of a 15 amp plug: chart. I just had to go through this with my fiancee because shes looking at vitamix blends and is like look at this other brand, it's advertising peak 3hp....versus vitamix 2hp.
Yes, the efficiency of the motor is the variable. I was using the the formula:

HP = (V x A x EFF)/746

Where V = volts, A = Amps and EFF = efficiency

And for the benefit of the doubt said 100% (1.0) efficient to see what is theoretically available. Also, there are transient spikes when a motor starts up so the safety factor needs to take that into account as well as not drawing current at the edge of the circuit breaking limit.

Last edited by tuco; 10-28-2010 at 08:01 AM.
10-29-2010, 06:53 AM   #15
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For what it is worth, my Pentax KM meter doesn't move in low light (i.e., just around the house at night with the normal house lights on) but works quite happily once the light levels go up a bit (e.g., during the day or pointing the camera straight at a light.

Best wishes, Kris.
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