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07-28-2012, 08:06 AM   #1
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k1000 in "not-so-low light"

I recently got a K1000. Already shot a roll of film and results are good. Metering seems to be accurate, even a camera repair tech said so when I got the film (he took a quick look at it).

However, I'm experiencing the issue where the needle will not move unless there is sufficient light. For instance, it will not work inside a restaurant at night (not a candle lit table) . I read about people saying they didn't like the needle metering as you couldn't read the metering in low light, but I'm not even close to not being able to see the needle, as the whole thing won't work well before that. I read somewhere that if there is enough light for one to read the camera should be able to pick that up.

Is it possible that I'm getting accurate readings with good light but that something is causing it not to work under lower light conditions? Seems strange.


07-28-2012, 08:54 AM   #2
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I used a K1000 for 10 years (and still working after 33 years), and you are right to say that in low light the ttl meter in the camera is just not as sensitive as modern cameras. In those days I always carried my trusty Western Euromaster hand held light meter for such situations. You also need quit fast film for situations like a dimly lit restaurant.
The really good thing about the K1000 is that it makes you think a little bit about every shot you take. I recommend that you spend a few days shooting different types and speeds of film and then you will see why this camera is so popular and loved by photographers all over the world.
07-28-2012, 09:27 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Your K1000 has a CdS meter with sensitivity of EV(100) 3-18. For comparison, the meter in my K10D uses a SPD meter with sensitivity of EV(100) 0-21. To give you a notion of what that means, EV(100) 3 is the amount of light required to give an exposure of 1/2 second at f/2 with ISO 100 film. This is the baseline sensitivity of the meter and even changing the ISO to 3200 will not change things. The meter requires at least EV(100) 3 to respond. This is about what is present in a dimly lit restaurant.

The comment above regarding a hand-held meter should be qualified by noting that while many hand-held meters have better sensitivity than many built-in meters, they too have a bottom end of their range depending on the nature and size of the photo cell. The Gossen Luna-Pro SBC, for example has a range of EV(100) -8 to +24. I have a Gossen Luna-Lux with a range of EV(100) -3 to +20. My pocketable Sekonic I-208 has about the same range as your K1000. Those with silicon photo diodes (SPD) tend to perform better in low light than those with the older selenium and cadmium cells (CdS).

Here is a link to a good general guide to determining exposure for difficult situations:

Ultimate Exposure Computer


Last edited by stevebrot; 07-28-2012 at 09:43 AM.
07-28-2012, 04:14 PM   #4
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The K1000 meter exposure needle failing to move in low light is neither abnormal nor unusual.
Think of it as your camera's way of telling you you're unlikely to get a decent shot handheld...


Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 07-28-2012 at 04:24 PM.
07-30-2012, 11:13 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The meter requires at least EV(100) 3 to respond.
Also, don't forget... at 2 EV is when the meter shuts down automatically... mfenoglio, must either the restaurant was lit very dim, with florescent, halogens?

Last edited by MysteryOnion; 07-30-2012 at 01:59 PM.
07-31-2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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One of these days I plan to take out a roll of color film with the K1000 and piss away the whole roll taking carefully logged long exposure shots at night to see what I get, one of the few times I really miss DSLR chimping is off the chart low light stuff.
07-31-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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K1000 Low Light

I use a K1000 a lot but when the light gets that low I don't try to use the meter. I typically expose based on the Ulimate Exposure Computer if I am using the K1000. If I really want to meter the shot I will carry the LX since I can get a meter reading in those situations with that camera. Handholding to get the shot at those light levels is a totally different matter though.
08-01-2012, 08:29 PM   #8
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One thing to keep in mind when doing low light shooting is loss of reciprocity with longer exposure. The meter may say 2 seconds, but the film may actually need 4 seconds. The package insert is your guide here. It will usually have a table or graph showing how much exposure compensation to dial in for a given time.



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