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01-03-2014, 04:50 AM   #1
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K1000 vs MX? —is this a silly comparison?

Hey folks! I have a question for you all, but it requires a little backstory. So, here it goes…

About two years ago, I decided to move from a digital body (a dying *ist D) to film body. After lots of research, I decided I would go with the MX: it is fully mechanical, it has a lot of nice features, and it is really small. It just seemed like a rugged, reliable camera. I bought one from the local camera shop—complete with a CLA/overhaul, 1-year warranty, and original manual—and I fell in love.

Last weekend, my partner went to Value Village and bought a K1000 SE and SMC-M ƒ/1.7 for $20. She said it looked like such a good deal that she couldn't pass it up. She was right: it is in excellent condition. But after cleaning it up and playing around with it a bit, I'm starting to believe I like this camera body more than my MX. The K1000 doesn't have that wonky shutter-button activated meter that I had to repair on the fly once or twice; neither does it have that LED meter display that is sometimes hard to read ("Wait…it's orange…is that +1 or -1?"). I don't use the exposure info in the viewfinder, I don't use the self-timer, and I definitely don't use the DoF preview. The film advance feels smoother on the K1000…almost like the Spotmatics I've gotten to try; and the K1000's shutter speed dial doesn't take as much force to move. I'm starting to believe that the K1000 is the better camera (at least for me).

…but am I nuts for thinking that? I just keep thinking about Bojidar Dimitrov's short criticism of the K1000:
QuoteQuote:
This big, heavy, and fully mechanical body offers no automation of any kind. It offers only the most basic features: a light-tight box, a film advance, a tripod socket, and a built-in light meter: all that one needs for learning the basics of photography. This total lack of convenience features explains the cult status of the K1000 among photo students worldwide. However, it fails to explain its popularity with PDML members. I mean, do you people not miss viewfinder information on aperture and shutter speed, a self-timer, a DOF preview lever or minimal flash automation? Wouldn't a KX or a KM be a better choice?
I guess my answer to him would be…no. I don't miss any of those conveniences. I'm not interested in nostalgia—I think I just want a basic camera with a meter on it. Am I alone on this?

01-03-2014, 05:54 AM   #2
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Bojidar is exactly right. The KX and KM are both better cameras than the K1000.
01-03-2014, 06:01 AM   #3
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Both have their place. Sometimes having the viewfinder info is helpful. Sometimes I just want to see what I'm shooting. I enjoy simplicity.

01-03-2014, 06:02 AM   #4
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While I prefer the MX, I can easily see others preferring the K1000. I still enjoy shooting a Spotmatic or an SV! Controls are always a matter of opinion. I like the LED readout because I shoot more indoors in dim light where a meter needle is harder to see, but outdoors a needle is better, especially wearing sunglasses. (With some cameras you had to match a needle to an LED, so both dim and bright were problems.)
The K1000 has everything needed, so if you prefer it - great!

01-03-2014, 06:22 AM   #5
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I prefer Ken Rockwell's review of the K1000 (Pentax K1000 (1976-1997)) stating, "the K1000 is an extraordinary camera that forces you to think about your picture instead of your camera."

As a none eyeglass wearer, I like the vastness of the MX's viewfinder.
01-03-2014, 06:22 AM   #6
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I know it's a different creature, but I liked using my K2 better than my MX. It wasn't that I disliked my MX. On the contrary, I liked it a lot! But, yeah...sometimes the LEDs were hard to see and it was just a smidge too small for my tastes. After I got my K2, I found I liked the size of the K cameras better. It just felt right to me. So, no...you're not crazy. Not about this, anyway. For what it's worth, my REAL favorite is my LX, which kinda splits the difference between the size of the MX and my K2.
01-03-2014, 11:49 AM   #7
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I have never lusted over the MX. The KX was the tank for me.
01-03-2014, 12:13 PM   #8
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I've used an LX, K2 (faulty), MX & K1000 and my opinion goes like this. The LX is a different camera (not just more expensive but it only has a few mechanical shutter speeds). The KX is likely to be hard to find/expensive in good condition given the short production run. MXs and K1000s were available far longer and therefore it's much easier to find later ones in good condition. My K2 is faulty and the shutter only shoots at one speed irrespective of the setting (man or auto) - the metering appears OK though.

As for the MX & K1000, I generally prefer the K1000. It feels a bit more clunky but more robust with less to go wrong than the MX (although the MX split-image focusing aid is usually easier to use). I prefer the meter needle (wearing glasses makes it hard for me to see the LEDs in the MX) and the reduced meter range has never been a problem. While I'm careful when using the MX, I don't care with the K1000 (beaten up already) and therefore use it at times/places I wouldn't otherwise take a camera.

John.

01-03-2014, 12:33 PM   #9
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Many of us strongly prefer the K body mechanical cameras to the M body cameras. Most of that group here thinks the KM and KX are better cameras since they have the additional features available when we want them, plus they are usually much less expensive than a K1000.

I have 2 black KX's now - one each with and without the split-image focusing screen. Frankily for general use I like the ground glass and collar better. I've had at one time or another every K body ever made.

Sooner or later Chris Platt and gofour3 will show up.
01-03-2014, 05:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Many of us strongly prefer the K body mechanical cameras to the M body cameras. Most of that group here thinks the KM and KX are better cameras since they have the additional features available when we want them, plus they are usually much less expensive than a K1000.
+1 Exactly!

Phil.
01-03-2014, 07:32 PM   #11
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The MX is about the same size as my ME Super; I find it a bit cramped for my big hands. The automation is nice, it has an extremely big and bright finder and after I used it a bit, didn't find the shutter speed (its version of metering) to be that annoying but I still prefer that old fashioned needle! I have a K1000SE and its a tank; you know you have a camera in your hands. The Mamiya's of that era are even chunkier! I don't really mind a bit, they're all dead manual cameras and yes, you have to think about the photograph rather than the camera! (I;ve even begun to shoot my DSLR's more on manual...with a meter...LOL
01-03-2014, 07:41 PM   #12
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For me it's all about the viewfinder... Didn't like the k1000 because of that
01-03-2014, 09:47 PM - 1 Like   #13
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If you don't use the self-timer and the DOF preview, there's no difference whatever between the K1000 and the KM.

And the only real difference between the KM and the MX is size.

The rest, probably including the viewfinder, is secondary in the end. A mechanical camera is, after all, a mechanical camera.

So there you have it. Everyone is more comfortable with one size or the other. And no, I don't think it has much to do with "small hands" or "big hands". It's just a preference.

If the K-size fits you better, go for it.

As for me. I prefer the M size. Despite my very big hands.
01-04-2014, 12:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Many of us strongly prefer the K body mechanical cameras to the M body cameras. Most of that group here thinks the KM and KX are better cameras since they have the additional features available when we want them, plus they are usually much less expensive than a K1000.
Yeah—some K1000's go for way more than I think they're worth. Even still, I've seen K1000 prices swing wildly…so it's possible to catch it for a deal. So, I presume people prefer the KX to the MX for the mirror lockup feature and added heft in the hands?

QuoteOriginally posted by dubiousone Quote
…they're all dead manual cameras and yes, you have to think about the photograph rather than the camera! (I;ve even begun to shoot my DSLR's more on manual...with a meter...LOL
Right! I learned photography on a Nikon FM, and I never kicked those habits. I shoot everything in manual mode if possible.

QuoteOriginally posted by asaru Quote
The rest, probably including the viewfinder, is secondary in the end. A mechanical camera is, after all, a mechanical camera.

If the K-size fits you better, go for it.
Thanks for making me feel like I'm not nuts. lol. I think the K-size does fit me better—not only that, I just like the way the film advance, speed dial, and shutter feels on the K1000. I'll keep an eye out for another K-style body, preferably something in black.
01-04-2014, 02:55 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyofnight Quote
So, I presume people prefer the KX to the MX for the mirror lockup feature and added heft in the hands?
And the needle.
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