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03-01-2009, 02:34 PM   #1
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Pentax K2 vs K1000

Hi all,

The old Pentax K2 and K2DMD don’t seem to get a lot of love. This seems strange to me as it was the flagship of the K series line up. Yet the K1000 has achieved legendary status and survived for decades with what has to be the most Spartan set of features possible. I know that makes it appealing to photography classes but wouldn’t you be better off with a KX or better still an MX film camera? I just don’t get it. Comparing the K2 to the K1000 is like comparing the QE 2 to a garbage scow. Yet the K2 lives in relative obscurity.

Look at the feature set of the K2: mirror lock up, shutter priority auto exposure, depth of field preview, ASA range from 8 ~ 6400, self-timer 5 ~ 9 seconds, +/- 2 (1 EV steps) over/under exposure compensation, 1/125 sec flash sync and probably one of two more I can’t recall. The DMD version also had provision for a motor drive and an aperture widow so you could see the f stop in the viewfinder. In addition the viewfinder displayed the full range of shutter speeds, including the B setting and auto position. A blue needle indicated the auto position and a black one showed the shutter speed selected by the computer. In manual the blue needle indicated the speed selected by the photographer and the black needle showed the value selected by the computer. The photographer could opt for the speed selected by the computer in blue or override and choose the one that fitted the information supplied by the exposure meter. It even worked without batteries. Granted setting the ASA can be a bit difficult but once you get used to it the are no problems. With routine cleaning and adjustment (once every 10 years) mine works like new.

The K1000 on the other hand didn’t have much. In the viewfinder the match needle exposure needle floated between a positive and negative marker indicating over or under exposure. It would work without batteries. There was no depth of field button, no self-timer, no film memo holder as I recall, and no FP synch contact. Forgive me if a missed a feature or two but there weren’t many. Not a lot for the money in my opinion. Yet today the old K1000 often commands as much or more money than the K2 on the used market. I don’t get it.

Are there any other K2 fans out there?


Last edited by 8540tomg; 03-01-2009 at 02:59 PM. Reason: typo
03-01-2009, 02:57 PM   #2
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Then again, look at the longevity of cars like the Fiat 600, Citroen 2CV, the Volkswagen, and the Model T Ford.

Plenty of 'better' cars at the time, but not cheap and simple basic transportation.
03-01-2009, 03:29 PM   #3
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I take a K2 ahaed of a K1000 any day. I had the K1000, only Pentax I sold again, it's fame is hard to understand, not a bad camera, but when there are bigger brothers that has the important feater of DOF preview (KM, KX, K2) that goes for less... But this is good for you. Let people buy K1000 for overprice and pick up a KM/KX/K2 yourself for a good price.
I have a KX and love it. Would like a K2 also, the auto function would come in handy. But I think I would miss the judas window for the apperture in the viewfinder (which KX has, but not K2). K2DMD has the apperture window, but it is harder to get hold of.
Some complain about the odd asa-setting (iso for you young fellows), but others says you get used to it. I have not handled it long enough to have an oppinion, but I would be prepared to give it a chance if I could get hold on a working K2DMD. How hard is it go get hold of a K2DMD with a working driver?

These were shot with the KX (black version) and the SMC Pentax 135/2.5, except the last one which was with the M28/2.8, during last years x-mas shopping:







03-01-2009, 04:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
I know that makes it appealing to photography classes but wouldnít you be better off with a KX or better still an MX film camera? I just donít get it. Comparing the K2 to the K1000 is like comparing the QE 2 to a garbage scow. Yet the K2 lives in relative obscurity.
I owned K1000 and replaced it with MX which I still own.

I believe the popularity of K1000 is based on a few facts: (1) cheap and reliable; (2) teachers recommend K1000 since it is impossible to cheat with - you either understand photography it or you don't. If you don't, there is no automation and K1000 won't offer any help and your pictures come out bad which is easy to spot by instructors/professors, and if you can take good pictures with K1000, you can take good pictures with anything; (3) robust - I have heard first hand from several speleologists and alpinists that K1000 is their camera of choice, telling stories about falling with it (or on it), banging it against rocks, or dropping it, and K1000 simply kept working;

I am glad I learned using K1000 and developed skills and habits I routinely use with modern DSLRs, often much faster and getting better results then photographers who started with automatic cameras still using all bells and whistles at full power.

However, although I liked K1000 in general there were several negative points: no lock on shutter release, it was big and heavy, and a few other inconveniences so I replaced it with MX. I was considering K2 or KX as well but MX won because of weight and bigger viewfinder. True, K2, KX and MX are better cameras, but K1000 has it's place for very good reasons.

03-01-2009, 04:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
I owned K1000 and replaced it with MX which I still own.
BTW, here is my current collection (left to right: M50/4 MACRO, MX with M50/1.4, M40/2.8, M100/2.8 and M28/3.5):

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03-01-2009, 05:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Hi all,

The old Pentax K2 and K2DMD donít seem to get a lot of love. This seems strange to me as it was the flagship of the K series line up. Yet the K1000 has achieved legendary status and survived for decades with what has to be the most Spartan set of features possible. I know that makes it appealing to photography classes but wouldnít you be better off with a KX or better still an MX film camera? I just donít get it. Comparing the K2 to the K1000 is like comparing the QE 2 to a garbage scow. Yet the K2 lives in relative obscurity.

Look at the feature set of the K2: mirror lock up, shutter priority auto exposure, depth of field preview, ASA range from 8 ~ 6400, self-timer 5 ~ 9 seconds, +/- 2 (1 EV steps) over/under exposure compensation, 1/125 sec flash sync and probably one of two more I canít recall. The DMD version also had provision for a motor drive and an aperture widow so you could see the f stop in the viewfinder. In addition the viewfinder displayed the full range of shutter speeds, including the B setting and auto position. A blue needle indicated the auto position and a black one showed the shutter speed selected by the computer. In manual the blue needle indicated the speed selected by the photographer and the black needle showed the value selected by the computer. The photographer could opt for the speed selected by the computer in blue or override and choose the one that fitted the information supplied by the exposure meter. It even worked without batteries. Granted setting the ASA can be a bit difficult but once you get used to it the are no problems. With routine cleaning and adjustment (once every 10 years) mine works like new.

The K1000 on the other hand didnít have much. In the viewfinder the match needle exposure needle floated between a positive and negative marker indicating over or under exposure. It would work without batteries. There was no depth of field button, no self-timer, no film memo holder as I recall, and no FP synch contact. Forgive me if a missed a feature or two but there werenít many. Not a lot for the money in my opinion. Yet today the old K1000 often commands as much or more money than the K2 on the used market. I donít get it.

Are there any other K2 fans out there?
No one's really putting off the K2 in favor of the K1000. I think the reason the K2 isn't discussed as much is that not many people have had a K2. I dunno the numbers, but I certainly haven't had the pleasure of having a K2.

On the other hand, the K1000 has sold millions, if I recall correctly, and it's easy to source one in working condition. The cult status stems from a lot of photographers learning their craft with a K1000 back when they were young, and so the brand recognition for the K1000 is still high, hence the prices seen at eBay and elsewhere. At least, that's what I think.
03-01-2009, 05:39 PM   #7
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Less is more. Designers of today's cameras please take note...

Chris
03-01-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by vinzer Quote
No one's really putting off the K2 in favor of the K1000. I think the reason the K2 isn't discussed as much is that not many people have had a K2. I dunno the numbers, but I certainly haven't had the pleasure of having a K2.

On the other hand, the K1000 has sold millions, if I recall correctly, and it's easy to source one in working condition. The cult status stems from a lot of photographers learning their craft with a K1000 back when they were young, and so the brand recognition for the K1000 is still high, hence the prices seen at eBay and elsewhere. At least, that's what I think.
Vinzer,

You probably have a point in that not many people had one. The K2 was pretty expensive back in the day and as I recall I think the SMC Pentax K 50mm 1:1.2 lens came with it as a package. Quite a step up from the SMC Pentax 50mm f 2.0 that came with the K1000. The best is never cheap.

Tom G

03-01-2009, 05:54 PM   #9
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Hi,
I started collecting Pentax cameras in Dec.. To make a long story short - I have more cameras than I need -
I have 3 K2 DMD's 2 of which I was planning to put back on E-bay. Of the 2 One is being rebuilt.
If you are interested let me know.

Charlie
03-01-2009, 07:01 PM   #10
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Well, one reason the K1000 was always a popularly-recommended camera for students was in fact cause it was one of the last affordable manual cameras out there, ...and they were cheap and common and reliable. Simple.
03-01-2009, 07:36 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Well, one reason the K1000 was always a popularly-recommended camera for students was in fact cause it was one of the last affordable manual cameras out there, ...and they were cheap and common and reliable. Simple.

Ratmagiclady,

This is true but now that we know the K2 is a far better camera at a similar price what is the attraction of the old K1000 in 2009? I don't suppose there are a lot of film courses being taught these days to keep the K1000 alive. The K2 gives you everything the K1000 has plus a whole lot more. I just don't get it.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 03-01-2009 at 07:47 PM.
03-01-2009, 08:33 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
...The K1000 on the other hand didnít have much. ... There was no depth of field button, no self-timer, no film memo holder as I recall, and no FP synch contact.
If you take an older K1000 apart, the wiring and space for the PC terminals for FP and X sync are there, just no terminals. I assume that newer cameras don't have the wiring. I always thought that was funny.

These days it is easy to ignore the effect of price, as almost all film cameras cost about the same, and a few retain some cult status and higher value. That wasn't true when these cameras were new. I used to look in wonder at photographers with two or three bodies around their neck.
03-01-2009, 08:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
teachers recommend K1000 since it is impossible to cheat with - you either understand photography it or you don't. If you don't, there is no automation and K1000 won't offer any help and your pictures come out bad which is easy to spot by instructors/professors, and if you can take good pictures with K1000, you can take good pictures with anything;
Amen. I've got two K1000's for my girls, who want to learn B&W photography from the old man.

I just started taking pics with a K2 I picked up on ebay for $120. It was a high price for a K2, but I noticed that the picture of the camera showed a 30mm K lens attached to it.

As for the K2 vs. the K1000 - one of my girls is using my K1000, purchased for $145 in 1978 by a college student who was making $2/hr (me). My photo class I took the next fall just required a "fully manual" camera. For some reason - I don't remember why - I chose Pentax over the other brands. I later saved up and got a f3.5 135mm and a Prinz flash.

The K2 and KX were WAY outside of my price range!

Last edited by cheesehead; 03-01-2009 at 08:40 PM.
03-01-2009, 09:59 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Vinzer,

You probably have a point in that not many people had one. The K2 was pretty expensive back in the day and as I recall I think the SMC Pentax K 50mm 1:1.2 lens came with it as a package. Quite a step up from the SMC Pentax 50mm f 2.0 that came with the K1000. The best is never cheap.

Tom G
Came with the 50/1.2 eh? Now that *really* adds to the cost.
03-02-2009, 03:54 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote

I believe the popularity of K1000 is based on a few facts: (1) cheap and reliable;
But its big brothers now goes for the same price or less!
And they are as reliable. And should anything of the extra features break, you still have a camera that is at least as good as the K1000.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
(2) teachers recommend K1000 since it is impossible to cheat with - you either understand photography it or you don't. If you don't, there is no automation and K1000 won't offer any help and your pictures come out bad which is easy to spot by instructors/professors, and if you can take good pictures with K1000, you can take good pictures with anything;
I used to teach BW photo at school and in two camera clubs (youth leader for a couple of years). If I had my choice I would clearly prefere that the students had a camera with DOF preview. That is why my first camera cloub had a couple of very basic m42 Practica SLRs...all much like a spotmatic with DOF preview.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
(3) robust - I have heard first hand from several speleologists and alpinists that K1000 is their camera of choice, telling stories about falling with it (or on it), banging it against rocks, or dropping it, and K1000 simply kept working;
You should see what my KX looks like, and it still works. The LX I felt in a river with... though I admit it was the only thing that was not submerged it got a lot of splashing and still worked. K1000 is far from the only robust mechanical SLR.

Though the K1000 is a safe investment it seams. I bought mine in 91 to have it as a back up when I went to the high Arctic, but as both Super-A, Program-A and the LX worked perfectly in all weathers, I never used it much. Sold it three months later for little more than I payed, probably just because I had cleaned it up. I suspect that would apply today also. It is so well known and have no real price trend any longer (and if it has it is upward) so if someone want to try it, it is easy to sell again.
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