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05-23-2009, 02:24 PM   #1
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Pentax K1000

Year introduced
Meter range
3 - 18 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
M, B
Exposure compensation
Not applicable
Exposure memory lock
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (auto)
Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual)
1 - 1/1000s, B
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
1 - 1/1000s, B
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Not applicable
Multiple exposures
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Not applicable
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
143 x 91.5 x 49 mm
620 g
K1000: The original.
K1000 SE: An 'SE' version was released in later years, featuring a split screen rather than a microprism focusing aid.
Even later some 'plain' K1000 variants (not SE models) also got the split screen focusing aid
The original K1000 was basically a KM without depth of field preview and self-timer. The K1000 became very successful and was produced from 1976 to 1997. The top and bottom plates were changed from metal to plastic in the final production run

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Last edited by Ole; 05-10-2010 at 10:03 PM.
05-25-2009, 05:56 AM   #2
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Most likely the best selling SLR ever, the K1000 had a 21 years production run and over 3 million were made. I think of this camera as the Model T or VW Beetle of the photographic world. It was spartan in features, but it was both affordable and virtually indestructible. These made it the perennial "student" camera for decades. It opened the world of photography for many. Anyone who has been into photography for the last 30 years or so knows what a K1000 is, and its nostalgic power keeps it ever so popular today.
The K1000 is actually the lower end of the K family that includes KM, KX and top of the line K2.
You control ASA setting, shutter speed, aperture and focus. That's it.
It has NO timer, NO mirror lockup and NO multiple exposure feature. But it does have a PC port for external flash and the usual hot shoe.
Fully mechanical, it only needs a small battery for the needle type meter. Everything else will work without it.
I bought mine in the late 80's and 20 years later, this workhorse is still performing like day one. It's been in very hot climates, in rain, muddy rallies and everything in between. Living in the tropics I've never used it in really cold temperatures but that shouldn't be a problem.
The meter is accurate and the overall feel is solid.
It is heavy in weight. Some consider that a disadvantage, others an advantage. Mine came with a Takumar 28-80 lens, making it even heavier than if fitted with say a 50mm f2.
The flash sync of 1/60 works fine. For over 15 years I used a Sunpak auto 2000 flash with this camera.

Elsewhere in this forum there is a registry database for K1000 where you can submit the information of yours.
Its simplicity, quality and nostalgic value has kept it alive for decades.


Last edited by ismaelg; 05-25-2009 at 06:10 AM.
05-26-2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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I have nothing substantive to add, except that I carried a K1000 all over Kenya, East Africa, in 1978. My first SLR, I had a Vivtar 75-205 zoom (big heavy beast!) and I took innumerable slides of that year. That is when I discovered what a "real" camera could do. It was stolen in 1979, replaced by a succession of others: ME Super, Super Program, P3N…and today, i have a K1000SE on my shelf for the memories…when I want manual film, I tend to grab the KX. Film AE, I tend to grab the Super Program. But the K1000 still stands as my first and best teacher in the art and craft of making good pictures.

I suspect it still has lessons it could teach me if I would take the time to let it.
12-27-2009, 05:47 PM   #4
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I ran hundreds of rolls of film through my K1000 (Hong Kong built, with split prism screen and microprism collar) as a yearbook photographer in highschool. The simple "centre the needle" light meter is easy to use in variable lighting conditions and the body is quite rugged. I retired my K1000 a few years ago in favour of a KX, which offers the same build quality and a few more features.

At current market prices the KM and KX from same generation of bodies are usually a better buy - they offer more features and generally cost less because they aren't as famous or widely recommended as a starter camera.

05-06-2010, 05:26 AM   #5
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My second K-mount camera, purchased to back up my MX. It was built like a tank and fits a large hand well. What can one say about this camera other than that it is simplicity itself. Needle TTL metering and auto aperture were its only features beyond being a reliable place to park a fine Pentax lens.

In my traveling kit, the K1000 was usually the color print camera, but often a utility player. My former wife loved this body so much that when she departed she chose it over a collection that included MX and LX bodies.
05-08-2010, 04:29 PM   #6
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Well made and reliable
Cons spartan features
Rating 7
Price $110
Years Owned 26

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Only needs a button battery to run the meter.

Camera Review
This is a well made reliable body as long as it is one of the all metal bodies made prior to 1990. I traded my K1000 for a Spot F about 2 years ago. That was the body I moved up to 135 format from 110. I still have the 110. I had my wife's k1000 (bought around the same time) cla'd last summer.
08-23-2010, 02:31 AM   #7
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Extremely tough, no need for batteries, mechanical robustness
Cons Very basic functions only, newer model is less durable.
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) -
Years Owned 30

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
In terms of value, these cameras can be bought relatively cheaply online, and in my local area the camera shop has a few for sale for $100-$200 depending on condition. I inherited mine, but if I had paid that I would be quite satisfied with the basic but reliable SLR. It is a relatively heavy and bulky camera, which suits me, as I have large hands and find smaller cameras less easy to operate.

Camera Review
I have listed the simplicity as a con, although for a beginner (or purist) this is really a bonus – the simple functions (exposure, iso and aperture dials) are all you need and the lack of more complex functions means the camera doesn’t require a battery apart from a non-vital one for the built in light meter – which the camera will operate without if required.

The camera itself is quite heavy, being made mostly of metal, and very robust. My camera has been in the family for 30 years – it was my grandfather’s, and both he and I have given it a few accidental knocks over the years and it still works perfectly.

A simple but excellent camera. Does everything you need, and when you take great photos you get the very pleasant feeling of knowing that they are purely down to your skill.

I would recommend ownership of one of these to any Pentax enthusasiast.
08-25-2010, 01:00 PM   #8
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Simple and easy-to-use
Cons No self-timer
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) -
Years Owned ~20

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
These cameras can be found anywhere for next-to-nothing due to their popularity.

Camera Review
This was my first SLR so my review might be a bit biased but I still find this camera a joy to use. When I use this camera everything slows down and I focus on the picture (composition, focus, etc.). Everything is manual so I put more effort into making the photo, yeilding better results.

08-25-2010, 01:26 PM   #9
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Doesn't need batteries.
Cons No bells & whistles.
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) -
Years Owned 22

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Models built before 1990's are built like tanks and weigh almost as much.

Lacks even the most basic features found in other cameras of the day: Mirror Lock up, Self Timer, Depth of Field preview.

Camera Review
The K1000 is like the Sherman tank of cameras. Obsolete before it went into production but produced in mass numbers.

I have a soft spot in my heart for this camera because it was my first SLR. It got me through three years of photography in high school and even produced a Gold Key (honorable mention) photograph in the Scholastic Art Awards.
10-11-2010, 11:30 AM   #10
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros no batteries required
Cons entirely manual
Rating 6
Price (U.S. Dollars) USD 240 ca.(CHF 358)
Years Owned 1989 - today

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
works without batteries

Camera Review
The ideal SLR for my years as an expat in southern Africa!
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PENTAX *ist DS  Photo 

Last edited by iatros; 10-11-2010 at 12:48 PM.
11-10-2010, 06:43 PM   #11
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Well built, can be used w/o batteries
Cons No mirror lockup or DOF preview
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1
Years Owned a week

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Solidly built body
Has a hot shoe
Familar control layout similar to a Spotmatic
Can use K mount lenses or M42 lenses (with a adaptor)

Camera Review
The Pentax K1000 is one of the best known Pentax SLR's from the 70's and was in production for 20 years.

It's got a solidly built body and feels good to hol and has a shutter that looks a lot like the one in my Spotmatic (made from rubberised silk). The viewfinder is quite bright and easy to see through.

Unlike the Spotmatic, where you had to use the FP or X sync contacts to connect to a external flash, on the K1000 there's a hot shoe on the top which is much more convenient.

Even the location of the controls is similar to the Spotmatic and are perfectly placed for easy operation.

I can use K mount lenses with my K1000 or even M42 lenses can be used with a adaptor.

One thing that I like about it-you can use it without batteries if you don't want to use the meter, or with batteries if you do.
11-12-2010, 10:22 AM   #12
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Solid build, forgiving operability, easy to use
Cons Spartan controls, no self-timer
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) N/A
Years Owned 5 months
I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Easy to use for novices and pros alike, well-balanced design

Camera Review
I received my Pentax K1000 in June 2010 as a gift from my uncle, who had owned it since the early 1980s for his high school photography class (he took pictures of me as a child with the very same camera). I had recently gotten interested in film photography so he decided to let me have it, since he has had the intention of immigrating to digital for a while.

It has been stated that the K1000 has been a recommended camera for beginners in photography, and I see the reasoning behind it. Thanks to this camera, I now take the time to compose my photos. It has done a great job in breaking my typical digital age, Generation Y habit of pointing and shooting just for the sake of taking a random picture. I feel that after a while I will be able to quickly focus manually due to the completely manual nature of this camera.

Not having to worry about batteries (except the light meter) is a huge plus. If you want a throwback camera without all the fancy features of today's cameras, this is definitely a camera for you. It's the closest thing I have to a time machine.

Highly recommended. 10/10

Last edited by TexasLangGenius; 11-12-2010 at 10:49 AM.
11-24-2010, 04:14 PM   #13
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Elegant Simplicity.
Cons None, for what it is.
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) $35
Years Owned 2

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
If you're looking for features, it's best to look elsewhere. However, when it comes to value and performance, the K1000 is hard to beat.

There are millions and millions of them out there, so it's not hard to find a good deal on them anymore. Watch Craig's List and within a week or two, you'll surely find one under $50.

And I've only ever seen a K1000 fail once, when it was drenched in Strawberry Soda. When it comes to performance, the K1000 will deliver every time, no matter what the conditions are.

Camera Review
I suppose rating this camera a 10 could be a bit controversial, but when I get down to it, a K1000 offers eveyrthing I need to take a picture, no more, no less. That's all I could ever ask of a camera, and thus the 10.

I don't see the lack of bells and whistles as a hinderance, but rather an advantage. The simplicity of this camera is it's biggest virtue. The basic light meter gives me enough information to make a photograph. Granted, it's not a zillion zone matrix meter, and it doesn't even do spot readings. Spending time with it, though, will yield a comfortable enough feeling to know what light is doing to get a shot.

From there, it's all about me. What shutter speed do I want? What aperture? Where do I focus? The camera has simple, quick controls to make these adjustments and that's it. It doesn't get in my way. It doesn't rely on some algorithm that an engineer in a lab dreamt up. It just reacts to my wishes. If the photo fails, it's not the camera's fault. That responsibility lies on the photographer alone.

Simplicity usually means reliability, and so it does with the K1000. The camera can proverbially "take a licking and keep on ticking." Battery failure only means that the light meter no longer functions. The camera will happily keep chugging along operating at all shutter speeds.

In the end, yes, there are other cameras that may be easier to use. But the K1000 is the trusty workhorse that will always be there ready to do it's master's bidding. Is there anything else that can be asked of a camera?
11-25-2010, 03:28 PM   #14
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros Simple rugged design, not much to go wrong. Early models are very well built, like the other K series bodies.
Cons Lack of features. Overpriced in today’s market.
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) K1000 original version & K55/2 - $60.00, K1000SE & K55/2 - $80.00
Years Owned 6 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
The K1000 is very similar to the KM, but is missing the Self Timer and DOF preview button. The ISO range has also been reduced to 32-3200.

The SE version has an improved ISO 20-3200 range and a split-image focusing screen.

The early made in Japan version would be the most sought after and it has the same build quality as the other K series film bodies. The early version also came with the K55/2.0 kit lens.

Camera Review
The K1000 SE and K1000 are the latest additions to my K Series film body collection. My K1000 is the original made in Japan version and came with the K55/2.0 kit lens. This combo looks and feels very similar to a KM & K55/1.8.

There is not much to review here as the K1000 does not have many features compared to other manual film bodies of the mid 1970’s. This however is the best feature of the K1000, fewer features mean less to go wrong!

My SE version shows signs of Pentax cutting back on build quality, but the split-image focusing screen makes up for this.

The K1000 & K1000 SE are not bad knockabout cameras, but you will need a second film body with extra features for other than the most basic shooting situations. Both are perfect “student” cameras, but sometimes the selling prices are way too high. Please avoid the latter “plastic” made in China ones, I would not recommend them.

I’m basing my K1000 & K1000 SE review rating against my other K series film bodies, KM, KX, K2 & K2DMD.

I rate both the K1000SE & K1000 “Made in Japan” a 7.0.

Last edited by gofour3; 11-25-2010 at 10:28 PM.
12-09-2010, 05:56 PM   #15
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Pentax K1000 Camera Review

Pros It's OLD which means: It's Durable, It's Reliable, and Produces a Great Image, what more could you ask for?
Cons It's Manuel, so if your not a fan there's a good chance this camera is not for you.
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 50 bucks
Years Owned 8 Years

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Hands Down Great Value.

Light Meter, Shutter, Film Rewind, All Manuel. Battery only needed for light meter.

With the right lens Great.

It's old, and durable.
(W x H x D)
143 x 91.5 x 49 mm

620 g
---thanks to pentax forums for size and weight)---

Camera Review
Chances are whoever you ask will tell you this is the perfect camera to learn on.

It's true.

It forces you to work hard for an image by simply offering no bells and whistles.

The thing is, this can be a great camera for the professional as well. Most pros may want something more advanced with functions out the wazoo to simplify and speed up the process of taking a picture, don't forget, time is money, and if your relying on photos to pay the bills, time, as it is for many reasons is very valuable. This means no time for manuel rewind, manuel focus, etc.

If your a pro and you intend to work weddings, sports events, and take shots on the Serengeti than this isn't the camera for you (or maybe for a few of you it is).

On the other hand, if your a pro that is not pressured by time, than you need at least one of these cameras.

In essence, a camera does one thing, and that's open a small mirror, letting light paint a picture on film. That being said, it doesn't take a million dollar camera to capture a million dollar image. And I'm only talking about the body of the camera here, not lenses (for those who may not know there kind of important when it comes to image if you buy this camera and like it, buy a real nice lens to compliment it.)

As you know after looking on ebay and elsewhere, this is not a million dollar camera. With the right lens though, this camera is capable of taking a million dollar picture.

For somewheres around $50 bucks you can have a camera that you can always rely on, and not worry about taking it into unfavorable situations for the state of your camera (meaning you can have piece of mind and bring it anywhere because it's durable, but mainly because it doesn't cost an arm and leg to replace or fix it. And you know the best pictures always occur in extreme situations when either the cold, rain, sleet, 100 mph winds, tornados, and blazing fires are your obstacles...)

Basically this camera is a great bang for the buck.


Using a camera that only relies on the person to make the decisions not only makes for a great tool for learning, but it also doesn't hold you back when you know what your doing, and it allows you to get creative and work for your pictures.

What you learn from this camera will make you a better photographer, and continuing to use it will only make you a more capable and talented.

If you couldn't tell by my review, I like this camera and I highly suggest you get your hands on one.

But don't forget, the lens that comes with it is great, but investing in a real nice piece of optics will really make this camera sing.

(I only rated it a 9 because nothing is perfect, and with a camera with a lot of age using shows some signs of wear, but a little wear doesn't mean it's still a great camera.)
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