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  1. #1
    Steve Mack's Avatar
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    Questions about my Pentax K-1000

    I have a Pentax K-1000 which I had received from my late son's estate. I have had it CLA'd, and I was thinking about using it for sentimental reasons. I've got a couple of questions about the model.

    Is it as rugged as I have heard? I tend to baby my cameras, treating them as if they were precision optical instruments (which they are), but I would like this one to be around for a long time, given regular care. I would like to pass it on to my granddaughter (she's five years old) some day.

    Which focal length of prime lens do you usually use for it? I tend to use 35mm for my Bessa R rangefinder, and 50mm for my Nikon N80. I kind of like primes, not for any snobbish reasons, but because the whole shebang is more compact for me without a large zoom.

    I have not tried out the in-camera light meter. IF they can be persuaded to work, are they fairly accurate, or is this an individual, camera-by-camera matter? I can guess B/W and color negative film exposure times well enough that I don't absolutely need a light meter in-camera, but I was just wondering...

    Just a couple of thoughts. I know that this camera is or has been routinely recommended by photo instructors as a must-have camera for beginners, to the point that I wonder why Pentax doesn't revive it.

    Anyway, thanks to all who reply.

    With best regards.

    Stephen

  2. #2
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    It is pretty rugged, being derived from the legendary Spotmatic.
    Theoretically the part most sensitive to knocks would be the meter needle, but my Spotmatic picked up some pretty deep dents without the needle suffering...

    Focal length is a matter of taste: Those with good taste of course prefer 35mm over 50mm ;-)
    Seriously, the 35mm f/3.5 (assuming it was made in K mount) is a slow but very sharp lens with a very nice look to the images it makes.

    The meter should be o.k. if it's been CLAd (and they didn't say anything about it). It is accurate, though (IIRC) it is an averaging meter, so if you are used to center-weighted or spot meters, you'll have to change your technique a little.

    Personally I think the K1000 is a bit overrated because of the "perfect beginner camera" myth. It is lacking DOF preview and a meter swich.
    Though when I recently mentioned that on another thread, I got grief from its fans...
    Still, a nice albeit slightly crippled camera.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  3. #3
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut View Post
    Personally I think the K1000 is a bit overrated because of the "perfect beginner camera" myth. It is lacking DOF preview
    That's why I usually recommend the KM instead. It's basically the same camera but has DOF preview and because it doesn't have the cult status of the K1000, it can be bought for less money.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  4. #4

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    As the others have said and for the same reasons, it wouldn't be the Pentax I'd set out to buy now (though I did have one from new for several years), but of course you're coming from the angle of wanting to use your son's camera rather than seeking out the best camera for a particular purpose. Again, to repeat what's already been said, it's a derivative of the Spotmatic, so what's not to like? Mine was always quite rugged enough for my uses. I didn't take particular care of it (couldn't even afford the case for a couple of years) yet it never developed any fault. As for the lack of DoF preview, a little trick that was shown to me by a chap in a camera shop was to press the bayonet lens release and rotate the lens a few degrees which allows the aperture to shut down to whatever is set (taking care not to let it drop out completely!) Not a technique you'd want to use for every shot, but one to have up your sleeve for the particular shots where you need to see the DoF.
    Steve

  5. #5

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    Given a modicum of care, I think your K-1000 will be functioning just fine when the time comes for you to pass it on to your granddaughter. Meantime, you can assemble an excellent selection of prime lenses to pass along with it.
    While the K-1000 has the well-earned reputation as a 'student camera', its utility goes far beyond being simply a 'learners' tool. I believe National Geographic supplied the K-1000's to their staff photographers because of its quality and durability.
    Keep using it and it'll be in fine shape as a keepsake your granddaughter will enjoy.
    -30-

  6. #6

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    hi steve

    i have and from time to time use the k1000 i got
    as my first 35mm camera back in 1980 ...
    it is as rugged as they say. it originally came with the 50mm asahi lens
    the lenses that i always use with it area the 28, 50, 100, 135 ...
    it doesn't have a dof preview and that is fine by me,
    i've never really found a need for it ...

    have fun!

    john
    im empty, good luck

  7. #7

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    The K1000 is a good camera and was in production for a long, long time.

    A nice little kit is 35-50-135, and because these are common focal lengths, it probably would cost you less than $100 to add the 35 and 135.

    The K1000 uses the S76 battery, which is commonly available. Get a silver oxide battery, rather than the A76 (alkaline).

    It's a durable camera, although occasionally you might run into problems with hardened lubricant.

    The meter should be accurate, unless the camera was dropped.

  8. #8

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    The K1000 is a perfectly decent and usable camera, but not something that's worth treating as a heirloom object beyond the sentimental value of its having been in the family. The "legendary student camera" thing is way overblown; the lack of DOF preview disqualifies it IMO. I'd much rather have an MX or a KX myself.

    The camera went through a variety of cost-saving changes internally over many years of production in different factories, so as far as durability, they're not necessarily the same animal. With care and moderate usage, though, any of them should be able to give many years of good service.

  9. #9

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    K1000 was recommended as a beginners camera because it was inexpensive simple and rugged.
    When it was made no other maker offered a similar camera at that price point. You could buy camera & f2 lens for $140-150. Nikon, Canon & Minolta didn't have anything until you hit $200+.
    The meter switch is a cell over the eyepiece that turned the camera off when you put a lens cap on.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  10. #10

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    Hi Stephen. So sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like a good idea to have the K1000 cla'd and use it as a sentimental shooter. With care, your granddaughter should be able to give it to her granddaughter. The camera is built like a tank, and with a SMC Takumar lens, it will make images as good or better than any other 35mm camera on the planet. period. Teachers recommend them because they are simple, robust, and they don't break.

    I don't think you will ever see a camera like the K1000 re-introduced. An all-metal camera of the build quality of the K1000 would be price prohibitive.
    Last edited by ricksplace; 12-18-2009 at 12:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

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