Review – Asahi Pentax K1000 Camera

Pentax K1000 Camera

During Christmas I went home to Texas to spend time with my family. I figured since I had some free time in-between holiday festivities and visiting friends and family I could shoot some photos around the house. My dad has had a Pentax K1000 Camera in his desk drawer forever. I decided since the poor little camera hasn’t gotten any action in ages, that I would buy some drugstore film and see what it produced. I was not disappointed. Although it was in that drawer taking up dust a fresh set of battery and film and it still worked like a dream. Well at least according to my dad.

Asahi Pentax K1000 SLR Camera

The K1000 was introduced in 1976 and was produced till 1997.  It was made for a crazy long time making it very well known as a work horse camera for students and professionals alike.  The camera is entirely mechanical, besides the light meter, so if can be used without the battery. Similar to the SP1000 which I reviewed HERE, I could have used the camera at my parents house as is, even if I was not able to locate a battery. The K1000 has the option to change up manual lenses as it was manufactured with the Pentax K bayonet mount.

Pentax K1000 Camera

Features

The camera has a Cds meter that measures the average brightness of the ground glass at full aperature. You can look for the needle on the right side of the viewfinder as you look through it. It goes from high to low depending on how much light is coming into the lens.  Keep your lens cap on though when not in use, otherwise your battery will be drained.

As mentioned before the K1000 takes a variety of lenses. Mine came with a SMC Pentax-M 1:2 50mm, which came with the 1983 edition of the camera. That’s the year I was born so my dad must have bought it for all those baby pictures to come!  It has the K-mount that was used in all Pentax 35mm manufactured cameras since 1975.  Many manufactures made lenses for the K-mount and you can find a short list of them in this link on Camerapedia.

The K1000 has a shutter speed range of 1-1/1000, as well as the bulb setting.  You can also set the ASA from 20-3200. An interesting and very useful feature is that it comes with a shutter ready indicator, which is located to the right of the shutter button. It either shows orange for ok to go or black for needs to be wound.

There is no built in flash on this camera, but it works with any non-dedicated hot shoe mounted or PC terminal electronic flash. It has a flash synchronization speed of 1/60th.

Pentax K1000 Camera

Battery

The K1000 takes one tiny battery that gives power to the light meter. It takes an A76 or S76, or LR44 or SR44. You can easily purchase batteries for it and I was able to find some at this link Energizer LR44 1.5V Button Cell Battery.

Film

The Pentax K1000 uses 35mm film and you adjust to ASA by lifting up the outer ring of the shutter speed ring to match the film inside the camera. You can buy 35mm film at such places as Walmart, Target and CVS.  You can also buy film online from specialty camera stores, but I generally go for film from Lomography. You can look into their wide range of 35mm stock here. I have been recently taking some great photos with their Lomochrome series film, and you can see them HERE(Turquoise) and HERE(Purple).

Film Installation

The K1000 opens up by flipping up the film rewinder and then pulling up on it. This causes the back door door to pop open. You then can just place the film in the chamber to the left and then push the film rewinder back down so that it goes into the film cartridge to hold it in place. Pull the film out and line it up with the sprocket nubs and insert the ledger into the slit in the film take-up spool.  Advance the the film by pushing the shutter button and turning the rapid wind lever. Then you can close up the back click the shutter and wind the film a few more times and then you are ready to start shooting. Once your roll is done you can push in the film rewind button at the bottom of the camera and then turn the rewind crank to take up the film again.

Pentax K1000 Camera

Picture Taking

So I managed to find an old photography that my father took with this camera many years ago of yours truly. I obviously had many important people to call on my rotary telephone. It shows that you can take some great photos in low light.My second set of photos come from when I used the camera when I was in Texas for the holidays. I used film that I bought at Walmart which was Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400. Most of the photos were taken outdoors in sunny areas. The camera gave me pretty good bokeh for some images like below.

I managed to also capture some close up pictures that I thought gave great detail.

My parents small schnauzer even got in a good session.

Pentax K1000 Texas Christmas

And one Christmas light long exposure to end my photos. I set the camera on top of a table and took this shot on the bulb setting.

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I understand now why this camera was in production for so long. This same camera gave great results in 1985 and continued in 2016. The 31 years didn’t really take much toll in the camera, and I’m sure it will continue to work for another 30 years if it is well taken care of.

If you really like this camera and it’s design you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.

Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but you can find a copy of it at this Link.

Specifications:

  • Type:     SLR body
  • Manufacturer:     Pentax Ashashi Optical Co.
  • Year of release:     1976
  • Films:     35 mm ISO 20-3200 to be set
  • Lens Mount:     K bayonet mount
  • Shutter:     Focal plan shutter, speeds – 1/1000 second, flash sync 1/60 second
  • Viewfinder:     0.88x (with 50mm lens), Petaprism finder with split-focusing screen
  • Flash:     X contact shoe for cordless flash connection and X terminals – 1/60s flash synchronization
  • Film advance:     Ratchet-type rapid wind lever (for film advance and shutter cocking).
  • Exposure Meter:     Cds meter measures the average brightness of the ground glass at full aperature, and couples directly to aperature, shutter and film speed settings. Zero-method exposure control.
  • Battery:     1.5V alkaline (LR44) or silver oxide (G13) battery.
  • Dimensions (W x H x D):     143 x 91.4 x 83mm
  • Weight:       620g

I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any particular cameras that you would like to see reviewed.

6 Comments

  1. mario February 13, 2017

    I have a question, in my k1000 (it’s in very well condition) light meter doesn’t work on frost (but it’s only -9 degrees, and i have new battery). Is it normal? Thx for help.

    Reply
    • Adriana February 13, 2017

      Hi, I am not actually sure if it is. I have never really used my camera in that low of a temperature. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.

      Reply
  2. John C. August 23, 2016

    I really enjoyed this camera while I had it. I gave it to my niece, as she wanted to try film photography. Still haven’t seen any images from her, maybe she’s intimidated. Anyway, was a good camera, and works well without a battery (I often use the sunny 16 rule). If you’re interested, here are some of the pictures that I took with this camera while I still had it.

    http://jfclay.com/pentax-k1000

    Reply
  3. David Church April 27, 2016

    Great pictures and camera; nice to see these posted and nice to see the camera still “hard at work”!

    Reply
  4. Jim Grey April 26, 2016

    The K1000 really is a wonderful performer. And Pentax lenses are generally very good! One thing that I’m a little confused by about your review is when you say there’s a lever on the lens mount to stop down for metering. My K1000 doesn’t have this. As long as the lens cap is off, it is always metering. My Spotmatic has that switch however.

    Reply
    • Adriana April 27, 2016

      Yes your right it does not have the feature, my mistake. I removed the info about it.

      Reply

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