Every year or so I take a trip out of the country and I am always scrambling on which camera (or cameras) to take with me. It always seems to sneak up on me and I always second guess what I should take. Before the trip I had gone to an American Cancer Society shop and I snatched up this Honeywell Pentax SP1000. It had been siting in the corner for a few weeks just waiting for its time to come. I looked it over and it looked to be working fine, so I just packed it up with some film and off we went to Europe. Surprisingly enough it took brilliant shots. I didn’t have a flash to go with it, so most of my shots are bright outdoorsy type.
Honeywell Pentax SP1000 SLR Camera
The SP1000 was introduced in 1976 and was the budget model to replace the SP500. It was almost identical to the Pentax Spotmatic without the self-timer function. It was sold as the Asashi Pentax SP1000 outside of the US. The camera is actually entirely mechanical, besides the light meter, and that is how I used it cause I didn’t realize that the battery compartment was seized closed when I packed it (sad face). The SP1000 has the option to change up lenses as it was manufactured with a 42mm Pentax or Praktica screw thread also known as a 42M. While most photography teacher recommend using a Pentax K1000 for students this camera is a great alternative and was considered a workhorse in its early days.
Now I was not able to use the light metering system since I was not able to open up the battery compartment at the time, but from what I gathered from other users is that is works very well. The camera has a stop-down metering system that unfortunately fail on this camera as they age. You will find a small switch on the left top side of the lens mount, and you push it up to stop-down the lens as well as activate the light meter. You then 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 in and the aperture that you have selected.
As mentioned before the SP1000 takes a variety of lenses. Mine came with a Takumar 1:2/55 which i don’t believe is the original one. It has a 42mm screw mount that runs in common with the Asahi Pentax SLR family. Many manufactures made lenses for the 42M and you kind find a short list of them on Camerapedia.
The SP1000 has the number 1000 because you have a shutter speed range of 1-1/1000, as well as the bulb setting, making it slightly different than the SP500 which tapped out at 1/500. You can also set the ASA from 20 -1600.
There is no built in flash on this camera and does not really even allow you to position one on it with out having an added accessory that clips on to the viewfinder. You can then use a flash with a PC connection that you hook up to the left side of lens mount.
The battery for the SP1000 is actually easier to source than many other older cameras due to it being manufactured with a bridge circuit in the metering system. This translates into you being able to use the original 1.35V Mercury PX400 battery as well as 1.55V 387S silver-oxide cells. You can easily purchase batteries for it and I was able to find some at this link Weincell Zinc Air Battery
The Pentax SP1000 uses 35mm film and can adjust to ISO 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 am particularly excited about their CineStill film, which I can’t wait to get.
The SP1000 open 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. Leaving you to just take it out and have it developed 🙂
Now for the extra good part of looking over some of the crisp photos that this camera was able to take. I might have even taken better ones with the light meter was actually working…maybe. Probably not.
My trip consisted of traveling to Rome, Bordeaux and Ireland so these pictures pretty much reflect that landscape.
My last photo was actually taken here at home of my little indoor herb garden that brings me so much joy in cooking.
The quality of this camera really surprised me when with all of the great photos I was able to capture with it. I feel that what you see in the viewfinder is indeed what you get if you are able to get your settings right.
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.
- Type: SLR body
- Manufacturer: Ashashi Optical Co.
- Year of release: 1973
- Films: 35 mm ISO 20-1600 to be set
- Lens Mount: Pentax/Praktica screwmount
- Shutter: Focal plan shutter, speeds – 1/1000 second, flash sync 1/60 second
- Aperture: Equipped with Automatic Stop down
- Viewfinder: 0.88x (with 50mm lens), Petaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
- Flash: FP and X terminals – 1/60s flash synchronization
- Film advance: Ratchet-type rapid wind lever (for film advance and shutter cocking).
- Battery: 1.3V mercury PX-400
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 143 x 92 x 88mm
- Weight: 610g
I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I have left anything out.