Review of Pentax K1000

This 35mm film camera is the archetypal learning machine for photographers. My camera was bought for me by my wife (from a friend) for the princely sum of £25. All its functions are mechanical, with everything still working apart from the camera light meter. I love its reassuring ‘clunk’ and the weight of it in my hand.

Firstly, if you are thinking of buying one second-hand, make sure it is in good condition. This one was pristine apart from the meter not working which I can get around by using the “sunny 16 rule”.

Rear view of Pentax K1000

The Pentax K1000s were produced in Japan in the early 1970s and then later in Hong Kong. Finally they were built in China from 1990 until the end of their run. They were produced over a period of 20 years which, when you think how quickly technology changes, is quite a feat. The best ones to look out for are the early ones which have a reassuring weight and, on top of the prism housing, will have the word ASAHI and a logo.

As a fully manual camera you load the film and wind it on. Then you take a meter reading which helps you set the aperture and shutter speed. A needle in the viewfinder will tell you when you are correctly metered. You are now ready to focus the lens and take your photograph. Alternatively you can focus the lens via HDF hyperfocal distance focusing).

Many have found the Pentax K1000 to be a wonderful learning tool. A genuine Pentax lens will have ASAHI OPT CO marked on it. Check the lens for wear and tear and any signs of fungus.These lenses generally have stunning optics and would give most current lenses a run for their money.

Contact sheet of Mark’s Pentax photoshoot on Ashdown Forest

Sample image from Pentax 50mm f2 lens

Of course you can learn to take photos on a phone but it is such a different experience and, in my view, takes most of the fun out of it. You will miss that glorious clunk and wondering whether or not you have already wound the film on to its next frame! I am so glad that I learned my craft using film cameras.


This entry was posted in Cameras and lenses. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.