Time for another camera review and this time it’s the Pentax K1000.
It feels like I’ve had this camera forever because I can’t clearly remember how I came to have it.
I’ve got a vague memory of my Dad buying it from Jessops back when I was either going into Aberdeen College or secondary school.
The more I think about it it maybe was when I was still at secondary school, I’ve got vague memories of buying XP2 film in Huntly where I schooled.
Anyway the K1000 was the ‘go-to’ camera for the budding beginner photographer, it was in production from roughly the mid 1970s to the mid 1990’s or there about. I may have been given mine around the late 1980’s or very early 90’s.
The only lens I had for the K1000 was a Centon 28mm – 75mm ƒ3.5, and it’s done well to survive this long in it’s current condition, which is just fine.
I do remember using it a lot when I was at Aberdeen College. The first course I did was called a foundation course that introduced you to many different arty pursuits like life drawing, model making, colour theory and photography among other things.
I was often out photographing all sorts of stuff which also included street portraits and the urban environment; not much different from now I guess (see below).
(below) The 2CV was my car for a while and the lady was on my course but I can’t remember what her name was, she was quite funny though.
Below is a photo of Dave (David Farquhar) who I used to jam with. Dave and his bro Darren and I used to be in a couple o bands together from school onwards and even took the show on the road around Aberdeen and Dundee for a while.
After Aberdeen college there was Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee.
I don’t remember thinking too much about using the camera, back then I had pretty much only ever used 4 cameras including the K1000.
The other cameras included a Kodak Instamatic 110, a Polaroid camera of some kind while at Aberdeen college and maybe my Dad’s Praktica SLR.
All these Dundee photos (above) are scans of prints I made at art college as the negatives are LONG GONE.
A Wee Bit About the K1000
It’s one sturdy muddy funster. It’s been hanging around for maybe 25 years and I didn’t have a good track record for looking after things back then so that’s a testament to it’s durability.
The camera is completely mechanical. There is a battery well but that is purely for the built in light meter that is always on so you should store the camera with a lens cap to save your battery.
Shutter speeds range from Bulb to 1/1000 in the usual increments and feels sturdy in the hand. The body takes the long standing K-mount lenses which are still quite pricey thanks to some of the Pentax digital cameras ability to take those lenses.
The flash sync is up to 1/60, marked with an orange ‘X’, which I guess isn’t great by modern standards but it’s perfectly fine as almost all of my other film cameras, save for the Nikon FM2 and the GF1 (digital), are around 1/30.
There was a while when I rediscovered the camera that I didn’t like any of the pictures that came out of it but I slowly realised that it was just me sucking like an unweaned seal pup (Douglas Adams quote).
I’ll keep saying this but if anyone was looking for a starter SLR to learn on then this is the camera for you. It’ll teach you everything you need to know about the basic mechanics of photography.
I know that the Film Photography Project have a lot of love for the K1000 as I believe one of the occasional contributors uses one.
So, from around 1990 to 2013 I’m still using this guy and loving it. It’s actually quite a chunky camera and feels so in the hand but recently I bought a Vivitar 28mm prime for £5 which is a lot smaller than the longer Centon 28mm-70mm so the camera feels a wee bit smaller.
I’ll say it again and again if I have to, if you’re looking to try out film for the first time and are looking for a cheap reliable SLR you can’t go wrong with a Pentax K1000. I’m still using mine and there’s no way I’m selling it now.
Until next time.