Pentax K1000, the Rock of Ages (1976)

The Pentax K1000 (and similar models like KM and KX) has been the cornerstone of many a photographer’s education. These cameras are versatile, sturdy, easy to use for beginners and pros alike.  The full manual control is a key factor to understanding how your choices when shooting relate to the results you get. The only ‘automation’ in those cameras is the exposure meter.

This article is a stub. It needs expanding but for now, it lists the specifications of the venerable Pentax K1000.

Type 35mm Single-Lens Reflex.

Lenses Pentax K mount. Pentax screw-mount with adapter; manual diaphragm and stop-down metering.

Name K1000, spotlighting the advanced 1/1,000 top shutter speed.

  • Through-the-lens full-aperture metering. Instant-return mirror.
  • Single 360º rotating shutter speed dial.
  • Full-aperture coupled metering.
  • ASA setting on shutter dial with automatic ASA lock.
  • Full-aperture viewing with fully automatic diaphragm (closes down to set shooting aperture and reopens to full aperture automatically for every shot).
  • Bright Fresnel focusing screen with microprism center spot (also additional split-image on K1000 SE). “Pure Image” finder with no distractions except the meter/zone system needle.
  • Automatic double-exposure prevention.
  • Shutter-cocked indicator.
  • Combined shutter cock and film-wind lever.
  • Ratcheted multi-step wind lever. Many Nikons don’t have this.
  • Automatic resetting frame counter.
  • Rewind crank with folding lever and rotating crank tip.
  • Ratcheted single or multi-stroke wind lever with comfortable plastic tip.
  • X-sync hot shoe. PC flash sync socket.
  • Threaded for a conventional cable-release.
  • ¼-20 tripod socket. Tripod Screw Maximum Depth: 5.5mm.
  • Finder 0.88x magnification with 50mm lens.
  • Glass prism. Ground glass with central microprism spot. The luxury K1000 SE version seen here has a combined split-image rangefinder with microprism collar.
  • Meter needle, and that’s it.
  • Shutter Horizontal rubberized-silk focal-plane. 1 ~ 1,000 and Bulb.
  • 1/60 flash sync. For flash bulbs, use 1/30 and slower with M, MF and FP bulbs.
  • Orange “cocked” indicator next to shutter button. Uses a regular screw-in cable release.
  • Wind Lever Single or ratcheted multiple strokes. 160º throw with 10º stand-off.
  • Frame counter goes to 37, starts at 00.
  • Meter Two CdS cells. Single live needle in finder: center is OK, up is brighter and down is darker.

ASA 20 ~ ISO 3,200. Metering range: EV 3 ~ EV 18 at ISO 100 with f/2 lens.

Power One tiny 20¢ A76, LR44, SR44 or S76 cell. Power Switch: None, just leave on the lens cap so the CdS cells sucks no power.

Size 3.7 x 5.6 x 1.9 inches HWD. 93.5 x 143 x 49.5 millimeters HWD.

Weight Japan: with battery, strap lugs but no caps, strap or film: 21.375 oz. (606.0g). Japan: with battery, strap lugs and 36-exposure film but no caps or strap: 22.155 oz. (628.1g).

Weight China: with battery, strap lugs but no caps, strap or film: 18.567 oz. (526.4g). China: with battery, strap lugs and 36-expoousure film but no caps or strap: 19.347 oz. (548.5g).

Missing No self-timer. No easy double-exposures. No motor drive, except for this one. No Autofocus No auto exposure. No easy depth-of-field preview (you can press the lens mount button and half-unmount the lens to preview depth of field.) No mirror lock-up. No intervalometer. No custom functions. No interchangeable focus screens. No batteries (just one tiny cell). No problem! None of that other stuff is important; the K1000 lets us pay attention to our picture instead of our camera’s instruction book.

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