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Does anyone remember the Pentax K1000?

Updated on June 24, 2011

Pentax K1000

Built like a tank this camera boasted manual everything -  Manual focus, manual aperture, manual shutter speed, manual film advance
Built like a tank this camera boasted manual everything - Manual focus, manual aperture, manual shutter speed, manual film advance

Classic All Mechanical Camera

Back in the mid-80s when I took a high school photography course, the school's camera stable was filled with Pentax K1000s. These were very basic cameras with no bells and whistles. They were toughly constructed out of heavy metal, leather and glass. They were ugly and not all that exciting but for learning the basics of black and white photography they were great for teaching photography. For schools they were perfect because they were inexpensive, tough and easy to operate.

Everything on this basic 35mm film camera was manual - manual film advance, manual shutter speed, manual focus - nothing automatic here.

The only thing electronic in these cameras was the light meter. The light meter was a simple needle that went up and down as you adjusted the shutter speed or aperture. But the camera itself didn't have any intelligence so it was up to the operator to change the shutter speed and/or aperture to get the needle to line up in the proper exposure setting.

My new camera a Panasonic DMC-G2 comes with a 200 page owners manual. These Pentax K1000s could be figured out in a few minutes. In other words the camera did not get in the way of taking pictures and moving on to film development and darkroom work. The Pentax K1000 was the number 2 pencil of the high school photography course.

In so many ways it was the perfect way to start learning photography, capturing light on film with the least amount of distractions between the photographer's vision and the subject.

- Edward M. Fielding

You can still buy these cameras!


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    • upal19 profile image

      Ashraf Mir 6 years ago from Dhaka

      I've used this camera. This is an excellent camera.

    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

      I remember that floating needle light meter so vividly. It it weren't for the hassle of nasty chemicals and waiting for film to develope...

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 6 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      I still have mine.It is in a box in the closet, but I purchased it in 1967 while I was in the Navy. I learned a lot about photography with that old camera. I stayed a Pentax person until the digital age hit, and then I changed over to Nikon. Still shooting, though!