Pentax K1000

This is my Asahi Pentax. I bought it in 1979, and except for the lightmeter,  it still works, although it did get a new shutter a quarter century ago. The lens is what came in the box… an SMC Pentax 50mm f/2.

First introduced in 1976, the K1000 model acquired a bit of a cult status over the years as the classic “student” SLR, presumably because it is all-mechanical except for the electricals needed for the lightmeter, which is the only function that required the battery. It’s just you, the shutter speed dial, the aperture ring and the ISO selector (actually called ASA back then). The meter was a mechanical needle at the bottom of the viewfinder, and the meter itself was a CdS cell that gave you a centre-weighted reading. No flashing lights, no auto-anything. It was up to you to set the aperture and shutter speed combination you wanted to use.

The K1000 was the least expensive of the Pentax K-mount cameras, but still a real, serious camera. It differed from the next model up the line, the KM, only in not having a self-timer and depth of field preview.

These days, cameras become obsolete the day after you buy them because it’s all about the technology, but in the film days, every camera was essentially the same… a body to hold film and a lens to let the light through. As long as the shutter speeds were reasonably accurate and the aperture mechanism was functional, you were good to go, no matter how inexpensive and old the camera. Pros and big spending gearheads might have a “better” lens, however that was defined, but if you had a K1000, you could essentially take the same pictures they did. Pentax lenses were as good as any other. You didn’t need to read reviews to find out what game-changer you needed today that you didn’t the day before.

These are pictures I took with it in 2012 and 2013. That was about the time the one-hour processing labs near me were phased out. I’ve occasionally used film in other cameras since, but it’s an unecessary expense this fixed-income senior can’t really afford on a regular basis. The last four pictures are from the early 1980’s.

I literally have hundreds of photos taken with this camera from 1979 until 2013, but I never seem to have time to scan them. One of these days.

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