Pentax K-1000

The camera that launched a million hobbies. If you studied photography in School from the mid ’70s onwards, you probably used a K1000.


When first launched in 1976 it’s unlikely that Pentax could ever have dreamed that they would eventually sell over 3 Million units after a production run spanning 20 years. The K1000 was the simplest of the K series bodies, and far and away the most successful. Intended to be the cheapest, most basic model in the line up it lacked even a self timer! In many ways it’s the spiritual successor to the original Spotmatic, with only open aperture metering and the PK mount as advances.

Technical Details

The K1000 is an all manual, almost all metal, 35mm camera with PK bayonet lens mount and TTL full scene average metering. Shutter speeds are entirely mechanically timed, and the battery is needed only to supply power to the match needle metering system, which operates with fully open diaphragm – there’s no stop down or DOF preview feature. The horizontal cloth shutter offers speeds from 1s to 1/1000 with flash sync at 1/60th. There’s no shutter lock, film advance confirmation or shutter cocked indicator – this is as basic as it gets.

Why it’s special

For over 20 years photography students the world over got their start with a K1000. Simple, non nonsense handling and a rugged build made it extremely popular with schools of all sorts – including the Comprehensive I attended from 1976 to 1981.

The Museum Sample

Acquired in November of 2010 for $79 on eBay, this K1000 included a 50mm f/2.0 lens, wide canvas strap and canvas bag, along with original instruction manuals. It had been cleaned and had new light seals installed. Mine is the somewhat less desirable “assembled in Hong Kong” variant from later in the production run

Additional Info

  • Manufacturer : Pentax
  • Year Introduced : 1976
  • Year Discontinued : 1997
  • Year manufactured : 1983
  • Film format : 35mm
  • Serial Number : 6968367


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