Pentax K1000

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I finally got the camera I have always wanted. No, it wasn’t a Hasselblad or a Mamiya or a Leica. The camera that has been on my wish list longer than any other is the Pentax K1000. Sure, I could pick one up on Ebay for under $100 but I just figured that someday the classic camera would just find its way into my collection. That is pretty much what happened. I love having a story to go along with a camera and now I have one that I will probably be telling quite a few times in the future. Here is how the classic tank of a camera came into my collection…

I have coveted my friend Bennett’s K1000 for years and envied the $5 deal he found at a rummage sale. Knowing how much I coveted his Pentax, he has been on the lookout for a K1000 for me. After cleaning out his basement he made a trip to the landfill to drop off some junk. Shortly after entering the building he spotted something on a conveyor belt that looked familiar. It was a Pentax K1000! He flagged down a worker and was able to get the conveyor belts stopped. It took some negotiating, but he was able to save the camera from the doom of the landfill. Aside from a broken film counter, it was in perfect working condition. All it needed was a new battery and the light meter snapped back to life. Now that I have a K1000, I couldn’t be happier.

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If you took a photography class in high school, chances are you used a K1000. The fully manual camera is (or was) the standard shooter for pimply-faced teens everywhere. Holding the Pentax K1000 is like going back in time to my days at Wentzville High. The faces of friends come back in focus. Walking the halls of the school with my friend Molly. The magic of the darkroom. The excitement of capturing something on film. And that sound! Is there a better sound in the world than the shutter releasing on a Pentax K1000 and the clicking as you advance the film? I don’t think so.

I would be willing to bet that part of the enduring appeal of the K1000 has a lot to do with similar nostalgia that the camera brings back to their owners. People that really cherish a camera know that it is more than just a picture making machine. It is an extension of who we are. As we look back through are photo albums and recall the special moments of our lives we remember that the camera was there. A silent friend, steadily documenting our lives and capturing the light that fills our memories.

Here are some of the auctions on Ebay for Pentax K1000 cameras that you might be interested in:

10 Responses to “Pentax K1000”

  1. Photographic Culture Says:

    This is my favorite 35mm camera ever, it has been thur my world war my life and is still ticking the best thing about it is you can fix it yourself when it does malfunction with all cameras do occasionally. Enjoy Film while it lasts.

  2. Emily Henderson Says:

    This was my first camera! (only 3 years ago though, I’m a film and pinhole hardcore) I love it, and would be horrified to find it on a dump conveyor belt. They’re not gone yet, but the cameras my instructor has now are definitely not so hardcore as the K1000.

  3. Kristina Smith Says:

    I am interested in learning to use a darkroom. Would you recommend this camera for that purpose? I am trying to choose between this and the Canon AE-1, since both are widely available on ebay and for sale locally. Do you have any tips on what to look for? I only have experience with digital SLR’s.

  4. Diana Says:

    Hi, I could not agree with you more… i have the same camera, it was my father’s pride and joy! I “inherited” the camera when he passed away which makes is more of a treasure for me… aside from the sentimental value, it takes great pictures! by the way, i enjoy your blog very much… best, diana

  5. John Webb Says:

    I love mine which has been lying around unused for about 8-9 years. Took it to Israel in 1991; some of the pics are here: http://webbpage.bravehost.com/Trip/jerusalem.html#101 . I just put a new battery in it but the meter doesn’t respond. Got the batt at Wal-Mart. The clerk measured it by sliding it thru a hole on a card, not by checking the voltage. Is that common practice now? Can you give me a hint at what might be wrong? Thanks.

  6. Bob Wessells Says:

    Yesterday I was at a big camera show in Wakefield, MA. One of the sellers told me that the K1000 brings a lot of money on the open market. Today I will order one from a fellow in Bridgewater, MA (body and Lens) from under $100.00!

  7. Danny Youngers Says:

    I absolutely love the Pentax K-1000. Like many of you mentioned, I too learned how to use this camera in High School, in my Photography Class. I can still remember how excited I was when Mr. Perna let me actually take it home to do assignment shooting for the first time. This camera had me in awe and still does. Several years after high school, I managed to get my hands on one at a pawn shop in Hawaii at a real steal of a price, only to later lose it to another pawn shop in Washington State years later. I was doing an online search a few nights ago on Craigslist for a Digital camera or Digital SLR, when what did I stumble across? None other than an add for someone selling a Pentax K-1000 for ……$50 lens,flash, body and all I couldn’t miss that opportunity. So I am now an owner of a mint condition Pentax K-1000 once again; and this one will never leave my grips.

  8. Jessica Says:

    I love this camera we use these in our photrography class in my high school.

  9. Ernesto Ibarra Says:

    This is a great camera! I bought one at a thrift store for $30 USD. It works perfectly! I love it!

  10. And Be There (@andbethereblog) Says:

    Well done on your find! The Pentax K1000 really is a superb camera. There are quite a few tips and tricks that most people have no idea about. We created a fairly comprehensive list here:

    http://www.andbethere.com/2012/12/pentax-k1000-tips-and-tricks.html

    Hopefully that will be some help for anyone shooting a K1000

    Good luck and Happy Shooting!

    And Be There Blog :)

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