Review of "Pentax K1000"

published 17/05/2013 | mc_uk100
Member since : 20/08/2010
Reviews : 33
Members who trust : 8
About me :
Graduate in Media and Spanish.
Super
Pro Basic, Robust, Perfect for Beginners
Cons Basic - Lack of features may frustrate enthusiastic or professional photographers.
very helpful
Picture Quality
Range & Quality of Features
Ease of Use
Reliability
Size

"Making the Most Out of Every Photo (Film Camera Review)"

Taken with the Pentax K1000

Taken with the Pentax K1000

Introduction

Technology is like fashion. Most people want to buy the latest thing to show off to their friends and to get their approval. I, on the other hand, have taken the opposite approach by going ‘retro’ and buying a film camera from Ebay. Vintage is the new fashion. Photography has always been something that fascinates me because of a person’s ability to hold something in their hand which is capable of capturing memories which can last forever. Especially nowadays, now that taking photos are potentially being taken for granted and nearly everyone who has a camera uses a digital. All of these photos are uploaded onto a computer and lost with the many hundreds they have uploaded previously. I decided to make an approach which is not as conventional nowadays, but there was a time when it was: Film.

The Camera

I have only just started out in photography over the last couple of years and I thought that the best way to learn how a camera operates was without all the fancy buttons so I could just concentrate on the basics by utilising the aperture, shutter speed and ISO to obtain that correct exposure. I got the Pentax K1000 second hand for around £80, which is actually surprisingly relatively expensive. I did not mind paying a substantial amount for the camera because I knew a lot about it after having done tonnes of research and that this is meant to be the camera that is perfect for beginners.

Upon taking the camera out of its box, I could see that it was a gem. Bear in my mind that this camera has been in production since 1976. The style of the camera is very old and basic and was once the ideal camera used in photography classes and workshops, so beginners could get used to its principal functions without being overwhelmed by the crazy amount of buttons. Perfect for a beginner! On the ride side of the camera looking down we can see the shutter speed dial. This shutter speed dial ranges from 1/1000th of a second to 1 second with the option of B (Bulb) which allows for even longer exposures. All you have to do is twist the 360 degree dial in the desired direction. To the right of this is the conveniently placed shutter. Personally, I love the sound of the ‘click’ when pressing down on the shutter (albeit a very expensive click). To the right of this is the advance film lever which also shows the user how many photos they have taken on the particular role of film. Maybe it is just me, but I find advancing the film forward and then letting it go is a much more satisfying feeling than the film cameras which advance automatically, like my Nikon F80. This way it feels you are doing all of the work and this leads to appreciating the photos a lot more. Again looking down at the camera, but on the left side, we can see there is a film rewind lever. All you need to do is press the rewind release button and then pull up the lever, pull again until you hear a click, and then you can start rewinding. You know the film has rewound completely once the lever feels very loose. This is relatively simple to use once you know how, but initially it may take a little bit of practice. However, with the help of a manual, there should not be too much difficulty. If you think a full guide of how to insert and rewind film in this camera would be helpful, here is a good Youtube video which is very clear and easy to follow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjCfcTFP50E. Finally on the top of the camera is the hot shoe which can make way for an external flash to be fitted. The flash synchro speed is only 1/60th second.

The viewfinder is of an average size and it there is a microprism spot focus tool to help. There is no dioptre adjustment, but inside there is a lever which measures the exposure. I am unable to take a photo of it to show you, but whilst looking through the viewfinder, on the right hand side there is a + and a - . If the shot is underexposed (too dark) the lever will go down to the bottom and if it is overexposed (too bright) it will go all the way to the top. The idea is to find a balance via the usage of aperture and shutter speed to create the correct exposure, thus making the lever balance in the middle of the viewfinder. The lever is the only thing that is operated by a battery, but this battery is comparable to one you would find in a watch, so there is no need to replace it very often at all and Pentax obviously has confidence in it because there is not even an on/off button on the camera. I did not mention the ISO when referring to balancing the exposure because, although this is just as important, the ISO depends on what film is used. For example, you can buy a negative with ISO 400. The camera will need to set its ISO at 400 and this will be fixed right up until the last exposure. Film with higher ISO is meant for low light photography and low ISO for portrait or landscape photography on a beautiful day. Finally, a couple of things that are worth noting are that this is also a completely manual focus camera because the K1000 does not support any automatic focus lenses and the body is made of black leather and chrome tin.

Different results vary depending on which lens is used with this camera. I bought the fixed F2 35mm prime lens separately and I also got the Chinon 1:4-5.6 35-200mm lens for even cheaper. Both these lens are great and are easy to remove and place onto the camera. The only thing I would suggest when buying a used lens is to make sure that there is minimal focus and scratches, because these are old lenses after all. This is a good article which explains everything you should check over before buying a used lens: http://www.wikihow.com/Buy-a-Good-Used-Camera-Lens. The overall quality of the camera is decent, but not perfect. Obviously, because this is such an old camera, it is a bit behind in terms of image quality but I would say that is as far as it goes. It is a well designed, robust camera which is not too heavy (628g) for a film camera.

Conclusion

Initially, it could take me up to a minute to put all the settings right before I was ready, and then before I knew it, the moment was gone. Admittedly, it is not ideal for something like wildlife or sport photography, however at one time, this is all there was. Because I am only 22, I never saw the full impact of what film cameras had on society, and instead I was brought up on those £5 Kodak disposable cameras with 32 frames. I feel that using a film camera is a great way to learn the basics of a camera’s operation and theoretical side too. It has a very metallic and robust feel to it which adds to its retro quality. I am very glad I bought this camera and I would recommend to anybody who is just starting out in photography and wants to learn the basics without having to always use the auto modes. I love film photography because you are in the control of the camera rather than vice versa. I develop the photos myself too which makes it even more satisfying when they come out. Overall I give this camera an 8/10 because although the image quality is not perfect, I am sure over a period of time and practice my results will become clearer. Finally, be careful when you buy a film camera because you may love it so much, you’ll have to buy another one. I am sure that, before too long, I will be buying a third. Thanks for reading!

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Comments on this review

  • 80smusicreviewer published 23/07/2013
    Well reviewed. E.
  • newprideexperiadj2 published 24/05/2013
    great review.
  • Absinthe_Fairy published 21/05/2013
    Super review.
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Product Information : Pentax K1000

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