Pentax K1000 - FPP's 35mm Camera of the Year!

Posted: 01/20/2014


Update 1/20/2014

This January The FPP donated 15 Pentak K1000 cameras (and over 100 rolls of Kodak film)  to Louise Contino and her Project Wanteete so she can teach photography remotely while in Uganda, Africa January to June 2014. Louise is working with two nonprofit organizations, ICP NYC and the FPP to make it all happen!

Michael Raso hand-picked the K1000 as "the" perfect camera for the job and tested each camera before its long journey.

More info soon on her project. In the meantime, you can help by visiting and donating to Louise's Kickstarter page HERE.

Why is the Pentax K1000 FPP's camera of the year? Read on!

Here at The Film Photography Podcast, listener questions are a big part of what we do. You ask, then we do our super best to get you the answer you seek. For at least one out of every ten of these questions, we’re bound to get a question like, “What’s a good camera for somebody just starting out in film?” or “What 35mm camera should I get?”. Though the choices are plentiful, there is one camera that has quickly made its way to the top of our recommendations list, the Pentax K1000.

Cowboy Joe
"Cowboy Joe" by Michael Raso, Pentax K1000 SE

Hitting the scene in 1976, the Pentax K1000’s intuitive design, sleek form factor, and modest price point captivated photographers world wide. After being in production for over 30 years, and with 3 million+ units sold, the Pentax K1000 has been labeled by many as the sturdy “workhorse” of the 35mm world. But just what is it that makes this camera stand out from all other 35mm SLR’s? Let’s have a look at the specs:

  •     Fully mechanical SLR

  •     TTL metering system, powered by readily available LR44 batteries

  •     Wide range of shutter speeds, 1/1000 - 1sec. and Bulb

  •     ASA Range from 20-3200

  •     Hot shoe with flash sync @ 1/60th sec.

  •     Accepts all Pentax K-mount lenses

A fine assortment of K-mount lenses to choose from!

Is there anything really ground-breaking here? Absolutely not. But what is there is everything you need to function as a photographer, and not a lick more. The lack of auto-exposure modes and the ease of operation made this the ideal student camera. Even to this day, The University of Findlay (my Alma mater) still has a fleet of these cameras for its incoming film photography students.

FPP Midwest Meetup attendees Dave Mihaly & Jason Benning
By Michael Raso, Pentax K1000 SE

So how do you know if the Pentax K1000 is the camera for you? If you are: a student, on a budget, a camera junkie with GAS, someone that never has fresh batteries, or just a no frills kind of photographer, the Pentax K1000 is right up your alley. Still need an excuse to try out this bangin’ bargain bin camera? FPP host Michael Raso and regular guest Lauren Bagley love, love, love this camera! Here’s some more on what Mike thinks of his fabulous Pentax K1000SE:


If you’re now on the hunt for a Pentax K1000, have no fear, there are plenty to be had. Just head on over to “the bay”, Craigslist, or even flea market, a used K1000 is bound to turn up. And with prices more reasonable than a dinner and a movie date, you should try one today and see why it’s one of the best selling 35mm SLR’s of all time!

Happy shooting, and long live film.



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