Camera similar to the Asahi Pentax K1000?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by madison_marko, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. Hello! I'm looking for some cameras similar to the Pentax K1000. I love its simple, easy, manual, non-electronic abilities. I recently purchased a Minolta X-700, thinking the electronic features wouldn't be so bad, but I really don't like it. The light metering is already choking. Before it, I borrow an Asahi Pentax K1000 from a friend and fell in love with its simplicity. (Although focusing is much easier on the Minolta X-700, in my opinion! :) ) I'm looking at buying a K1000... But I'm not willing to scratch tooth-and-nail to bid for one at a high price. It's a pretty popular camera-- and I can see why-- but there has to be more like it? Something less hyped up, but reliable and simple none the less? Or maybe a cheaper way of getting a K1000? Any advice? Suggestions? I'm open to anything. I'm just quite fed up with this Minolta.
    Thanks! :)
  2. Look at a Ricoh, starting at KR5, the most basic model. Then look for KR5 Super, a slight upgrade. These have the same PK lensmount so you have a wide choice of K mount Takumars plus third party brands in basic K mount. All manual control, vertical travel mechanical metal shutter, uses S76 batteries (2) for meter but is still fully functional without meter.
    Bodies usually go for less than $50 or less on the big auction site.
  3. Actually, just looking now it seems Bodies go for a lot less than $50. I have a Sears KS500 with 50mm f2 that is a KR5 with Sears name on it that works perfectly and I bought for $5 at a photo flea market 3 years ago.
  4. It's quite hard to get a manual K-mount camera combining the solid build and smoothness of a K-1000, but you are right that prices have gone through the roof. Speaking from personal experience, I can wholeheartedly recomment the Chinon CM-4 / CM-4S (the latter sports a self-timer which the first one lacks). Small and light yet solidly built, great viewfinder, all-manual and fully mechanical with a vertical shutter which is more accurate, less prone to failure but a bit more noisy than the horizontal one on the K-1000. Also I find it very nice that the LED exposure indicators lie just beside the VF eyepiece which means you can check and adjust exposure BEFORE bringing the camera at eye level to compose or you can just shoot it from the hip at hyperfocal for some covert street shooting, esp. with a wide-angle lens. You can also find them rebranded as Revueflex SC2, sold in Germany and most other european markets.
    The KR-5 is an option as well as mentioned above, but I find the Chinon cameras smaller, smoother in operation with better viewfinders.
    Also, the Cosina CT-1 and its variants (there's even one with 1/2000s top speed) spring to mind and they too can be found rebranded as Petri GX-1 and possibly others as the chassis was used by many companies for their basic manual SLR models. People say good things about them but I haven't used one myself.
    In general, as far as K-mount cameras are concerned, the range of all-mechanical, manual, cheap alternatives to the K-1000 is rather limited, contrary to electronic ones which are as common as grains of sand in the desert.
  5. Don't buy the K1000 please! There are 2 cameras almost exactly like the K1000 except that they are better and often sold for less. They are the Pentax KX and KM.
  6. I'm of the opinion that K-1000's are now grossly over-priced, and I'll add my vote to the Chinon CM-4. As Christos says, it's light and solidly-built with an excellent viewfinder . A very similar camera is the Cosina-made Vivitar V2000, another camera I really enjoy using. Or, better still, the V3000S.
  7. I second BeBu's vote for the KX which has MLU.
  8. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I was reading your post from last month, and I think if you browse through that again, there were a number of good recommendations made for manual starter cameras (if you are willing to consider something other than K-mount).
  9. A Canon AE-1 Program is a better camera in every way, and the focus screen is one of the best ever. Very bright, and user replaceable too. The FD glass is excellent, and w/ a $10 Chinese FD to M42 adapter will take all sorts of FSU and screw mount Pentax lenses. I had one w/ that setup and a Helios 50 2 lens (it would shoot in AE w/ stop down metering, and there is exposure lock too) and a FD 135 2.5 lens for portraits, and that thing rivaled a Leica in terms of image quality. The FD 85 1.8 is a little better for portraits, but the 135 comes awfully close for 1/3 to 1/2 the price.
  10. By the way if the OP want to send me shipping cost he/she can have my K1000. I hate the thing so much.
  11. You may want to try the Praktica L-series from L to LTL3, MTL3 and MTL5. I would recommend MTL3 as the most stable of the series. The Meter will work in most of them even in C.E. 2017. Also the meter can be calibrated easily. Perhaps you know that many of the Pentax cameras were design aided by Praktica. Even the name Pentax is said to be sold by Praktica to Asahi.
    The mount is M42 thread; so you get a whole variety lenses, made all over the world. You can also get a K-mount adapter for the M42. According to Thomas Tomassy the K-mount was designed by Zeiss Jena [part of Pentacon conglomerate] for Asahi Pentax K series, as well as the Praktica B-series. Probably, they did that in the prototype stage. But Asahi seems to have modified the slots and the locking mechanism slightly. Thus, the B-series lenses from Zeiss et al do not fit the Pentax K.
    Regarding the pricing, you could buy four Praktica MTL3 cameras for the price of one Pentax K-1000.

    Good Luck, SP
  12. Maginon K 1000 (with trafic lights meter read out instead of needle) Vivitar 2000. And yes, the KX is lovely!
  13. I've been impressed with the robustness and reliability of the Cosina CT1 Super The basic design was good enough to be used in cameras badged Miranda, Chinon, Ricoh, and Nikon (the FM10).
    Another one is the Centon K100 which whilst not a copy, was clearly intended for the same market as the K1000.
  14. Another note on the Spotmatic series: even though the camera calls for a 1.3 mercury cell, the wheatstone bridge arrangement of the metering circuit compensates for voltage variations so you can use a 1.55 V silver cell or even a 1.5 V alkaline. I've had an alkaline cell in my Spotmatic F for over a year and it still meters spot on.
    Another possibility is the Pentax MX. About the same size as the ultracompact ME. LED metering.
  15. d2


    Another one nobody has mentioned here is the Pentax P30t. Does require batteries to work and you won't find many bells and whistles on it, but many feel it's a great camera and that it's a bit overlooked - especially if you're looking for a basic, reliable, K mount body that is affordable. They can be had quite cheaply.
  16. I prefer the KM to the K1000. The KM has a self time and more importantly it has a depth of field preview button. Find one and then send it to Eric Hendrickson for service. You will then have a camera with a better feature set and which is in good working order.
  17. Make that self timer.
  18. The Pentax KX is even a better camera with silicon meter cell instead of Cds. It has the match needles metering system so you know which shutter speed it's set at in the viewfinder. Also it has the little prism to see the aperture number in the viewfinder.
  19. Depending on the lenses that are available and what you need, the Yashica FX3 is also an all mechanical camera with a simple match light meter. I had one and it worked very well, except for needing light seals. No DOf preview, but a self timer. If you have access to Yashica/Contax mount lenses, this can be a good deal.
    Another all manual one is the Nikon FM10, though the can get somewhat expensive like the Pentax. Made by Cosina, and shunned by some, they work nicely and take Nikon lenses. I still have one of these, and it works well. It's also all manual, with a match-LED meter. Has self timer and DOF preview.
    I had a Pentax K1000, and it worked fine, but no better than any number of other basic SLR's. I did like the needle meter rather than LED's, but missed the DOF preview, and an on/off switch.
    Both these take modern batteries, and will happily run with no meter and batteries at all.
  20. I'm not sure exactly what you consider a reasonable price. There are also plenty of old cameras on for low prices but it's even more of a gamble whether or not the camera works.
    I love the KX. K1000 tends to be overpriced because of its name recognition. KX adds self timer and depth-of-field preview, plus shows shutter speed and aperture in the viewfinder, and actually has an on-off switch. KM is somewhere in between...I believe it adds the self-timer and dof-preview. Slightly older spotmatics will be similar but will accept screw-mount rather than k-mount lenses.
    The older Minolta SRT series are similar but don't use the more commonly available SR44 batteries so need adapters or zinc-air cells, etc. Same story with Konica Autoreflex T2, T3, etc.
    I also like the Pentax P3/P3n/P30/P30t, etc. Obviously battery-dependendent and a little less of that classic charm but common and straightforward.
  21. A further thought on the Minolta SRT series: if you like the lens that came with the X-700 just pick up a SRT body to go with it. The Minolta SRT meter works well with the Wein cell as it is 1.35 volts like the discontinued mercury cell. The SRT 202 was the top model in the line up and offered split image focus aid (like the X-700 but not quite as bright). It can also do multiple exposures (which the X-700 cannot). Or if you don't mind a slightly older version, the SRT 102 also offers the same features, but mirror lock up as well, on most versions).
  22. Don't overlook the a Nikkormat FT-3.
    ] likes this.
  23. This is all fun, if a little pointless. All the Spotmatics with screw lenses feel better to me than the K1000, which feels like a cut price Spotmatic. There are an incredible number of interesting and cheap screw lenses and accessories. The weakness is in getting decent lenses wider than 28mm.
    That's where Pentax bayonet is well situated; simply gets the benefit of later designs.
    I can't see any choice benefit without considering the lenses available, and how well the external plastic parts survive with age.
  24. Yashica FX3 was lovely and light, worked just fine, but all the external plastic peeled, and, of course, you had to have a contax/yashica bayonet set of lenses, so you need to get to a garage sale where they have a big set of appropriate lenses in a cardboard box for $40, along with the camera of your choice.
  25. A few more thoughts: The KX with its bayonet mount allows a wide selection of K-mount lenses plus if you can find an original K to thread mount adapter, a precise way to use thread mount Pentax lenses (and others with the mount) in stop down metering mode. I've used such an adapter with my MX and liked the way it worked. It simply bayonets in place and then you can screw various thread mount lenses in place.
    Minolta also offered a similar adapter to allow thread mount lenses to be used on its manual focus lenses. I also have this one and it works well.
    Basically, any mount that offers a thread mount adapter (which still allows infinity focus) essentially gives you access to two lens systems.
  26. It's still possible to buy third party replacement pre-cut self-adhesive leather for various Yashicas, including the FX3, and you might get a bargain on the camera as the original disintegrating leatherette often looks pretty bad. Lenses are harder to find than for systems like Pentax K. but they're always on ebay.

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