SP readers still fondly remember Pentax cameras. Pentax, however, has still not formally entered India; nostalgia levels are therefore explicably high.
The Pentax brand reached its zenith with the advertising campaign – ‘Just hold a Pentax’. The Spotmatic series are now almost iconic. In this article,however, we will look at a workhorse from the K series, the K 1000, which in terms of sheer longevity, was perhaps the Pentax model longest in production. The Spotmatic series sported the famous Praktica Pentax M42 Screw mount and Pentax’s Super Takumar lenses enjoyed a great reputation for optical quality.
In 1975, Pentax took the monumental step of junking the screw mount and adopting a 3 tongue bayonet mount which was christened the K-mount. The Takumar name was dropped and all camera bodies sporting the K-mount became known as the K- series. The K-series was launched with the Pentax KM, KX and K2.
The K1000 was launched in 1977 and was clearly aimed at the beginner in photography. It was a basic match-needle camera which featured shutter speeds of 1 to 1/1000 second, depth-of-field preview, hot shoe and, in most instances, was supplied with a 55mm f/2 SMC Pentax lens. It was sparse in features and did not even have a self timer. It was,however, solidly built and was very reliable. Photography schools started recommending it and before long, it became a best seller for Pentax. Production was shifted to the Philippines to keep costs down and the K1000 continued to be available right till the end of the nineties.
Pentax fans treasure the K-series more than the M-series (which followed) because of the better build quality of the K-series bodies and fewer film transport problems. Good examples of the K1000 can even now be picked up at photo fairs for as little as $25!
H. S. Billimoria