Thursday, January 11, 2018


My Pentax K1000 came to me in poor shape.  I was able to revive it enough to shoot a roll of film, and then I put it aside for a long while.  There was still a small issue with the lens, and the through-the-lens meter looked dead.   Yesterday, I decided to take another look at the camera.

The 50mm f-2 Pentax-M lens was clean and sharp, but the rubber focus ring was loose and slipped at either end of the scale.  Looking at the lens more closely I saw that the rubber focus ring could be lifted up and off with a small screwdriver.  A couple drops of glue solved the slippage issue.
     The light meter problem was also easily diagnosed.  Removing three screws allows the camera's bottom plate to come off.  Taking out three more little screws frees the battery compartment.  Not unexpectedly, the wire to the battery holder was corroded and disconnected.  Splicing in an extension to reconnect the wire to the bottom of the battery compartment seemed an intimidating task because of the tiny diameter of the wires.  Really nothing to lose, however, so I screwed up my courage, picked up a little Weller soldering kit at ACE Hardware and tackled the job.
     Stripping the tiny wires is tricky.  If you try to use a knife or a wire stripper, the likely result is that the tiny wires will be destroyed.  It turns out, however, that you can just use a lit match to burn off the insulation.  I took a short piece of small-diameter wire from an old video card and joined it with my solder gun to the battery holder and the stub of wire from the camera body.  My soldering won't win me any ribbons at the county fair, but it was good enough to bring the meter back to life.

I like the uncluttered view through the K1000 finder, and the meter seems to give me the exposure I am looking for better than some of my more sophisticated cameras.  I only have a couple of normal K-mount lenses at this point as I gave away my previous K1000 kit with the wide-angle and telephoto lenses.  I guess I'll see if I can find a couple more lenses.  Even if I decide against keeping the K1000, I could use the lenses with the nice little Pentax ME which is just one step from being fully restored.

Through the generosity of a friend I now have a good kit for the K1000 including 28mm, 50mm and 135mm SMC Pentax lenses.  I also added a 2x telextender and a +4 close-up lens.


Jim Grey said...

Your guerrilla repair tactics never fail to inspire.

I've owned three or four 50/2 SMC Pentax-Ms and a couple of them have had the loose focus ring rubber.

And there it is: that wonderful Pentax 50/2 "look." I love it. Such a lovely lens.

My older son, out of the blue recently, asked me to teach him a little about photography. I got out my Pentax KM, which is in very good original condition, loaded some Tri-X, attached my 50/1.8 SMC Pentax, showed him the basics of exposure, and let him experiment with the 36 frames. He liked it enough that when I offered him a camera to take back to Purdue with him, he accepted eagerly. The KM is in my personal rotation so I got out my K1000, attached my 50/2, and gave him a couple rolls of Fuji 200. My K1000 is far from pristine but it functions. I told him that if, after shooting the two rolls, he decides he likes this and would continue with it, I'd send the K1000 off for CLA and it would then be his.

Mike said...

I seldom undertake any camera repairs that someone else has not pointed the way to on the web. I am mostly interested in what kind of pictures will come from a camera rather than achieving a pristine state of restoration, though of course it is nice to have both outcomes.

JR Smith said...

I have never used the K1000, although I did pick up a nice K2 late last year which is currently in the shop for new seals, bumper foams and meter calibration. Most of these Pentax film cameras, with the exception of the LX, are such bargains and the lenses are so very nice--how can you not try them all?

Some nice shots here!

Mike said...

It's true. I saw a K1000 going for $20 on Craigslist this morning. About the only thing I don't like about the camera is that it has no on-off button for the meter, so you have to be sure to have a lens cap available. It is a very solid shooter, though, and there are very good lenses available that will fit most of the later models.