Pentax SP1000

Pentax SP1000
12th October 2012

The first camera I owned was the Pentax SP1000 – This camera was introduced to me in Photography class at high school, and I continued to use them at school in photography from year 8 to year 12.

The PENTAX SP1000 replaced the SP500 as the budget model. It was basically the original Spotmatic (which had been introduced 9 years earlier) but without a self timer. It thus didn’t have recent advances such as the open aperture metering found in the Spotmatic F and ES series.

Think of the SP1000 as a screw-mount K1000, or rather the K1000 as the K mount SP1000.

The main thing it lacks compared to the ‘full’ Spotties is the self timer, its weight (neglible) and added complexity (they do sometimes fail). Thus it shares all the other Spotmatic strengths – compact size, rugged, well made, solidly designed.

If you care about aesthetics (and I do!), then the SP1000 is the youngest camera you can get with the original Spotmatic body shape. (The SP1000 has the add-on accessory shoe of the original SP and different lines than SPII.)

So, the bottom line when it comes to screw mount bodies: the Spotmatics are the best built and currently repairable cameras. They take modern batteries due to their bridge circuits. Their weak spot appears to be the stop down / meter switch which can get worn or dirty over time, and some of the competition’s solutions may be ergonomically better (Yashica TL Electros have a slide on the bottom right of the mount, easy to push or pull with either hand; the Fujica ST’s have a button under your right hand that you merely squeeze). However, the competition of the day often is not worth repairing – even if you can find someone willing to do so.

Stop-down metering. Yes, it can be a pain. However, in practice with manual metering you meter the thing you want to meter, apply any exposure shift you want, and then keep shooting until the light changes or you want something else. With an open-aperture metering camera the meter’s chattering at you all the time.

In summary, the SP1000 is a fine camera, often under-appreciated, lacking the cult following of the K1000. However, it is the cleanest, newest way to get an original Spotmatic.

Asahi Pentax SP1000Also marketed as
Honeywell Pentax SP1000
Year introduced – 1973
Year discontinued – 1976
Mount – M42
Automatic aperture stop down – Yes
Metering – Stop down, centerweight
Meter range – EV 1 to 18
ISO range – 20 to 1600
DX ISO range – No DX coding
Exposure modes – Manual, B
Exposure compensation – Not applicable
Exposure memory lock – No
Shutter speeds (auto) – Not applicable
Shutter speeds (manual) – B, 1 – 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical) – B, 1 – 1/1000s
Self timer – No
Mirror lock-up – No
Auto bracketing – Not applicable
Multiple exposures – Yes
Winder – Ratchet type rapid wind lever. 10° pre-advance and 160° advance angle
Flash hot shoe – No
Built-in flash – No
TTL/P-TTL flash – No
Flash sync speed – FP and X terminals – 1/60s
Flash exposure comp – Not applicable
Viewfinder – 0.88x (with 50mm lens)
Viewfinder type – Pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism
Diopter correction – No
Exchangeable screen – No
Depth of field preview – Yes
Image size – 24 x 36 mm
Battery – 1.3V mercury PX-400
Battery grip/pack – No
Size (W x H x D) – 143 x 92 x 88mm
Weight – 610g
Comment – This model was not sold in Japan

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