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Just for Fun: Shooting Kodak Tri-X B&W Film in a Vintage Pentax K1000 Camera

Just for Fun: Shooting Kodak Tri-X B&W Film in a Vintage Pentax K1000 Camera

Join fine art photographer Keith Dotson in a variety of scenarios as he shoots black and white film in a 40-year-old camera

I decided to carry around a vintage 1982 Pentax K1000 camera for a few weeks to shoot whenever I had a chance. Paired with it was the Pentax Super Multicoated 50mm F2. This lens doesn’t appear to be one of the radioactive ones, but some of the vintage Pentax lenses (and other brands) are radioactive.

If you enjoy shooting with vintage lenses, it’s not a bad idea to do some research on this. Camerapedia maintains a list and is a good place to start.

Video: Shooting Tri-X in a vintage Pentax K1000

Once in a while, I enjoy taking out an old camera to shoot a roll of film because it brings me back to basics and reminds me my limitations as a photographer.

A photograph of my Pentax K1000 film camera, manufactured in Hong King in 1982 or 1983.
A photograph of my Pentax K1000 film camera, manufactured in Hong King in 1982 or 1983.

The K1000 was manufactured from 1976 until 1997. It got the 1000 in the K1000 moniker because of its top shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second.  My research indicates that it would have sold as a kit with this lens in the early 1980s for about $220.00. I found some on eBay listed for about $160.00.

Perfect student camera

A lot of people used the Pentax K1000 as a beginner camera because it’s such a sturdy and barebones tool — perfect for learning the basics of photography. It was a student camera for a lot of photography students back in the day. I never owned one but one of my friends shot with this very same model.

This one has a built-in light meter but I don’t have the battery so I used a light meter app on my phone, which, while less convenient, worked adequately for my purposes. Other than the light meter, the camera is fully mechanical and operates just fine without a battery.

Another thing to know is the Pentax K1000 does not have a self-timer, so if you want to use it on a tripod, you’ll need to use a shutter release cable.


Black and white photographs shot on Kodak Tri-X film using the Pentax K1000 camera

Photograph of an antique farm machine by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of an antique farm machine by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of weathered planks on an old wooden wagon by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of weathered planks on an old wooden wagon by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Detail photograph of rusty and crusty mechanisms on an antique farm machine by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Detail photograph of rusty and crusty mechanisms on an antique farm machine by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Detail photograph of pulley wheels on an antique farm machine by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Detail photograph of pulley wheels on an antique farm machine by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a blossom on a magnolia tree by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a blossom on a magnolia tree by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a box of dead roses by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a box of dead roses by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a single dead rose by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a single dead rose by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a restored old gas station by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a restored old gas station by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a wooden shed covered in old car license plates taken by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.
Photograph of a wooden shed covered in old car license plates taken by Keith Dotson. Shot on Kodak Tri-X black and white film using a 40-year-old Pentax K1000 camera and 50mm lens.

Thanks for reading.

Be sure to visit me on InstagramYouTube, or Pinterest, or on my website at keithdotson.com.

~ Keith

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