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I currently use a Pentax K1000 camera, which uses 35mm film. I really love this camera. I like that it's really "easy" to use, the light meter is good, and batteries are easy to find for it. I don't feel like the K1000 is holding me back, but I want to pick up a second camera so that when I travel, I can use one for B/W and one for color.

I mostly shoot anything that catches my eye when I walk in the street or go on a road trip. I have only the K1000 and a single lens for it, so I'm not necessarily married to Pentax.

What should I look for when choosing a second body?

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  • Hi, Hueco. First I am not married to Pentax lenses haha. I mostly shoot anything that catch my eyes when I walk in the street or when I do a road trip. The K1000 is not holding me back I love this camera but I want to travel with at least 2 so I can use one for B/W and when my mood change I go with the color one. The features I like the most with the K1000 is that its really ''easy'' to use and the light meter is good. – Musoka Aug 22 '18 at 15:42
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    Why not get another K1000? – mattdm Aug 22 '18 at 15:49
  • Well I would love to see the result with a second camera and like I said using one for B/W and the other one for color depending on which one I found give me the best result. – Musoka Aug 22 '18 at 16:06
  • With film it is all about the film and the lens. As long as the camera body can accurately control aperture and shutter time, and pretty much any of them can if in proper working order, the body doesn't really matter unless you need something very specialized such as a high frame rate winder or a meter that can work at extremely low light level, etc. – Michael C Aug 22 '18 at 17:03
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    With film, one should buy the camera body that provides the features that they need to capture the types of images that they want in the manner that they want. During an exposure, there is nothing but air between the film and the rear element of the lens. Therefore the body cannot have any affect on the image quality like a DSLR can and does. You mention that the K1000 meets your needs, which is fine. You won't get different looking images with any other SLR. You could get more keepers if a new body does something that the K1000 does such as AF. – frank Aug 22 '18 at 18:01
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I would choose something:

  • small
  • completely different from the K1000

Something small, because unless you really like heaving heaving things around, you already have one reasonably bulky camera to deal with, and the additional camera you're most likely to use in such circumstances is one that's physically easy for you to manage.

Although you asked for advice on "a second body", unless that is also a Pentax K body, you'll now be dealing with two systems of bodies and lenses. That's not really the way I'd like to travel.

So, I'd suggest to consider something with a fixed lens, rather than a body (and new lenses, if you're not getting a K-mount body).

Something different, because you might as well give yourself as many options and open as many opportunities as possible, rather than overlap.

Something different from an SLR will allow/require you to think and see in different ways, make it possible to do things you couldn't do with the SLR, use it when you couldn't use the K1000, and so on.

On that basis, my suggestion would be a pocket-sized rangefinder, such as an Olympus XA, a Canonet QLIII 17 or a Ricoh 500G.

Armed with something like that and your K1000, you'd have a pair of pleasant-to-use cameras, that between them wouldn't be too cumbersome to carry around, and represent quite different ways of photographing.

Which small rangefinder?

I think it's easier to find a Ricoh 500G in good condition than a Canonet cheaply, but in either case you should check whether you're going to have to replace light seals.

You can spend a bit more and buy an XA - and that would be my choice, just because it's that much smaller and easier to carry.

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First I am not married to Pentax lenses haha.

When you start to use an interchangeable lens camera, you end up buying into a system. This is simply because you'll spend a lot of money on lenses as you go (far more than a body, usually) and those lenses do not adapt onto other brands easily, well, or easily and well.

The k1000, as you know, uses the Pentax K-mount for it's lenses, of which there are many. The benefit of using old manual focus lenses is that there are many in great condition and no real market for them, meaning they're fairly cheap.

I want to travel with at least 2 so I can use one for B/W and when my mood change I go with the color one.

When traveling with two cameras, you want them to use the same mount so that you don't need to carry twice the lenses. Since you have a k1000 and like it, stick with the Pentax K mount film cameras.

The K1000 is not holding me back I love this camera

I would then advise getting another. k1000's are plentiful and cheap. They're easy to find and repair shops still have parts for them. Or, see if you can find a K2, which was the flagship model of the K series. It has a better meter, aperture priority exposure, expanded shutter speeds available, and mirror lock up. If you're unopposed to it, also look into the MX and LX (the LX's were designed to compete with the pro cameras of the era. Weather and dust sealed, which is always a plus).

What's funny is that the k1000 has a cult following while the more advanced K2 does not - in my local market, k1000's go for $125 while great condition K2's can be had for as little as $50 on eBay.

  • Thanks for pointed them out! I think like you said its a good idea to stick with the K-mount. The LX looks like the High end of my K1000 – Musoka Aug 22 '18 at 17:33
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    @Musoka the LX is a fantastic camera. Exposure compensation, DoF preview, 8s through 1/2000 shutter speeds...in mint condition they're around $450 - 550. Obviously, being of professional quality means they've retained a good bit of value as compared to the k series. FWIW, I second MC's advise as well. If you're learning, you can get a real leg up by finding a cheap used DSLR and going crazy with your practice. I also shoot a ton of film and collect vintage gear. But, I also have some digital bodies. There's a time and a place for everything. When learning the basics, it's digital these days:-) – Hueco Aug 22 '18 at 17:42
  • Yes I had 2 digital camera before starting shooting film. I mainly shoot for the pleasure and thats why I shoot film because it bring me something that I didnt had with digitals – Musoka Aug 22 '18 at 17:59
  • @Musoka trust me, I get that. At this moment I've got Delta3200 being shot at 1000 in a Pentax 645 and some TMax in a Canon 7 rangefinder and a 5Dmk2 sitting in the living room @ 1600ISO being used mostly for impromptu shots of my baby girl. Welcome to this community and see ya 'round. – Hueco Aug 22 '18 at 18:09
  • Thanks for your help! I was confuse with all the other models that I didnt think about the lens that I would have to buy again for another model. – Musoka Aug 22 '18 at 18:18
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This is probably outside the realm of what you are considering, but my advice is to purchase an older used Pentax digital camera in good condition. Once they're a few years old and have been replaced by a couple of newer generation models, digital bodies become much more affordable than when they are the hot new models that just solved every problem known to man! (To hear the marketing department tell it)

The reason I suggest this is because it sounds, from your question, like you are relatively new to photography. Digital allows one to try new things and learn much more quickly than film does. I say this as someone who began in the 1980s when there was no choice available between film and digital.

Many of us grizzled old-timers like to boast about how we started with film in the era before autofocus existed and how it forced us to learn how to be real photographers. (The ranks of those who learned in the era before auto exposure are much thinner than they were just a decade or so ago.) But the reason we did so was because it was the only way to start back then.

Now that you have a choice, though, staying with film might not be the best way to get where you want to go - even if your ultimate goal is to shoot your most important work on film.

  • The overwhelming advantage of digital is that it allows one to experiment and learn without the per-shot expense of film. Your initial cost to start is less with film, but by the time you've shot your first 1,000 frames the cost of film and developing will have overtaken the cost of a brand new entry level DSLR (or an older but nice used higher level body). By the time you've shot your first 10,000 frames¹ just the film and processing could have bought a nice lower end pro-level digital system.
  • There's also much to be said about the instant feedback of viewing a histogram on the back of the camera immediately following the shot. In the film era some of the best photographers in the world would use a polaroid back to test their lighting setup before loading the film and shooting.
  • Digital allows you to set the ISO and white balance of each shot individually, just as a century ago with the use of sheet negatives. Roll film, on the other hand, locks you into a specific sensitivity and color balance for an entire roll of film. You can even shoot raw files and decide whether to convert the raw data to B&W or color (or both) in post-processing.
  • While there is much to be said about the lessons learned from processing your own B&W film in the darkroom there are just as many lessons that can be learned from developing your raw digital files on the desktop. You can also learn a lot about exposure, contrast, white balance and color, composition, etc. by processing your photos critically with the digital equivalent of a darkroom - your computer.
  • Digital cameras record information with each frame that tells you what aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering pattern, AF point, etc. you used. This is extremely helpful when reviewing your images to see what did and, perhaps more importantly, what did not work. In the film days a student would need to stop and write all of those things down for each shot.

If your budget is extremely limited you have other options besides a new DSLR or a used film camera. You can find used digital cameras that are 2-3 generations older than the current models for very modest prices. You don't need an SLR or DSLR to shoot digital, either. A good used bridge camera or compact that has the ability to manually control shutter speed, aperture, and sensitivity (ISO) and will allow saving raw image data will let you learn much about exposure, composition, and post-processing (much of which can carry over to the darkroom - almost everything we do in digital post-processing has a corresponding antecedent in the chemical darkroom). It will also give you the flexibility of shot to shot customization that was once only the domain of those who used sheet film rather than roll film.

¹ Henri Cartier-Bresson is oft-quoted as having said, "Your first 10,000 frames are always your worst." He was perhaps the greatest street photographer of the 20th Century and is certainly one of if not the most well-known. In photographic circles, the initials HCB are enough to positively identify him.

  • Hi, Michael. Thanks for answering me and giving me tips to get a digital camera but I should have mentioned that I only want to shoot 35mm film because I really enjoy the result and the suprise I get from my shootings. – Musoka Aug 22 '18 at 17:00
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    @Musoka I understand. My advice still stands, both for you and any others who read this with the same question you have. Even if you ultimately want to do your most important work with film, a digital camera will accelerate your learning curve immensely. – Michael C Aug 22 '18 at 17:05

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