Filma Fledgling 10:05pm, 22 September 2011
I've been shooting with my partner's mum's Pentax and it has made her want to use it again! I'm happy about that, but also sad to see it go. Does anyone know where I could look for a one of my very own and for a good price. I am only just getting into photography, and it is not only a great camera but one that has taught me so much! Any advice is appreciated!
Burnt Umber 7 years ago
Ebay, Goodwill, Ioffer..
Johnny Martyr Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Johnny Martyr (member) 7 years ago
If you want a camera that works, you'll buy it from a proper camera shop like, or's used departments or a local shop, mine is

If you want to gamble, you can buy from eBay or Goodwill. I buy cameras at these places because I do repair work and don't mind the old fixer-uppers. I used to buy cameras I didn't expect to fix on eBay but lately, things with bad return policies and vague descriptions sell at the same prices as KEH sells them for and then they come to you broken. One can seldom find true deals on eBay anymore without a lot of effort that could be better spent actually shooting. eBay protects its buyers well but is it really worth the trouble when you're just getting started?
Steinback PRO 7 years ago
Local online classified ads can work out pretty well if you know enough to be able to test a body (shutter, metering, lens optics, aperture, etc.), know what you want, are patient, and are willing to meet up with the seller. I have picked up several complete camera kits (body, flash, multiple lenses, various other accessories) at excellent prices, but I have also passed on all sorts of overpriced and/or thoroughly trashed gear. $100 US or so should pick up a camera with a couple of lenses and a flash in working condition.

I you liked the K1000 you may also want to check out the Pentax KX and KM film bodies from the '70s. They share the same body as the K1000 but have more features and often sell for less money because they aren't as widely recommended as student cameras. also has a reputable sales forum if you want a Pentax body and are willing to sign up. There are members worldwide so you may be able to find a local seller that way too.
Filma Fledgling 7 years ago
Thank you, this is all very helpful. And yes, I bought an Olympus Trip off ebay in 'excellent condition' and when it arrived the lens hood was damaged, and the the aperture ring wouldn't move. I read up on how to repair it, but like you said I would rather spend more time/money on shooting! Especially at such an early stage. I live in the U.K and will check local camera places out. And I will enquire into those other models. Thanks very much for the help!
Burnt Umber Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Burnt Umber (member) 7 years ago
Johnny Martyr While stores like KEH do offer a better return policy it in no way guarantees quality. A fellow photog bought a Mamiya 645 from KEH and after just a week of shooting she found the hot shoe to be dead. They sold the camera to her without doing a real overhaul. They did exchange the camera for a different and comparable model but it too had some faulty wiring and had to have a repair after 6 months.

One thing to ask when buying a camera from an online store is, "Was the camera owned by a smoker?". I have found that nicotine and other gunk from cigarettes infiltrates the leather and other soft elements of the camera which causes them to smell badly. In the home of a heavy smoker it will actually effect the glass as well as the inner workings.

A friend once gave me her husbands 2 35mm bodies, I trashed them both since cleaning them would have taken weeks and at the end there would be no guarantee either would work correctly.
Filma Fledgling 7 years ago
Thanks that's a good point. What about the Pentax ME Super, is this similar or is it fully automatic?
Burnt Umber 7 years ago
Yes, The ME Super has a manual mode:
5¢ [deleted] 7 years ago
In case you missed it in Steinback's post, there is a classifieds section at I've bought a few items there and not had any bad experiences.

forum link
Steinback PRO 7 years ago
My KX body came off of Pentaxforums in great shape for a decent price. For the most part members are conscientious about describing the condition of the equipment they are selling because their reputation on the forum depends on it. Prices tend to be around market rate - higher than you might pay for a good auction, junk shop or classifieds score, but lower than retail shop rates.
Filma Fledgling 7 years ago
Thanks everyone!
Johnny Martyr Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Johnny Martyr (member) 7 years ago
Burnt Umber, while I know that is not perfect, I feel that when giving someone advice on how to get a camera, it's best to recommend something that is pretty much surefire. And I believe that KEH is closer to that than random people on craigslist and ebay. I've had more positive experiences with them than bad. I save the craigslist and ebay buys for people who know very well how to asess the condition of a camera and are willing to take a risk. I dont' think it's great advice to suggest doing this when you're new, have a limited budget or are looking for a main camera.

Just trying to help people as well as possible.
Burnt Umber 7 years ago
Johnny Martyr Individual experiences vary. My dealings on Craigslist and Ebay (over 400) have been flawed by only two experiences. My experiences with HEH which are much more limited have been excellent as well.

I like Craigslist because you can touch the gear. You can operate the camera before you buy it. Both my Mamiya and Ricohflex were bought through this service and I knew what was wrong with them when I bought them and more importantly before cash exchanged hands.
Johnny Martyr Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Johnny Martyr (member) 7 years ago
Sure experience varies. My experience from Craigslist and eBay have been very mixed. I've had to return the last 3 or 4 things I've purchased from eBay (the site seems to be getting worse with popularity) and there just aren't enough local film shooters in my area to fill Craigslist with ample reliable ads (although I recently got a Leica for a steal on CL.)

As far as Craigslist goes, if someone is looking for a specific piece of gear, it's unlikely they will find it there within a reasonable amount of time since listings are random. You also have to vy with who knows how many other people when a specific item does arise in your area. eBay carries just about everything at any given time but the random element comes from the source of these items and the potential lack of knowledge of them or flat out fraudulent sellers. Both these random elements are removed when purchasing from KEH or the like.

I think these non-professional venues are worth mentioning, but to the novice collector/shooter, I'm going to tell them to buy from a conventional store to cut variation back as much as possible. As they continue to acquire cameras, I'm sure the'll end up like us, learning how to evaluate or paying for it and scoring great deals when their knowledge and skill develop.

Being able to try the gear out beforehand is invaluable and so perhaps local reputable stores are the absolute best source, when they are available.
Contrabass 7 years ago
For the newbie, definitely has the right idea, for exactly the right reasons.

Heck, even as someone who knows how to examine a body/lens for proper operation in a minute or two, I still can't be bothered to deal with eBay. Sure, it's great so long as everything's on the up-and-up. It really turns into a giant, time-sucking hassle when the seller does something wrong (innocently or otherwise). I have twin toddlers and a full-time job; what little free time I have is not best spent arguing with goofball sellers, eBay or PayPal.

I've had decent luck with Craigslist locally: Everything I got as far as meeting up to check out, was fine and we closed the deal.
Johnny Martyr Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Johnny Martyr (member) 6 years ago
Thank you Contrabass. I don't think that over 10 years worth of shooting with K1000's makes me a newbie but perhaps in the broader scheme of things!

All I'm trying to do is provide people with reliable sugestions.
Contrabass 6 years ago
Ha, oh, I know you're not a noob!

The old mostly-manual cameras aren't too tough to check out, if you know what you're looking for. I picked up a second Pentax MX recently from KEH. The metering was sometimes wonky-- sometimes not responding to setting the aperture. (Didn't take long to notice it, though it was intermittent.) Discouraged, I was all prepared to just send it back to KEH, when I decided to trouble shoot it a bit first.

Since I know how the K mount works, I ultimately was able to trace the problem to the aperture follower lever on the mount. It was positioned too close to the mount, so sometimes it wouldn't catch the corresponding bit on the lens. Visually compared it with my other MX and K1000; carefully bent it out to match the other two cameras, and now it works perfectly.

But, no noob would have a prayer with that, and if they'd bought from someplace without a warranty, they'd be up the creek. Heck, I'd be up the creek in that case too, if it didn't turn out to be something was trivially able to tackle myself. Just like you say.

I always recommend KEH to people looking for something interesting and used to try shooting film with, for all the reasons you say. I wish I knew a local shop to recommend. (I live in a major city, so you'd think I'd have found one by now, too.)
ryan.acree 6 years ago
A local camera store here in Nashville sells CLA'd Pentax K1000's that are ready to go! They have a local guy that does all the work to make sure they are as good as new. Last time I was in there a couple of weeks ago they had 3 or 4 K1000's. They sell many other cameras, but only the K1000's are pre-CLA'd for optimal performance.

Call them, they likely have some available.
pentaxian.todd [deleted] Posted 6 years ago. Edited by pentaxian.todd (member) 6 years ago
In my experience, Craigslist is great for film cameras at low prices. I agree with Johnny Martyr above that if you need something now, Ebay is the answer, as you have to keep an eye out on Craigslist for that special deal that comes around who knows when. I also agree with Johnny that if you're going to deal on Ebay or Craigslist you should know what you're looking for and how to evaluate the item being sold.

I have found some good deals on Craigslist over the past several months. For example, I bought a Spotmatic SP that came with a Super-Takumar 50mm 1.4 lens for $30. I've also bought a K1000 that looked like it had barely been used for $25. And each of these came with flash and one with a camera bag, too. Also as mentioned above, doing business in town lets you get your hands on it. The other thing is, you can find some great lenses that come with older film cameras (that's why I have 3 K1000's). You usually have to inquire about the lens, because most of the time the only info is about the camera. And usually they are being sold by persons who know practically nothing about photography and think (like more and more non-photographers these days) that anything having to do with an "ancient" film camera probably isn't worth much. After all, they ask, who shoots film anymore?!
ryan.acree 6 years ago
It seems someone made a post here praising me, but then retracted it.

Anyway, PSU sells a K1000 kit for $169 and guarantee it for 60 days. If you want a reliable camera and not have to worry about it for years, they are local, nice, and reliable people.

I wish every major city had a place like this. Although they sell their stuff at full retail. Which is not good for the new stuff, but at least for the used/old stuff comes with a warranty. The in town pro photo shop has much more reasonable prices on new stuff - developers, film, etc.

I'd say I was lucky buying my Nikon FE2 on ebay because everything works well. And although my seals likely need replacement, I see no light leaks (yet).

If you are just beginning with film, it is important to have reliable equipment so you can trust what is going on. So the lesson is just be careful of what you are buying and do a little research beforehand.
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