The 5 Best Pentax K1000 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: April 19, 2020
Outside the Shot participates in affiliate advertising programs. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links on this site. I may also earn commissions from links to other online retailers. You can see the full disclosure here.
Best K-mount lenses for the Pentax K1000 Camera Lenses

The Pentax K1000 is a legendary 35mm film SLR camera. This page will cover the 5 best Pentax K-mount lenses, plus a handful of alternative lenses.

Here is the list of the best Pentax K1000 lenses:

  1. Kit Lens - SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7
  2. Wide Angle Lens - SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8
  3. Portrait Lens - SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5
  4. Zoom Lens - Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5
  5. Macro Lens - SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro

The best Pentax K mount lenses are categorized by price and type of photography. There are many recommended options to select from that are in price ranges ideal for the value of the camera.

Standard Lenses

Here is a selection of 50mm focal lengths that can be used with the K1000. Back when the camera was sold as new, there would have been a discount to buy a 50mm lens with the camera as a kit.

They are known as standard lenses because the angle of view for the lens is close to what people see with their eyes.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7

Pentax K1000 50mm Lens
  • "Kit" lens for the K1000.
  • Terrific value.
  • Light, small, and compact.
  • 49mm front filter threads.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

If you don't already own it, a good first lens to get for the K1000 is the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7. The 50mm f1.7 is readily available, has nice photo quality, is inexpensive, compact, and lightweight. More photos have been taken with this lens than any other on the camera.

You can also buy the second version, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4

Best K-mount Lens
  • Exceptional optics.
  • Optical multi-coatings to improve performance.
  • Easy to find.
  • Comparatively inexpensive.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 is almost a stop faster than the f/1.7, at the added cost of weight, size. Expect to pay more than you would for an f/1.7 or f/2 lens. The previous version, SMC Pentax, and later version, SMC Pentax-A, will both work with the K1000.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2

Just like all of the other camera manufactures, Pentax released a 50mm "halo" lens. The SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 is a huge, fast, and expensive piece of glass.

The lens can be difficult to find because it can be used on Pentax DSLRs so the appeal extends beyond use with film cameras. If you want to track down a copy you may need to check and see what's available over weeks or months.

Find at: eBay or KEH

Alternative Standard Lens Options

Below are several other good lenses that are comparable options. As well as alternative options if you prefer 28mm or 35mm focal lengths.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 50mm f/2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 35mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Wide Angle Lenses

SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8

Pentax K1000 28mm Lens
  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Super Multi Coating (SMC) to improve output.
  • Many copies are available.
  • Relatively inexpensive.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8 isn't the best option. In fact, many people might not even consider it to be a wide angle lens. However, it is significantly cheaper than any wider option.

There are plenty of wider Pentax focal lengths to select from, but they are either way more expensive or third-party options have noticeable amounts of barrel distortion. Beyond that, it is easy to see chromatic aberrations and other optical defects in third-party offerings.

Alternative Wide Angles

In terms of price, the relationship is easy to understand. The wider the field of view, the costlier the lens will likely be. Fast lenses will also be more expensive.

Also, keep in mind that these do not have all the corrections that modern wide angle lenses have. The most obvious issue with vintage wide angles will be noticeable barrel distortion.

SMC Pentax-M 20mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 18mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 24mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Portrait & Telephoto Lenses

SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5

Pentax K1000 Telephoto Lens
  • 85mm substitute.
  • Excellent value.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Widely available.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

85mm focal length lenses weren't as widely used as they are today compared to when the K1000 was first released back in 1976. 100mm or 135mm focal lengths were more widely used thanks to their more affordable cost.

You can see the price difference when you view available listings online.

Alternative Telephotos

There's an abundance of additional telephoto lenses to choose from. 85mm and focal lengths longer than 135mm will be expensive.

SMC Pentax 85mm f/1.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 85mm f/2.2 SoftAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 120mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Zoom Lenses

Before the introduction of autofocus, in the early 1980s, there were a small number of lenses made by third-party manufacturers that performed better than what Pentax was offering.

A large number of these top performers were released with the Vivitar brand name. Any zoom lens that has the Vivitar Series 1 branding on it is going to have the best optics you'll see from a vintage zoom lens.

Unfortunately, finding copies of these lenses in good condition can be extremely difficult. Beyond that, no vintage zooms offer outstanding performance. If you see one for sale that is cheap enough, it may be worth picking up.

Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5

Pentax Film Lenses
  • Covers a popular zoom range.
  • Great for portrait or wildlife photography.
  • A rare time when a third-party lens is the better choice.

Also found at: eBay and KEH

Alternative Zooms

Here are a few more options that you can look at if you really want a zoom for your K1000. None of them are going to be incredible, and you'd likely be better off buying a couple of primes instead.

SMC Pentax 85-210mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 45-125mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Pentax Macro Lenses

Macro options for the Pentax K1000 suffer from supply problems. The available supply of Pentax K mount options is small, which pushes prices higher than you would pay for comparable Nikon F mount or Canon FD mount lenses.

SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro

Pentax K1000 Lens
  • Ideal focal length for 1x magnification.
  • Widely available.
  • Mediocre value.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

Some people online have experienced problems with balsam separation of the front doublet. This is worrying because even a little separation will grow over time and make it unusable. If you think you see this, avoid that copy and keep shopping.

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens manufactured by Komine
  • The second best vintage macro lens I've used.
  • An outstanding lens for close-up photography.
  • Can achieve life-size magnification without needing an extension tube.

Also found at: KEH and Adorama

My favorite vintage macro, the 90mm Vivitar, was made with a variety of camera mounts. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a copy that has a Pentax K mount.

The Vivitar 55mm is my second favorite lens, though it does have a shorter working distance than the 90mm. It is great for close-up and table top photography, but it is not the best if you want to take true macro shots at 1x magnification.

Both of the Vivitar macros were made by Komine and were released under several different brand names. If you decide to search for one also look under the Panagor, Elicar, Quantaray, Spiratone, and Rokunar brand names.

There is a Vivitar 90mm Macro Review and a Vivitar 55mm Macro Review.

For capturing photos at macro magnification (1x), focal lengths in the 90mm-105mm range will be the best choice. You'll have a large enough working distance to be able to use flash, while avoiding excessive weight and high costs that come with longer focal lengths.

Alternative Macros

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/4 MacroAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Lester A Dine 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Used Pentax Lenses

Prices change all the time depending on supply and interest in manual focus glass. During the last several years, film photography was going through an increase in popularity, which has pushed prices higher.

Additional pricing pressure comes from Pentax DSLR users buying and collecting them. Third party manufactures generally do not make anything for the K-mount, unlike the Nikon F or Canon EF mounts.

Economic conditions are constantly changing, and unexpected changes can quickly lead to changes in prices. However, the relative prices between the available Pentax K1000 lenses for sale should stay the same.

Checking several sites is an intelligent way to get accurate pricing information. If you're lucky enough to come across a great deal, buy it because the best deals do not last very long.

What Lens Mount Does the Pentax K1000 Use?

The Pentax K1000 uses the Pentax K lens mount.

Released in 1975, the Pentax K mount is still being used in cameras today. It is a replacement for the M42 screw mount that was used in previous cameras such as the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Over time changes have been made to add metering information, autofocus, electronically controlled apertures, and CPU contacts, which have changed what lenses are compatible with the Pentax K1000.

Pentax K1000 lens mount lenses need to have a physical aperture ring for them to be backward compatible. However, it does not make sense to spend money on expensive features that will not be used by the camera. The only exception would be if you also own and use Pentax DSLRs.

It is also possible to use the older M42 lenses with an adapter. People like to do this as some of the older Takumar lenses are spectacular. However, I would not recommend doing this as finding them with focus rings that are not tight can be difficult.

Standard Lens Cap Size

The standard lens cap and filter ring thread diameter used on most vintage manual focus Pentax K mount lenses is 49mm. They were originally sold with slip on caps, and not the more common center-pinch type found today. If you shop around, you'll see a lack of original caps being sold with lenses.

Keep in mind large front elements will need to use larger caps and filters.

The advantage of having a standardized filter thread size is that you only need to have a single set of filters.

Pentax-M vs Pentax-A

Pentax-M and SMC Pentax lenses have a stop-down coupler that provides a mechanical linkage to the camera. The stop-down coupler allows the camera to know what the aperture is set to so the light meter can meter correctly without having to rely on stop-down metering.

The Pentax-A series introduced the ability for the camera to control the aperture in the lens. This means that cameras that support the Pentax-A changes have the ability to do shutter priority and aperture priority modes.

However, because that feature is not supported by the camera, it does not make sense to spend money on features the camera cannot use.

Related Posts

That is it for information on the best lenses for the K1000. Here is some further information that will provide you with more information about the camera can be found at the links below:

Pentax K1000 Review
How to Load Film into the Pentax K1000
Pentax K1000 vs Canon AE-1

2 comments on “The 5 Best Pentax K1000 Lenses”

  1. Hello,
    Did Pentax make long fixed (prime) telephoto lenses other than the 135mm for their Pentax K1000 line? Like 200mm, 300mm or longer?
    Thank you

    1. Pentax made telephoto primes up to 500mm for the K and M lens variations. You can also use newer Pentax lenses on the K1000, as long as they have a physical aperture ring.

      A good condition Pentax SMC 200mm f/4 lens can be found for under $100. Longer and/or faster lenses that are worth using are going to cost $500+. At that price level, I think people should evaluate their needs and consider a medium format camera system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright ©2020 Midwest Redistributors LLC