This may be the easiest camera review I’ll ever write.
That’s because the Pentax KM is in almost every way the same camera as the Pentax K1000. You see, the KM came first, in 1975. Then in 1976 Pentax removed the KM’s depth-of-field preview button and self timer, called it the K1000, and launched one of the most iconic SLRs of all time.
So if you go read my writeup about the Pentax K1000, you will know almost everything about the KM. They function the same. That cuts at least five paragraphs from this review right there!
My KM belonged to my longtime friend Michael, who parted with it so it could have a place in the Jim Grey Home for Wayward Cameras. That’s Michael there in 1986, shooting me with this KM as I shot him, probably with my Kodak VR35 K40.
And here’s this KM today. I was glad to get it because I know Michael takes excellent care of his things. It performs like new.
As you can see, this KM came with a 55 mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax lens. It also came with a 28 mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M lens and an 80-200 mm f/4 Sears zoom lens. I dropped in a roll of Fujicolor 200 and an LR44 cell to power the light meter and got right to shooting. I tried all three lenses. The 28 mm lens was attached when I shot this tulip in my front yard.
I attached the Sears zoom lens and stood near the front of my house to shoot the house across the street, formerly abandoned but now being flipped (thank goodness). A shrub from my front bed is in the lower right corner of the image; it was maybe 15 feet in front of where I was standing.
I had the most fun, and was most impressed, with the 55 mm lens. I attached it and headed to the freshly renovated Juan Solomon Park near my home to shoot its new playground equipment.
It had recently rained.
I was very impressed with the results from the 55 mm lens for its crisp details, easy blurred backgrounds, and great color that is somehow more bold and interesting than real life.
See my full Pentax KM gallery here.
I liked my Pentax KM just fine, but I find my smaller and lighter Pentax ME to be more comfortable to hold and use. Because of that, so far it’s my favorite SLR. Since both cameras share the same K lens mount, one of these days I’ll attach the 55 mm lens to my ME and see if it yields the same magic as it did on my KM.
Do you like vintage cameras? Then check out my entire collection!