The Pentax K1000 offers great image quality and versatility even with a kit lens, but if you really want to take your photography to the next level then investing in one of the best Pentax K1000 lenses is a must.
I’ve had my K1000 for a few years and thanks to being a full-time photographer have had the opportunity to use just about every compatible lens on the market. For this article I’ve laid out the top lens options for every photography style you can use your Pentax for.
Top Pentax K1000 Standard Lenses
Most likely your K1000 came with a kit 50mm lens. It was nice to get you started but if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to upgrade that 50mm lens. Because this is the standard lens (it replicates what is seen by the human eye) having a high quality model will instantly make your photo quality insanely better. So make sure to grab one of these great lenses.
SMC Pentax M 50mm f/1.4
Excellent Image Quality
This 50mm Pentax K1000 lens is one step above the kit lens everyone has. That makes it well worth the relatively low cost this lens generally is found at. It offers improved image quality and a more durable build and design. It offers you what I consider a solid daily performer. It’s not the best in this class of lenses (that one is coming up) but if your budget is lower this is a great step up from what you currently are shooting with.
SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.4
Best 50mm K1000 Lens
This easily my first choice for 50mm lenses for a Pentax K1000 camera. This is the top performing 50mm I’ve ever shot with my Pentax. It offers top of the line build quality (this lens is big and heavy) and provides extremely fast performance making it a big step up from the kit lens on your camera right now. This lens is not always available so when you see it available snatch it up fast.
Best Wide Angle Lenses for Pentax K1000
SMC Pentax M 28mm f/2.8
Low Cost Option
If you want a great start for a lens collection then make sure to grab a top wide angle lens wot go along with your standard and you are well on your way. This k1000 lens is not my first choice but it is the best low cost wide angle lens currently available. It is not the widest angle option either, so consider this a solid intermediate lens that you will want to upgrade from when your budget allows.
If you can go with a higher price tag definitely go with one of the following wide angle lenses for your Pentax K1000
Best Pentax K1000 Telephoto and Portrait Lens
SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5
Best Low Cost Portrait Lens for K1000
Every photographer should have one of these lenses due to their versatility and low cost. It’s impossible to not get your money’s worth as a matter of fact. While this isn’t the only wide angle lens I keep in my bag (I have each of the following lenses as well) this one is a great start. It does well with portraits and even nature photography under the right circumstances.
While I highly recommend each of the following wide angle lenses, if your budget can’t allow all of them, at least get one of the 85mm models. You will thank me later
Top Pentax K1000 Zoom Lens Picks
Pentax zoom lenses for the K1000 are hard to find. There are a number of cheap, low quality lenses I see fairly regularly but I don’t recommend getting those unless you just need something you don’t care about kicking around. The best zoom lenses are going to be Vivitar and they are not easy to find. So don’t be surprised if some (or all) of my top picks aren’t available. But if they are I highly recommend you snag them while you can.
Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD
Great All Around Zoom Lens
I’ve had this lens for years and I love it. I take it out of my bag every chance I get and use it most often for nature and portrait sessions. It performs significantly better than the Pentax brand zoom lenses so if you find one definitely grab it. I love the performance and image quality and it is well worth the investment.
Here are a few more of my favorite zoom lenses
Top Pentax K1000 Macro Lens
If you think finding zoom lenses for your K1000 is difficult you haven’t seen anything yet. Macro lenses in K mount are very hard to find. So for my picks you may never see some of them available. So just like the zooms above, if you do see any of these for sale don’t hesitate it picking them up.
SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro Lens
Easiest To Find Macro Lens For K1000
This is a solid macro lens and offers the perfect focal length for 1x magnification. It is great for most macro subjects and is the most widely available model in the category. The price does tend to be a little steep but supply and demand dictates the current price. One important note is that these lenses tend to suffer from balsam separation which will render the lens useless in time so avoid any lenses that show this.
Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro
Great All Around Macro Lens
This Vivitar model is hard to find but not impossible. It offers excellent magnification and great image quality. I particularly like using it for table top macro photography. It is a lot of fun to shoot with and offers surprising build quality. You can find decent alternate models from other makers such as Elicar, Spiratone, and Rokunar. If you find one of these around I highly recommend you grab one before it’s too late.
The best focal lengths for shooting macro photography are from 90mm to 105mm. The following picks do come up for sale from time to time but don’t expect them to be easy to find.
Things To Keep In Mind When Getting A Used Pentax Lens
The supply of vintage Pentax cameras compatible with a K1000 is not enough for the demand. This is due in part to the unique quality of these old lenses but a collector market has emerged which has made them more expensive and harder to find.
Another issue comes from the lack of production interest from third party lens manufacturers. Unlike Nikon and Canon, Pentax does not get the same love meaning fewer options are out there.
But all markets can change meaning that prices could go up even more or they could drop back to more reasonable levels.
What Lens Mount Does the Pentax K1000 Use?
All Pentax K1000 Cameras Use A Pentax K Lens Mount
Even though the K1000 was first released back in 1975, the k mount system is still in use today. The K mount system is far better than it’s predecessor, the M42 screw mount. The K mount has evolved and today offers autofocus, controlled apertures, metering info, and even CPU contacts. This means many modern K mount lenses will not be compatible with your K1000.
When looking at a lens for your camera be sure it offers a physical aperture ring. Because of the variability in compatibility many Pentax enthusiasts will have a modern Pentax camera to offset the low lens options out there for the k1000.
Another great way to expand your lens inventory is to grab great M42 lenses as they are compatible with an adapter. Always check the fit first though as I’ve found sometimes even the adapter doesn’t create a secure fit.
As you can tell, it’s not as easy to get a top lens for your Pentax K1000 as it is with a modern DSLR. But with how much fun they are to shoot with the search for the best lens is like a treasure hunt. When you find any of these lenses out in the wild I say it’s well worth grabbing them. They are great performers and they hold their value very well.