Hi Folks -

OK, first, a reference:

Now, then...in the name of cheap film cameras, I’ve made a couple of impulse buys for no other reason than I felt like it. OK that’s not entirely true - the cameras I bought are both totally manual and I thought that would be a fun departure from the semi-automatic XG-7 (yes, I can run it in manual, but then I wouldn’t have an excuse to buy more cameras). The only electronics is a light meter, but nothing that actually controls aperture or shutter speed.

On the left, Minolta SRT-100. On the right, Pentax K-1000.


I actually had one of these when I was in high school For about 2 weeks I had a photography class in my senior year and I bought the camera from my brother (who got it when my dad bought the XG-7 in 1977, or so). I had to drop the class for schedule reasons and wound up selling the camera to the photog teacher so I could fix my car (though I can’t remember what was wrong with it, at the time). This camera came so goddamn minty, it makes me wonder if it’s ever been used. There isn’t even any wear marks on the metal or leatherette. The lens - 28 to 70mm Vivitar - is something I had on the shelf. Cost: $17.50 + shipping.


Now the Pentax is a foray into a new system. I’ve heard a lot about this model as most photography teachers recommend it due to it’s complete lack of sophistication. You make all the settings and there’s nothing to stop you from hosing up. Much like the SRT, it’s completely manual, and does have a light meter (which I’m told is excellent, but I do not know how those things are judged. In a comparison, it’s about 1/2 stop slower than the light meter app on my iPhone; I’m more inclined to believe the camera). This is not so minty. It was somewhat dirty when I got it tonight, but that was dispatched with some rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush - now the metal looks reasonably good. You can’t see it here, but the leatherette on the left side came off and has been replaced with black duct tape - that will be corrected with a new set of Camera Leather which, incidentally, arrived today. The lens is another 28 to 70mm Vivitar, but much older and so loose that it has major zoom creep. It also has an “A” setting on the aperture ring, so I need to do some research as to what the hell that’s supposed to do. Cost: $29.99 + shipping.

Some differences:

  • The Minolta has a Depth of Field preview; the Pentax doesn’t. Point: Minolta
  • The Pentax has a max shutter speed of 1/1000; the Minolta tops out at 1/500. Point: Pentax
  • The Pentax has a shutter ready signal (red poppet near the shutter release); the Minolta has none. Point: Pentax
  • The Minolta needs to have the light meter turned on and off and if you leave it on, it will drain the battery (which used to be some mercury thing, but now has a 625A which I had to buy at BatteriesPlus); The Pentax has no on/off - the meter is on all the time, but uses so little juice the battery will last for years. Also, they sell the battery at Walgreens. Point: Pentax
  • The Pentax has a hot shoe; the Minolta a cold shoe. Both have PC plugs for lights, though. Point: Pentax
  • Both have 1/60 flash synch: Point: Both
  • Using a calibrated hand, the Pentax is a few ounces lighter than the Minolta (sans lens). Point: Pentax


I think that’s it, for now. I’m about 1/2 way through the test roll on the Minolta and will be loading up the Pentax soon.