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Concerns while preparing for a shoot with the K-3

Krasnogorsk-3 K-3 Meteor 5-1 16mm Repair

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#1 Brett Allbritton

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 08:23 PM

Hello everyone,

I've been lurking on these forums for a couple of years now, but this is my first time posting. Usually whenever I've had questions I can find answers here, and I'd like to thank you all because I have learned so much from this community.

 

I have some concerns about my Krasnogorsk-3 that I'd like to discuss. I've been interested in learning to shoot on film, and I managed to purchase one back in January for about $60 after shipping. For a simple camera to learn on, I thought the price was great.

 

As far as I can tell it runs smoothly and is in pretty good condition, but of course I'm not quite experienced enough to make that call. There are two things that I've noticed might be issues for my camera though, and before I start a short personal project I plan on doing soon, I'd like to get everyone's insight on it.

 

One problem is that the top loop former doesn't move when I push down the plunger. I can physically pull it up myself, but it doesn't open up the way the bottom loop former does. At first I wasn't that worried about this because I was thinking I'd remove these anyway, but after watching the disassembly and reassembly videos several times, I chickened out and will likely send it to a professional for that if need be.

 

The second problem is something I noticed that seems different about mine compared to those I see in Youtube videos about loading the camera. In a couple of these videos, the rollers that you feed the film into are able to open up slightly, as can be seen in this video here at 1:22. When I tried that, they won't budge at all.

 

Are these serious problems for my K-3? Will it still work despite these issues? I appreciate any insight you all may have.


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#2 Wiliam Cardoza

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 08:47 PM

Opening up rollers, you mean like at 00:36?

Have you tried pulling up? 

Use the tips of your fingers and you can feel where just the top part disengages etc.


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#3 Brett Allbritton

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 09:00 PM

Oh! I just tried again and it worked. I never realized you had to pull up the top part before you move it. Thanks, Wiliam, that solved one problem. :)


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#4 Brett Allbritton

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 03:59 PM

An update:

I got my K-3 back yesterday after having the loop formers removed and the camera cleaned, and I'm really happy with the result. I've even been able to practice loading it with some scrap film and I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Does anyone have any advice on cleaning the gate? The manual I found for it online suggests using a Q-Tip, but I feel like this would just end up leaving little strands of cotton behind. I'm thinking of just using an air blower I have for my lenses, but I thought perhaps someone here might know some good tricks.


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 05:29 AM

I agree about the Q-tip- a 1/2" paintbrush is about right for 16mm. Careful with the air in case it just carries stuff into the mechanism. Depending on your eyesight you could check for hairs with a magnifying glass. Tweezers are helpful if you're careful with the metal.

For the film path, to prevent emulsion buildup, the usual recommendation is an orange stick or similar polished wooden pointy thing. I suspect that cocktail sticks aren't well enough finished and might leave splinters.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 20 October 2016 - 05:31 AM.

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#6 Brett Allbritton

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 03:15 PM

Thanks, Mark! By the way, I saw your video on how to load it and it was very helpful.

I got worried about keeping the gate clean while practicing loading it. I used the same 3' piece of scrap film multiple times, then wondered if maybe that would leave behind some kind of residue. I also didn't have an extra metal spool to use, and had to use the plastic ones; the sprockets don't seem to fit properly on those.

Do you typically clean it every time you load a new roll of film? I'm sure that I have a clean, unused paintbrush somewhere that should be useful.


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#7 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 10:31 AM

I'd clean every roll but emulsion buildup isn't very rapid- more of an issue with 35mm. where the film runs much faster and 1000' at a time. I probably wouldn't bother with the orange stick unless I actually saw some buildup.

Don't use the plastic spool with good film- the flanges are too flexible and it will not be lightproof. Your lab may have a spare or two.

Incidentally I have never used the K3 except to clip-test some old VNF which I developed in a bucket, but it didn't come out. My last Super-8 film was finished 15 years ago and I haven't shot 16mm. since 1991. I get to run some on the Steenbeck occasionally. Good luck.


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#8 Samuel Berger

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 01:36 AM

Any idea how to apply oil to lube the K-3? It's not in the manual. There are oil holes in my Bell & Howell Filmo 70-DR that are very useful for that camera, but I don't know how to oil the K3....


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#9 Samuel Berger

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 10:40 PM

I've just run a test roll through the K-3 and I swear it's an incredibly annoying thing to use after doing so well with the Filmo. The only advantage to the K-3 is the reflex viewfinder. It's noisier than the Filmo, rattles a lot, but the most annoying thing about it is how quickly the spring unwinds. The Filmo 70-DR actually allows me to shoot for a long time on one winding.

 

Sending the roll to Cinelab tomorrow, I don't expect any miracles though.


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#10 Gareth Blackstock

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 08:41 PM

Hello,
You don't sound like a very happy K3 owner! You do know you are meant to carry vodka while shooting? It eases the pain.
I shot some test footage recently trying out a camera mount, and I thought the K3 footage was great, taking into account the expired film and hand processing, honestly the more I use the K3 the more I like it.

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=zpkhTULIsek

Cheap to buy, easy to fix, simple to run, and if it falls over? It still runs!
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#11 Samuel Berger

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 01:40 AM

Hello,
You don't sound like a very happy K3 owner! You do know you are meant to carry vodka while shooting? It eases the pain.
I shot some test footage recently trying out a camera mount, and I thought the K3 footage was great, taking into account the expired film and hand processing, honestly the more I use the K3 the more I like it.

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=zpkhTULIsek

Cheap to buy, easy to fix, simple to run, and if it falls over? It still runs!

 

I'm alcohol intolerant but I understand the spirit of it. My main frustration is the spring running time and how long it takes to wind it back up. I timed 28 seconds of running time and 36 seconds to wind it back up. You miss out on a lot by doing that. The Filmo has a ratchet-style wind up mechanism that lasts much longer and winds up much faster. I don't know why those commies didn't just reverse engineer the Filmo like they did the Moviecam Super America decades later and give it a reflex viewfinder.

 

I think the K-3 is very fun for a day at the Lunapark or the zoo or some such thing where speed isn't critical. But I wanted to use it to cover my kids' indoor sports events and I don't think it's ideal. A floor routine in gymnastics, for example, lasts 45 seconds to a minute. I would miss a big part of it. A Judo match can take longer than 30 seconds till someone hits the mat, etc.. So for those particular purposes I can't recommend the K-3.

 

But yes it's an okay camera for stuff that isn't time-critical or that requires long takes. I'm not getting rid of mine anytime soon.


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#12 Gareth Blackstock

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 04:21 AM

I reckon the bell & Howell 240 series 16mm might fit the bill, each wind lasts over a minute, nice indicator to show how much to wind, and pretty quiet. Just don't get the EE model, can't remove the lens, the other 240s take a C mount.

I like using this one!
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#13 Doug Palmer

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 05:35 AM

I reckon the bell & Howell 240 series 16mm might fit the bill, each wind lasts over a minute, nice indicator to show how much to wind, and pretty quiet. Just don't get the EE model, can't remove the lens, the other 240s take a C mount.

I like using this one!

Beautifully made and as sturdy as the K3. And easy to wind up, along with the extensive duration

Samuel, why not take two K-3s to the Judo match. Wrist exercising good and keeps you warm :D


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