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Testing a new old 16mm K-3


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#1 Ira Ratner

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 07:23 PM

Making final payment tomorrow with my Ukraine connection for my 1990 model K-3, so I'll have it in a few weeks. This is what I figured I would do about testing the thing with Tri-X reversal, so tell me if this makes sense and if I missed anything:

1) I was going to create a controlled lighting situation at night in my backyard with artificial lights to test the in-camera meter versus a hand-held (which I don't have but can borrow). However, because the old K-3 can suffer from light leaks, I don't know if night testing makes sense, which won't accentuate those leaks.

2) So if I do daytime testing instead, using a clapboard, I would do that seem meter testing, but do it first without taping the film door...then taping the film door..and then also taping the film COUNTER, since I read about a K-3 owner here who had a problem with this.

Anything else you can think of? Like, should I test all of the fps settings as well?

I don't think I want to screw around with the zoom yet, because I'm pretty sure that's going to be okay. Bit I know that can wreak havoc with the tests, so for now, just ignore that?

Edited by Ira Ratner, 14 July 2008 - 07:25 PM.

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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 04:53 AM

Yeah, have them service the camera while it's right there in the Ukraine and save yourself a lotta headaches. ;)
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:33 AM

If you're concerned about light leaks you can put electrical tape around the edge, but I don't think that will be much of a problem. These are not made to be high-end cameras just keep that in mind and you'll be fine. Practicing loading is the biggest hurdle on this camera, which isn't really that bad but takes a little getting used to.

These cameras are almost never perfect out of the factory but can be adjusted by a camera tech fairly easily. Unfortunately in the U.S. it will cost you as much as the camera to get it checked out and serviced. But at least you'll have one in good shape at that point.

If you're shooting for fun don't worry too much just do the test and check it out. I've never heard of anyone using the internal meter but I suppose there's no reason not to (other than battery and accuracy issues.)

Shoot some test paterns even something like this...
Posted Image

Maybe a greycard too. It's easier to see jitter problems with a test card. You don't need artificial lights, just shoot on a sunny day.
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#4 Ira Ratner

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:38 PM

Will, I know about grey card metering, but how does that help me with more involved complete set testing?

Also, with that test image you posted, exactly how am I supposed to use that? I understand the greyscales that are there, but otherwise, what is there that will tell me anything else? If the Indian vomits, then it's no good? Also, would I use that test card at al distances/focal lengths?

I want to do dual-testing not just for the camera, but for the set as well, to achieve that silent film genre look I'm going for.

My set will be set under a canopy in my backyard at night, so I thought it important to test with the lights, backdrop, and a subject or two.

We're talking 6 ASA here.
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#5 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:20 PM

Also, with that test image you posted, exactly how am I supposed to use that? I understand the greyscales that are there, but otherwise, what is there that will tell me anything else? If the Indian vomits, then it's no good? Also, would I use that test card at al distances/focal lengths?

THe Old !41 RCA "indian Head is actually a very throiugh test for NTSC TV systems. Among other tests are frequency reposnce from Very Low (The bars at the bottom) to very High, (the wedges in the center) up to 575 TV Lines. for film use it is probaly best used just ot see if the image is framed right and is steady. That the circles stay round, and the exposure is right. if the indian does Vomit you have entered the "twilight ZONE" and you will have to Google "Ron Sterling" for assistance.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:49 PM

There are better test patterns for film, but something like this can help you focus as sharply as possible. If you're trying different lenses out it can also give you some objective way to judge sharpness. As Charles said, it's best use is probably just to see if the lines move as a tool to gauge steadyness (by the way, obviously use a good steady tripod on a solid surface).

If you're going to project the test to judge the camera, make sure you judge the projector first by running another film and looking for jitter issues. You can probably talk a telecine house into running a test and ask them to look for any issues for free.

If you're going for a "silent film" look beware that tri-X will look much better than what you're probably expecting. You might even want to consider Super 8 Tri-X to achieve that look. At the very least make sure you're telecine colorist understands what you're looking for.
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#7 Ira Ratner

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:55 PM

Thanks, guys. I understand a lot more now.

Except Rod Serling is long dead and will be of no help at all.

Edited by Ira Ratner, 17 July 2008 - 06:57 PM.

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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 09:23 AM

Except Rod Serling is long dead and will be of no help at all.

That's what you think.
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