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Non-functioning K3 - any advice?


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#1 Michael Waite

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 09:26 AM

So, a K3 arrived in the post today, reasonably well packed & looks in good cosmetic condition, however it doesn't work. I wound the main spring (anti-clockwise), pushed the shutter button & nothing happens. I've read up a bit about them - previous troubleshooting threads on this forum & the manual & videos at the k3camera site, so I think I know the basics of how they work.

There is one thing I have noticed when looking into the film loading area. Not sure of the correct names of the parts but there is a black spool just to the right of the film gate which is surrounded by four rollers set in pairs, 2 above and 2 below. From looking at the manual I think the black spool is the main sprocket, not sure if the small rollers have a name but the film runs between them & the main sprocket.

In a video I watched about how to load film in the K3 I saw the operator was able to pull the roller assemblies away from the main sprocket for ease of getting the film in. However on my camera these roller assemblies appear to be jammed in position, with gentle pressure I cannot get them to move. Does this suggest what the camera problem might be? I know there is a small catch off the side of the main sprocket near the film gate that gets pulled aside to allow the rollers to open up but moving this makes no difference. I'm thinking that something is seized inside & that's why nothing happens when I press the shutter.

I'd appreciate if anyone with inside experience of these cameras could give me some advice. I'm prepared to have a go at repairing it if I have an idea of what section to work on. By the way, this is the second K3 I've paid for. The first was posted from Poland in mid November & has never arrived. Perhaps I'll get post office compensation down the track. So now I've bought this one that was DOA. All I want to do is shoot some film.
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#2 Jack Schwitz

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 12:19 AM

WOW what a bummer of a story! im sorry to hear about all your trouble. My k3 has been in the closet for quite some time, but i believe you should be able to slightly pull up on those guides to move them out of the way. and what is anti-clockwise? if i remember the pain in my hands and fingers correctly the camera winds clockwise. not counter or anti...(?) keep poking around in that thing. maybe remove the back plate and have a look at the gears that drive it. its really not the most advanced device and you should be able to connect the dots and see whats locked or broken as soon as you remove the back plate! if you have anymore questions ask away. i am a big fan of this camera for the price and its just not fair that yours is giving you so much trouble.
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#3 Michael Waite

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:28 AM

i believe you should be able to slightly pull up on those guides to move them out of the way. and what is anti-clockwise?

You're right, I worked that out today, pull up on them slightly & they move out of the way. So that's not an indicator of the problem. I suspect it's something to do with the shutter button action. It doesn't feel right when I press it, like it doesn't travel far enough. I did have a look inside & can't see anything that is obviously broken or out of position. I'm going to try & find a technician in Sydney to look at it, if that doesn't work out I'll be arguing with a guy in Ukraine about a refund & looking to buy a third one.
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 09:52 AM

"Anti-Clockwise" must be Australian for "Counter Clockwise."

Michael, I admire your strength of character to work through the issues with your K-3. Unfortunately by the time you put it in a shop you could have bought another one. They are kind of disposable in that regard.

If all you want to do is shoot some film I would consider looking at something like a Scoopic. I've had about 5 of those over the years and had no problems whatsoever. With K3s you either get one that's fine or a lemon. I was lucky and like my K3 (except for the winding) but I almost always pick up my Scoopic for casual shoots. Easiest loading camera ever made and built in meter is excellent.
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#5 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:17 PM

Try activating the motor with a cable release. There are two cable release holes - one for continuous running and one for single frame. Try both. The continuous running one is in the trigger button itself. The other is at the rear of the camera (down low).
I agree with the above poster who said fix it yourself - not worth paying money to fix it. Take the inside plate out (instructions are on the net somewhere) and stare at the mechanics until you can see how it works (or should work).
rt
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#6 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:20 PM

Try activating the motor with a cable release. There are two cable release holes - one for continuous running and one for single frame. Try both. The continuous running one is in the trigger button itself. The other is at the rear of the camera (down low).
I agree with the above poster who said fix it yourself - not worth paying money to fix it. Take the inside plate out (instructions are on the net somewhere) and stare at the mechanics until you can see how it works (or should work).
rt
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#7 Ian Cooper

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 03:43 AM

Try activating the motor with a cable release. There are two cable release holes - one for continuous running and one for single frame. Try both. The continuous running one is in the trigger button itself. The other is at the rear of the camera (down low).
I agree with the above poster who said fix it yourself - not worth paying money to fix it. Take the inside plate out (instructions are on the net somewhere) and stare at the mechanics until you can see how it works (or should work).
rt


If you do decide to remove the inside plate yourself to see the 'inner works' (it's quite easy and I've described the process on the forum here in the past), do be careful.

You've put that the camera has been wound up, but won't run. This clearly means the spring is still fully wound. The spring winding ratchet pawls are positioned on the rear of the insert plate that you're about to remove. If you just lift the plate out then the spring will suddenly unwind in one go: If it doesn't actually cause any damage in the process, then at the very least you'll need a change of trousers as you wonder what on earth just happened!!

To unwind the spring would probably be easiest with a helper. You need to hold the camera and winding key securely when you remove the plate. With the plate out the full spring force will be on the winding key, you can now 'unwind' the key until the spring force has been released.

With the plate out you can see all the gears inside, together with the trigger release mechanism, and should be able to follow through why it isn't running.

There are guides online and notes here on the forum about putting it all back together again as well.
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#8 Michael Waite

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 11:19 PM

I showed it to a camera technician & he found the problem pretty quickly. Next to the shutter trigger button is the main shaft from the spring that drives everything. At the top of this shaft is a brass adjusting screw set in a piece of cast iron. The cast iron has been slightly bent at some time, probably by being dropped when the front cover was off - couldn't have happened during shipping or anytime the cover was on. It may be fixable by adding a washer under the cast iron to get it back in alignment - can't try to bend the cast iron or it will break. By loosening the screws under the cast iron he did get the camera to run. My options are to pack it up & send back to Ukraine & try for a refund, which would be a pain in the arse & cost me about $100. Or, let the tech have a go at correcting it. He mostly does still cameras but is excellent at what he does & if a simple washer fixes it them I'm in business shooting film. Will report back when i have a conclusion. BTW I did take the baffle plate off when the spring was fully wound & nothing happened - obviously due to the stuck shaft.
Thanks for the advice everyone.
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#9 Michael Waite

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 04:59 AM

Update - my repair guy got the camera running by using a washer to get the shaft back into alignment. Everything else seems OK. Over the past few days I exposed two rolls of Kodak 250D that are currently at Deluxe Sydney for processing. Should be ready in the next day or so. They're very nice people at Deluxe, by the way. I'll have it telecined along with some Single 8 that I just sent to Japan for processing, so I probably won't get to view the footage for a week or so. The film looked & sounded to be running through the camera smoothly. The repair cost was very reasonable & the seller is going to refund 10% of the purchase price so things have worked out slightly better than they might have. Thanks for all the advice.

I also picked up a B+W 77mm 1 stop ND filter on sale for $45 which was a good deal. I can use it on the K3 lens & a couple of my Canon still lenses.
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#10 Michael Waite

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 09:48 AM

K3 footage
Here's a link to a brief clip showing how the K3 footage looks. It has the potential to be nice but there is a serious problem with image stability. I sat in on the telecine & the operator reckoned it was caused by a shutter problem. It's the irregular vertical jerkiness, should be obvious even on youtube.

I bought this camera after waiting more than 2 months for the first K3 I ordered to arrive. The day after I exposed this test footage the original camera was delivered. It took over 3 months & I suspect that Australia Post had mislaid it. I didn't have any film to test it with but it looks in great condition and seems to run very well. So I think if the first camera had been delivered on schedule I would have had a well functioning camera & no need to stuff about with the problems the second camera has caused me.
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#11 Ian Cooper

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:52 AM

K3 footage
Here's a link to a brief clip showing how the K3 footage looks. It has the potential to be nice but there is a serious problem with image stability. I sat in on the telecine & the operator reckoned it was caused by a shutter problem. It's the irregular vertical jerkiness, should be obvious even on youtube...



I doubt it's anything to do with the shutter - that doesn't come into contact with the film in any way. The registration issues are more likely to be down to the pull-down claw/pressure plate.

Does the camera still have the auto-loop formers? Perhaps these aren't moving totally out of the way causing occasional contact with the film? If the loop formers have been removed (recommeded) then make sure the top and bottom loops are generous enough, but not so large the film will rub against the side of the camera body.
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#12 Michael Waite

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 08:52 AM

Hi Ian, it does still have the loop formers & your explanation makes sense. I'll remove them & try again. Thanks.
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#13 Ian Cooper

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:27 AM

Hi Ian, it does still have the loop formers & your explanation makes sense. I'll remove them & try again. Thanks.


It's not guaranteed to be the cause, but at the very least removing the loop formers will reduce the risk of scratches and occasional film jams.
Forming the loops manually is dead easy on a K3.
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#14 Colum O Dwyer

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:44 PM

Update - my repair guy got the camera running ...


That's very interesting - I had pretty much the exact same problem (trigger did nothing etc.) and even after having a look around in the guts of the thing I came up with nothing.

Pity the project it was bought for was a few months ago.
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#15 John Sprung

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:57 PM

I had pretty much the exact same problem (trigger did nothing etc.) and even after having a look around in the guts of the thing I came up with nothing.


One thing to look for on all old Russian cameras: The lubricants they used need to be cleaned out and replaced from time to time, because they harden with age. First thing to check on any Russian camera that won't run, or is hard to inch.




-- J.S.
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#16 Colum O Dwyer

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 03:51 PM

One thing to look for on all old Russian cameras: The lubricants they used need to be cleaned out and replaced from time to time, because they harden with age. First thing to check on any Russian camera that won't run, or is hard to inch.

-- J.S.


I never did that, which is surely something that should've occurred to me. May be time to big the thing out from the depths of whatever cupboards it's in - Thanks.

Any sort of lubricant in particular?
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#17 John Sprung

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 06:52 PM

I'd probably just use the Arri special grease. Tim Carroll would know better than I would.




-- J.S.
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