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Am I crazy to buy a K3 from DuAll or K3Camera?


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#1 Mark Sperry

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:10 PM

I want to get a K-3 16mm and probably have it S16 modified. I can get it on ebay un-modified for about 200 bucks, or from DuAll or K3Camera for 5-800 dollars. What's the best route to go here? Take the risk or deal with the actual dealers?

Thanks in advance.
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#2 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:36 AM

There are many things that are typically wrong with K3 cameras. Often there is a problem with the trigger. The light meter can also not work at all. And other problems on from there.
My recomendation would be don't buy a K3 at all. They are toy cameras compared to a bolex. If you get a K3, you will find it a frustrating and disapointing machine to use.
That said, if you must buy one, buy a cheap one and get the feel of the quality. Better still, borrow one for a while. You will come back to bolex.
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

eBay is a crap shoot with these cameras, although I got lucky. Buying from a store you'll at least know that it will work.

The thing that gets tiresome with the K3 is the winding. The handle is not very comfortable to wind and after an afternoon of shooting your hand will hurt. It may be a toy next to a Bolex, but if you have a working one, they are easier to shoot handheld with. I've gotten some amazing images out of mine. Those Super Takumar Pentax M42 mount lenses are great,

That being said, I have probably the most tricked out K3 alive today (without a motor); modified to Super 16, re-centered lens, laser brightened & widened view finder, problematic loop guides removed and serviced by Bernie at Super 16 Inc. I haven't shot with it for three years since I moved to Scoopics in 16mm.

If you are serious about the K3, PM me with an offer. I would run a roll through it to test before selling it. I have no idea if the meter works, I've never used the internal meter as I was told it was notoriously inaccurate. I always use external meters.
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#4 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:42 AM

I've bought numerous K-3's off Ebay without incident. Some where like-new and some were pretty beat-up, all were reliable shooters. It's probably where DuArt and k3Camera gets theirs!
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#5 Philippe Lignieres

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:11 AM

Just my opinion : Try to get a good one at a good price with M42 mount on Ebay. A good one is one with a good steady registration and the best zoom you can find. Regular spring, about 25s is OK. If lightmeter work, it's perfect. If it seems not good enough for you , you resell this one and buy another.
For Super16, just modify the gate and go with still lenses, without re-centering the mount. If you want to re-center the mount, any precision technical will do it for you at a low price. In this case, some people say that Zoom work at any focal. As far as I know, you will never get a fullframe viewing with the viewfinder.
K3 can be a very good camera, not enough to buy it such a high price like 5/800 dollars.
I prefer buy a good 8mm Peleng and a 16mm zenitar for a handy using. After that, there are so many good photo lenses to work with...
Another thing you NEED to do (very easy) : remove these damned loopers, they are here only to jam the film !
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#6 Anand Modi

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:24 PM

If you're thinking about a k3, I have one with a TCS crystal motor for sale so it can shoot locked 24 and also ramp speed. m42 mount. PM if you're interested and I can provide pictures and more info.
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#7 Tony Wayne

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 02:10 PM

Hey all,

Not to steal Mark's thread, but I'm in a sorta similar boat:

I'm a student with one year left on my degree. I never shot film until this past semester on an Arri SR3. I loved the experience and now I'm trying to learn more / possibly buy my own camera.

I never heard of the K3 until today, honestly. However, I found one on Craigslist for $200. I have no clue how to tell if it's in good condition or not, and it surely isn't crystal synced (and I would definitely want to film dialogue with whatever 16mm I purchased).

Considering I am on a budget and want to record dialogue, should I be considering the K3 at all?

Thank you for any help.
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#8 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 08:28 PM

Considering I am on a budget and want to record dialogue, should I be considering the K3 at all?

Thank you for any help.


No, the K-3 is loud- unless you're making a string of martial arts comedies where you plan on dubbing the dialogue in post and not having it sync up perfectly with the actor's moving lips.
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#9 Michael T Gardner

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 07:24 AM

Hey all,

Not to steal Mark's thread, but I'm in a sorta similar boat:

I'm a student with one year left on my degree. I never shot film until this past semester on an Arri SR3. I loved the experience and now I'm trying to learn more / possibly buy my own camera.

I never heard of the K3 until today, honestly. However, I found one on Craigslist for $200. I have no clue how to tell if it's in good condition or not, and it surely isn't crystal synced (and I would definitely want to film dialogue with whatever 16mm I purchased).

Considering I am on a budget and want to record dialogue, should I be considering the K3 at all?

Thank you for any help.


There are models out there with Tobin crystal motors added. I've been able to sync dialogue with it, but it worked best outdoors with long lenses because the camera sounds like a fan with a playing card stuck in front of the blade. We were able to clean up the interior scenes somewhat in post but it was far from perfect. We shot about 1000 feet and between 30-60 seconds of footage had a weird looking shutter effect and I am not sure what caused it. It made the footage unusable.

I would say unless you are shooting music videos and/or very experimental films where having a camera that doesn't really work is somehow acceptable you should spend a little extra or rent. SR2s and NPRs seem to get cheaper and cheaper and would offer a lot less headaches than a K3.
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Visual Products

Abel Cine

Glidecam

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Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

The Slider

CineLab