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Krasnogorsk-3 dull mirror problem

K-3 16mm Tri-X

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#1 Richard Ian

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:07 AM

Hi,

Here we are in the twilight of motion picture reversal stocks. Be that as it may be, I have spent the best part of a year learning how to load my K-3, I finally got it, and today no film jams - smooth running on Tri-X all the way ;)

I have a new lens as well, the last one was full of lens fungus :-o

The mirror through the viewfinder is dreadfully tarnished. It doesn't really bother me that much, but can I clean it? Shame to have a grubby mirror if it can be cleaned up a little.

Am in the UK btw so anything I do will have to be DIY, I don't think there are any K-3 boffins over here.

Many bests,

Ric
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

I would contact Bernie at Super16Inc. in the U.S. He has a process of polishing those mirrors and making them much brighter. He did his "laser brighten" process on mine several years ago and I loved it.

http://www.super16inc.com

If you feel comfortable removing it yourself you could probably just send him the mirror and he could polish it up for you and send back.
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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:10 PM

Hey Will, I was under the impression Bernie's "laser brighten" process involved treating the ground glass rather than the mirror?

Ric, from the admittedly little experience I have with K3s, one thing I have noticed is that the mirror scratches very easily, I'd be very careful trying to clean it. Even non-abrasive lens tissue can pick up surface crap, drag it over the surface and leave marks. Best bet (if you have to clean it) might be something like sensor cleaning swabs with isopropyl alcohol, maybe mixed with a little window cleaner, and only do small areas at a time. Use a fresh swab each time.

I'd also advise against removing the mirror yourself to get it re-polished without having the ground glass focus checked/reset afterwards. A tiny difference in the mirror height or a slight wobble as it spins and reflex focussing will go out the window.
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#4 Richard Ian

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:59 AM

Thanks, I just used isopropyl alcohol + distilled water to clean my Bolex P1 lens which was full of crap, invisible until you shone a torch across it. Thank cripes it wasn't lens fungus inside the optic though!

The trouble is with the K3 I don't know what I'm doing, I can see the shiny circular mirror in the body of the camera, but is this what I need to clean? What about the ground glass? What I see through the viewer does look like a tarnished mirror however. I'd use damp cotton buds to gently clean the mirror if I decided to go for that. If it's too tricky I'll leave it - no point in wrecking a fine camera just to keep it squeaky clean through the viewfinder.

Bests,

Ric
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#5 Simon Jon Knight

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:08 AM

Hi Ian,
Sounds like the best plan... Bernie at Super16 is very helpful but it's weighing up spending £100 sending a £100 camera over to the USA. As a UK man myself its a painful decision... Good luck.. Where are you in the UK? I'm Bristol-based.
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#6 Richard Ian

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:28 PM

Hi Simon,

I'm in south London, Clapham. There is also Sendean but they are expensive. The K-3's all locked up now with 15 feet of Tri-X inside, I am saving this for that doldrum moment over the coming holiday. The rest if the Tri-X went on lens tests for the Krasnogorsk and my H16, I have had a lot of bad luck with lenses, I am hoping these latest tests will be - at length - an all clear for my two 16mm cameras.

The K-3 I find a challenge to load, but once loaded correctly it runs like a dream :)

Bests,

Ric
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#7 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 10:22 PM

Maybe Dom can correct me, but the mirror is normally silvered on the outer surface. Really easy to scratch or mess up. Find a camera tech near you who knows film cameras. Same problem with cleaning for all cine cameras. As the price of film cameras falls, the cost of repairs will not (so much). Could also get someone to look at the camera who knows what the mirror looks like in less than perfect condition. If peoiple shooting with those mirrors are ok with that, maybe you should just get used to it. Did you compare the view from the mirror with/without the camera running?
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#8 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:44 AM

The trouble is with the K3 I don't know what I'm doing, I can see the shiny circular mirror in the body of the camera, but is this what I need to clean? What about the ground glass? What I see through the viewer does look like a tarnished mirror however.


Ah, different question.

You can't really see the mirror surface through the viewfinder, you're focussed on the ground glass. A very dirty, scratched up or tarnished mirror will reduce the brightness and clarity of your viewing image, but any mirror surface damage will be very out of focus, or invisible when it's spinning. Specks, marks or discolouration seen through the viewfinder are almost always in the viewfinder optics or something on the ground glass. I have no idea how easy it is to access those parts for cleaning in a K3. You can inspect the mirror by simply removing the lens and looking through the lens port, but I wouldn't bother cleaning it unless it really needs it - you're just as likely to make it worse (especially with cotton buds).

Maybe Dom can correct me, but the mirror is normally silvered on the outer surface. Really easy to scratch or mess up.


On professional cameras yes, but I'm pretty sure the K3 just uses a highly polished aluminium surface. I actually found it scratched easier than a silvered mirror!
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#9 Richard Ian

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 07:56 PM

Thanks Dom,

I will leave it then - taken me months but she's running as sweet as a nut now - very unforgiving on the load, but I worked out a way. In the new year I will be evaluating test footage but the frames look a-ok ;)

Ric
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#10 Richard Ian

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:02 PM

Update.

Today I filmed landscape with the K-3, nice and bright conditions. Accordingly I had to close the aperture right down. Using the rubber eye cup helped a lot - I imagine using an eye-patch for the other eye would also help. I noticed also the edge of the (?) mirror image was about 1/3 clearer / brighter than the rest of the image so if I start getting consistently good results from the K-3 it's going up to Sendean (London) for a clean up ;)

Edited by Richard Ian, 25 December 2012 - 03:04 PM.

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