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K3 Suddenly Won't Focus


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#1 Matthew B Clark

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 01:37 PM

I need your help.  I have had a K3 for years, and it works great.  Never had an issue with focus or anything.  Even after S16 mod last year, it was fine.  Today I shoot a roll of film, and it starts out focusing fine, then the trigger stopped, and it turned out the shutter/rotating mirror inside (behind the lens) mechanism started jamming, so I pushed that with my finger to get it moving.  Maybe that was a bad idea, because I touched the mirrored surface, and since then, the camera viewfinder has been total blurs.  Progressively worse and worse though.  I tried to tune the diopter by opening the lens up and focusing on the viewfinder grain, but there is no grain!  I tried a 50mm the stock zoom, an 8mm, and a 135mm, and ALL are blurry and will not put anything into true focus.  I am wondering what the hell I did!  I am really really sad because this camera used to work so well for me.  And I paid like $500 to have Duall overhaul it and convert it less than a year ago.  

 

Any advice on how I can test this or fix this?  Is it the mirror?  Is it that sensitive?  Another issue that I found is those cheap rings they use to re-center the lens after widening the gate to S16 are made of aluminum, anbd they shed like hell from even basic lens changing.  I think the original stick ring is steel, and I keep seeing little aluminum dust bits in the ring and on the lens threads, and sometimes in the inside of the camera...I blast it with air to push it around and blow it out.  Maybe I am going about this all wrong?  Totally sad by this, as I want to fix this up and get shooting


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#2 Matthew B Clark

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 01:58 PM

Wow, wish I could delete this thread, but I'm equally technically-un-savvy there I guess.  I called Duall, who gently explained to me that I can simply turn the viewfinder until I focus onto the grain, then lock the screw down.  I had been just turning the screw that locks it in place...wow.  My brain...is officially melted.  May this hopefully help the person who is just as brain-melted.


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#3 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 11:04 PM

I think artists trying to act directly within a medium like film is....sweet, uplifting. Some technical fumbles may be inevitable. Better that than to be a technically able person who does not even aspire to make a piece of art.

Good luck man.
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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 03:12 AM

Hmm, that's not good! My guess is the shaft that runs the mirror and/or the screw that holds the mirror in place have come loose. This caused the mirror to shift positions. Even if the shift is slight, there would be a problem with back focus on the lens, making it seem out of focus.
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#5 aapo lettinen

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 04:35 AM

I only have K1 and K2 but by my opinion it is quite impossible to misalign the mirror accidentally, you would need to use a hammer or otherwise purposefully damage it. it is plain aluminium with five set screws and the shaft and bearings are also quite durable. 

 

the viewfinder focusing however changes very easily in transport by itself so always check that first before opening anything. 

also, never touch the ground glass set screws, it is almost impossible to get it back to the right position without special factory tools.

 

if you must open the camera's front housing for service, make sure to use that specific camera's metal spacer between camera body and the cover when you put it back together. those spacers are somewhat camera specific and the ffd will change considerably if you try to swap them


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#6 aapo lettinen

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 04:42 AM

or do you see the mirror hitting something inside the cam like the ground glass frame? then it would probably be loose shaft problem like Tyler suggested. 

 

the most common problem with K-cameras is that the main drive sprocket jams, you can test it by opening both of the film guide rollers up and down of the sprocket and test if the jam goes away. 

if that was the problem it can be quite easily solved by adjusting the sprocket wheel position


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#7 Matthew B Clark

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 03:19 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, this is a big help to have as a specific trouble-shooting guide / tips regarding this camera.  

 

The idea of the mirror mechanism hitting something is scary, but I suppose it's possible.  Where would I look specifically in order to check the ground-glass frame hitting it?  So far, I have just been pushing the rotating mirror mechanism while depressing the trigger very softly with my finger a few times now.  Just to get it moving again.  But it does jam at times in a position that is visibly "slightly off" from the usual 'straight up and down' resting position.  Hopefully it doesn't let too much light in behind it through the gate.  Especially when it's loaded with film, or I'll be flashing a bunch of takes each time I take the lens off to fix this manually.  

 

Thank you for your help, everyone.  Gregg, Tyler and Aapo, thank you so much.


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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 10:23 AM

Wow, wish I could delete this thread, but I'm equally technically-un-savvy there I guess.  I called Duall, who gently explained to me that I can simply turn the viewfinder until I focus onto the grain, then lock the screw down.  I had been just turning the screw that locks it in place...wow.  My brain...is officially melted.  May this hopefully help the person who is just as brain-melted.

I was going to suggest this. We forget sometimes that the eyepiece has a focus.


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#9 aapo lettinen

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 10:56 AM

you did check the main sprocket first? try to take the film off and open both the rollers so that the sprocket wheel can rotate freely and then see how it works. 

 

the camera's front housing can be taken off without too much risk to alter the FFD considerably (you have to make sure all the surfaces are clean and the screws tightened in correct order when putting it back together of course) if it helps to pinpoint the problem.

there is also the speed adjustment mechanism at the lowest portion of the camera which can be accessed from the inner cover but that is much more work so I suggest to test first the rollers/sprocket wheel problems and then the shutter and if that does not help, then either checking the speed adjustment or sending it to a service shop.  

I believe the camera was correctly serviced and lubed when it was at Duall? the shutter's wormgear or speed adjustment's wormgear could also be the problem if not correctly lubricated, should be easy to find out if you open the front cover.

 

(a K2 model) 

2598660516_f7fb6a1e07_b.jpg


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#10 Luigi Castellitto

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 05:53 PM

I'm sorry because I am a K3 user too, with which I work very well.
You try asking at http://www.k3camera.com, they gave me some really useful information about K3.

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