Krasnogorsk K-3

(updated 11-16-2009)

The K-3 is a great starter 16mm camera or a camera to be used for pure cinema experimentation. With its spring powered motor, high qaulity zoom lens, variable speed shutter, stop motion capability, rugged construction, and reflex mirror viewing make it one of the best value cameras around.

The K-3 comes stock with a Meteor zoom lens. The zoom range of the lens is 17mm-69mm with an aperture that opens to 1.7f. This is a great lens.

Pictured below is a K-3 fitted with a Lomo 2X anamorphic adaptor. The anamorphic lens is mounted in front of a 50mm prime lens and held in place with an Arriflex lens stand or lens rail.











2Here is the K-3 with a 11mm super wide angle prime lens. The Arriflex lens rail could also be used for a matte box (compendium) or other filters.

This is a very simple and elegant camera in design. It lends itself to customization like a simple modification to the TTL light meter so it would be calibrated for western film stock speeds, and a modification to the battery compartment so it would accept modern hearing aid batteries.

Pictured below is the inner workings of the camera. The main drive gear is clearly visible. Directly below it is the light meter battery compartment. To the left of the battery compartment is the shutter speed governor. Above and to the right of the main gear is the TTL light meter indicator.



The K-3 is also relatively easy to convert to Super-16mm. To start the conversion you can get a widened gate from NCS Products. But to do a proper job the lens mount should be re-centered and the ground glass view system should not only be re-centered but also widened. This last detail is not a conversion for the meek.


5The Krasnogorsk K-1 is similar to the K-3 in that it has the same movement and the same lens mounts but the K-1 will not accommodate a 100foot spool of film. It was designed to work with proprietary film cartridges that would be loaded apparently at the factory. So for practical purposes the K-1 is unusable without modification or self loaded cartridges. Pictured to the right is the body of a K-1 that is in the process of being modified with a electric sync motor, anamorphic lens and follow focus system, reflex viewing with orient-able viewfinder, 400' interchangeable magazines, and flicker free color video tap. A fairly extensive project but it is a lot of fun to customize a camera this way.

Pictured below and also to the right the K-3 is mounted into an old Mitchell 16 blimp .  Since the K-3 is as loud a sewing machine in need of oiling, if you tried to record sound while shooting, the noise of the camera would be very prevalent on the recording. This old mitchell blimp is 7easily modified to work with the K-3 and as a bonus a very fancy follow focus is added to the K-3.  Viewing on the other becomes a bit of trouble.  There are two solutions. One is to use a mitchell parallel viewfinder like the ones that Bolex H16 have but more sophisticated and auto compensate for parallax adjustment during focus changes.  The other is to place a video tap over the K-3's view finder and send the signal to an external monitor. This can be easily done with a USB web, but the stock lens would need to be replaced so the camera, cameras lens and the viewfinder objective would work in conjunction to produce a well framed sharp image on the video screen. For the camera to run synchronous with the tape audio recorder there are two methods that can be relatively easily achieved. The first is to fabricate a simple pilotone generator to the main 6drive shaft of the camera. One of the old pilotone generators used on Arri II cameras can be easily modified to do this. This method would only work with a an audio recorder designed for this purpose like an old Nagra, or Stellavox.   The other method is to use one of the crystal sync motors like the ones made by Tobin Cinema Systems and an audio recorder that had an internal crystal sync like DAT recorders or the new Flash Drive recorders. This may seem like a bit of overkill for a humble little camera like a K-3 but cost wise you could not put together a more affordable sync sound silent (studio) camera other than the Auricon and even then you will be hard pressed to match the quality of lenses readily available for the K-3. 


owyheesound Films shot using the Krasnogorsk-3

Halverson Phantasy

Killer on the Trestle
(click to play windows media)


If you have questions or comments contact Nathan Snyder