Krasnogorsk K-3 16mm camera - does it work?

Krasnogorsk K3
Krasnogorsk K3 kit
The Krasnogorsk K-3 is a Soviet made 16mm motion picture camera. It is a spring-wound reflex camera, so looking through the viewfinder results in seeing through the lens. It holds 100 foot (33 meters) of 16mm film and takes daylight spools. It uses an M42 screw mount for its lenses.

The Krasnogorsk-3 16mm cameras are considered rather inexpensive and can be picked up on Ebay (and other auction-oriented places) for extremely low prices. Made in bulk throughout the 1980's, they are often sold on ebay as "brand new" or "unopened" packages - with leather cases, lenses, and an assortment of accessories. The term "brand new" is a stretch, as the Krasnogorsk cameras were made while the Soviet Union was still intact, but many of the cameras were kept in storage. When opened, these cameras appear as new since they had been packaged so well.

Krasnogorsk k3 16mm
Krasnogorsk K3 16mm camera filming
Do not expect to buy one of the Krasnogorsk cameras, take it out of its packaging, and immediately start shooting film with it. Almost all of the Krasnogorsk 16mm cameras need to be serviced before use.

The Krasnogorsk come with a beautiful lens which is a fairly fast f1.9, 17-69mm Zenit zoom. Shooting the Zenit zoom side by side with an (equally aged) Zeiss zoom showed both lenses looked fantastic. They both looked sharp and both had a decent lens flare when shot towards the Sun. But the Zenit's maximum zoom being at 69mm was a somewhat limiting factor, so getting a telephoto lens for the Krasnogorsk camera may be a wise decision.

The Krasnogorsk K3 is fairly heavy for its small size, but the weight allows you to rest assured it has a rugged design. It is extremely loud when running and people may even ask, "Is that camera broken?" in reference to the loud sounds coming out if it.

Krasnogorsk K3 16mm windup
Krasnogorsk K3 16mm windup reflex camera
The Krasnogorsk K-3 does not have a motor and thusly is not crystal sync. It is a wind up camera, similar to the Filmo 70DA or the Bolex H16, and can shoot frame rates from 8 to 48 frames per second. It can also do single frame shots for animation.

All in all, it is a good camera to have, especially for B roll, as it is inexpensive and the lens produces quality images. Just make sure to have it serviced before using it in the field and this camera will prove to be a charmer...