Krasnogorsk Bayonet K-3 Project Part 1: Hell Yeah!

Ok, so here’s the deal. I’ve talked before before about the advantages of a ‘bayonet’ mount Krasnogorsk K-3.

After having spotted a bayonet mount version on eBay, I thought I’d try my luck with the auction. Camera There’s plenty of talk of dubious ‘Eastern’ sellers, but my UK-based seller turned out to be, how shall we say this, a little ‘economical with the truth’ himself.

The camera appears to be an ‘export’ version, with the script on the ‘Silver Face’ panel and dials in English rather than Cyrillic script. Camera dates from 1977. The good bits are that it came complete with a Meteor Zoom and a hand grip / shoulder stock. On the downside, it looks like it has been in (damp?) storage for a VERY long time, and the Lightmeter gave me no response. No surprises there, but more worryingly, despite the seller’s assurances that the camera was ‘fully functioning’, neither the lightmeter dial nor the camera speed dial actually rotated, and the battery compartment hatch was seized solid too…..mmmmm. OK, so I won the camera for about the price of roll of 100′ of Kodak negative and the motor runs, but I prefer eBay sellers to tell it like it is rather than just ignoring any problems.

First steps then are to clean up the camera a bit, and then decide how to take this one forward.

Why bother with an old beater like this? The answer to this question is all about lenses!

The big disadvantage with the M42 (screw-mount) K-3 is that under 20mm, there’s not a great deal of lens choice, and to a greater or lesser extent, those are can be found are ‘fisheye’ lenses that distort image towards the edge of the frame. That by itself wouldn’t be news unless there were some decent wide-angles available for the bayonet version of the K-3, which fortunately, there are.

So what’s the plan?

The idea is to turn this camera into a ‘Super 16’ project camera, and do a step by step conversion of the camera: I’ll go through the removal of the ‘loop-formers’ and then the modification and installation of a Super16 gate. Generally speaking a super16 conversion normally involves two other elements, making changes to the viewfinder and re-centering the lens to account for the fact that we have widened our aperture to one side only. I’m not going to do the first of these, but I’m going to look into re-centering the lens and if that can be made to work on my bayonet K-3.

 

 


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