Jump to content

Kiev 16 U/UE opinions?


Eugene Zagidullin

Recommended Posts

I'm an amateur film photographer and I just want to extrapolate my still shooting experience onto a moving images. I still don't know does it worth it and will I stick to this so I'm looking for a cheap 16mm camera. There is a lot of information about Krasnogorsk but what about Kiev 16 U and UE? There isn't mush information and reasonable opinions about them even in Russian. All I have is just a few very short reviews on YouTube and one or two articles. What I find appealing:

  • It comes with a set of prime lenses instead of a zoom lens. I don't trust zoom lenses mostly because I use to think that they aren't sharp enough.
  • UE version seems to be quite easily convertible to 12v power and a digital speed control. It might be a fun project for me on its own.
  • It's so ugly that I find it weirdly appealing.

On the downside it seems to have more plastic components in a film transport than K3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I have couple of those UE models and one U model because I intended making a crystal sync update for these cameras last year and collected some spares for it.

The build quality is not as high as with Krasnogorsk cameras and the mirror and viewfinder optics are worse quality. some of my cameras have slight imbalance on the mirror which generates very disturbing flicker/image jumping up and down in viewfinder when the camera is rolling. the lenses are not as easy to service but the optics seem to be the same than on the Krasnogorsk primes, only the mechanics are more primitive.

It is pretty easy to convert the UE to 12v but digital speed control for this camera is not super easy to make because of the construction of the motor (friction coupling between the motor and the drive gears and lower quality plastic gears used) . Additionally it is pretty easy to do simple speed control electronics but making real crystal sync controllers is NOT easy at all. Just want to mention that because people tend to underestimate the task by the magnitude of 20 or 30x  and practically all of them quit after about half a year of work. I don't know if you have previous experience making crystal sync systems but just want to mention that because you will be very disappointed if wanting to learn making them on the fly.

Personally I think that these cameras are mostly suited for simple and cheap filming using the original spring motor. They are not bad if used that way though I find the Krasnogorsks much better let alone the Bolexes or Kinors or other more expensive cameras. The Kievs are very affordable however and pretty easy to service (they are at the same level of serviceability than Krasnorogsk I think so pretty easy to open them up completely and CLA them by yourself) so they are perfect as a low cost crash cameras or for arts projects and for situations where there is a high risk of damaging the camera (filming in risky areas where there is dust, water or a high risk of having the camera stolen from you)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/15/2021 at 6:28 PM, aapo lettinen said:

It is pretty easy to convert the UE to 12v but digital speed control for this camera is not super easy to make because of the construction of the motor (friction coupling between the motor and the drive gears and lower quality plastic gears used) . Additionally it is pretty easy to do simple speed control electronics but making real crystal sync controllers is NOT easy at all. Just want to mention that because people tend to underestimate the task by the magnitude of 20 or 30x  and practically all of them quit after about half a year of work. I don't know if you have previous experience making crystal sync systems but just want to mention that because you will be very disappointed if wanting to learn making them on the fly.

Friction coupling? As part of a governor mechanism or something else? I thought they have a rheostat based centrifugal governor. I expect it to have something like a rheostat followed by a current amplifier (maybe that big transistor at the top working as emitter follower). I don't have that experience but at least I understand how PID and PLL control works. My naive idea is to start from a simple integrator based control loop. Integral control will automatically give not just a desired speed at the moment but an average speed over a period of time (or a specific number of frames per say minute regardless of fluctuations) which is what (again from my naive POV) expected from a controller to give a syncable result.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
On 9/19/2021 at 10:00 PM, Eugene Zagidullin said:

Friction coupling? As part of a governor mechanism or something else? I thought they have a rheostat based centrifugal governor. I expect it to have something like a rheostat followed by a current amplifier (maybe that big transistor at the top working as emitter follower). I don't have that experience but at least I understand how PID and PLL control works. My naive idea is to start from a simple integrator based control loop. Integral control will automatically give not just a desired speed at the moment but an average speed over a period of time (or a specific number of frames per say minute regardless of fluctuations) which is what (again from my naive POV) expected from a controller to give a syncable result.

the friction coupling is on the motor axle between the motor and the angle gear to prevent damaging the motor and the gears when the add-on camera motor is started and stopped by the mechanical switch inside the actual camera body (the "run" button connects the pads together and releases the mechanical lock at the same time. so without the friction system one would damage the motor at both the start and stop of filming each take. the problem with the friction system is that it slips uncontrollably during normal operation and thus one can't fit the encoder on the motor axle which would be the only easy place to mount it (the plastic gears are ng and inside the camera very difficult. without reliable encoder position there is no any kind of sync sound possibility)

The diy crystal sync controllers have been discussed on this forum multiple times and here is lots of information about them as well. the thing is, it is EXTREMELY time consuming to learn to make them (for me it took about 1.5 years of my life working almost full time on them) and there is no good readily made parts or usable instructions you can use so you need to make everything out of scratch and develop them from ground up if wanting to fit them inside the camera or them working even remotely well with the camera.  It is a nice 2 year project for an electronics enthusiast but it is incredibly frustrating for a person who prefers shooting with the camera instead of designing and building and testing circuit boards and writing thousands of versions of diy custom made firmware

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
1 minute ago, aapo lettinen said:

It is a nice 2 year project for an electronics enthusiast but it is incredibly frustrating for a person who prefers shooting with the camera instead of designing and building and testing circuit boards and writing thousands of versions of diy custom made firmware

1 year of one's time costs about 30 000 to 50 000 euros here. People have hobbies of course where one does not count free work hours but with these projects it is good to have some comparison about the actual costs to see if it is worth the effort or not ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...
  • Premium Member
On 9/20/2021 at 6:42 PM, Aapo Lettinen said:

the friction coupling is on the motor axle between the motor and the angle gear to prevent damaging the motor and the gears when the add-on camera motor is started and stopped by the mechanical switch inside the actual camera body

Forgive me if I'm re-treading ground you've already covered, but couldn't you leave the camera in the run position, mechanically, and just start and stop the motor itself? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
1 hour ago, okto simaia said:

Forgive me if I'm re-treading ground you've already covered, but couldn't you leave the camera in the run position, mechanically, and just start and stop the motor itself? 

could if there would be some lock to secure the button in the correct position. if such lock would fail it would likely destroy the camera so the friction coupling would still be good to have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Premium Member
On 4/25/2024 at 3:51 PM, Aapo Lettinen said:

could if there would be some lock to secure the button in the correct position. if such lock would fail it would likely destroy the camera so the friction coupling would still be good to have.

That seems doable. I certainly agree there should be some sort of slip coupling/weak link to prevent the motor chewing up the clockwork of the camera if a jam occurs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...