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Super impressive modified Krasnogorsk with crystal sync, video tap, PL mount, tunable FFD, and even wireless run/stop + framerate control!


Fedor Karpenko
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I know there are many Krasnogorsk haters on this forum but I wanted to share this awesome project by Russian DP Max Ivanov. It's been 2 years in the works and so much effort has been put into this with a ton of custom machined parts and boards. Here are the specs as shared on the Instagram page for the project:

 

- Camera works with 7-12V batteries (it has a 2-pin lemo connector for power input)

- Swiss 100 watt BLDC Motor. (BLDC motors have longer service life and were installed on the Aaton A Minima, XTR Prod, Arri 416.)

- Motor controlled and stabilized by a microcontroller

- Sync is accurate to 0.001fps at 25fps. (between 0.01-0.001 at other framerates)

- Framerates: 1-50 fps

- Video tap is based on GoPro internals which allows to record the tap feed in-camera. (Max said he will be adding a cable clamp / adapter since it uses the unreliable micro-hdmi connection from the gopro internals)

- Optical viewfinder can be used at the same time as the video tap

- Wi-Fi control which allows to set framerate and run/stop wirelessly via your phone

- Electronic footage counter. (Maintains footage count after being powered off and has a reset button)

- Super 16 gate with ground glass adjustment mechanism. FFD can now be easily tuned and will be precisely set on every model. Max will also be selling a set of tools for calibrating the FFD on this camera so you will be able to calibrate it yourself (I can already hear some of you complaining about how nobody should attempt to do this on their own unless they're a trained technician)

- Super 16 viewfinder with correct markings

- PL Mount

 

Obviously not a camera for every situation, like narrative projects or basically anything with dialogue. However, I think it's perfect for more abstract projects like music videos or fashion films, especially when you need to move fast and do dynamic handheld stuff. I have one preordered and am super excited to test it out once it's ready! (I think the current eta is March/April)

k4v.JPGapp.JPG

Edited by Fedor Karpenko
typo, photo order
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Didn’t he just post today that he had to change a bunch of parts over from plastic to aluminum because they were stress fracturing? It’s a cool project but I think it’s a lot rougher around the edges than the IG lets on. 

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The camera would need an all-new gate to actually be a good camera. He hasn't done that work last time I checked. So it's still going to deliver a non-professional wobbly image for a very high price tag. Great idea, but needs work. 

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5 hours ago, Travis Shannon said:

Didn’t he just post today that he had to change a bunch of parts over from plastic to aluminum because they were stress fracturing? It’s a cool project but I think it’s a lot rougher around the edges than the IG lets on. 

My understanding is that those are temporary 3-d printed parts that he uses for development and testing. He is definitely having many metal parts machined, including the new gate.

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

The camera would need an all-new gate to actually be a good camera. He hasn't done that work last time I checked. So it's still going to deliver a non-professional wobbly image for a very high price tag. Great idea, but needs work. 

Here is a DP that uses the previous version of this camera (the one without a motor but with a custom gate, pl mount and video tap): https://www.instagram.com/belkasemi/

From what I've seen he mainly uses it as a b-cam for handheld shots and more run and gun stuff, with really great results. Haven't really seen much jitter in his work although it's possible that it's stabilized in post.

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There was a thread about this guy last year, and at least one unhappy customer:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/forums/topic/88188-rebuilt-krasnogorsk3-video-assist-pl-super16mm-gate/

I can understand getting swamped with orders while still in development but you need to refund people if they pull out due to delays. There’s always two sides to a story of course.

Apparently he only takes payment in crypto currency now?

I notice he redesigned the ground glass holder, which is simply pinned in place in the original design and has no facility for adjustment. For a proper reflex camera, that’s essential. But then he discovered he needed an autocollimator to set it.. 🙂  at least he appears to be trying to make it as professional as possible. But I can’t help thinking it’s a bit like putting mag wheels and fins and racing stripes on a old car but leaving in the original engine. I mean there’s only so much you can redesign and fabricate before you’ve ended up making a whole new camera, with a price to match. Still, I wish him well. 

3 hours ago, Fedor Karpenko said:

Just has an instagram I think: https://www.instagram.com/maxivanovdp/

This is the company insta account I think:

https://www.instagram.com/shtrihfilm/

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4 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

There was a thread about this guy last year, and at least one unhappy customer:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/forums/topic/88188-rebuilt-krasnogorsk3-video-assist-pl-super16mm-gate/

I can understand getting swamped with orders while still in development but you need to refund people if they pull out due to delays. There’s always two sides to a story of course.

Apparently he only takes payment in crypto currency now?

I notice he redesigned the ground glass holder, which is simply pinned in place in the original design and has no facility for adjustment. For a proper reflex camera, that’s essential. But then he discovered he needed an autocollimator to set it.. 🙂  at least he appears to be trying to make it as professional as possible. But I can’t help thinking it’s a bit like putting mag wheels and fins and racing stripes on a old car but leaving in the original engine. I mean there’s only so much you can redesign and fabricate before you’ve ended up making a whole new camera, with a price to match. Still, I wish him well. 

This is the company insta account I think:

https://www.instagram.com/shtrihfilm/

Dang I'm sorry to hear he had trouble getting a refund. I know he was refunding people for the preorder on this motorized version since it's taken a lot longer to complete. And regarding payment, he does still take paypal payments! He just offers a discount for crypto payments (I'm guessing for tax reasons). So if anyone is hesitant just use paypal goods & services and you're 100% covered in case you want a refund due to delays or other reasons.

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11 hours ago, Fedor Karpenko said:

From what I've seen he mainly uses it as a b-cam for handheld shots and more run and gun stuff, with really great results. Haven't really seen much jitter in his work although it's possible that it's stabilized in post.

The only real reason the K3 has such low value is that gate system. It's prone to jamming, loosing loop, unstable image and can be infuriating to any would be filmmaker. Your taking a horribly flawed camera and spending a bunch of money throwing parts on it to suddenly make it modern, yet not addressing the critical aspects that make it a low-value camera? Doesn't make much sense to me. 

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12 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

The only real reason the K3 has such low value is that gate system. It's prone to jamming, loosing loop, unstable image and can be infuriating to any would be filmmaker. Your taking a horribly flawed camera and spending a bunch of money throwing parts on it to suddenly make it modern, yet not addressing the critical aspects that make it a low-value camera? Doesn't make much sense to me. 

Sure, you might be right. Personally I've never had it jam or encountered any major issues with jitter. One of the K3's I've used had a decent amount of jitter but tightening the pressure plate made it quite stable, even at higher framerates.

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18 minutes ago, Fedor Karpenko said:

Sure, you might be right. Personally I've never had it jam or encountered any major issues with jitter. One of the K3's I've used had a decent amount of jitter but tightening the pressure plate made it quite stable, even at higher framerates.

Oh yea the thing doesn't work at all unless you squeeze the film super tight with the pressure plate and then you actually introduce back coating scratches. I bet if you look at your film in the light off angle, you'll see little scratches down the back. 

I've spent A LOT of time working on my K3 to get it better, sadly it needs a gate. It wouldn't be too tricky to do, but it would be costly because it would need to be machined properly. If someone DID develop a gate that worked, it would sell like hotcakes and it would make the K3 a real viable camera. 

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12 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Oh yea the thing doesn't work at all unless you squeeze the film super tight with the pressure plate and then you actually introduce back coating scratches. I bet if you look at your film in the light off angle, you'll see little scratches down the back. 

I've spent A LOT of time working on my K3 to get it better, sadly it needs a gate. It wouldn't be too tricky to do, but it would be costly because it would need to be machined properly. If someone DID develop a gate that worked, it would sell like hotcakes and it would make the K3 a real viable camera. 

He is making a new gate though! Custom machined with really tight tolerances for correct FFD

20220108_130726.jpg

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10 minutes ago, Fedor Karpenko said:

He is making a new gate though! Custom machined with really tight tolerances for correct FFD

It MUST have a spring loaded guide rail. It can't "just be" the size of the film, doesn't work that way. With 16mm, the only way to 100% retain lateral registration is through a spring loaded guide rail. With 35mm you can get away with registration pins, but with 16mm because of single perforation film, it can still twist in the gate ever so slightly and cause lateral registration issues. The SR1's and 2's have this issue if the rails aren't in perfect shape. They are made out of a hardened material and I believe coated then polished. So stock they work great in conjunction with a single registration pin, but you can't do that with a K3 gate unless you make the entire gate out of that same material and chrome it. The tolerances of a proper gate are so tight, it blows my mind away when doing the math. It was difficult for Arriflex to do it, let alone some random guy in Russia. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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11 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

It MUST have a spring loaded guide rail. It can't "just be" the size of the film, doesn't work that way. With 16mm, the only way to 100% retain lateral registration is through a spring loaded guide rail. With 35mm you can get away with registration pins, but with 16mm because of single perforation film, it can still twist in the gate ever so slightly and cause lateral registration issues. The SR1's and 2's have this issue if the rails aren't in perfect shape. They are made out of a hardened material and I believe coated then polished. So stock they work great in conjunction with a single registration pin, but you can't do that with a K3 gate unless you make the entire gate out of that same material and chrome it. The tolerances of a proper gate are so tight, it blows my mind away when doing the math. It was difficult for Arriflex to do it, let alone some random guy in Russia. 

I see, thank you. Very good to know! I'm very curious to do some testing with this thing when it eventually gets finished (whenever that may be haha)

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

The only real reason the K3 has such low value is that gate system. It's prone to jamming, loosing loop, unstable image and can be infuriating to any would be filmmaker. Your taking a horribly flawed camera and spending a bunch of money throwing parts on it to suddenly make it modern, yet not addressing the critical aspects that make it a low-value camera? Doesn't make much sense to me. 

Yeah right, as if the value is determined by that! Most users and sellers would have seen plenty of stable (or stabilised) K3 footage online, and lots of people don’t have all the problems you describe. The low value is because there were thousands of these cameras floating around in Russia and Eastern Europe, they were cheaply manufactured, and variable in quality.  eBay sellers have been flogging off “as new” K3s for years for only a few hundred bucks.

It wouldn’t be hard to add a lateral spring to the gate, you could cannibalise virtually any cheap 16mm camera, but these days you can post stabilise a bit of gate weave anyway, and issues like jamming and lost loops are not due to a lack of lateral stability. You’d need to look at the claw protrusion and shape, the evenness and strength of pressure plate springs and how it mates with the gate, the sprocket guides, and of course the loop formers. There could be wear issues, or sloppy manufacturing, or aging lubricants. 

Then you’ve got the issue of a polished aluminium spinning mirror and a pinned ground glass - a combination that required absolute precision in the manufacturing stage to ensure that what you see in the viewfinder is actually what’s being recorded on the film. The ground glass depth, reflected off that mirror, needs to be exactly the same as the flange depth (which also needs to be exactly set down to one hundredth of a mm for a zoom to hold focus). I’m pretty sure if you checked the footage from a batch of K3s at the wide end of the zoom at full aperture you’d find a lot of soft shots.  

Personally I’m amazed how well a K3 can sometimes work, given the issues involved. Manufacturing a spinning mirror that remains perfectly flat as it spins, has no axial play and does not introduce excessive vibration is actually quite an achievement.

Edited by Dom Jaeger
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the Krasnogorsks are not very well made cameras in general and seemingly only meant for intermittent use shooting low amounts of film like couple of rolls every now and then. 

by my opinion, the biggest issue with them is the quality and construction of the internal mechanics like bearings and gears... if one takes those cameras apart one sees immediately that it is not meant for shooting a feature film or anything, the bearings would never make it without turning to dust and one would virtually need to take it apart every shooting day to adjust and lubricate it for it to make through the project without breaking apart. That is why I gave up making modifications for the camera, it is just not worth it because one can't manufacture dozens of new higher quality mechanical parts to make it durable enough to shoot longer sync sound projects with it.

the lenses are the best part of the camera by my opinion and the mirror is pretty neat as well. The film transport is just too cheap for most serious projects by my opinion and if it happens to work well now, the is no guarantee that it would not fail you tomorrow when you least expect it 🙂

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1 hour ago, Dom Jaeger said:

Personally I’m amazed how well a K3 can sometimes work, given the issues involved. Manufacturing a spinning mirror that remains perfectly flat as it spins, has no axial play and does not introduce excessive vibration is actually quite an achievement.

I agree. I've worked on dozens of them and they are actually incredible little cameras for the price. Ones that are manufactured properly, like mine, really work well. I have seen plenty that don't work well, many of the points you brought up are common issues, especially the pulldown claw not aligning properly with the perforation, huge issue actually. 

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by my experience, they are not prone to jamming or loosing loop if they are loaded right and IF they are put together correctly meaning that for example the sprocket drive is mounted in a correct position and adjusted right

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32 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

the Krasnogorsks are not very well made cameras in general and seemingly only meant for intermittent use shooting low amounts of film like couple of rolls every now and then. 

by my opinion, the biggest issue with them is the quality and construction of the internal mechanics like bearings and gears... if one takes those cameras apart one sees immediately that it is not meant for shooting a feature film or anything, the bearings would never make it without turning to dust and one would virtually need to take it apart every shooting day to adjust and lubricate it for it to make through the project without breaking apart. That is why I gave up making modifications for the camera, it is just not worth it because one can't manufacture dozens of new higher quality mechanical parts to make it durable enough to shoot longer sync sound projects with it.

the lenses are the best part of the camera by my opinion and the mirror is pretty neat as well. The film transport is just too cheap for most serious projects by my opinion and if it happens to work well now, the is no guarantee that it would not fail you tomorrow when you least expect it 🙂

Yeah I agree 100%, I would never use this for anything narrative. For music videos and small fashion films I think it's an awesome budget option!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personally have so much love the K3 for what it is. It will never be a quiet sync sound camera but you can do so much with it that is simply not possible with a full size camera (XTR, 416, SR) Max's mod does sorta fill a need for many film shooters who want something that is a little more featured, accessible, 100ft loads & can carry in a small bag. I would probably even consider a 'well serviced' K3 for a c camera on anything feature, commercial etc. 

Here's a handful of projects that I've employed various K3's on. 

 

 

 

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On 1/8/2022 at 4:28 AM, Dom Jaeger said:

There was a thread about this guy last year, and at least one unhappy customer:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/forums/topic/88188-rebuilt-krasnogorsk3-video-assist-pl-super16mm-gate/

I can understand getting swamped with orders while still in development but you need to refund people if they pull out due to delays. There’s always two sides to a story of course.

Apparently he only takes payment in crypto currency now?

I notice he redesigned the ground glass holder, which is simply pinned in place in the original design and has no facility for adjustment. For a proper reflex camera, that’s essential. But then he discovered he needed an autocollimator to set it.. 🙂  at least he appears to be trying to make it as professional as possible. But I can’t help thinking it’s a bit like putting mag wheels and fins and racing stripes on a old car but leaving in the original engine. I mean there’s only so much you can redesign and fabricate before you’ve ended up making a whole new camera, with a price to match. Still, I wish him well. 

This is the company insta account I think:

https://www.instagram.com/shtrihfilm/

Anyone would have to be out of their mind to trust this guy Max Ivanov with your money after reading about my experience purchasing one of his Canon Mount K-3s.  Once I made the purchase, I had a feeling I would never see the camera or the money, and that is what happened. 

I purchased the K-3 in April of 2021, and have received nothing since but false promises, and no refund, or any responses since last summer. There is one side to this story, only myself being ripped off, and a guy in Russia who stole my money.  And someone is on here trying to send business his way? 

There is no accountability since he is in Russia, except maybe this forum full of cinematographers.  He continues to show videos of modifications to the K-3 on the internet.  If he couldn't send me a Canon mount K-3 with a ground glass modified viewfinder, how can his other experiments with the K-3 be worth thousands of dollars?  Who would risk sending their money to someone who has said in the past (after my purchase) that people must use cryptocurrencyy due to being blocked on Paypal?  If anyone questions the veracity of my post, then please send me a message.

Please do not let this con artist use this forum to rip other people off.  I learned the hard way, and I have seen another disgruntled customer ask Max Ivanov about his camera that was not delivered as well, so surely there must be others.  If he couldn't deliver on time, then he should have issued refunds.  He simply stops communication, so this is the result.

STHTRIHFILM .jpg

Ivanov blocked.jpg

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3 hours ago, Donald Milne said:

Anyone would have to be out of their mind to trust this guy Max Ivanov with your money after reading about my experience purchasing one of his Canon Mount K-3s.  Once I made the purchase, I had a feeling I would never see the camera or the money, and that is what happened. 

I purchased the K-3 in April of 2021, and have received nothing since but false promises, and no refund, or any responses since last summer. There is one side to this story, only myself being ripped off, and a guy in Russia who stole my money.  And someone is on here trying to send business his way? 

There is no accountability since he is in Russia, except maybe this forum full of cinematographers.  He continues to show videos of modifications to the K-3 on the internet.  If he couldn't send me a Canon mount K-3 with a ground glass modified viewfinder, how can his other experiments with the K-3 be worth thousands of dollars?  Who would risk sending their money to someone who has said in the past (after my purchase) that people must use cryptocurrencyy due to being blocked on Paypal?  If anyone questions the veracity of my post, then please send me a message.

Please do not let this con artist use this forum to rip other people off.  I learned the hard way, and I have seen another disgruntled customer ask Max Ivanov about his camera that was not delivered as well, so surely there must be others.  If he couldn't deliver on time, then he should have issued refunds.  He simply stops communication, so this is the result.

STHTRIHFILM .jpg

Ivanov blocked.jpg

Aw man I'm really sorry about that. I know a few people who have gotten their cameras without any issues so I really didn't think he would be scamming people. I'll update the post. EDIT: I'm not able to edit the original post any longer unfortunately, otherwise I would add a disclaimer at the top regarding your situation..

Edited by Fedor Karpenko
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