Konvas was around for many decades and they made a lot of different cameras
over the years. Some are more sophisticated than others.
I own a Konvas 1KCP which is about the crudest thing they have made. No
registration pin, so it will work with western film without modification.
DC motor with a rheostat and tach for speed, so basically no accurate speed
control. There are synch motors available for a few hundred dollars but the
camera is still very noisy. The DC motor is very underengineered and has
less than great reliability, so there is an optional crank available in the
kit as a backup.
The magazines are peculiar and take nonstandard Russian cores. You can load
film on normal cores with core adaptors but if you do you can only get about
300 feet into a 400 ft. mag. They will wind film emulsion-out so warn the
lab about that.
Reflex finder is excellent although they are full silent frame and you will
have to put marks on the groundglass yourself for Academy frame and for
These take OCT-8 mount lenses and there are actually a lot of older but
good lenses out there available in that mount as long as you don't mind
lightly-coated primes. There are some zooms available but they are expensive
It is possible to mill the front of the turret down to add a Nikon mount
but I am not sure whether it is worth it.
I got mine because I was on a shoot in Kiev a few years ago and was talking
to our fixer and said that had wanted one of them, and he took me to a huge
open air flea market where a fellow sold me one with a bad motor but a nice
set of lenses for $200. Since then I have actually shot a good bit of film
with the thing and it feels very crude but has really been quite pleasant to
use once I got the hang of some of the oddities.
It's interesting to see how the thing is engineered... the magazines look
like they were bashed out of metal with a rock, but the gate is beautiful,
very precise workmanship. They spent some real time on things that counted
and then everything else was done as cheaply as possible with as little
attention to detail as could be managed.
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