i'm a broke college student thinking about a kiev 60,any opinions?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by justin_monroe, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. i'm thinking about buying a kiev 60 with hartblei modification for $150.00. my
    teacher has it for sale, and he has a pretty tempting offer, it comes with a
    standard 80mm lens and a zeiss jena 80mm, he'll also sale me a 150mm lens for
    $75.00, of which he hasn't told me the brand yet. anyway, i'm a broke college
    student and before i shell out $225.00 for a set-up i want to know if you think
    it is worth it.it also comes with extra extention tubes and filters,if that
    means anything. my teacher says it's a good camera,but i don't know.

    i've heard alot of negative things about the kiev 60,but some people praise
    it,i've even seen beautiful work done with them,but i assume they had great
    lenses. could you tell me about these lenses he's selling,if anything.if you
    could post examples that would be nice.

    please help me,i want a medium set-up but i'm in college and broke as hell and
    can't afford to shell out $225.00 big-ones on a piece of junk.
  2. The image quality is typically OK, but Kievs tend to be preferred by DIY types, since they often have minor or major glitches. If it works and everything is in order, then it could make for a nice camera.
  3. what are you planning on using it for? think about a used mamiya rz. fantastic camera, a tank with great lenses. all very inexpensive used. great for portrait and close up work. a huge system, huge 6x7 neg.

    good luck
  4. If this particular camera has proved reliable, has no light leaks and good frame spacing - all of which the seller can tell you - then $150 sounds quite attractive. The Biometar is a good lens, as are the Flektogon and/or Sonnar which you may pick up in the future. At this price you're taking a risk whatever camera you buy. Buying from someone you know and trust is a big advantage.
  5. The lenses are good. So when the camera works, it can make very nice pictures indeed. The problem is that it is not reliable. Sooner or later there will be problems. It is a matter of luck, affected a bit by the way you handle it, how soon that will happen. But if you buy a cheap 20 year old Hasselblad or Mamiya, it is possible that they have problems as well.
  6. My experience with the Kievs has NOT been good. Some people love them but I don't. Mechanical reliability is a real problem.

    You can get a complete, working Bronica ETRS from KEH for not a whole lot more than $150. Of course, the Bronica could break, too, but on the whole they're much more reliable.
  7. Before buying, you might check out availablity of film and processing in your area.
  8. I would also recommend a Bronica. In the 6X45 format you might look for an ETR or an ETRS. The 75/2.8 standard lens, back and prism finder are all very reasonably priced. The top shutter speed is 1/500 but every lens has its own leaf shutter built in so flash will synch at all speeds. The Speed Grip will allow you to hold the camera the same way you would hold the Kiev. Another choice would be an SQ-A. This is a 6X6 camera. The bodies sell for almost nothing. You could start out with a waist level finder, back and 80mm lens. A Speed Grip is also made for this model. You might find that a prism finder is less expensive than a waist level finder. An SLR camera with a waist level finder will give you a finder image which is correct from top to bottom but reversed laterally (from left to right). This is something you get used to. A waist level finder is more workable with a 6X6 camera because you don't tilt it for vertical shots. You compose with a square format and crop later for the size you need. An SQ-A with an 80/2.8 lens, waist level finder and back is easy to carry around. KEH also sells the correct Bronica strap for the SQ-A. Good luck.
  9. My Arax 60 (with modifications similar to the Hartblei ones and a CZJ Biometar, from my far less relaible Pentacon Six TL) has been very reliable. I think Kiev 60s get a bad rep because they're associated with the far less reliable Kiev 88s and there are many unmodified NOS K-60s available that had indifferent quality control when made and have not improved by sitting in warehouses for years with their Soviet-era lubricants congealing.

    The BIG advantage of these cameras IMO is the availability of excellent lenses at very low prices. You'll need a fairly heavy tripod most of the time (but the old Tiltall I bought for $36 on the auction site is fine). If the camera has the MLU modification, you'll also find that helpful. The cameras can also be easily hand-held but, in my experience, NOT at speeds below 1/250th.
  10. every example i've seen from the CZJ lenses are fantastic. they have a dreamy quality to them that i am envious of. if the 80mm 2.8 is multicoated, i'd buy it without thinking. if the camera fails, you can almost get your investment back on the lens alone.

    don't plan on doing too much in the way of flash photography with it though. i'm not 100 per cent sure of that one, but most of the russian cameras only synced at 1/15th or 1/30th of a second.

    another option might be the mamiya tlr range, i have a c330 and a bunch of lenses, and they are great performers. the mamiya 80mm 2.8 looks a lot like the CZJ in prints, but it is only single coated. same 6x6 negatives as the K 60 too.
  11. Charles made a good point...if you are a "broke college student", then make sure you can afford film costs and processing before buying. And how will you print? Do you have scanners and computer hardware/sofware available? 35mm is cheaper to buy and process. If you do want medium format, also look at keh.com. There are great prices on used Bronicas and Mamiyas.
  12. The 60 is generally considered the less troublesome of the two popular Kiev models, but many people are still reporting problems with it. From what I understand, you can end up with a reasonable camera for very cheap, or you can end up with 225 wasted dollars and a pain in the @$$. I would assume your teacher does not want to rip you off, and would tell you if the camera had any problems. You could ask him if you could run a couple of rolls through it before you make your decision, but people say these cameras a re lunatic. One day they are fine, the all of a sudden they decide not to work.

    If it would be for studio use, alternatively, you could consider a Mamiya RB (not RZ as an above poster suggested. Those are much more expensive). You could get a good sample with one lens for the same price. If it is for outdoor use, consider the Bronica ETR (6x4.4) or SQ (6x6) series. I have an SQ-A and couldn't be happier with it. They also go for little money these days, perhaps slightly more expensive than the RB or the Kiev, but you get a very good system.
  13. Sorry for all the typos, and the ETR is of course 6x4.5. :)
  14. Kiev cameras can best be described as shoddy. If you buy it, you stand a good chance that both you and the camera will be "broke" at once.

    Hold off on medium format until you have some money to work with. It costs about twice as much to use as 35mm, despite the apparent bargain in used equipment. If you need a camera, look for an used Nikon F100 - it's hard to find a better camera at any price, and there's plenty of used lenses to fit.
  15. If you're really that broke AND if you're looking into a medium format system - opt for a Mamiya C220. You'll never break it and the lenses are on par with Hasselblad. (I'll probably get beaten over that remark, but they're really good)
  16. I have two Kiev 60s, bought one used and one new, and I've never had a problem with either.

    They're far simpler mechanically than the Kiev 88s, and the 88s are the ones that people have had the most problems with.

    Also, the Hartblei modified cameras have a very good reputation for reliability.

    Talk to your teacher more about it! Just be careful in use, though, to make sure you know exactly how to handle the thing. Even though they're good cameras, they're based on an older design so you should study up and know how to handle it.

    For example, someone I know had his 60 set on bulb and accidentally jogged the shutter speed button so it shifted to the next speed. This threw something out of whack and now the bulb ("B") setting doesn't work anymore. A minor detail, but read the manual (can be downloaded).

    I agree, the lenses on offer are excellent, and the price is sweet! You could probably sell later if needed and get most of your money back, or even make a profit. You can get good experience and results with this camera, and you may not need anything else for quite awhile if you play your cards right.

    Let us know how it goes!
  17. I'd say go for it. Kiev 60s are, when working right, a lot less problem-prone than the 88, which are what have given the Kiev name such a bad rap. The biggest danger has always been buying examples from overseas, untested and sight-unseen; if your teacher's example is in good working order, it's an excellent deal on a well-modified (Hartblei) example of a quite decent camera. If nothing else, if you don't like the camera, you can definitely sell the kit piecemeal and recoup your investment (or turn a handsome profit, on the slim chance the 150mm lens is a 150/4 Tele-Xenar.)

    I'd see if you can try the camera out for a few days before you buy, of course; Kiev 60s, even working perfectly, are not for everyone, and you might find the ergonomics, size, weight, or format not to your liking.

    Most of the square images on my website were shot with a K60 and the standard 80/2.8; it's less flare-prone than pretty much any other MF standard lens I've ever seen, as well as being quite amazingly sharp.
  18. I have a Kiev-60 in my collection. It has some nice features, and worked perfectly when I first bought it for $105. However, as I used it, it gradually developed problems. First a cappiong 1/500 sec shutter speed (I can live w/o it), then frame spacing (DIY fixable), and then an oil jammed lens iris (replaced lens for a modest price). Even though it still takes nice photos, I seldom use it when I know I have to have concrete results at the end of the day. It just isn't reliable enough. It also has a very low X flash sync speed (1/30 sec.).

    If you want a 6X6 SLR that is affordable and useful, take a look at a Kowa Six or 66. My Kowa Six costs about $50 more than my Kiev-60 and works trouble-free.

  19. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    DON'T DO IT! For that same money you can get yourself a Bronica ETRS.... http://www.photo.net/gc/view-one?classified_ad_id=691208 Try this guy, otherwise keep an eye on the forum sale sections, I see these all the time and getting cheaper every day.

    The Kieve is a fine camera but you will be very dissapointed compared to what you can get from the Bronica as far as availablity of lenses n backs n accessories.

    MF is at an all time low, take advantage of it, be more particular.

  20. benny spinoza, whats up!yes i am broke,but the hardest part is finding a medium format camera for a decent price that works. I am a photo student,and i print in my schools darkroom and i process my own film.

    affording film isn't such a big problem, especially since i mail order.
  21. what i'm looking for is a nice camera that takes a larger negative for sharpness and detail. i love to do headshots and portraits, and the 150mm is really what i'm thinking about for this task,but i havn't gotten the email about the brand or quality yet. he says the 80mm will give me good head and shoulder's shots with no distortion,but i thought that flattening effect is what you'd want,so i'm not sure.

    i'm also not sure if the lense quality is up to the task
  22. Mamiya 645 cameras are also decently priced, just make sure you find one with all the parts, film inserts, prism finder, and film winder... these parts are sometimes more expensive than the lenses which can be found for under $100 a piece. Mamiya TLRs are also great, but the long lenses will cost you a penny. The advantage to them is that you can do macro work with any lens, so you if want a tighter shot, you just stand closer. ;)
  23. "i want a medium set-up but i'm in college and broke as hell"

    I suggest one of the Mamiya rigs. A complete RB-67 kit (either the 90mm or 127mm lens) can be had for about $200 from KEH. These things are tanks: well designed, over-engineered, and built for real day to day studio work. The ProS version is probably the best value at this point.

    Alternatively, a Mamiya TLR like the C330 can be had for about the same price. I don't have first hand experience with these though.
  24. Bronica 645. Leaf shutters that flash sync at all speeds are a real plus! Reliable, cheap, and great glass, too.

    Look at KEH.com and shop for "bargain" items. They may have a few scuffs, but they still work well.
  25. I have a Kiev 645 and have had NO problems with it. I bought it new so I know it has not been abused. Any used camera you buy could have problems, even a Bronica or a Hasselblad.
  26. The 150mm is likely the Kalienar, which does not focus closely enough for really tight headshots. Do a google search on Kiev 60, look for a website called kievaholics, and do more reading. There is a LOT of online information on the Kiev. The responders who tell you that a Hartblei or Arax modified Kiev 60 are right - these modified cameras tend to have good reliability records. If you like shooting and printing MF, you'll trade up later on, but if you're poor, then buy the camera, have more money for shooting more film, and you're there.
  27. In general, very good samples of russian lenses have a center resolution over 74 lps/mm wide open (vega 90/2.8, vega 120/2.8, hartblei 120/2.8, hartblei 150/2.8, jupiter 250/3.5).
    arsat 80/2.8 (62 lps/mm), mir 65/3.5 (67 lps/mm), hartblei 65/3.5 pcs (67 lps/mm).
    mir 45/3.5 (67 lps/mm) and arsat 45/3.5 MC (67 lps/mm)
    Arast 30/3.5 (70 lps/mm).

  28. The problem of the 150 mm Kalienar not focusing close enough for head shots can easily be solved with a short extension tube. German Pentacon sets are pretty inexpensive; Ukrainian Arsenal sets are even cheaper, but have fewer (and longer) tubes.
  29. let me know of you are going to pass on the system i'll buy it off your prof.
  30. i'll tell you wether or not i'll pass within a week or so two,just mail ordered a few rolls of film:) i'm gonna use the camera for a weekend when i get the film.

    i'll post the results when i use it.
  31. and also, the 150mm lens is called the "Kalimar",not sure how good this lense is,but i'll test it at all apertures and i'll test the recipricol effect of all shutter speeds to make sure they are accurate.
  32. and also could someone tellme if the 150mm "Kalimar"is any good.anyone know about these lenses?
  33. I think it's probably a "Kaleinar" rather than a "Kalimar", although the latter IIRC was an importer that MIGHT have put their name on the lens.

    I've never had one (I use a 180 Sonnar) but here's a review from a reliable source:

  34. Since this camera is being sold to you by someone you know, and are in contact with
    locally, then you will probably be OK. The Kiev 60 has a somewhat delicate film wind
    mechanism that can easily be put "out of comission" by careless handling. Let him show
    you how to handle the camera. The lenses, in general, are quite good for the price, and
    will also fit the Pentacon 6 camera, as well as the most recently manufactured Kiev 88
    cameras. I have almost all the lenses and both Kiev 60, and Kiev 88 cameras, and the Kiev
    88 is a much more robust feeling camera, however you need to make sure you are getting
    a freshly manufactured one, as they have made many improvements in the last few years.
  35. I would say running a few test rolls threw the camera before you commit would be a good idea. Both to check if you enjoy using it and to make sure everything works OK.

    I will admit to having been thinking about getting a Kiev for quite some time, but at this point I'm mostly think about large format.
  36. i just got my film today! i'm gonna see about using it soon.
  37. i'm getting it tommarrow,i can't wait to use it. i've heard the good and the bad, i can't wait to see what my experienxe is. i'll tell you when i shoot some rolls.
  38. May I suggest for anyone buying Kiev Cameras to give Saul Kaminsky an e-mail or a phone call, to Kiev-USA. Saul is a highly knowledgeable person who actually sells modified Kiev Equipment, in the U.S.

    His business is selling modified or modifying Kiev Cameras to make them more reliable.

    For more info. Please check out: http://www.kievusa.com
  39. Is Saul still alive?
  40. Hi Dan,

    I'm not sure if Saul is still alive,to be honest. But according to Shutterbug article about Post-Soviet Medium Format Cameras dated 2003. You're better off with the Hartblei from the Czech Republic or from Kiev-USA.

    I have no experience with Kiev Equipment,therefore I apologize for my sincere lack of knowledge.

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