Is the Kiev 17/19 a viable replacement for a Nikon EM?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by kenji_yoshida, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. So I just got into collecting Nikon F series lenses and found out relatively quickly that the Kiev 17 (no meter) and the Kiev 19 both have Nikon F mounts. Are they any good? I've found relatively cheap bodies on eBay. I don't want to spend that much money only to know it's crap. My Nikon EM, which I picked up from the local surplus store has a non-working metering needle (yet the meter functions perfectly okay) and came with a 70-210 Tokina 4.0 hence the interests in the Kiev series.
    Thank you in advance. Please don't be rude at me, blame my thirteen year old brain instead. (!)
  2. HI Kenji, please feel free to ask any question. We try and answer what we know with caveats.
    I had a Kiev 19 with a Nikon mount. The lens was superb as it was an Arsatz lens. But the metal Bladed shutter malfunctioned. The Nikons, other than the F [professional] series are not that expensive. i think you may be better off buying a Nikon EM, FG, or even the FM 2 or 10. I am not familiar with all the mounts. So please check the lens mount, between the lens and the camera you wish to buy.
    WE are all dumb here; so feel free to ask any question. :)) sp.
  3. If you like the autoexposure of the EM, but would like to upgrade, consider the Nikon FE-2. Has aperture priority automation like the EM, but top shutter speed is 1/4000 second. It also has a metered manual mode. If batteries fail, the camera will work mechanically at 1/250 second and B. It uses a pair of MS-76 cells to power the meter and shutter.
    A relatively inexpensive way to go all manual on exposure is the Nikkormat FT-3.
  4. What SP says.
    The Soviet cameras in general are a lot better than folklore would have them, but Nikon is famous for durability demonstrated over a long time of professional use.
    I have tried to find some of the Soviet F-mount cameras; and, at least over here in the USofA, they are rare and fairly pricey, being attractive to Nikon, dare-I-say-it, "collectors".
    I think you can get a decent used F or F2, even, and be better off in the long run. They will also take the "pre-AI" or "non-AI" lenses which are also cheaper to buy. Old meters are more fragile than old cameras in every brand, however, so I would not worry much about that. Either use "sunny-16" rule (Google) or get an external meter.
  5. Based on my small sample of 1 Kiev (a 4a - different beast, I know), and several Nikons, I would save up to get some Nikon body. They're not the cheapest, but with some hunting you can find good bargains. I think the models Mike mentioned are good starting points. The F/F2/F3 often aren't that cheap anymore (for good reasons), nor are the FM/FM2 (also for good reasons), but the older Nikkormats and the FE's are quite affordable, and built to last.
  6. Unless you have a soft spot in your heart for the Kiev get the Nikon. The difference in price on eBay is not that much. I happen to have a
    soft spot for the Kiev but I have had to buy a second one because the first had issues. How much would you save and is it worth it?
  7. I bought a Nikkormat EL with 50mm f 1.4 nonAI. $40 USD a month ago, needs nothing and a Nikon FM with 50 f1.4 AI for $30 just before Dec 2015 with dented filter ring. They are out there! Owned a Kiev 19 years ago, highly NOT recommended IMHO.
  8. Recently I saw someone got his Nikon lens jammed and stuck on a Kiev. There's no point not getting a Nikon film body like the FG, considering their current prices.
  9. Welcome Kenji, nice to see some young folks interested in film. Lots of excellent advice that I cannot improve on. Just wanted to welcome
    you to the wonderful world of classic film cameras. Take care.
  10. Thank you for the helpful (insightful) answers.
  11. I'm nearly 65 and still have a 13 year old brain (although the wife seems to think it's closer to that of a 2 year old, but what does she know?)
    Save up and get a Nikon FG. Wonderful little cameras that are the same size as your EM, much more reliable than the Kiev, and the cost is pretty small. The FG offers a lot of features, whereas the EM doesn't give you any way to vary the exposure other than w/ the ISO setting, which is not exactly a fast way to go.
    A Nikkormat is a better camera than any of these, and might outlast even you. Built like tanks.
  12. Most 13 year olds don't have all that much money to spend.
    But shipping is a big part of the price of many older cameras, so to keep the price down, buy local.
    In the US, I recommend, or the eBay site for your local goodwill store.
    But I suspect that the OP isn't in the US.
    There are Nikon mount Nikon cameras in the USD10.00 range, such as the Nikormat FT, or, I believe the EM.
    I would recommend the FT3, though. It uses the AI coupling, which many modern lenses still have. Another choice is the EL2. If you try hard enough, you can find them in the USD20 to USD30 range, find one local to avoid shipping costs.
    I don't know the FG well enough to say, but it is probably also a good choice, and reasonably priced.
    The FM2 and FE2 are nice, but might be a little more than the OP can afford.
    Many Nikon AI lenses are very reasonably priced, so the OP should look at some of those.
    I have bought those from Goodwill down to USD10.00.
  13. I've had two Kiev 19Ms, and they've both had issues (worth bearing in mind that the 19M wasn't as highly regarded as the 19 or the 17). Neither metered as it should
    What they didn't have issues with was the lens - the Arsat 50/2 is a cracker. Beautiful with saturated color feel especially.
    I've heard great things about the Kaleinar 100/2.8 aswell. I've been meaning to pick one up for a while.

  14. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I own a Kiev 19 and 19M, and have found them to be solid and reliable, with accurate TTL meters. The Kiev 17 does have a faster 1/1000th top shutter speed, but lacks the convenience of built-in metering.

    The Kiev lenses are often excellent and a good value. I bought an Arsat-H 80-200 zoom, brand new on eBay for $15 (including shipping). It is well built, nicely multicoated and performs well.

    Dave E.

Share This Page