What Kiev is this?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by escuta, May 4, 2018.

  1. Hello,

    I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what model of Kiev camera this is. I believe it's a Kiev-4 but does anyone know the type? Could it be the type 2? Is this a valuable camera?

    Thanks. All the best




    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  2. Are there any Kiev's that could be classified as "valuable"....at least, to anyone other than who the owner is....LOL.

    That's quite a creation, with a combination of both pre and post-war Contax III and IIIA styling. The shutter speed/aperture calculator on the top deck is a IIIA copy, meter window on top is a Contax III knockoff, rangefinder window is a pre-war III design. The meter itself a IIIA style, wind-on and frame numbering mechanisms are pre-war design.
    escuta likes this.
  3. SCL


    IMHO "value" of Kievs is in the eye of the beholder :)
  4. Thanks JDMvW and Greg. I think I found it. The following site lists what looks like the same camera as the "Kiev-4(b)" (you need to scroll down the page):

    Communist Cameras

    It's selling here for around US$180. A fair price? Haven't yet asked the seller how its functioning.
  5. If you are looking at the camera for a collection, it's "value" is determined by you. If you have thoughts of using the camera for serious work, the mechanical condition is of great concern. From my own experience of the last 6 years, I would look into acquiring a Fed-2 or Zorki-4 from a seller on Ebay that certifies the camera as "CLA". All the cameras that I have purchased are performing excellently. Perhaps not Leica's, but with Jupiter-8 lenses, serious 35mm work can be done. Aloha, Bill
    escuta likes this.
  6. Thanks for that Bill, I hadn't heard of CLA. The only risk with Ebay is that customs slap a 100% tax on it when it arrives, but I'll consider these options. It's the Jupiter 8 lens that I've been very impressed with.
  7. "CLA" refers simply to the camera have just been overhauled/serviced. "Clean, Lube and Adjustment".

    That term also can mean different things to some. Many would say that means an overhaul. Some unscrupulous fellows would call wiping it down and applying some agent to just the right place to get the shutter working long enough to get it into a buyers hands a CLA, LOL.

    Caviat emptor.
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
    escuta likes this.
  8. Red Fed-2 gs-horz rr.jpg Greg is right on the button ! When I got "hooked" on range finders (thanks to BC), I purchased a "CLA'd" Fed-3 from a local fellow in Wa. state. Greg's comments proved true in less than a month. Next I went onto Ebay & located a Fed-2 / Industar 61 combo from a fellow in Ukraine. His item was listed as "CLA" & purchased. A quick $20 bill downtown in a Seattle shop confirmed all speeds within 5% & cleaning/lubrication consistent with reworked status. I have purchased 8 cameras from this seller to date & all but one are working. . I dropped that one ! A quick look in Ebay show's his current prices of a Zorki-4 with lens around $65 & a Fed-2 with lens at $73. Even with your 100% duty, the price is comparable to what your Kiev is at. Private mail me if you are interested in this fellows name. Aloha, Bill
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  9. I inherited my Dad's "No Name" Kiev that came with an f2 Carl Zeiss Jena 50 that I've never used. For very little money I was able to acquire a f1.4 Nikon S-C 50 w/hood that is now on the Kiev. Wide open with Tri-X I like it for several reasons: easy and accurate rangefinder focus, very easy to load and now that I've used it more, I like the results. There is an interesting effect when panning at 1/30th, it gives classic images of a car leaning into the direction of travel. It is on the heavy side but a nice change and a usable backup.
  10. I jes' love them Contaxes, be they wide or be they tall!
  11. I have the very same Kiev 4 as discussed here, and I would confirm that it is a nice and solid performer. The Jupiter-8 is also a good lens, but the best lens for this camera is by far the Helios-103 (1.8/53mm). Having swapped both lenses on the same camera and during the same roll just in order to make some comparison, I would insist on this point.
    $180 for a Kiev 4, even if guaranteed to be fully working sound astronomically high to me. At least this side of the pond, the normal price (selling price, not asking price) is well below €50, and indeed it rarely if ever exceeds €30. The two latest sales on ebay.de were at €6.50 for a camera with the Jupiter-8, and €16.09 for one with the Helios-103.
    escuta likes this.
  12. It is, that's the Brazilian market for you. With some advice from Bill Bowes and help from a Flickr friend of mine, I purchased a very nice, fully serviced (CLA) 1970 Kiev 4 with Jupiter 8M from a Ukrainian dealer for US$47 - complete with leather case and a yellow filter. I'll check out the Helios-103 in the future, thanks, but I've been impressed with a lot of Jupiter 8 photos that I've seen.
  13. Congratulations for your purchase, and a good "vintage" to boot. As you may know, the Kiev is not "a copy" of the pre-war Zeiss Contax II/III, as it is often described; rather, what happened was, after 1945 the Soviets dismantled the entire Zeiss production line in Jena and transplanted it into Ukraine, along with as many technicians and skilled workers as they could catch. So, the Kiev is basically a USSR-produced Contax, manufactured with the same machinery and largely by the same people - although not with the same quality materials, and not exactly to the same quality standards. Still, until 1972-73 the factory was still broadly controlled (as regards technical issues) by German expats who struggled to maintain, if not the original Zeiss standards, at least something along these lines. In 1972-73, the retirements of the last German-origin personnel coincided with very heavy political management interventions to raise production and introduce "improvements" in order to lower costs & simplify manufacture. As a result, Kievs after that date are better avoided.
    escuta likes this.
  14. I've bought a Contax with Tessar for $100, needed a partial CLA that I did myself.

    I paid $80, inclusive of shipping, for a 1957 Kiev 3- very close copy of the Contax III.

    $180 is very high for a 1970s Kiev 4.
  15. Just a simple way to help identification of these cameras: the first 2 digits of the serial number are the year of production. Yours show 78 for the camera, so that would be a 1978 product (the lens 71, so it's a tad older).

    I have a slightly older Kiev-4a (without lightmeter) from 1974, and mechanically it's not very good. To cure that, I later got myself a 1957 Kiev-2, which is a great deal smoother. I quite like the camera, it may be a bit clunky but I enjoy using it. The Jupiter-8 or Jupiter-8M (with clickstops for the aperture) are indeed nice, but the Helios-103 is a lot better.
    Indeed best way to get these cameras is from eBay, there are 1 or 2 sellers from Ukrain which have ample stock, and prices and cost of shipping is entirely reasonable. Also for additional lenses I'd recommend going that route.
    escuta likes this.
  16. Last edited: May 7, 2018
  17. AJG


    Yes, 40.5 mm filters,etc. should work on your lens. Be aware that some lens hoods will block a lot of the finder, however, so look for "vented" hoods that are made for rangefinder cameras.
  18. Escuta, please check your private mail. Aloha, Bill
  19. Just to confirm, this Biotar descendant is almost always superb, even by Zeiss or Leica standards (not an accident, of course, having been 'innovated' from that base).

    I did some posts on this greatest of all bargains, perhaps.

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