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Kiev - "Salut" medium format - anyone have any opinions?


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Hi gang.


I might be going to look at a used Hassleblad "clone" called

a "Salut". I've heard its of the same lineage as a Kiev medium



I was just wondering if anyone could give me any past expirences

with them; good, bad, etc.


THe used one I'm going to be viewing this weekend hasn't been used

that much (according to the owner), but that the film back gets

stuck at the 7th exposure. So I'm assuming that if I end up picking

up this camera, I'll need another film back, and should adjust the

used price accordingly.


Anyway, just looking for any opinions on this. My better half wants

a Hassy for Xmas, but I can't match her pricey tastes, and I figure

a used clone of a Hassy would be better to start with and have than

no camera at all. :)


Thanks in advance.




Sid Ceaser


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I would pass on the Russian model, unless as I usually suggest, it matches your Yugo.


Any chance you could piece a hassie together off the auction site? I know this requires a little patience but the zeiss glass is pretty nice.


80MM C T* - say $350


500CM or newer- $350 (I recently picked up a 503CX for $325)


A12 back - $100 (I pick these up between $59 -$200 for the newest A24-6x6)


Compare this against the cost of a Salut. I feel your pain.

good luck, Paul

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There are a number of used Hassy kits on KEH for less than $600. I think I even saw one

below $500.


Check out http://kievaholic.com/shouldi.html (Should I Buy a Kiev?)


My favorite quote "They often have problems right out of the box so you can have the fun

and challenge of trying to beat light leaks and film spacing problems from the start. Then

they break down and let you have the joy/frustration of trying to fix them. And they smell

bad. Really."


Do you want to give your better half a camera that smells bad? Hope she doesn't see this

message... And this is from a site by people who love Kievs. And remember, the Salyuts

are from before the era of westerners rebuilding/tuning new cameras.


At least the camera that you will be looking at is able to expose half a roll of film.


Good luck!



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Well, there you have it, Sid. Once you get your hands on one camera, then you can add or subtract. I found that getting my first one was the hardest. Since that time several months ago I have amassed at pretty discounted prices a fairly big kit for an amatuer, including 5 lenses, 8 backs (A24-6X6), 2 bodies, viewfinders and other stuff.
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Ha ha ha. Thanks for the answers gang.


I've got an RB67 that is my workhorse,and I shoot with a Diana for fun, and I just bought a new Toyo 4x5 a few months ago. I just happened to see a guy on craigslist in my area offering up a Salut, and I know my Queen, when not playing with her 4x5, always drools over how nice the Hassy's are, and I had heard that these Saluts are clones, so it piqued my interest.


Would it be worth it if it was something cheap? I think he wanted around 100 bucks for it, but he sounded open to something lower, considering I'd have to pick up a new back for it.


Or should I just avoid it all together?


Thanks for the opinions - it does sound like these things are a horror show. . .

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Your girlfriend wants a Hasselblad and you want to give her an old Russian Salyut?! Man, you are so going to get into trouble for this... <i>insult</i>!


First of all, the Kiev/Salyut cameras are not clones of the classical leaf shutter Hasselblads, but of the inferior focal plane shutter model, which is a pretty bad design that Hasselblad abandoned not without reasons. Although I am personally quite fond of my Kiev cameras, I know that these are not without risk. I even had to spend a long night repairing one after the film advance/shutter got stuck.


Well, we all know that "<i>Chicks Dig Hasselblads</i>"™. Last year we had some threads from one poster how wanted to give his s.o. a golden Hasselblad -- an expensive and useless design, but a great idea still in my eyes. I don't know how this turned out, he never posted again after Christmas (IIRC). My g/f also dropped some hints, but I could draw her attention to the much less expensive Mamiya M645 cameras, which she enjoys tremendously.<p>

If your girl wants 6x6, I suggest you take a good look at the <b><a href="http://www.mediajoy.com/en/cla_came/kowa_system/index.html" target="_new">Kowa Six series</a></b>, especially the Kowa Super 66 camera. These are really cute and nice medium format cameras that have even more sex appeal to girls (and guys, of course) than the Swedish picture-takers. Unfortunately these are scarce (=expensive) here in Europe, but if they are available where you live, I heartily recommend them -- but be sure that you get a working one.

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I only have indirect experience:


The Salyut, and Kiev 88 are copies of the Hasselblad 1000F, which was the focal-plane-shuttered ancestor of the much better-known leaf-shuttered Hasselblad 500C and later models. The Hasselblad 1000F was discontinued after the 500C was introduced in 1957.


I have never owned or worked on one of the Russian copies, but I have worked on a Hasselblad 1000F. It was the most difficult and frustrating camera I have ever worked on. I will not attempt to work on one again, and I would not own one.


My impression of the 1000F is that the Swedes did the best they could with it from 1949 to 1957 but were never able to make it quite satisfactory and so finally gave up and replaced it with the 500C. It's possible that the Salyut/Kiev folks did a better job of it than the Hasselblad folks. If so, they must be pretty good.



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Just an aside people. Kiev cameras are NOT made in Russia were NEVER made in Russia and should NOT be described as Russian cameras. They are made in the Ukraine which is not and has never been part of Russia. It was part of the Soviet Union but not Russia. But apart from this, if you wish to go down the path of acquiring a Kiev camera then perhaps you should consider the purchase of a Hartblei remanufactured Kiev camera. They come with either Pentacon or Hasselblad lens mounts and the backs and viewfinders can be interchangable with Hasselblad.



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As a user of Kiev cameras I can honestly say that you will want to beat your head against the nearest solid surface once you buy one. The Ukrainian glass is really quite beautiful and sharp. The 30mm Zodiak Fisheye is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used, right up there with my 50mm Distagon FLE. But Kiev cameras are notoriously unreliable. The Salut film magazine advance has been described as "Like the sound of Walnuts cracking", and that's when they work!

Honestly, used Hasselblad 500s are so dirt cheap now that buying a Kiev will be way more expensive in the long run. Listen to the chorus, don't go there man!

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If you want something cheap to start with, buy any TLR. Seagull, and even cheaper Chinese brands will be very pleasant to use and get an insight to the world of medium format. I hate it when people bash a piece of gear witout having used it, and I have not used any Kiev or Salyut, but from the stories I've heard, I decided they were just not for someont who wants to spend more time by taking pictures in the field than by fiddling with the camera, assembling and disassembling it etc. That must also be interesting, but it's a different kind of hobby.


Otherwise just buy a used Mamiya, Bronica, Hasselblad, Pentax or whatever. If you want 6x6, I think the Bronica is a good choice. Hassies are a little overpriced for me. For 645 or 6x7, I'd go with Pentax or Mamiya, depending on whether you want to use it in the field (Pentax) or in a studio (Mamiya).


Whatever you buy, be prepared that medium format gear is always more troublesome than good 35mm. But the results you get are wonderful.

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My first SLR MF camera was a Salyut C with a 90mm Vega lens. I bought it two years ago.


It's a nice looking camera, looks exactly like a Hassy. The shutter going off makes a huge racket, and the whole camera feels as if it is going to explode in every direction. The inside, under the mirror had many loose light baffles, one simply came right off. Winding the film on was hard work, and it seemed like it would rupture the camera everytime you did it.


The lens was another story. The 90mm Vega is superb. And it focuses very close. I wish I could adapt this to my Bronica!


Well, anyway, the one or two rolls I got back were all overlapping each other. But the frames that I could see were well exposed and the colors were out of this world. This lens was more likeable than the Bronnie Nikkors or Mamiya 6 lenses. It has real richness and character (sounds like you would describe wine, right?). Anway, It felt too much like playing Russian Roulette with this camera everytime I shot something with it. I took it to the store and traded it on a Bronica EC, with only 75 dollars difference. The Bronica is a completely different story. It is the most solid reliable medium format camera I have ever seen. It is built like a howitzer, the winding action, shutter and all other parts are smooth as Angelina Jolie's round derriere.


Having said that, I just picked up a Bronica SQAI, so the beloved EC may have to be sold, and is in fact at this minute awaiting it's final moments on Ebay, I kind of hope it does not sell, as I really like it.


Final word: steer clear of the Salyut. The lenses are awesome, but the bodies were put together by baboons high on PCP.

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Bueh,<br><br>These "inferior focal plane shutter model" are not that at all. No "pretty bad design".<br>The only thing plaguing them was their choice (and stubborn unwillingness to go to what even then too was the obvious solution) of material: the thin metal foil shutter curtains were just too vulnerable.<br>Apart from that, the design is pretty sound, certainly after they made the few modifications resulting in the 1000 F.<br>So if you think the "inferior" quality of the Kievs also is an accurate copy of early Hasselblads, better think again.<br><br>And the "reasons" why they "abandoned" it?<br>They actually hadn't abandoned it. They kept on working on the focal plane camera continuously (there was a one year gap, in which all effort was put towards the C-line).<br>It took very long before something emerged, true. But they had some very good "reasons" why they did not (!) "abandon" it.<br><br>Anyway, working 50+ year old 1000-series focal plane shutter Hasselblads can still be found, and are well worth buying. And even they are more reliable than fresh out of the box Kievs.
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Thanks Tom, for the nice comments. I completely enjoy my toy "portraits" series, and I'm actually having some growing success with them.



Everyone else - thanks for the insight and comments. I think I'll shy away from this camera. It isn't that I'm too cheap to get my better half a Hassy, we just can't afford it. Sadly, photography isn't my direct source of income (yet!), and we generally have to save and scrape by and such. Her birthday present was a 4x5 camera, and she loves that much more than she would a Hassy, I was simply trying to think of something other than a 4x5 backpack to get her this year.


Not that I need to explain my reasoning.


But thanks for the replies. I got alot more opinions than I was expecting.



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You know Sid, the Kievs and Salyuts are so cheap they are almost worth getting just to fool

around with, and the Russian sellers are excellent with customer service. They will keep

seding you new backs until one works. Heck, you could even ask them to test the back

before sending the camera and to make sure it works ok, I think they would be up for it.

You could ask for three backs!


Still, a Hassy 1600f would be much more fun.

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You might say the same thing about the "Made in America" phrase because America really encompasses all of the western hemisphere. El Salvador, Nova Scotia, and even Bolivia are in America! Actually the western hemisphere had been named America long before the Pilgrims were run out of England.


That is why US international mail says from the USA and not from America.


Don't get me wrong man. I love my country and my favorite anthem is "God Bless America", which I was taught while we ducked under the desks exercises in case San Francisco was hit by a Soviet nuke......long ago.

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