Kiev 88 - has anyone used it?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by get_me_a_gun, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. get_me_a_gun

    get_me_a_gun Member

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    Hi,

    Im very close to buying a Kiev 88, supposedly its the russian version of the 'blad. Has anyone used this camera and do you have any tips/advice? Is it easy to use? Good results? Any feedback would help. Thanks guys, love ya :smile:
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I've used the lenses on Kiev 6C and 60s. The lenses are fine.

    My question for you is why?

    A few years back they sort of made sense. Lenses were cheap. Bodies cheap.

    Today? In good condition they don't seem much/any cheaper then a Bronica SQ or a Mamiya RB/RZ. Or if you're looking at a 645 version then plenty of other 645 choices.

    So what is attracting you at the moment?

    Main draw for me would be the fisheye lens. That alone might justify getting a body.
     
  3. get_me_a_gun

    get_me_a_gun Member

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    I saw one on craigslist for $200 including everything. I had a pentax 67 for a while, my second one, both of them had shutter issues. Its time to move on, you know?
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    My 6C and 60s have been fairly problem free. But I would never suggest moving to a Kiev to avoid camera problems. With luck you'll get a great body. But you might not.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's not the direction I'd move if you want something that is mechanically reliable.

    MF gear is really cheap right now. There are outstanding deals to be had on RB/RZ 67, Hasselblad 500 C/M, and Bronica cameras.
     
  6. Paul.

    Paul. Member

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    Havenot used one but tried one at a camera fare once. Was inpressed with its quality, it is a V series copy and some of the bits are interchangeable, prisms for one. It probably will not take the workload of a Hasselblad over 25 years but it will not cost nearly as much either.

    OK I baught a second hand Hasselblad, but it has taken 4 years to be able to afford 2spare backs and 1 additional lens. With the Kiev you could get the whole kit for what I payed for the camera.

    Enjoy it, it is a good bit of kit.

    Regards Paul.
     
  7. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    You can often get an RB kit for the same amount. I kick myself everytime I see another go by for $200-$250 and don't buy it, but I have enough cameras for now.
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The Kiev 88 (and 88CM) are not copies of the V series Hassleblad. Kiev 88 Prisms and viewfinders can be used on the V series Hassleblads - but nothing else.

    I have 3 Kiev 88 CMs and 1 regular Kiev 88. The Kiev build quality and Quality Conrol are all over the place. If you get lucky and get a good one...
     
  9. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I have a couple of 88CM's and lots of lenses. I even have a polaroid back for them. They are fine cameras, but the assembly of the average one is poor. The best advice I can give is to puchase from a good reliable dealer that offers warranty. With that in mind, they can be good cameras. The only one to get would be the late models that have the Pentacon 6 lens mount. Earlier Kiev cameras had a propriatery lens mount not shared with other cameras.
     
  10. mark

    mark Member

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    I have owned two. One for a back up and one for a user. I got rid of the back up because my user was dead on. Three years of hard use and never a problem. I got lucky. I think mine was one of the last to come out of the old Hartblei factory, when folks knew who they actually were. Since getting more heavily into LF I put it up, but have a project I will be using it for, on a daily basis. I ran the shutter through its paces and I expected it to have issues since I have not touched it in a year. No problems aside from the dust.

    Phototone gives the best advice. Go with a reputable dealer. ARAX, had a pretty good reputation and were some really nice folks.

    As for the other MF cameras: The bodies may be cheap but the glass will kill you. One person's "cheap" is still my "way too expensive". I never regretted buying my Kiev. I even have it in the dreaded B mount.

    It can be frustrating if you do not get a good one though.
     
  11. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I think most of my current Bronica lenses cost less the similar Kiev lenses. My Mamiya RZ aren't much more money then Arax would want for lenses. OTOH fisheyes for either would kill me.

    Not to mention I've got a fair number of P6 lenses for my Kievs. But today? I wouldn't go that road myself.
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    They're OK. Built like a tractor, with zero quality control. A good one can be very good indeed: I even used a borrowed one professionally, albeit only for a few shots for one job to see if I could (I had alternatives to hand...)

    I would not buy one unless it was either very cheap or guaranteed by someone trustworthy who had rebuilt it.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. desertrat

    desertrat Subscriber

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    Fully Mechanical

    The Kiev-88 is closely copied from the old Hasselblad 1000F, which ceased production in 1957. Some of the other cameras the have been recommended as better choices than the Kiev may need batteries to be fully functional.

    The Kiev-88 is fully mechanical, if that may be important to you. The body doesn't use batteries at all, but the metered prism does if you get a camera that has one. If you want to get accessory lenses on the 'bay, you can get the 250mm, 300mm, 65mm, and 45mm for less that 100 dollars each if you shop carefully. The 120mm, 150mm, and the 30mm fisheye will cost between 100 to 200 dollars.

    If you get one with the P6 mount, a lot more lenses are available. I enjoy my Kiev-80 a lot. It's basically the same camera, just older. I liked it so much I bought a Salyut-S, still in the same family. It broke after 3 rolls of film. One of the shutter curtain straps let go. It's important to weigh cost vs reliability. The Kiev-88 may or may not be the right camera for you, depending on what you need.
     
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  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have one. The lenses I have with it are great- The body quit working at speeds faster than 1/30 after about 3 rolls. I'll sell it to you with the two lenses for $100. If you can get the body fixed for cheap its a super bargain. I don't have time to mess with it myself.
     
  16. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Go for it.

    They are a perfectly fine cameras and the lenses are very good for the money. I have found that the majority of "spacing issues" people experience come from sloppy loading practices; you must load the mags in a very careful, precise sequence.

    It is a purely mechanical camera and I love it. Treat it right and it does a fine job.

    Don't listen to those nattering nabobs of negativism... :wink:
     
  17. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism" got to be the greatest phrase I have heard all week. Yup, the Kiev cameras and particularly lenses are great!!
     
  18. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Well, I can't take credit for that slogan; Spiro T. Agnew coined that phrase, not that I am a fan of his at all...
     
  19. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    Owned four or five bodies, one of which had the P-6 mount. Only one is currently working, and the the rest are in various stages of disrepair.

    Quality issues are not limited to how the camera was built, but also how well calibrated they are. Focusing is one- the screen/mirror/lens flange are not always at the right places so the focus screen and focal plane are not always in agreement. In one of the cameras I got, the mirror was askew so that all shots made with this camera appeared tilted.

    The film magazines are also prone to defects. Light leaks are one, and alignment issues are the other. The latter would make correctly focusing on one plane impossible.

    However, when you do get a good one, you'll have an excellent MF camera.
    The lenses are excellent. The 8 cm Arsat is a very good, comparable to similar lenses made in the old DDR.

    Even a fine-working Kiev remains a delicate camera. Kiev 88 require special handling which when ignored, often results in damage. The number 1 cause of shutter breakage is changing shutter speeds with the shutter uncocked. Always change the speeds only when the shutter is charged. And when the shutter speeds are changed, turn the dial only in one direction. Always do this in the "B to 1000" direction and not the opposite.

    Jay
     
  20. robat

    robat Member

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    Well, if your financial limit is $200, go for the Kiev. But be prepared for lottery, it can be a wonderful machine, or just broken. Mine works very nice, and I wont go for something else unless it dies in my hands. Maybe looking at a Bronica SQ-something might be an alternative.
     
  21. ducque

    ducque Member

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    Another Kiev user

    I have a lot of Kiev equipment, which I got for very little when I was working in eastern Europe in the early 90s. I have 3 Kiev 88 bodies, and at least one of each of the lenses they make.

    Buying a Kiev means really "owning". Any Kiev body can be made "bulletproof" mechanically, but that means some time, patience, and some $$ invested with repairpeople who know the beast.

    The glass is more than acceptable. And my 88s have been absolutely reliable for hundreds of rolls.

    That said: in the last year, I have bought a mint Mamiya 645 and some lenses for less than what I originally paid for the Kiev (not counting inflation)! The Mamiya is somewhat better finished, and I have found that the Mamiya glass is better than the Kiev glass overall. But I still haven't tried to sell the Kievs...
     
  22. RoBBo

    RoBBo Member

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    I've been told the new US importer/dealer does re-coating of the lenses and replacing shutters and all that to make the Kievs actually somewhat 'nice' before actually selling them.
    I didn't look into it as I've since gotten a Bronica SQ-Ai that I'm more than happy with, but I think it's worth looking into if you're thinking of going down that path.

    A friend of mine has a Kiev waist level on his 500c/m and didn't even know it.
    Can we say ghettoblad?
     
  23. Kino

    Kino Member

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    I prefer the term, "Hasselblaski"...
     
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    "Hassenblat" works for me. occasionally I do get a "bless you" though.
     
  25. WRSchmalfuss

    WRSchmalfuss Member

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    I am using a WIESE PENTASIX 636 (modernized, improved KIEV 88 MF-camera) successfully for many years. Every camera, and magazines getting a special review, improved with an new, reliable cloth focal plane shutter, a bright ROLLEI screen, K-6 bayonet mount, mirror up mechanism, and an reliable guarantee. Besides my other MF cameras, I love to work with my PENTASIX 635.

    Cheers
     
  26. haris

    haris Guest

    I wanted to buy new Kiev (improved version), but at the end I bought used Mamiya RBproS set for some smaller price than new Kiev set.