Kiev camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by haris, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. haris

    haris Guest

    Hallo to all,

    How ever this may look silly to you, it is reasonable to me. My question is, what do you think about purcashing new Kiev 88CM camera kit(and some other accessories - one or two lens first of all). I read quite good rewievs about that camera(consider all :smile:, and as I live in quite poor country(my monthly income is about 500$) I have(for me atleast) quite good price. Does anyone know something more about that camera. Please, do not recommend me secondhand Mamiyas, or like, I know that, but for some other reasons for me it is easier to buy Kiev...

    Thanks
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Given your purchase requirements I think you could have a lot of fun with the Kiev. Before you actually buy it make sure you find the sites that detail all the things you should do when checking a Kiev out and how to keep it running. From what I have heard the glass is pretty good on them.

    Good luck and I hope we can see of the the results.
     
  3. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Do a google search and you will find several dedicated Kiev sites. I was curious about the camera and found that for the price it is a pretty good camera. It needs a little more care in operating and handling then much more expensive cameras. As Eric pointed out, these sites will have details about care and feeding of a Kiev and all kinds of technical information.

    Good luck and let us know about the camera and what you decide.


    Jim Chinn
     
  4. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    estralita a member here has one. She gets great pictures using it. She knows all the little quirks and problems. PM her and see what she has to say about it. Also her pictures are in the gallery if you do a search. BTW she likes hers
     
  5. Dimitri

    Dimitri Member

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    I got a Kiev a few years ago. The kit contained two backs, two lenses pentaprism, extension tubes and pistol grip. It is am original russian model , not the Hartblei refurbished one.

    I was lucky that the metering prism was spot on (a very rare occasion), however the interior of the body is not black and you do get some internal flare. Also the one I have has the copper shutter and not the cloth one. Do not get one with a cloth shutter. Since the mirror falls into viewing position only when the shutter is cocked, you can damage the shutter if you accidentaly point the camera at the sun for an extended period. (there are too many reports of burn holes on cloth shutters)

    All in all is a very good (if somewhat heavy) camera and the lenses are very good. Internal flare seems to be a problem sometimes (but some DIY can fix that easily).

    One thing that you have to be extra careful about is the operation of the camera. If you change shutter speeds before cocking the shutter you can damage the mechanism and then repair costs can be more than what the camera is worth.

    If you intend to buy one I suggets spend the extra cash and buy a Hartblei one. They refurbish and paint the interior as well as calibrate the metering prism before selling them.
     
  6. mark

    mark Member

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    Before buying a Kiev go to

    www.kievaholics.com

    And check out the kiev report forum. It is a nice bunch of folks and very willing to help out. And they love their FSU cameras

    I am assuming you are not in the US. If not then contact Arax photo. www.araxphoto.com at this time their cameras are getting really good reviews for reliability, moreso than any seller in the states. They might be a little more expensive but the warranty and service are definately worth it not to mention the likelyhood of getting a working kiev. Buying used can be scary though I have been very lucky.

    My kievs are my only SLR MF system and I have been more than impressed with the very inexpensive glass.

    Good luck and definately stop by the kiev report forum.
     
  7. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I have had some dealings with Mike Fourman and can say that I found him an honest and reliable dealer. He can be a little difficult to contact sometimes because he travels a lot on business.

    With regard to the Kiev camera I own a Hartblei upgraded model which is compatible with Hasselblad backs. I have further upgraded it with a Hasselblad Acute Matte focussing screen. One of the nice things about these cameras is that because of the Pentacon Six mount they will accept a wide range of Zeiss Jena and Schneider lenses. These are very good lenses. The number of sources for buying modified Kiev cameras is increasing. Not only do you have Kiev Camera but also a company called Arax (website www.arax.com) They provide a similar service to Hartblei but refuse to make the cameras compatible with Hasselblad backs. It is their opinion that the engineering required to do this stresses the transport mechanism to an unacceptable extent, although I have had no problems.

    For research purposes you should visit the Kievaholic website as previously mentioned plus www.delphiforums.com and search for a forum called the Kiev Report. Also www.photo.net there is a special Kiev section in the Medium Format Digest.

    Feel free to drop me a private message if you have any other questions.
     
  8. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    My link to Arax posted in my reply was incorrect.

    The correct link is www.araxfoto.com
     
  9. haris

    haris Guest

    Thank you all for replies.

    I have decided to go to new model (Kiev 88CM, not Kiev 88). Reason is I have friend who has Kiev 88 model, bought in Kiev, when he visited USSR. Talking with him, we decided that old model is not worth of buying. Only what I must decide is would I buy Kiew 88CM or Hartblei or Arax version.

    I was in contact with Mike Fourman, he was wery kind and fast in answers. He gave me good price, and was kind enough to say he would wait untill I got money(as I said my monthly income is such that it is problem). So, I would like to deal with such kind person, but as I am in Europe(Balkan), maybe buying from Arax would be easier.

    Thank you all, and if you have some additional information, please be welcome to tell me.

    Best regards,

    Haris
     
  10. pierre

    pierre Member

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    I have no money, so I can't follow my own advice, but...

    ...rather than a Kiev, I would be looking for a used MF camera from a reputable manufacturer, if it was me. Those Kievs are cheap compared to a brand new, more mainstream make, but they cost as much as many used systems. I've done a lot of research on Kiev's, and, while they have many enthusiastic followers who are happy with them, they all seem to enjoy tinkering with them all the the time. The lenses are much more affordable though.
     
  11. mark

    mark Member

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    The 88cm still has it's problems.

    Mike is a nice guy but his return policy is a bit odd. Instead of repairing the cameras sent back to him he swaps them out for a different camera. Not a problem with a camera that has a good track record. no 88 model has this. So you might get a camera that has a bad meter then you send it back and this time get a camera that has a bad shutter, or something else. There are folks who have had to send back three and four cameras. Depending where you are, shipping gets really expensive.

    Hartblei is a mess right now no one is quite sure who or where they are. The hartblei web site is not THE hartblei. it gets real confusing. If you decide to get one and are patient I would go to the Kiev Report and read the comments about the company. I have a hartblei and would not trade it but it was hell getting it into my hands.

    Arax repairs any returns not swapping them out, they are reliable and supposedly no camera leaves their hands without a complete check. You get the negatives that were run through your camera. Arax is a rebuilder, they buy stock and soup them up nicely. They also do what no one else does which is rebuild the backs. Those on the Kiev Report have narrowed many of the problems the camera has to poor back design.

    Good luck with your choice but think alot about who you are getting the camera from. You may get a great one with no problems but then again you might get one that is completely unusable. Once this happens who you bought from becomes the difference between happiness and heartache.

    I do not feel anyone should tread into the Kiev waters without a complete understanding of what they could be getting into. Once you are in the water with a reliable camera it is quite fun.
     
  12. mark

    mark Member

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    Pierre

    It is the lens selection and affordability that makes the system worth it. I hate tinkering and there are many who do not. We rely on those who tinker to answer our problems. When going with another manufacturer you are stuck with their lens prices and they are way more than kiev or P6 lenses even used.
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I visited the Arax web site. That Metered Prism that will fit the Hasselbad ... $139...!??!

    I'm thinking ... I'm thinking!!!

    The concept here is interesting: take the ..."Iffy" Kiev and re-build.

    I might just spring for the prism ... and use it to get some idea of their operation, quality...
     
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  15. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    This is a little off topic (like most of my posts...)

    I just bough a used Pentacon Six TL, from ebay, which is flying from kiev to DFW right now... Yeah, cameras like those have a certain iffyness about them, but for 150 bucks shipped, with a lens, its what I consider a good upgrade from a beat up, 50 yr old german TLR I inherited (which recently broke for good).
    Anyway, I've heard that the p6 are completely different animals than the kievs, and carry different problems, but for 150 bucks, it might be another option for you to consider...
    In the other hand, if you can afford an ARAX, go for it. Even if their bodies are much pricier, you are paying for reliability (hopefully, anyway), and still leaving your self with many cheaper lenses to choose from.

    enough ranting (from my part), I'll let you know how the P6 performs once it gets here, if you'd like
     
  16. pierre

    pierre Member

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    Guarantees are one thing, but unless you're in the same country as the camera's supplier, don't underestimate the costs of shipping back and forth if you happen to need to. It can get very expensive (especially to Russia or the Ukraine, where it's also not only expensive, but unreliable), and the savings on the camera itself can easily be eaten up by those costs. I saw an acquaintance's Pentacon Six TL a while ago. The camera body itself is actually a nice-looking design, but the film transport mechanism is pretty unreliable and very easily broken, no matter what "tips" you can read about it on the internet. I mean, like you're always going to remember not to let the wind lever snap back but to ease it back gently. Yeah right!
     
  17. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have found the Pentacon 6TL to be a reliable workhorse. I have 3 of them that I have been using since the 1970's. You can break any camera if you operate it incorrectly. I use Kiev metering pentaprisms on my Pentacons.

    The feature I most dislike on the Pentacons is their tripod mount. It is difficult/impossible to keep the camera from rotating on the mount.

    I also have a Hassleblad 501 CM system that I have been using since 1981. Nice camera, but the lenses (and backs) are very expensive. The Hassleblad lenses are not that much better, in general (if at all), than their much less expensive Carl Zeiss Jena counterparts that fit the Pentacons and Kievs.

    I use a Kiev spot metering prism on my Hassleblad. However, I rarely ever use my Hassleblad or the Pentacons any more since I have two Kiev 88CMs. One camera is an ARAX from Gevorg Vartanyan (i.e. ARAX) in Kiev. The other is a Hartblei from Mike Fourman (Kiev Camera) in Atlanta, Ga. Both cameras (and companies) are reliable. I have found the mail service from the Ukraine to the USA to be reasonably priced and reliable.

    I believe that the ARSAT (Ukrainian) MC 55mm f4.5 Perspective Control lens is the best WA MF lens currently available in the P6 (Pentacon/Kiev) mount. It is better than my 60mm Schneider MC Curtagon, better than my 50mm MC Zeiss Flektagon and better than my 50 mm Zeiss Distagon (Hassleblad). The ARSAT 55mm lens currently sells for $349. (from ARAX).

    Check out the Kiev Report: http://forums.delphiforums.com/kievreport
     
  18. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've read this with interest.

    I've been on the brink of purchasing an ARAX-modified Metering Prism for my Hasselblads.

    To tell the truth, I think I've been "conditioned" by the Hasseleblad price list ... "Unless it costs a LOT of money, it invariably will be a cheap, unreliable knock-off" ... and so far, I've seen MANY reviews that are changing that pre-conditioning ... especially relating to current Kiev production ... BIG time!!

    Has the metering prism you have been modified by ARAX? Either way, what is your opinion of its accuracy and utility? ... and last, but not least, have you dealt with ARAX ... and their operation and system of delivery to ... wherever you are located?

    Thank you for the Delphi Forum web site address ... but I can't get it to work ... all I get is some advertisement for a sort of (??) telephone service.
     
  19. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Hi Ed: Last item first. I can't get on the Kiev Report web site either, at the moment. Their server appears to be down - happens every now and then.

    I have several Kiev metering prisms, most are out -of - the box averaging meters and are within 1/2 stop of my Lunapro SBC. They are Cadmium Disulfide Sensor technology and their low light sensitivity is not as great as the Luna Pro's Silicon Blue Cell Sensor.

    I have one Kiev Spot Metering Prism (it has a spot mode and an averaging mode). It is unmodified. I bought it from Mike Fourman of Kiev Camera, USA. It was checked/calibrated by Mike's technicians before I got it. It is very reliable and is within 1/3 stop of my Pentax Spot meter and my Gossen Luna Pro SBC.

    I currently have one ARAX rebuilt Kiev 88CM. I picked up a basket case Kiev 88CM (shutter problems/botched repair attempt) for a song and sent it off to Gevorg Vartanyan (ARAX) in Kiev for a CLA and shutter repair. He completely overhauled the camera, installed an improved lens mount and replaced the leatherette covering with black Italian leather. The total turn-around-time from California to Kiev and back to California was about 30 days. The camera has now had about 100 rolls of film through it and it has performed flawlessly.

    Gevorg is currently building me another 88CM. This one is an ARAX Special Edition CM88 with Mirror Lock-up and a Spot Metering Prism. I expect to receive it from Kiev in about 2-3 weeks.
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    Ed

    last october (that is when I bought mine)Hasselblad closed out their AcuteMatte-D screens because they have a new one on the market. Selling price for the old screens was about 200$ give or take. The close out price was $39. The price difference proved one thing to me. People are paying for the Hasselblad name and they are paying alot. Of course the overall quality of the hasselblad products are superior to the Kiev material but just how inflated are the prices?
     
  21. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    One of the strongest points in marketing today is branding - a good brand is worth millions because people will pay (very) dear for a famous brand.

    Jorge O
     
  22. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Well, I received my P6 last week, and already put a roll throght it. Here are my first impressions on it:

    The overall feel is good. The prism it came with (as a bonus, see further down) is very dim, but useable outside. It is the latest type of prism pentacon made, with condenser lenses. supposed to be bright, would hate to see a dim one... I measured the view area of the prism to be 45mm x 45mm. About 65% of the neg, right? Pretty absurd cropping, but one might be able to get used to it.

    Without the prism, the focus screen measured to be 51mmx51mm, maybe 1mm less due to the screen holder. It comes to about 80% of the image area, much more useable. Without the prism, my focus screen is plenty bright. I will have to rig a waist level finder for it, though.

    The much dreaded film spacing problem is present, but with too much spacing. I get 10 shots per 120 roll.

    The single coated 80mm lens it came with seems sharp, from looking at the negs. I'll still have to print them, though (it might be a few weeks).

    Moral of the story: for $150.00 shipped, it beats my now defunct Lipca Flexora hands down. THe film spacing does not bother me, since the flexora had it too. The lens is sharper, the viewfinder brighter (or just as bright when the prism is on), and I have more shutter speeds to use.
    BUT, if I had the money, I would go for an ARAX 60 or a similar upgraded K 60, if I had the guarantees of a problem free camera.

    I took a risk buying a used camera from overseas. Of all the things that could have gone wrong, this is the lesser evil.

    Oh, yeah: the negs look very well exposed, and I used 1/125 to 1/500 of a second (bright sunlight on most of the shots, tri-x to boot). So the shutter does not worry me.

    Just something to keep in the back of your head, Harris.
     
  23. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    about the prism, I think the seller included it to make up for the frame spacing issue. Not something you have to worry about if buying new.
     
  24. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Congratulations on the arrival of your "new baby" André! I think that you will find the lens/camera combination to be an excellent performer.

    The Pentacon prisms are indeed very dim. They can be replaced with the much brighter Kiev prisms if you desire. Rolf Dieter Baier makes a Kiev prism
    adapter for the Pentacons (I use one on my 6TL and recommend it - but it is more expensive than what you paid for your camera). See: http://www.baierfoto.de/

    The in-camera focusing screen can be be replaced with a much brighter screen and this also helps.

    Rolf Dieter Baier also has published a film winding procedure which will help prevent frame overlapping (not your problem, but ....?). The URL is: http://www.baierfoto.de/transportengl.html
     
  25. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Tom, thanks for the heads up, but I had looked at baiefoto's web site prior to buying the camera.
    Right now, it just seems sillly to spend so much money just on a prism... if I had 300 bucks to spend on the camera, that would be different. I could even consider buying a new kiev, for that much...

    Right now, I'm thinking of either getting a pentacon waist level finder and making better shades to fit it, or making my own wlf from scratch.

    Now that I think about it, upgrading a pentacon wlf seems like a better deal... safer, anyway.

    Do you own a pentacon wlf? Does it show all of the focus screen? what are you impressions of it?

    I just realized, I was not following baierfoto's directions, but Ron Spillman's. Have you found these to be incorrect? http://www.pentaconsix.com/Loading.htm

    Thanks once again for the help...
     
  26. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Jen, the girl at school who has a kiev also, is very careful with her film advance lever. She carefully holds it while it repositions itself back to the start. She told another student who purchased one, that if you didn't do that, it caused problems. Try this little trick with your Kiev. See if it might help with the spacing problem.