Torn between my Mat 124G and a Kiev88 Prospect.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by afrank, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. afrank

    afrank Member

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    I absolutely adore my Yashica Mat 124G. Perfect condition, lens sharp as hell, have almost every accessories for it..... but what would i not give for interchangeable backs and a f/ 2.8.

    As a student I cant afford both and I was thinking of getting a Kiev88 and give up on my Yashica, but I dont even know how comfortable or well I would adapt to it...
    The Yashica is a pleasure to use, and the images it produces are gorgeous and bokehlicious while razor sharp in the center. The Kiev I have no idea, but it would be nice to have backs for low/high speed B&W and color....

    Any ideas or suggestions? What should I expect from the Kiev? does it really matter?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jojje

    Jojje Member

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    I've had bad experiences with Kiev shutters... And repairman wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.
     
  3. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I have shot a Kiev 6C (similar optics) and currently use a 124G - don't give up the Yashica. In my opinion, the Yashica produces a better image, easier to use and much more reliable.
     
  4. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    A few years ago I was given a Kiev 88 and a few lens. The glass was good enough, but shutter, light leaks, frame spacing, well just not worth the time and money to have fixed. I understand that the Kiev's that have been overhalled are much better. I gave mine away as well. Remember that there is only a 1/2 stop differance between a 3.5 and 2.8.
     
  5. afrank

    afrank Member

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    So getting a 1.8 would be the only real reason to move to a SLR6x6?
    What about the ariflex reworked kievs?
    There arent any under 700$ right?

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  6. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    I used to have a Salyut (the precursor to the Kiev 88) with a 90mm lens. It was a bit clunky and crude in operation, but mine was reliable enough in the couple of years I used it regularly. The lens was really good, and I liked the quality of images from it. It was certainly sharp enough for my taste, although perhaps not as sharp in the corners unless stopped down a little. I stopped using it once I got hold of a Rolleiflex, and eventually sold the Salyut as I prefer the compact TLR form factor.

    I might have been lucky, but i had no reliability problems at all with the Salyut, though.
     
  7. snederhiser

    snederhiser Member

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    Hello;
    When I was shopping for a Kiev, read about all the faults of the K-88s. Instead settled on K-60 and have had good luck with these. Of course I don't need a interchangeable back and carry two bodies if needed. Steven.
     
  8. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    I have several Russian cameras, and I really like Russian optics, but I wouldn't want a Russian camera as my only camera. The reliability is just not there. All of mine have had little issues crop up from time to time that I've been able to fix myself, but it was nice to have other cameras to shoot while doing so.

    It sounds like you're very happy with your Yashicamat so it seems there is no reason to change. If money is tight, why not look for a Yashica C or D TLR to load with a second type of film. Most or all of the accessories you already own should fit it, and they can be found for under $100.
     
  9. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    only buy keiv 88 if you are of a gambling nature and hope to lose. The Kiev 88 is a failed attempt by Soviet-era camera makers to duplicate a Hasselblad 1000, which is a camera Hassy couldn't make work right as evidenced by the fact that they abandoned it. Add in that famous Soviet quality (Soviet Kamera motto: Quality is Job Never!) and you've got a camera that could, within a month as the one I tried did, turn into a very expensive paperweight.

    I did buy one, sent it back 3 times in a month and the third time I told them not to send it back. The mechanics were totally unreliable, the interior was not baffled and spewed light all over the place, it was junk. I've stuck with Rollei ever since, and yur yashica will be a good reliable tool.
     
  10. thegman

    thegman Member

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    If you love the Yashica, I'd keep it. As for f/2.8, only you know if you need that, I know I don't on my Rolleiflex 2.8GX, f/3.5 would be just fine. With interchangeable backs, well it depends on how quick you need to change film types or reload. I used to have a Hasselblad with a couple of backs, it's cool, but I don't miss those backs now that I'm using a Rolleiflex.
     
  11. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    Really? Depth of Field on medium format at 2.8 I find is quite limiting. You have to be absolutely spot-on on the focus.
     
  12. fotch

    fotch Member

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    The grass in not always greener like you think. The 124G is a good camera.
     
  13. whlogan

    whlogan Member

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    Keep the Yashics at all events... get a 88 and play, but never, I repeat NEVER let go pf the Yashica. It loves you; can't you tell that now, after all these years ???. Stay with what works, Pal.
    Logan
     
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  15. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    Keep the 124G!!!!!!!!!!
     
  16. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    Here's a suggestion. Keep the 124G - its a great camera, but if you want to try out a medium format SLR, how about 645? unless being not square format is a dealbreaker. I recently bought a Mamiya 645J to complement my Yashica 635. Both very different. I think you would miss the lightness and convenience of the Yash. However, M645J's are cheap. OK, only 500 shutter speed (enough) and no interchangeable back, but a very inexpensive way into medium format SLR. The M645J is *just about* portable. I walk out with it round my neck on a good strap and with a prism finder its certainly useable handheld, but I wouldn't want it to be any heavier. My yash 635 on the other hand, is no heavier than my 35mm kit.
     
  17. rbultman

    rbultman Subscriber

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    Solve the interchangeable back issue and keep your love for the Yashica by buying a second Yashica and loading it with different film. Your accessories will work and your workflow will be unchanged. Of course, that combo might be a little bulkier than an MF SLR with two backs, but probably not by much. I don't have a 6x6 SLR to compare with, but I'd guess 2 Yashicas would be smaller than a Mamiya Pro with 'normal' objective and two backs and slightly larger than a Mamiya 645 Super/Pro with normal objective and 2 backs. I'd bet the 2 Yashicas would be lighter than either two SLR systems I mentioned. Good luck!
     
  18. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I agree to keep the 124G. I have a 124 (non-G - the differences are mostly cosmetic) and love it. I also have a Mamiya 645 Pro system. Interchangeable backs and lenses ARE very nice to have, no doubt about that, and with the AE prism finder and winder grip it's much faster to shoot than the Yashica and doesn't need an external meter. My Yashica meter actually works surprisingly well but I don't rely on it carrying my Luna Pro SBC when using it. In 645 systems the 645 Pro does use interchangeable backs but costs more. The Pentax does not. Bronica ETR series does, and is also small and compact and seems well liked.

    On the whole, if I had to give up one or the other - it would probably be the Mamiya system! Don't get me wrong, it's a great camera, very versatile, but compared to the Yaschica it feels like an albatross around the neck, and having the backs and lenses just means I CARRY most of that stuff too. When I'm just strolling around and think I might want a camera I take the Yashica (or 35mm depending on mood and potential subject.) The Yashica always gets admiring looks and compliments too, while non-photographers usually think the Mamiya is some kind of big digital camera.

    There are other, more reliable, systems around that have interchangeable backs. I'd look around at those and wait until you could afford both.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2013
  19. afrank

    afrank Member

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    Hmm thanks everyone for the advice! I never though of the idea of getting another TLR, perhaps its a good idea!
     
  20. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    You may want to consider a serviced Pentacon P6. There are several places in Germany that service them, and can add a film wind indicator as an option (not really necessary if you follow the instructions on how to load the film properly).

    You'll get access to a great range of affordable, good quality lenses, both both German (East and West) and Soviet. The 120mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena is a really nice portrait lens, and not too big either. You could also grab a 50mm Flektogon.

    The "safer" option would be to look for a Bronica SQ-A or the cheapre SQ-B. The bodies and lenses are affordable, and of decent quality.
     
  21. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Didn't read the entire thread but for the money, go with a japanse camera over a kiev for sure.
     
  22. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    I've had both.....and.....

    Both have good points and bad points...

    Given a choice I'd buy a RB67..or if you want to shoot square format a Bronica SQ or Hasselblad
     
  23. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

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    If you want to go with Russian MF camera's then go with http://www.araxfoto.com, I bought my KIEV-60 there about one and a half year ago and no problems whatsoever, you even get 2 years of warranty and they are pretty cheap. You can even get you camera customized with a different kind of leatherette.
     
  24. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

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    Of course you HAVE to keep your 124G. As others have recommended, you like the 124G, then get another. Mark Hama is still around so he could CLA a heavily used one and you would be set for life. One color, one B&W, problem solved. I have a D, but honestly, two 124Gs would be the way to go for me too as I have all the accessories too for the 124G.

    If someone made a 6x6 back for the Mamiya 645, it would bring new life to that camera system. I love mine but honestly would rather have 6x6 neg vs. the 6x4.5 neg, but I will live with it. Nice system but sounds like you want to do business in 124G fashion.........get two, don't look back.

    Bob E.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The Mamiya 645 cameras wouldn't be likely to work with 6 x 6 - some of the lenses have internal masking to control flare that is actually rectangular in shape - they wouldn't illuminate a square negative properly. Not to mention the problems with the viewing system.
     
  26. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, AFrank;

    The consensus seems to be to keep the Yashica 124G, and wait for a while before getting a Kiev-88 or Kiev-88CM. Actually, I agree with that recommendation.

    No, I do not have the Yashica 124G, but I do have something very similar; the Minolta Autocord. And then there are the Kiev cameras. Yes, I do have a Kiev-88, Kiev-88CM, Kiev-6C, and the ARAX-60 or an ARAX modified Kiev-60, and there are 16mm and 35mm Kiev cameras also.

    Yes, I do like my Kiev cameras, but I must also agree that they may need work to get them to perform in the way that I like now, with the exception of the ARAX-60 which demonstrated that the Kiev cameras really can work in a very civilized manner when they first arrive.

    By the way, the Minolta Autocord does have a sensitivity also; the swinging lever for focusing the lens. Be gentle with it. If it binds, do not force it; you will break it (empirical knowledge here). So, the Kiev cameras are not the only cameras out there with known quirks. But the Minolta Autocord is so much lighter than my Kiev 6 x 6 cameras.

    You are in Germany. ARAX Foto ( www.araxfoto.com ) in Kiev, Ukraine is not very far away. Gevorg Vartanyan and his crew can take care of any of the problems that people have mentioned about the shortcomings of the Kiev cameras as they came out of Zavod Kyiv or the Kiev Arsenal.

    I must also admit that the Kiev-88 and Kiev-88CM can have problems with frame spacing and with light leaks with the magazines. You learn to load the film carefully using the standard recommended process with the right take-up spool; that really helps with the frame spacing. I also admit that I still fit a lady's wide black elastic hair tie around the joint between the back of the Kiev-88 and the film magazine. It does help to keep out extraneous light and improves the number of enjoyable photographs from the camera and magazine combination. And, any other Kiev owner you encounter will know that you are an experienced Kiev-88 user.

    Would I prefer to have the Kiev over a Hasselblad or Bronica? Well, no, not really. However, I will say that the Kiev cameras are a lot more fun to use, and the results you get from the FSU lenses really are very good, and I can say that I have all of my Kiev kit for less than what one Carl Zeiss lens for the Hasselblad can cost. And then there are the really wonderful expressions you can see on the face of a Hasselblad owner when he sees a Hasselblad viewfinder on top of a Kiev body.