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Thread: Kiev 88

  1. #1

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    Kiev 88

    Someone experience with the Kiev 88 ? it's worth to spend money hav it ?

  2. #2
    fretlessdavis's Avatar
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    I've used one of the Kiev rangefinders, and have spoken with someone who uses a Kiev 60. The general consensus is to buy from Hartblei. Make sure it's one CLA'd and tested. Quality control is spotty, but they can be nice cameras.

    What's your goal? Inexpensive way into MF? Using the fabulous Zeiss 180mm f/2.8 Sonnar?

    Depending on what you're doing, I'd recommend going with a more reputable brand and used. Bronica ETRS gear is dirt cheap, and generally very reliable (I now have about $300 invested, and have a 50, 75, 150, 2x teleconverter, prism, body, 2 120 backs, and a 220 back). If you want squares, the Bronica SQ stuff is cheap, too. If you even want Hasselblad, I noticed that KEH has 500ELM's with the 9v adapters and waist levels for $200 in excellent condition. You could easily get a basic 500ELM kit together for about the same price as what the new and tested Kiev 88's are going for.
    New-ish convert to film.
    Pentax MX for 35mm
    Bronica ETRS for 645

  3. #3

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    In a word: No.

    More words? -- the Kiev 88 is a cheap copy of a camera -- the Hasselblad 1000-- that the Hasselblad folks quit making because they couldn't get it to work dependably. The Kiev 88 was made during the Soviet era when quality at Soviet factories was job 2, or maybe even 3, and numbers out the door were job 1. There's a very good reason Soviet shoppers tried to buy items made on wednesday -- you had the greatest chance that the people making them were sober and not hung over either from the past weekend's parties or from anticipating the coming weekend's parties.

    If you nose around you'll find lots of folks who say the Kiev 88 is a great camera "BUT," and that "but" is big -- you can't change the shutter speed before winding the film or something awful happens; you want to find one that was upgraded with new parts (sometimes Hassy parts), the interior parts are not hidden from light reflections properly but there are post-production fixes for that, the light seals on the film holders leak but there are ways to fix that, and on and on.

    In short, the Kiev 88 out of the box is crap. People who love them -- these people exist -- are the kind of folks who love overcoming adversity. I shoot pinhole for the same reason, but at least I don't have to worry about my pinhole camera falling apart in my hands.

    I have some actual experience. I bought a Kiev 88 outfit brand new and had it quit working three times in the space of two months, each time racking up frequent flier miles back to the seller. The third trip was one-way. It was the only time I'd ever had a brand new camera apparently self-destruct in my hands while simply sitting and working the shutter.

    Prices for Hasselblads have come down a lot in recent years. Find one of those and spend the extra bux for something dependable. You will not regret it.

  4. #4
    arealitystudios's Avatar
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    Buy one if and only if you can get it really cheap.

    I own one and I'll confess I love it to death, but at the same time I also know what it is and what it isn't. What it isn't is a dependable camera that I would ever take anywhere I absolutely had to get an image right the first time. What it is at times is a fun toy that can produce that rough Russian look which I do like at times, especially when combined with an older emulsion like Foma or expired Plus-X.

    Mine jams up all the time and the f-stops are very difficult to adjust. It's a spotty performer at best. Every single time it has broken I've been able to fix it myself but the day will come I'm sure when that isn't possible.

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    Thx all opinion , actually i shot RB67 , but it was a heavy beast for street photographic not so convinient , so im looking for other MF SLR ,and i saw so many negative feedback from Kiev 88

  6. #6
    fretlessdavis's Avatar
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    If you like the look of the Russian lenses, the Pentacon Six is only a tad more, and definitely more reliable. The mounts are the same.

    If you liked the RB67, their 645s are light and compact... good for street shooting.

    A tip for MF street, though, in my experience, is to use the waistlevel. My ETRS draws a lot of attention when held up to my eye, especially when loaded up. With the waistlevel, it seems like many people don't even realize I'm taking photos.
    New-ish convert to film.
    Pentax MX for 35mm
    Bronica ETRS for 645

  7. #7
    mweintraub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fretlessdavis View Post
    If you like the look of the Russian lenses, the Pentacon Six is only a tad more, and definitely more reliable. The mounts are the same.
    Depending on if the Kiev is an 88 or 88CM. The 88CM has the same Pentacon 6 mount that the Pentacon and Kiev 60/6c do.

  8. #8
    MattKrull's Avatar
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    +1 on the ETR-S. I got a full ETR-Si kit (2 lens) for $400 on KEH last year. I was then lucky enough to pick up another ETR-S with a different lens for $100 locally. It works very well, is pleasant to use, and without the ae prism or grip is surprisingly light. Like fretlessdavid, I'd suggest getting a WLF for street. See if you can get it included in the kit, as they cost a lot ($100) on their own.

    I just got a Fed 3, and I'm very grateful my MF experience was not mirred with the frustration I'm having with my FSU rf.

  9. #9

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    Look over on Rangefinderforum -- there is for sale there a very complete Arsat 88 set for a great price. The Arsat is a Kiev 88CM that has had a thorough going over, and so should be very reliable. I would not hesitate to use one of the Kiev 88s that has been "de-bugged." And the CM version gives you access to some excellent lenses, whether Soviet era or Carl Zeiss (both of which are in the set that's for sale).

  10. #10
    fretlessdavis's Avatar
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    Looks like at current prices on KEH, you could get yourself a body, WLF,2 120 backs, 75mm, 150mm, and 50mm all for about $350.

    I think the ETRS system is about the best value for $$$ in photography right now.
    New-ish convert to film.
    Pentax MX for 35mm
    Bronica ETRS for 645

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