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.
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.
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.
Happiness is a load of bulk chemicals, a handful of recipes, a brick of film and a box of paper. - desertrat
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.
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...
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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!!
Originally Posted by Kino
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...
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.
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.
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...