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Thread: Kiev camera

  1. #11

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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.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  2. #12

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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.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  3. #13
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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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...
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #14

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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

  5. #15

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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!

  6. #16

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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
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  7. #17
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hoskinson
    I use a Kiev spot metering prism on my Hassleblad. .... One camera is an ARAX from Gevorg Vartanyan (i.e. ARAX) in Kiev... Both cameras (and companies) are reliable. I have found the mail service from the Ukraine to the USA to be reasonably priced and reliable.
    Check out the Kiev Report: http://forums.delphiforums.com/kievreport
    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.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  8. #18

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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.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  9. #19

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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?
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  10. #20
    Jorge Oliveira's Avatar
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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
    Curitiba - nice place to live, if you don't care about the weather...

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