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  1. #1
    Uncle Goose's Avatar
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    Finally took the jump

    So, many moons ago I started to wonder "what if my trusty Bronica ETRSi would die someday?" Naively as I was I discarder the idea believing that it would go on forever. But some moons ago the inevitable thing happened and the body of the ETRSi produced an electronic fault making it unusable. So I turned back to my old trusty Flexaret IV that has served flawless for some years now. All was fine for some time but I started to miss the ability to use a wide angle lens so I wondered if I should buy another Etrsi body to replace the faulty one. Due lack of funds at that time however I had to postpone buying a new body and it made me think that buying a second hand body would probably mean that the same issue would arise sooner of later. So looking around on the internet for a new MF camera soon landed me with things like Hasselblad (way too expensive, especially lenses) and others like the BessaIII which hasn't got a changeable lens. Then I came onto a site which I believed it could not be true, it was Araxfoto from the Ukraine, a brand new camera custom made for 427euro shipping included?? surely something must be wrong! But after searching the web I could find very little negative comments and many praising the company for it's quality and honesty. So I took the jump and ordered a Arax60 special edition and now eagerly awaiting it's arrival. So are there any people here who own an ARAX camera and what are your opinions??
    Sure, I could give you a boring explanation who I really am but I rather let the Origami do the talking.

  2. #2
    sandermarijn's Avatar
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    Which camera did you get?

    I used to have a working Kiev 60- great fun, good results and affordable. Unfortunately the Kiev eventually broke down and I didn't get it repaired. Also, the lens got fogged (my bad I guess).

    Will you have to pay VAT and import duties?

    Have fun with your new camera!

    Sander

  3. #3
    Uncle Goose's Avatar
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    I got the Kiev60. Was yours also an Arax one?? I like the fact it's all mechanical, no electronics to go bad (except the prism but they can be had cheap).

    And import duties will depend on luck, sometimes you have to pay them but most of the time it just goes trough without any problems.
    Sure, I could give you a boring explanation who I really am but I rather let the Origami do the talking.

  4. #4
    sandermarijn's Avatar
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    Mine was a Kiev 60 (in Cyrillic), not modified by Arax or anybody else. I got it about 15 years ago in a shop in Den Haag. At first there was a light leak of some sort, which the shop got fixed. Then it worked fine for many years. Last year I got it out of the cupboard after not having been used for many years. The lens had gotten fogged up and the second shutter curtain no longer stayed in position. I guess that's the price to pay for neglecting one's loved ones. Cameras are meant to be used.

    The prism is still working fine. I stupidly left the battery in but it didn't leak. Didn't even require replacement after all those years.

    These are fine cameras if they have been checked and serviced. I always loved the 80mm 2.8 Volna lens, both for colur and b&w. There should be no reason for people to look down on these updated Russian Hasselblad/Pentacon copies and their lenses. All cameras require quality control and maintenance.

  5. #5

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    About two years ago, when passing through Kiev, I went directly to Arsenal factory and got a brand new Kiev 60 there. There was something like a service department that was still working. I dont use it that often, mainly just with the Arsat fisheye lens, which was the reason I bought the camera anyway. But yes, I like the camera, I like the feel of it. No complains.

  6. #6
    sandermarijn's Avatar
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    Uncle Goose, it'd be fun if you could post some samples of pictures taken with your new Kiev/Arax, once it has arrived. If you have a scanner that is.

    Also, a report on the quality of the Arax-'conversion' (flocking, adding MLU if applicable, etc.) would make a nice read. I'm interested in how good & reliable the cameras and the people behind Arax are.

    Sander

  7. #7
    Uncle Goose's Avatar
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    I will certainly post some results and some closeups of the camera itself once it arrives. As for now contact with Arax Foto has been good and swift.
    Sure, I could give you a boring explanation who I really am but I rather let the Origami do the talking.

  8. #8
    Uncle Goose's Avatar
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    Just a little update, today I got a mail from Arax that my camera has been shipped towards me. Contact with Arax has been excellent so far. More will follow once I got the camera in my hands.
    Sure, I could give you a boring explanation who I really am but I rather let the Origami do the talking.

  9. #9
    sandermarijn's Avatar
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    Long live the days when analogue photographers could walk into a shop, buy a camera, and walk out. Online may be cheap, it's tedious and impersonal too.

    I hope your Arax arrives soon!

  10. #10
    Uncle Goose's Avatar
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    So my Arax 60 has arrived. As soon as I had it in my hands I read the manual and started to load some film in it. Next thing was to take it out for a shoot. I must say, it's LOUD, the mirror slap creates a very audible sound and the shutter sound makes me think of those old clocks. I ran fast trough the 12 exposures and then it was developing time. The results were better than I expected, I made a few mistakes because of my eagerness to try it out, first of all I wound the film a little to far at the start cutting about 1/3 from my last exposure. I didn't use a tripod and my hands aren't as steady as I was 20, so some of the pictures were not as sharp as others, yet because some of them are pretty sharp I know it's not the camera or the lens but rather my own doing. All exposures came out nicely in terms of exposure so the speeds are pretty OK. Frame spacing seems to be no problem, they are actually pretty far apart and I might try to wind a little bit short at the start to distribute the frames more evenly on the film.

    The camera itself is exactly the thing you would expect from a communist controlled country. A big and heavy beast with poor ergonomics but functional. You cannot believe how big it is until you have one in your hands, the designers must have been giants. I took the Special edition with custom red leatherette and an engraving on the back. The engraving is a nice touch but the leatherette is somewhat crudely done in my opinion, this is however not that important for me since it's gonna be a user rather than a shelf queen. If the leather is worn out one can always order a new one on various camera pimp sites. The camera came with everything promised on their website and pretty well packed so no complaints their. Communication was swift and easy. All in all it seems that Arax is a pretty well run and decent business.

    However, I don't think this is a camera for everyone, it's no Hasselblad and it doesn't even come near a Bronica I previously used. It Soviet heritage is still present with all the ups and downs, no matter how skilled the people of Arax are it will never be an ergonomic piece of equipment. On the other hand, if you love classic camera's, have a sense of strict procedures and you don't mind lugging a heavy beast around, then Comrade, this is the camera for you. It's ridiculously cheap for the stuff you get, will it last?? I don't know yet but I guess if you treat it with love and care it might last just as long as any other camera.

    A few pics (first one taken with the Arax 80mm lens):

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    Sure, I could give you a boring explanation who I really am but I rather let the Origami do the talking.

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