I recently acquired a Kiev 303. I have several hundred feet of old 16mm (perforated) gun camera film, and thought the Kiev would be a good way to give it a try.
Do I assume that the Kiev cartridges should be loaded in darkness? The camera came with a couple of small rolls of russian film; I opened one, and it was not on a spool so I am sure I ruined it.
Yes, the film cartridges for the Kiev Vega, Kiev-30, and the Kiev-303, should be loaded in total darkness, just like the ones for the old Minolta 16, 16 II, and others in that series. Yes, the supply side of the film is simply rolled up into a cylinder and the edge of the film is slipped through the slit of the supply side to be put into the cylindrical section there, while the other end of the film is taped to the take-up cylinder in the exposed film side of the cartridge. And, if you have not damaged the plastic parts when taking the Kiev film cartridge apart, it can be reloaded and taped together to hold the cap in place over the film chambers.
Again, all of the work with the film when putting it into the cartridge, and when taking it out of the cartridge to be developed, should be done in darkness, whether in a darkroom, or in a good sized changing bag. When the bulk film supply is safely back inside its light-tight container, and the film you are going to use is inside its cartridge, and when the film has been removed from the take-up side of the cartridge and put into a developing tank and the cap on the tank is in place, then you can bring them out into the room light for normal handling, and for pouring the chemicals into and out of the developing tank.
And, while it is obvious that the Kiev has some kind of a family resemblance to the Minolta 16 or 16 II, it is not an exact copy. For one thing, the Kiev has a focusing system for its lens, and the Minolta relied on supplemental lenses being placed before the 25mm ROKKOR lens to bring things at various distances to focus, especially at the larger f-stops. You can find the +1 and +2 supplemental lenses for closer focusing fairly often, but the "0" or Number Zero supplemental lens for focusing to infinity is much more rare. Most people seemed to just rely on the depth of field when outside in the daylight for longer distance photographs.
And, the film cartridges are not interchangeable. There is a difference in the diameter of the take-up spindle under the exposed film side of the cartridge.
There are samples of both the Kiev-30 and the Kiev-303 here, in addition to several samples of the Minolta 16 and the Minolta 16 II. While I do have more experience with the Minolta 16 II, having started using my first one (which I still have) back in the early 1960s, I do like the Kiev 16mm film cameras.
Latte Land, Washington
Ralph, thanks for the reply. You confirmed what I thought. I guess I wasted one little roll of 16mm film that came with the camera; but if my gun camera film is any good, I'll have enough to last several lifetimes. And I have 400ft of ECN2 color film coming soon too. I think this little Kiev is going to be fun.
Greetings Newcan1, one small correction. The Vega cassettes are OK for the minoltas. Kiev changed after that model to allow a longer film strip. The only difference in the take-up side on the 303 etc is the cap and hub which are smaller in diameter and they have a nifty spring clip to retain the film, instead of having to tape that too to the hub. Sometimes I borrow one to use with the Minolta cassettes. I keep my cassettes loaded with the tongue poking out and use whichever take-up cap and hub suit the camera I want to use. The Kiev ones are easy to get but the Minoltas are getting rarer and rarer. I even considered the idea of 3D printing some caps and hubs for the Minolta with black plastic and assuring myself I'd always have enough, but soon realised I can only use one at a time so I'd have more than I need anyway!
When loading I roll up and fill the supply side as Ralph says and put on the cap and then in the light I can stick some tape on the cap to be sure to be sure and place it back in the coffin for future use. The take-up side can be done in the light. If you don't tape the caps there is a real risk even with the Kiev ones and their dimples that you pull the cap off when taking the cassette out again - disaster!
Always UNload when time to develop, in the dark as he said.