Ed,

no, Hartblei has no website - they ceased "public" business and modifying Kievs a while ago and hartblei.com is a scam.

Mr Naumenko -the master brain behind the "real Hartblei" thing- decided to limit themselves on modifying and tweaking optics. Not only Zavod Arsenal, you may send in your most loved lens for a fresh MC. They decided that it isn´t in their favour to spend so much time tweaking a camera for so little money - a reshape is a weeks effort.

I believe that the "Pentasix" sold by Richard Wiese of Hamburg are in fact Hartblei Kievs. I own one sind 1998 and simply love her - Kiev88 with P6-mount (Breech lock type, she takes all lenses I tried... and believe me, I tried many, all I could get my hands on), MLU, a Rollei SLX GG, fabric cloth...

A friend bought a used Hartblei/Kiev in Prague, we compared the two - they shared a very similar bayonet.

The best is the 4,5/55 PCS Arsat. I own the first known model (well, known to this date, if you see one older that SN 980001, call me!) and it is a gem. Sharp, handy, only the mechanics are a bit rough.

The other gem is the 2,8/180 Sonnar in P6 mount. A new definition of "nice".

Sean, forgive me, but the best place to discuss them is the Kiev Report. :-)

http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/mai...ort%2Fmessages

The problem with Arax is, that they most likely are reworked, used Kievs - Zavod Arsenal doesn´t sell to them directly. Only the 88CM sold by Gevorg Vartanian seem to be new bodies... I have no proof for that, it is a feeling in my stomach - why else would one make such a big effort on reshaping the outside (leather, painting the chrome black) and crippling the original Zavod Arsenal serial numbers? These are removed (they indicate the year of manufacture in clear numbers) and replaced with a subsequent Arax SN.

Mark, "buying russian cameras is like playing russian roulette."... Mmmh. Wanna play a round of ukrainian roulette? ;-)

Honestly - I see no problem. I know how much to pay and what to expect for that. I know exactly how to treat (and service) my camera and it is only mishandling that triggers most known problems with the shutters and the film
transport. If you take care, she won´t let you down.