Any thoughts on the Kiev 4a?

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markjwyatt

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Just picked up a Kiev 4a, Type 2 (black) with Jupiter 50/2 lens. After struggling a bit (long time no film, and this is a finicky loader) I ran a test roll through. It is a bit tricky to use, but could be fun. I hope the test roll comes out ok. Seemed to wind and rewind properly.

Kiev4a_Type2.JPG
 

Theo Sulphate

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In black, it looks more attractive than a Contax.
 

E. von Hoegh

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There was no black Kiev, yours has been painted. Can you give the year it was made (first two digits of the serial number)?
For instance, the lens was produced in 1978.
I have a '59 that has lost all original paint, not that there's much on an unaltered one. I have some white lacquer...
A good K4a is a great camera, I enjoy mine and the lenses can be really nice.
 
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markjwyatt

markjwyatt

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There was no black Kiev, yours has been painted. Can you give the year it was made (first two digits of the serial number)?
For instance, the lens was produced in 1978.
I have a '59 that has lost all original paint, not that there's much on an unaltered one. I have some white lacquer...
A good K4a is a great camera, I enjoy mine and the lenses can be really nice.

I came across some references to black Kievs, and the guy who sold it to me did state as far as he knows it was originally black (I asked him specifically). Mine was made in 1978 (like the lens). At that time I think the Kiev 5 and maybe the Kiev AM (which I think may have come in black) were having lots of problems, so maybe they ran some Kiev 4a's through the black process. The seller claimed there were black ones made at that time. In fact, the official stop date of Kiev 4 production was like 1974, so the fact that a 78 exists is probably an indicator that things were somewhat ad hoc at that time.

It is not going to kill me if it turns out someone took the time to refinish it in black. It looks like a good job was done if so. On the other hand if it is original, it could be pretty rare.
 
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markjwyatt

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There was no black Kiev, yours has been painted. Can you give the year it was made (first two digits of the serial number)?
For instance, the lens was produced in 1978.
I have a '59 that has lost all original paint, not that there's much on an unaltered one. I have some white lacquer...
A good K4a is a great camera, I enjoy mine and the lenses can be really nice.

This link supports your contention: No black Kiev 4's from Arsenal.

http://fedka.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=52

"This camera is special, it is finished in black enamel, as was its grandmother (or grandfather) - the Contax I. As far as I know, there were no black Kievs produced by Arsenal plant; what you see is a great and detailed work of a skilled repairman/restorer from Odessa, Ukraine (this is where the camera was bought). The camera was disassembled, all chrome panels were painted with a high quality enamel. New finish is baked in a controlled temperature chamber; the resulting finish is tough and durable.

I've never seen a black Kiev in the past and wonder why Arsenal never tried this - it looks so great!"
 
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My 4a has been a reliable shooter and the Jupiter 8m that came with it is very, very nice.

Yes loading them can be a bit worky and you have to wind consistently and deliberately to avoid uneven frame spacing (mine’s a bit uneven but has never overlapped frames), but once you get accustomed to the “Contax claw” grip they’re really rather pleasant to use.
 
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Theo Sulphate

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Nothing that takes 35mm film is more attractive than my Contax. :wink:

I appreciate the workmanship and attention to fine detail on Contaxes, and the gear-driven slats of the shutter are alluring, but they have more chrome than a 1955 Buick Roadmaster!
 

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As long as it works it doesn't matter how they were repainted.
J-8M is mostlikelly the only J-8 with clicks.

What bugs me in Keiv's guts is stiff film advance in most of them and crappy speed selector by design.
If I ever get Contax again, it is going to be Contax IIa.
 
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I recently bought areally nice looking Kiev 4 at a flea market for $3 with a Jupiter 8 attached. While l was fiddling with it it fired and did all the clicks it should have, only to stop working as soon as l got home. Two weeks and a couple of disassemblies later, turns out that a gear was slipping on the slow speed escapement because the screw that kept it in place has come loose. That meant no release, poor advance, uneven curtains etc. Now, after putting it all together it works nicely, advances smoothly, all the speeds work as they should, and the ribbons are actually in a really nice shape, the right one has a bit of fraying underneath of where it is tied, but l believe that it'll hold on for some time. The rangefinder calibration is a pain in the butt, but it's worth doing, since it givesa really nice image. The lightmeter seems to be accurate too!

Congrats! Mine seems to work well (need to develop the test roll). The only thing I have found for certain not working is the self timer (advances, but does not fire at end).
 

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There are some excellent camera repair videos on YouTube, but so far none regarding the Kiev rangefinders. Considering the price of the competition, some help restoring these excellent cameras is overdue.
 
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There are some excellent camera repair videos on YouTube, but so far none regarding the Kiev rangefinders. Considering the price of the competition, some help restoring these excellent cameras is overdue.

I personally would be hesitant to start taking a precision camera apart. It is not as bad as a Swiss watch, but too easy to really mess up!
 

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michr

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Whether that camera came from the factory painted black or it was done after market, that's a great looking camera. And now I want one too.
 
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Lets see some photos made by it! Maybe they will be white and black instead of black and while :0

I ran a test roll. Still trying to get to the last 1 hour photo in the area (~15-20 mile away) to develop it and check for:

1. Frame advance; (seems to be ok)
2. Focus; (makes sense per the scale)
3. Exposure;

If they scan the negs and I have anything decent, I will post something.
 

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I was going to keep my 4A but scored a stunning deal on a Nikon SP and 50/2 Nikkor and decided to share my good fortune by giving away the Kiev. The Jupiter lens didn't fit the Nikon body very well - very tight fit.
 

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I ran a test roll. Still trying to get to the last 1 hour photo in the area (~15-20 mile away) to develop it and check for:

1. Frame advance; (seems to be ok)
2. Focus; (makes sense per the scale)
3. Exposure;

If they scan the negs and I have anything decent, I will post something.
Cool Commie Camera :laugh:
 
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markjwyatt

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I was going to keep my 4A but scored a stunning deal on a Nikon SP and 50/2 Nikkor and decided to share my good fortune by giving away the Kiev. The Jupiter lens didn't fit the Nikon body very well - very tight fit.

The Nikon's would be one of my top choices of rangefinders.
 
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markjwyatt

markjwyatt

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I fired off my first roll with Kiev today, 35 photos in total. I suspect that the spacing may be a tad wide, but better to lose one or two frames, than to have them overlap. I may have wasted a shot or two while loading. Bit fiddly loader.
I have yet to get used to the 'Contax hold', blocked my own rangefinder at least 10 times. Also, the infinity lock can be really annoying. :D
Quite different from all the other RFs that l have, but it's really interesing, quiet, not a burden to carry.

I like the feel of it. Even the "Contax hold" is comfortable and easy to get used to. It has a satisfying feel for a shutter release also. Unquestionably, you need to be cognizant of all your actions as you take pictures.
 
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Here are a few (low res scans) from my first roll (Fuji Superia TMax 400 ASA). I did have some frames overlap towards the end of the roll a little. I recall I was having issues with the shutter speed setting. I need to test for edge-to-edge sharpness. Not sure if I am getting it at large apertures (not sure I am not).

ceramic1k.JPG


ceramic1k.JPG lamp1k.JPG
 
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