I got this camera just before the official lockdown started. My car hadn’t been used for 3 weeks so decided to give it a short run of 10 minutes to keep it in some sort of condition. It is an old car, but a reliable one. I want to keep it that way. I can’t afford another right now. I was perusing Facebook market place and saw a Kiev 4 that I had always coveted. It was only £15 and less than 10 minutes away by car. I sent the guy a message and we arranged to meet in his garden with as little contact as possible. As I was about the leave he mentioned he had another camera, this one. It was not one I really wanted but it was there and I hadn’t tried it before. At least it would occupy me for a bit of time. So I gave to guy an extra £5 for it…safely.
This is the second version of this camera and was produced between 1964-67. You set the film ASA on the bottom of the lens mount, then change the aperture depending on the weather conditions as indicated on the top of the mount. There is no rangefinder so you guess the distance by using the scale on the lens. As with most of these types of systems I keep mine on infinity then change it for anything close, setting it back to infinity after the shot. The counter is set manually and counts down. There is also a multiple exposure function button next to the film winder. I think the rewind dial is supposed to return into the recess, but on my example it doesn’t. The shutter speed seems to be set at about 1/40th according to the comments on this website.
When I first inspected the camera at home the shutter was stuck, so were the aperture blades. As it was a cheap camera, I had no intention of taking it apart and just put it to the side and concentrated on the Kiev. Unfortunately, the Kiev would not load film without it getting stuck on the take up spool. So I returned to the Colorsnap and just kept firing it, hoping it would just work loose. And low and behold it did. It was slow at first, but the more I pressed the shutter, the better it worked. So I loaded it with a roll I retrieved from inside another camera.
Once I finished the last few shots and developed the film I realised I had made a basic error. I had not checked the light seals and most of the shots had a light leak from the hinge. There were a few shots that came out ok and you could see it generally worked well.
After that I replaced the hinge seal and tried the camera again. This time with an expired colour film. Again I only tried half the film as there was a pentax lens I wanted to try on a different camera. Using the the same roll is much cheaper.
This time I found the shutter release very sensitive and took a couple of accidental shots while holding the camera. When I grabbed the body my index finger would naturally grab where the shutter button was placed. I quickly learnt to forego winding on the film until I was ready for the shot.
This time there were no light leaks, I replaced the hinge seal. As I was using colour film I looked for blue skies and greenery on a walk to a little library to exchange some books. A little library is a box at the side of the street where people exchange books on an honour system.
I think this is a great little camera, simple to use, very cheap to buy, pleasantly sharp, and kind of funky looking too. The wind on has a very long throw, but that is the only fault I could attribute to it. On the whole it is a very cheap, interesting camera.
As for the Kiev, I am waiting for a new take-up spool. I don’t have confidence in it working, c’est la vie.