Tag Archives: kiev

Update on the Kiev 88

I finally used the Kiev 88 again. I bought an extra cassette too though for this excursion I didn’t use it.

I went for a local walk after work. It was a short walk, specifically to use this camera. I reread my previous post about the camera and reminded myself of the issues I had. It helped. I wound the cassette to the first shot and cocked the shutter before attaching the cassette to the body. The light was rapidly fading, but as there are only 12 shots I managed to finish in time and developed the film when I returned home.

I was getting ready to sell this camera, now I am not so sure. Oh Beastie, you are a fickle friend.

Kiev 88

This is one of the cameras I bought in order to play with it on my return to England. I had read a lot about it online on various blogs. I read this article which called it the “Beast from the East”. At the time that I ordered it, the UK news was full of details about their own beast from the east, kismet I thought.

Due to the fact this takes 6×6 photos, there seems to be more photos of the camera here than the 12 test shots that I will add later. The article I linked to before says that you will need at least 2 backs as the loading part is complicated and you might want to do it at home rather than out and about.

I agree I wish I had two. This 1980s camera was one of the most annoying cameras I have ever had to load. Before loading the film I read the manual a couple of times, but still struggled. It didn’t seem to make much sense. The first issue I had was actually getting the cassette back in the holder, it would not go in easily. The second was that I had forgotten to wind the film to the first frame in the cassette and cock the shutter before reattaching the holder to the body. Really, I had read the manual…maybe I have to make a video to remind myself. The body’s film advance also cocks the shutter, so I had royally screwed things up.

Once I did have the film loaded, actually using the camera wasn’t that tricky. Mine had a waist level finder, not TTL, so it didn’t need batteries. I used an app on my phone for a light reading, then adjusted the aperture when the lighting changed. The next mistake I made was forgetting to take the cassette plate out. In the manual, they call this a “shutter”, anyway, with this plate inside the camera’s actual shutter is locked on my version. So you can’t waste film by forgetting to remove this, you just get confused as to why the damn thing isn’t working. Don’t start throwing the camera though as the thing could kill a cow.  This brilliant website has a funny review of the camera and says that it “weighs a f*****g ton.” He also used the word crap a lot, but he does give a lot of technical details if you want them.

So did mine actually work? Here is my roll of Fomapan 400.

As you can see I missed the first shot on the roll completely through my bad loading skills. There are a couple of shots of the swan where I think I forgot to change the aperture and the one blank one…no idea what happened there. The ones that did come out are nice and sharp, especially the non-moving log.

I don’t know why, but there is something about this camera I love. It is big, fat, and heavy. It clunks and groans while you use it and is prone to breaking. There are many websites detailing how finding a good one is hard, but if you do it is worth it. I think I have found a fairly good one, despite my issues with loading it. I am going to use it again and maybe upload more photos here. I find it beautiful and funky. This website compares it to the Hasselblad it was originally based on, it makes for an interesting read.

Keep or sell: Keep, for now, it is waaaay too heavy to post it anywhere I would get a good return for what I paid.




Kiev 35A

Most of my friends and acquaintances know about this blog and my love of cameras, how could they not? I always have a camera with me and I talk about cameras all the time. A few people have started to lend me their cameras to add to the blog or have asked me about their camera. This camera falls into the former category. Someone I knew gave me two cameras to try. The Kiev 35A and another I will write about later.

This camera was boxed, with the original Russian manual, and taken care of. Unfortunately, it is not the sturdiest of cameras, so it was still in a bit of a state.

I added the brown tape to try and hold the batteries in place, but there was already some silver tape there that had lost its stickiness. If you have been following this blog for any length of time you know I love old Russian cameras. They are rough and temperamental, but fun to work with. This one was produced between 1985-1991 and based on the Minox 35EL. You pull the front cover down and the lens pops out. That is where you find the battery compartment too. This one’s battery cover had a thread issue and would not stay on, hence the tape. I have read this camera needs a PX27 5.6V battery, but when I opened this version I saw two 3V batteries that were dead. I put in four LR44 and hoped for the best. You can read some technical details here. You can set the aperture and distance on the lens barrel and the meter works out the speed. The meter did seem to work if I keep pressing the cover with my finger. I then put my eye behind the lens the check the shutter was firing….it kind of was…sometimes. Then other times it would open and slooooooowly close. There was obviously an issue. Also, it was very tricky to even cock the shutter. After reading all the terrible reviews, I decided not to try a film in it. The decision was due to the expense of film and the camera’s obvious issues.

Keep or sell….returned to owner – but would I try to get another, working one – No it felt very plasticky and seemed a lot like the LC-A, but not as cool OR the Makinon with no flash. It just has too many bad reviews of light leaks, and I hate those.