Sheerness, England. 2022
Kiev ~ Киев
This Soviet rangefinder belonged to my late father. It’s kept in a display cabinet along with other old cameras and being a rangefinder of Contax design I thought it was about time I tried this camera out.
In his final years he had started purchasing a few old cameras, models I think he always wanted but couldn’t afford at the time. He had this Kiev 4 serviced by Newton Ellis in Liverpool about eighteen months before his death and I don’t think he ever got the chance to use this camera. From what I have found out about the Kiev 4 camera, these cameras of various models where made between 1949 to 1987 and the first two digits of the on the serial number are supposed to denote the year of manufacture, so this camera was made in 1975 in the Arsenal factory in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Having never used this type of rangefinder, I downloaded a copy of the manual from Butkus.org I found this camera takes it bit of getting use too. Seems to be all working although I don’t think the selenium cell in the exposure meter is working quite as it should, so was relying on my late Grandfathers newly serviced 1950’s Weston Master III meter for exposure.
I’m down to the last three 35mm films from my fathers film stock, two of which are these Jessop diamond 100 colour print dated 2002. I’m not keen on using expired colour film knowing the colour will deteriorate over time but these two films along with a Fujifilm Sensia 100 he had kept in the freezer, so I thought I’d take a chance with them.
The ‘Contax grip‘
The camera comes with a Jupiter-8M 50mm lens which has the Contax rangefinder mount and is focused via a finger wheel on the top of the camera. Focusing I found somewhat strange at first but you get use it after a while. I found pictures online of how this camera should held, one finger above the rangefinder window, two below the window and remembering not to get your finger in the way of the rangefinder window, which I manage more than once when I couldn’t see the focusing patch through the viewfinder. Another issue I found was remembering to hold the lens when changing aperture unless the lens is on infinity lock. If you don’t, you’ll move the focusing and have to start again!
I do not wear glasses anymore for photography but the viewfinder on this camera particularly difficult to compose images. There’s no frame lines and the viewfinder is quite small as with all these Soviet era cameras. I found I had press my face against the camera body to see the full frame, think I’ve been spoilt by using a Leica viewfinder!
Here’s some results for my efforts.
All film images taken in Sheerness, England on the Kiev-4, with it’s ЮРИТЕП-8 50mm lens with expired Jessop diamond 100 colour print film. For a 20 year old colour print film it seems to of survived quite well being kept all these years in the freezer and doesn’t appear to have lost much of it’s colour.
Edit: One point I didn’t mention, I noticed this version of the Jupiter 8 lens I feel is sharper and has better contrast than the younger Jupiter 8 lens I have mounted on my Zorki 4K.
Picture taken of the Киев-4 where with the Leica M-P (Typ-240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.