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October – Kiev Month

The last few weeks the amount of traffic this blog has received has spiked in one very particular area – Kiev Cameras.

I am a big fan of the ones I have and use them all on a regular basis – but because of the amount of interest in them recently; I have decided to make October the month of the Kiev for me; so I will use the 4AM, 60 and 88 exclusively for the month and leave the rest at home.

As my choice of camera has been driven by the lens options more than body options recently, I am going to have to get used to a choice of 5 lenses for the cameras and also get reaquainted with carrying a meter and the shear size and weight of these beasts;

– For the Kiev 4AM it will be either the stock Helios 103 53/1.8 which fits and locks on the Kiev bayonet or the Jupiter 12 35/2.8 that I have to hold on as it doesn’t lock.

– On the MF Kiev 60 I have a choice of either the 80/2.8 from Arsat or the Mir 65/3.5. There is a small difference is the angle of view between the lenses – but as I tend to use them both close up I don’t ever see a massive difference in the result as both are of the same optical standard.

– The Kiev 88 has the same mount as the 60 and so it used to be able to use both of the same lenses and also has the same overlapping issue on frames as the 60, irrespective of the back I use.

Now however with the Zodiak 30/3.5 stuck to the front for all eternity, it can only give me full frame medium format fish eye.


As there would be no use doing this for the month and just using the cameras in normal situations, I am going to deliberately look for the places where you seriously would not chose to use a fully manual meter-less Ukrainian camera and hopefully demonstrate the reason why these cameras are not becoming redundant in the overly digital age.

If anyone has any specific ideas on difficult situations – then please feel free to drop me a line so I can incorporate your ideas.


Posted by simon on September 28, 2011
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. 09/29/2011


    I am becoming an increasingly large fan of the Kiev, and I must admit, were it not for you and your blog, I probably would not have bought a Kiev 88 on eBay a year ago.

    The biggest shortcoming of the ‘Hasselbladski’ — other than its weight — is being able to dominate the art of street photography. With all its metering, and winding, and focusing being at the mercy of the photographer’s shaky hands, it is hard to capture a vibrant moment of life, a spark of emotion, or an unassuming passerby on the street. Hence my suggestion: take the Kiev to the streets and test it with street photography. The more crowded and chaotic the scene, the better (I am sure you have lots to choose from living in HK).

    The Kiev 88 would probably work better here than the 160 given its “shoot from the hip” set-up. Your “victim” wouldn’t even know you are focusing on them with the camera lens. I am not sure how things would pan out with the 160, but I leave that up to an expert like you.



    • 09/29/2011

      Living in HK makes this one quite easy, even with the 88 and the Zodiak stuck on the front.
      There are so many places that you can just stand and have thousands push past.

      I guess what I will try and do is get something new on the streets though – perhaps the quiet moments where someone is lost in their thoughts as these are always hard to do quickly with the 88.

      Glad you got an 88 though – what is you favourite film for it? I love to use something fast and grainy and preferably B/W out of choice.



  2. 10/7/2011
    Darko Bojanic

    I really love your Kiev pictures. When I see those pics I want to move to Hong Kong to do some serious street photography. Maybe I will go there in a near future.


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