The Kiev IV – A new Comrade on the (East) block

As mentioned on the last post I am so late on my blogging! I can blame on too many pictures from Sri Lanka, I still have a couple for good ones to show and a nice idea on a post on Fort Galle. But also new gear, new photo opportunities and of course the short trip to Taiwan.

Now I have to start somewhere; so let me introduce you the first piece of new gear I acquired since the last one I reported: the Kiev Iv.

What is the Kiev IV?

A bit of google-ing will tell you that this is a rangefinder camera, build in Ukraine by the Arsenal Factory. It is a copy of the Contax II camera and made between 1947 and 1980 (amazing). The story of the Contax factory being relocated by the USSR in Ukraine after the war in quite interesting and worth reading. It has a special Contax bayonet mount for attaching the lenses and the IV version comes with a light meter. The “Jupiter” lenses are made after pre-war Zeiss design and perform very well. My copy came with a Jupiter-8 50mmF2.

Why a Kiev ?

Here comes the funny(read embarrassing  part of the story. I bought mine by mistake… well because of a mistake. I was so happy with my little Zorki that I wanted a second lens for it and order on EBay a Jupiter 12; a quite cheap 35mm F2.8 lens of good reputation. Well I did not read the offer properly and when the lens arrived it was a Contact Bayonet Mount version, hence the price. I let it sit around for a couple of weeks and finally decided to get a camera to fit it with. Usual story; a couple of days on eBay and I got by Kiev IV for also a reasonable price (around 80USD).

What’s in the box?

So now I have one camera and two lenses for lens that 200 bucks! The camera came with its (n)ever ready case; I like the Arsenal logo on the front, but really this is too unpractical to use; plus mine really stinks of having been stored in a basement. My camera has seen better times and the leatherette is waiting for the first opportunity to run away. The 50mm Lens has some denting on the front; but works smoothly. The 35 mm is in far better condition and came with a nice Bakelite box.

A bit of DIY

The inside is clean, but… there is no take up spool. On the IV model the spool can be removed; and it had been in my case. I scratched my head and walked to the lab ( exercise is good) to ask for a couple of empty plastic spools from empty cartridges. By chance the guy gave me an Agfa Vista spool which has a hole in its middle where the film can be blocked if cut properly (see below) that works perfectly well for me. Just as easy as trimming the film leader for Zorki or a Leica screw mount body.

Take up spool DIY
Take up spool DIY

Off to work Comrade

I had to look at a online documentation to find out how to change lenses and how to change the speed. The lens is locking at infinity and you have a button to unlock it that you can also use to focus instead of grabbing the lens. After a couple of tries I decided the meter was not working and the procedure to use it too complex over using the Sekonic.

Finally I put a film inside; cork the shutter (many times) and a few days later the results were back from the lab. The little beast have a light leak…
Dam it.

Singapore sport hub construction site with obvious light leaks

Light leaks can come either from the joint between the back and the top of the body or from the top plate. So I put some painter tape around the back door and roll another film and surprise: no leaks ! So the joint, aka the “yak hair” is the problem. I am not 100% sure of the procedure to cure it and I have some more tape so I’ll use this trick for the time being.

Temporary fix for light leaks
Xi ji Chichen – Look ma : no leaks!
Saint Patrick’s day

T9 be followed by the shots for  International Commie Camera Day 2013

Advertisements
The Kiev IV – A new Comrade on the (East) block

One thought on “The Kiev IV – A new Comrade on the (East) block

  1. I remember fumbling with those cameras – and wearing my fingerprints off on the gritty, groovy winding knobs… Great photography and great DIY – look ma, no leaks! Just great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s