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New (1972) Kiev 4a, 8 Days Old and the Shutter Dies!
Old 06-02-2019   #1
Glen851
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New (1972) Kiev 4a, 8 Days Old and the Shutter Dies!

About 8 days ago, I received a Kiev 4a, in excellent condition. As I mentioned in a previous post, my Kiev 4am died and I was waiting on this camera.

I tested all the speeds when I received the camera. All seemed well. So, I am baffled as to why, after 8 days of merely sitting on a shelf, this new (1972) Kiev 4a decided to crap out.

Every shutter speed worked from 1/1250 to 1/25. 1/10 was a dud, nothing, no click buzz or whirr. PLUS, I could turn the speed/advance freely for a bit and it would lock on B. B would not fire, but then I could wind on and the shutter would stop at 1/25, fire at what seemed to be a faster speed than that, THEN, stop at 1/1250.
From this point, the shutter speeds worked normally until I got to 1/10. Repeat process. Sometimes it takes a lot of fiddling to get through it and have the camera function at all!

Now in general, I periodically work the shutters on all my cameras; several FEDs, Zorkis, Nikons, and in practice I always wind/arm the shutter before changing the speed setting, and never leave the shutter armed when the camera is left unused, even overnight!
I live with my lady who has NO interest in my cameras, have no curious children, and no pets who would be likely to play with my collection. So, unless I find out where the Gremlins or Leprechauns are hiding, I am puzzled as to why this camera decided to stop working properly!
Could it be a jealous Nikon, or Olympus?

Anyway, the seller has asked me to ship the body back so he can repair it. I am pretty sure that this is going to be my ONLY Kiev camera!
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Old 06-02-2019   #2
Steve M.
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You'd probably be better off if your only camera was a Bessa R, or a small screw mount Leica or Tower. I have a lot of respect for FSU lenses, and absolutely none for their cameras. This is from personal experience too. There was the Fed that Oleg "fixed", only to be sent it back to him twice in the first few months due to vaeious serious problems. When the Fed came back the third time w/ shutter curtains Oleg had made, you could see things thru the weave! Then there was the camera that FEDKA never could get straightened out. I swore off FSU cameras after wasting hundreds and hundreds of dollars, mostly on shipping fees.
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Old 06-02-2019   #3
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Glen, I see you have a Fed 2 and Zorki 4 like I do. And I'm sure you feel that those cameras are so much nicer to use, as I do! I love the way my black Kiev 4am looks, and it has a nice lens, but that's about it so I'm going to sell mine off. The Fed and Zorki don't ask for weird contortions to use, and are just plain reliable shooters with great lenses.
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Old 06-02-2019   #4
xayraa33
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The original shutter ribbons on Kiev RF cameras are known to give up the ghost a few days after you get them.
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Old 06-02-2019   #5
Ko.Fe.
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Maybe it was serviced with WD-40.
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Old 06-02-2019   #6
xayraa33
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This is much like buying a 1972 Chevy Impala and finding that the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission is slipping very badly and needs to be re-built or exchanged with a good working transmission from the wrecking yard.
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Old 06-02-2019   #7
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Steve M., I had Bessa R2 about 12 years ago. Loved it, but I sold it along with most of my film camera collection. I like using the FED, FED2, and Zorki 4 because they're almost as old as I am!

Huss, I agree 100%. I even enjoy the FED 1g. It's smooth operating, feels good, and pretty compact.

Xayraa33, I had a 72 Impala...needed lotsa TLC, but I didn't have to ship it back to the Ukraine! And SOMETIMES, you could even use WD-40 to service it!
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Old 06-02-2019   #8
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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I don't quite follow how a 1972 Kiev can be "eight days old" as the thread title suggests. I would have said it was nearly fifty years old. In which case the nearly fifty year old shutter ribbons have probably gone. This is not a major problem in itself, a new set of ribbons and it will probably work OK. Being a close relative of the pre-war Contax design it's a bit na´ve to expect the original ribbons to be fit for service. It's a reliable mechanism. Unlike a Leica the curtains can last almost indefinitely but the ribbons will require replacement every few decades due to age. Well, it's been a few decades since they were installed, apparently.
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Old 06-02-2019   #9
ChrisPlatt
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Many years ago as a young man I tried a beautiful Contax rangefinder camera.
It was shown to me by none other than Mr. Wolfram Umbach,
who for many years serviced them at Z-V Service in Valley Stream, NY.

Despite being good as new (or better perhaps) I never again wanted one.
Surely these cameras must be an acquired taste; Kievs even more so.

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Old 06-02-2019   #10
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I doubt that the shutter ribbons are the problem as the shutter works on faster speeds. I'm aware of the camera's actual age, and if it wasn't sold as a "serviced" camera with seller supplied video of its operation, I'd chalk it up to "(bad) luck of the draw".
Anyway, it's off to repair.
I do think my curiosity about Kiev cameras has been satisfied, though. It would be nice to have a functioning example in my collection as an occasional user.
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Old 06-03-2019   #11
Elmar Lang
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I'm a satisfied Contax-II/III and Kiev user.

Yes, the problem can be in the shutter strips, but it's not the tragedy most people talk about.

My first Kiev-4A was bought by me in 1975 and regularly used for decades; for long periods, intensively. I can only describe it as an excellent, reliable camera. It was cleaned a few years ago and the strips appeared in fine shape.

Let's never forget that Kievs are vintage cameras; older ones (better made/controlled than those produced from 1975 onwards), have been used under any environmental circumstance, from professionals, military, etc. Even an apparently beautiful one, could have its inner organs, worn (well, Contaxes need STRONG use to have inner organs worn out), at least the shutter's strips.

Once buying any vintage camera, from Alpa to Zorki, if we think to use it, a good choice should be a passage under the attention of a good repairman: this would avoid disappointment and further, unexpected and perhaps worse repair costs.
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Old 06-03-2019   #12
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I've had a similar experience with a Kiev4 a few years ago, and the problem was the ribbon. I fixed it with ribbons i bought online, was not tooooo difficult.
A few weeks ago i had the same issue with a MF kiev (the hasselblad copy) which seems to also have shutter ribbons. I have only used one film in it, and in the 2nd film it gave up - ribbon broken.

Have you checked what happens when you fire, with the back off?
Also at other shutter speeds?

Yes it could be yours has a different problem if at some speeds it fires oK, but it might still be a ribbon issue as slow and high speed functioning is different a bit.

It's annoying that only Ukraininans are up to fix these, but there's a good reason: they do it so cheaply that a western repairman would never be able to offer a "reasonable" price compared to that.
Yes you pay the extra for the shipping...
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Old 06-03-2019   #13
Glen851
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Thanks for the responses. I checked, and rechecked, back and lens removed. It's a wierd problem, even after I explained it to the seller, who btw, seems to have one of the better reputations and is highly recommended. So the body is on its way back to Ukraine. I pay shipping out. Oh well.
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FED 1g,
FED 2c Grn body
FED 5v
Kiev 4a
Zorki 1-1950
Zorki 4-1958
Voigtlander Vito B
Konica Auto S2
Zeiss 521/16
Kodak Duo 620
Nikon Ftn
Olympus Om1
Fujica ST801
Fuji X-Pro 1 (2)
Leica D-Lux 109
Panasonic LF-1

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