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Kiev with fixed take-up spool
Old 01-05-2020   #1
snapper78
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Kiev with fixed take-up spool

I have discovered that one of my Kievs, a IVa with serial 813567, has a fixed take-up spool. Does anyone know when this modification was introduced? The others all have removable spools, one of which is currently missing but may turn up soon. I appear to have six , starting with a III, which arguably is too many Kievs. I also have a Contax but am thinking of selling it. They vary in their willingness to accept the Jupiter 12. Yesterday 813567 wouldn't accept the wide angle but today it went on easily. Maybe it's something I'm doing differently.
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Old 01-05-2020   #2
xayraa33
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The Kiev 4M and Kiev 4AM models started in around 1980 and ran till around 1984 and these were the last of the classic Kiev RF models based on the pre-War Contax lll and ll.

By the time these last models were made, many changes and short cuts were made and quality took a serious nosedive, although some changes were perceived as an improvement and many simplifications to the expensive to make design took place.

The fixed take up spool was a good idea...the open latch on the baseplate doubling as a rewind clutch activator maybe not so much. The RF/VF optics block was simplified from older models, but this was going on in increments since 1966 or so...the rewind crank was a good idea and so was the hotshoe on these last made models. A labour intensive complicated design based on the pre-war Contax III and II does not lend itself to being made well quickly and cheaply.

QC got so bad that many finished parts and even some cameras were junked in great numbers right from the factory and never made it to Soviet store shelves.

Light leaks and film spacing problems are common on these models and so is problems mounting certain lenses, especially ones that use the outside bayonet lugs.
I have FSU lenses for the Kiev RF camera system made in the early 1960s that do not mount properly on these Kiev 4M and Kiev 4AM cameras, so this is a common problem with these.
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Old 01-05-2020   #3
snapper78
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So it seems my camera is a 4M rather than a 4. I called it a 4a by mistake It seems to be in good condition and I have just loaded it with film for a test shoot. I suppose I should fit a Helios to be more authentic.
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Old 01-05-2020   #4
xayraa33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapper78 View Post
So it seems my camera is a 4M rather than a 4. I called it a 4a by mistake It seems to be in good condition and I have just loaded it with film for a test shoot. I suppose I should fit a Helios to be more authentic.
It will be a 4M if it has the built in lightmeter, the 4AM has no lightmeter and looks classically svelte in shape.

You can tell if it is these last model RF classic Kievs by the rewind crank, hotshoe, visible shutter speed numbers on the wind dial and open latch on the baseplate that does double-duty as a rewind clutch activator.

The plastic leatherette is cheap quality and peels off easy and the overall quality feel of the camera body is very bad when compared to pre 1973 Kiev RF cameras based on the classic pre-war Contax III and II.

Simplification of the complex design that required a lot of professional hand fitting and cheapening materials and to make this model quick and in great numbers to meet Soviet politburo mandated quotas was a recipe for disaster, usual for Soviet block consumer goods, more so thru the 1970s and 80s than say in the 1950s and 1960s.

Compare the quality of an early 1950s Kiev II camera to a 1982 Kiev 4AM camera and the difference in quality is night and day...the Kiev II was very close in Zeiss design specs and materials, feel and quality to the exquisitely made Zeiss Contax II .

The best thing about these last models was the fine preforming Helios 103 50mm lens that came with these last made RF Kievs.
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Old 01-05-2020   #5
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It is indeed a 4M. I found one just like it on eBay.
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Old 01-05-2020   #6
David Hughes
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"QC got so bad that many finished parts and even some cameras were junked in great numbers right from the factory and never made it to Soviet store shelves."


Can you give a source for this, please?


Regards, David
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Old 01-05-2020   #7
xayraa33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
"QC got so bad that many finished parts and even some cameras were junked in great numbers right from the factory and never made it to Soviet store shelves."

Can you give a source for this, please?

Regards, David
I read it somewhere, David...a long time ago and cannot tell you off hand what article it was...I remember the article said that the defective parts and cameras were not salvageable and dumped in a landfill, I believe this was in 1982.

If I do run across the article again I will let you know.

That time frame (early 1980s ) was also when I bought a new Zenit E SLR (Belomo made and not KMZ made ) from Kmart in Canada and had to return it... as the film take-up spool was not connected to the gearing...the whole batch of Zenits that Kmart had was like that when carefully inspected in the store.
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Old 01-05-2020   #8
Ambro51
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Geez QC checked by Kmart!
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Old 01-05-2020   #9
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I bought my first Zenit , a 3M, in about 1970 and was so impressed with the quality that I foolishly sold my Visoflex at a ridiculously low price. I still have a 3M but not the same one and have owned lots of Es and Bs. I like them. Really though, a nice Canon is better, but I have come to hate the Canon T50 because the battery door falls off. Maybe one day I'll buy an F1. A digital canon is possibly the next major purchase. I like my Canon rangefinders too, and really if you own a Canon you don't need a Zorki or Fed. Nevertheless...
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Old 01-05-2020   #10
David Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xayraa33 View Post
I read it somewhere, David...a long time ago and cannot tell you off hand what article it was...I remember the article said that the defective parts and cameras were not salvageable and dumped in a landfill, I believe this was in 1982.

If I do run across the article again I will let you know.

That time frame (early 1980s ) was also when I bought a new Zenit E SLR (Belomo made and not KMZ made ) from Kmart in Canada and had to return it... as the film take-up spool was not connected to the gearing...the whole batch of Zenits that Kmart had was like that when carefully inspected in the store.
Thanks.

I have that trouble with articles I've read a long time ago; like the Summicron-C being contracted out and so on. One day it will turn up...

Regards, David
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Quote:
It will be a 4M if it has the built in lightmeter, the 4AM has no lightmeter and looks classically svelte in shape.

You can tell if it is these last model RF classic Kievs by the rewind crank, hotshoe, visible shutter speed numbers on the wind dial and open latch on the baseplate that does double-duty as a rewind clutch activator.

The plastic leatherette is cheap quality and peels off easy and the overall quality feel of the camera body is very bad when compared to pre 1973 Kiev RF cameras based on the classic pre-war Contax III and II.

Simplification of the complex design that required a lot of professional hand fitting and cheapening materials and to make this model quick and in great numbers to meet Soviet politburo mandated quotas was a recipe for disaster, usual for Soviet block consumer goods, more so thru the 1970s and 80s than say in the 1950s and 1960s.

Compare the quality of an early 1950s Kiev II camera to a 1982 Kiev 4AM camera and the difference in quality is night and day...the Kiev II was very close in Zeiss design specs and materials, feel and quality to the exquisitely made Zeiss Contax II .

The best thing about these last models was the fine preforming Helios 103 50mm lens that came with these last made RF Kievs.
The Kiev 4 AM if overhauled and properly adjusted, can be a fine photographic tool. This one has had those things done and seems to render pretty well.

Kiev 4AM in Red Reptile with Jupiter 12 by Carlos Yashinon, on Flickr

The Jupiter 8M and the Helios 103 preform well.
Brunch at the Taverna. by Carlos Yashinon, on Flickr



Helios 103
Elgin Station by Carlos Yashinon, on Flickr

I have been shooting mostly DSLR lately due to auto focus and aging eyes. Really should find this one a new home that will put it to good use.
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RF's : Bessa-R ,FED II, Olympus 35RC , Kiev 4AM,Argus C-3
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Digital :Nikon D7100, Sony NEX 6, Panasonic LX-5
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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Originally Posted by Austintatious View Post
good use.
thank you for posting a good photo.
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