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Kiev 4: Meter or no?
Old 06-10-2013   #1
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Kiev 4: Meter or no?

If I were to look to acquire an early Kiev 4 (let's say pre-1970), should I be more interested in models with or without a meter? (Assuming the meter works.) I like the look of the Kiev 4 without a meter, yet I know I would find the meter handy, so I'm a little torn.

I'm still getting my eye trained for light so while I know indoors is basically f/2.8 at 1/60 on ASA400 and I know the Sunny 16 rule, I still need to do some mental gymnastics for everything else.

I've only seen a Kiev 4 once at a camera show and the meter looked a little foreign to me. I also understand it would be using the GOST system of film speed, but that shouldn't be an issue with a few conversions under my belt, no?
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Old 06-10-2013   #2
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I would opt for a Kiev 4a (the one without the meter). Odds are that the meter will be either dead, or inaccurate. Having one without a meter will be one reason less to worry about.
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Old 06-10-2013   #3
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GOST is easy to deal with - it boils down to ANSI minus 10%. But regardless whether on a Contax or Kiev, the meter is a ugly bulge that disrupts the design of the camera. And as the meter is not finder or scale integrated and has to be read from the top and manually transferred, it has no advantages over a small hot-shoe mounted meter other than that it can't be lost.
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Old 06-11-2013   #4
Penny Lane
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Just last week a ribbon snapped in my Kiev 4a. I happily popped the top off to put it on my (far better) Kiev 4. The meter on mine even gave useable readings, but I still never used it so now I got rid of it (ish, after repairs I'll still have a metered Kiev unless someone is up for a trade of top castings...).

No real rationale behind it though :-)

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Old 06-11-2013   #5
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I had a Kiev with a meter that worked. I do think that the meterless Kiev is better looking. I gave mine to a friend - I could never get comfortable with the ergonomics.
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Old 06-11-2013   #6
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No doubt they 'look' better without a meter. Mine has a meter and is the dreaded mid 70`s production. Works like a charm , meter is accurate against 4 other meters and is easy to use and get used to.As sevo mentioned gost is easy to deal with by a 10% guess.The meter is actually quite a useful design and easy to use even though you have to read from the top of the camera.There were plenty in the U.K. - meters would not have seen much sunlight so good chance they still work.Mine came from Scotland -meter as good as the day it left the factory [ on a tuesday..:-) ]
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Old 06-11-2013   #7
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I would choose between the 4 and 4a based on the overall working condition of each camera. The meter, when working, is decent but the 4 is not as svelte as the 4a.
That said, I found the meter to be useful and not nearly as big as it always seemed to me in the photos of the 4 I'd seen.
One other thing you may want to consider: parallax may be more of an issue with the 4 and accessory viewfinders (if you use 'em)--the meter housing does raise the cold shoe quite a bit.

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Old 06-11-2013   #8
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My Kiev was meterless, and I used a cheap handheld, which was fine. I did yearn for a metered one, but now I reckon there's no point. The meterless ones definitely look better.
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Old 06-11-2013   #9
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Agreeing with the majority on here, the meterless model is aesthetically much more pleasing. Bearing in mind that many of the meters don't work or are inaccurate, a separate meter if you are unable to cope without one is not much of a hardship. Even if the meter works properly, it's anybody's guess how much longer that will be the case. However, if you only have one example with/without to choose from, working condition of the camera is more important.
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Old 06-12-2013   #10
David Hughes
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I'm with the others. No meter is one less thing to go wrong and there are better meters. Anyway, if it fails you'll have an ugly dead lump on the top of it. The plain model is classic, imo. Then you can get a Contax II to go with it...

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Old 06-12-2013   #11
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Well I have two Kiev 4 cameras with working meters..both produce identical readings though one is a 1969 model the other a 1974 model. I like the look of the meterless models but having a working meter on a camera I use frequently is a plus. Cheers to all.
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Old 06-14-2013   #12
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get the meter-less kiev, and if you need a meter, get that voigtlander VC meter
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Old 06-14-2013   #13
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+1 on the VC meter. I have two Kievs with working meters and one meterless. The built in meters are accurate enough but the area that they cover is too broad and some lighting conditions tend to fool them into under exposing. I get more consistent negatives with the VC meter.
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