Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Back in the USSR

The Soviet made Kiev 60 6x6 camera

A Russian made camera in North Yorkshire. Hmmm. Its odd how things can just turn up and in a shop that I have never visited before but there it was....a Kiev 60 6x6 medium format camera in near perfect condition. It was found in a local charity shop of all places, sat on a seat, in its box with a few bits a pieces including filters, a teleconverter, light meter and a carry case. Price £70. Bargain i thought after a quick look.

The first thing you notice is it's size. It is a massive camera - very similar in size to the Pentax 67. The image to the left shows it up against my Nikon F3HP. The second thing is its HEAVY. Its an all metal construction with a distinctly solid feel to it that reminds you of soviet era tanks. Soviet cameras were built to last and unlike many modern cameras, you get that solid construction feel - the only drawback is the weight. The lens is an 80mm f2.8 Volna-3 that has a clean and simple construction. It looks quite a good lens and i look forward to viewing the test image results for sharpness and clarity.

The camera instruction book states that the camera was manufactured in 1992 but the design of the camera seems to reflect an earlier period; maybe the 1960's or 1970's. Soviet camera design has always been misunderstood as being outdated, which to some extent it was, but soviet cameras were designed to function purely as tools. If the camera takes good images, why fix it if it already works! Technology can fail so keep it simple. Rather refreshing in the current 'upgrade everything' world of today.

Most modern cameras rely on batteries to operate which is great if you are near to a shop that stocks them. The Kiev 60 doesn't. The shutter is mechanical and goes from B to 1000/sec. The camera can take film speeds from 6asa through to 3200asa and there is also a flash adapter to help with lighting. The Kiev's TTL uses batteries for light meter readings but i think I'll use my accurate handheld Sekonic lightmeter when using the camera.

The thing i like the most about the camera is the viewfinder which will be great for framing portraits and landscape shots. It's quite a dark viewfinder to look through compared to modern cameras but adaquate for viewing subjects under most lighting conditions. Will i use the Kiev 60 on jobs? but it will get used for some personal projects. I will be posting the results from this remarkable camera on the blog soon.


Anonymous said...

Hi Richard, I would be very interested to see some photos that this camera has taken.

Do you think they are unsuitable for a job ? Because I was thinking of getting one to use in this situation (historic buildings). Are they too fragile ?

Many thanks


Richard said...

Hi Chris,
Three photographs taken with this camera where posted in January as part of the 'Soviet Star' series of posts. I've only shot one roll with it so far but i've been impressed.

It's a very solid camera that would be great for photographing buildings. The only thing i would say is try and check one throughly before purchase as some Kiev's are better than others construction wise. If you have anymore questions about the Kiev, i'd be happy to answer them if i can.

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard, Thanks for the reply. I was very close to buying one of these but decided to get a Kiev 88 CM from grizzly33bear on ebay. Pictures here with a 55mm Arsat shift lens for perspective control.

It's more of a tripod camera than I had imagined but quite versatile. Looking forward to processing the first few rolls of film.

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