Equipment: Kiev 60 SLR - the beast from the east

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What happens when you pump up a wimpy SLR full of steroids and protein drinks? You get the beast from the east, the former soviet-union Kiev 60 medium format SLR. You really need to see this camera against something like an Olympus OM. It's easily four times the size and most probably five times the weight of its Japanese rival.

Greg W. has written a Kiev 60 SLR fan site. He unabashedly calls it the "best page around for the Kiev 60 camera." I'm not sure about that, but it is definitely in the top five. There's a ton of useful information and some startlingly good photographs. It almost makes one rethink their elitist loyalty to German and Swedish cameras.


The weirdest thing about those kind of cameras is their reliability, winding and take up spools tends to fail by wear and tear easily. On the other hand you can buy a bunch of them and a truck of film for the same bucks than you have to spend on a swedish or german's minimal MF outfit.

Optical quality isnt the same either, but is fairly good.

The Kiev 60 is definitely one of the more reliable former soviet cameras, being based on the Praktica medium format SLR. The tricky one is the Kiev 88, which is loosely related to the Hasselblad 1000. The Kiev 88 has a finicky focal-plane shutter which doesn't like to have its speed set before winding the film on. is a good place to go for soviet cameras. The store part is a good place to go to get leica mount lenses for under a hundred dollars...

Got a Kiev 60, and an array of Zeiss lenses. I simply love this camera. It's one of the few affordable options, that allows you to get a complete set of lenses across a range focal lengths, that won't break the bank.

I would truly defy any "expert" to tell me, even with a loupe, what shot came from a 'blad with 'blad lenses, or a Kiev with on old Jena or russion lens. I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't want to embarrass him or her.

Oh, and you don't need "MLU", and you don't need later "multicoated" versions of the lenses. These are fixed lenses so not zooms so "multi" coating is far less important. Save the money and use it to buy some lens hoods and/filters.

The stories about reliability are true , especially if you buy any older camera. I learned to repair these cameras - in the web you can find how film winding can be adjusted. What is true - I didnt try to buy any new, improved type of Kiev (Like Arax), but Arax has great feedback so Im going to order Arax 60 + their excellent shift lens. I own follwing lenses :45,80,120 CZJ and 250/5,6. The Volna 80 ist at aperture 2.8-4 little soft, but 5,6-11 INCREDIBLE sharp. By Mir 45 its near the same - best is so 8-11. Last year I met a photographer in Prague and he surprised me much : He used Volna 80 for enlarging !!! So thats my experience.

Jakub - thanks for the comment! :-)

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on April 25, 2005 3:15 PM.

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