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Helios lens

Camera Kiev-19

Kiev-19 is a Soviet single-lens reflex camera with a semi-automatic exposure setting, produced at the Kiev Arsenal plant since 1985. It is completed with a standard lens Helios 81H 2/50 and its modifications.

The camera has an H mount, which is completely identical to Nikon's F. Therefore, lenses from Kiev can be mounted on Nikons and vice versa.

The cost of a camera in the distant 1980s was 150 rubles. In those days, this was a significant amount. For many at that time, having such a device was the ultimate dream. Now, buying a camera with a lens is not a problem. This option is suitable for those who want to start taking photographs, but are not ready to part with huge sums for modern SLR cameras, the minimum prices for which start at $ 400.

Compared to modern digital cameras, Kiev-19 has a minimum of settings, no automatic modes, preset shooting programs, etc. But just this basic minimum will allow you to understand the main points of photography.

Construction of the camera Kiev-19

Acquaintance with the camera begins with a wardrobe trunk. Kiev-19 has a very good wardrobe trunk, which looks decent enough even after 20 years. The part that covers the lens is plastic, but it doesn't look cheap. The main part that covers the carcass itself is thick solid leather. The upper end of the chamber is covered with a metal insert. The inside of the wardrobe trunk is covered with red suede. The case reliably protects the camera even from falls.

The upper plane of the camera with a seemingly small number of controls immediately attracts attention. On the left is the film speed selection ring. Moreover, it is fixed against accidental displacement - in order to move it, you need to press a small shiny button. On the ISO ring, the values ​​22, 45, 90, 180 are marked. You can also select intermediate values ​​that are marked with dots.

In the center of the camera is the flash hot shoe and the sync terminal. On the right side there is a shutter release button and a shutter cocking lever, next to which there is a frame counter window.

The shutter speed selection ring, familiar to many, is not located on the upper plane of the camera, as in many Soviet SLR and rangefinder cameras, but on the front plane on the left. It is very convenient to use such a regulator - you can set the shutter speed quickly with one movement.

On the top of the lens there is a scale with a diaphragm selection ring - from 16 to 2, and it is possible to select intermediate values. And also a distance scale with a focusing ring. The camera is focused using a focusing screen - a Fresnel lens with a matte ring, micro-raster and Doden wedges. The viewfinder is large and comfortable.

To the right of the lens, on the front plane of the camera, there is a lever for the aperture jumper, which also performs the function of exposure metering. The shutter of Kiev-19 is mechanical, lamellar with vertical movement of two pairs of metal lamellas. The shutter speed range is 1/2 to 1/500 sec, and “B”. Synchronization speed with electronic flash - 1/60 s.

The disadvantages of the camera include the lack of a self-timer, which even rangefinder cameras of the FED type were equipped with at that time, not to mention Zenith SLR cameras.

Preparing the camera for shooting

Before you start shooting, you need to check the batteries of the exposure meter.
The specifications of the camera indicate two elements SC-32, MC-0.105, their modern counterparts - SR-43, AG-12. They are loaded into a compartment at the bottom of the chamber, the lid of which can be unscrewed with a coin.

To load the film, you need to open the back cover of the camera. To do this, lift the film rewind knob up. The lock will work and the lid will open.

The film is loaded into the left compartment. The end of the film is fed into the take-up spool slot at the right end of the chamber. Pull down the film rewind knob, close the camera lid. We move the shutter cocking lever to the right until it stops. In this case, the rewind knob should be skipped. We make two control releases of the shutter, followed by a platoon to get to an unlit area of ​​the film. That's it, the camera is ready for use.

Exposition in Kiev-19

Exposure metering is performed by pressing the jump lever, after which the aperture will close to the value set on the ring. By holding the lever in the viewfinder on the left, you can see the red LED signs "+" and "-" are the metering readings. By changing the aperture and shutter speed, you can change the exposure value. So, if the minus is on, then you need to increase the shutter speed or open the aperture and vice versa. When the exposure is correct, two signs light up at the same time - plus and minus.

Rewinding camera film to Kiev-19

The signal for the end of the film is the difficulty in cocking the shutter. If suddenly it starts to go tight, and the frame counter has exceeded the 36 mark, then this is a signal to the end of the film. No effort is needed to wind the trigger - you risk tearing the end of the film off the feed spool.

To rewind the captured film back into the feed spool, you need to press and hold the button in the lower plane of the camera. Rewinding is carried out clockwise using the swing-out lever on the rewind head. The end of rewinding can be seen when all of the tape has already wrapped around the feed cassette and it starts to turn more easily. Then we open the back cover and take out a cassette with a film.

On the base of the camera there is a film rewind button, a tripod thread and a battery compartment.


Kiev-19 is an excellent film camera. Has good ergonomics, fits comfortably in the hands. You will not have any remarks about the mechanical part of the camera - it is made soundly.
A good starting point for those wishing to join the world of photography at a very symbolic price. The common bayonet mount with Nikon will make it possible to use Kiev-19 lenses on digital SLRs of this system in the future.

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