Do you have questions?
Write us! We will be happy to answer your questions within 12 hours!
Your question
Have a good day!
Helios lens

Camera Kyiv-4 review

At a cursory examination, all Kyiv rangefinders seem to have the same face. Well, minus the presence / absence of a light meter, of course. The devices don't even have a model number.

However, there are differences between the models. True, these differences do not affect the main characteristics of the cameras, but are concentrated in the field of comfort of use and secondary functionality.

The main performance characteristics of the rangefinder Kiev were initially so high that the engineers of the Arsenal for almost 40 years could afford to stay on some "relaxation".

As a result, an attempt to improve something more or less radically in the Kyiv-5 cell ended, rather, in failure. The device is interesting, but from a market, not a collector's point of view - a failure.

Recently e I had a review of Kyiv-3. It is visible on the left in the photo. Now we will consider Kyiv-4. He's right.

In the line, these models do not go in a row. Between them there is also Kyiv-3A. Photo from

Kyiv-3A differs from Kyiv-3 only in the presence of a wired sync contact socket.

Kyiv-3A was produced for a short time - from 1965 to 1959. At the same time, in 1955 the production of Kyiv-3 was discontinued, and already in 1957 Kyiv-4 was released.

So what has changed?

In the upper part, the height of the exposure meter superstructure has decreased.

At the same time, the head of the exposure calculator on the left has seriously changed. Monumentality has been replaced by functional compactness.

Calculating the exposure has become more convenient. All scales are visible from one convenient angle. The height of the device has decreased.

The hinged stop has disappeared from below. This, of course, is a minus. But on the other hand, the tripod socket has moved to the optical axis, and the lack of a stop has allowed us to slightly reduce the height of the device.

If you look from above, then the area of ​​​​"glazing" of the exposure meter scale has greatly decreased. This did not affect the functionality at all, but for my taste it somewhat reduced the charisma of the device. The decrease in the number of correction kits, I think, upset few people.

The 4th model was produced for a long time - from 1957 to 1980. There are also some variations inside the model - only visual ones.

Early modifications (as in the review):
- had a double inscription "Made in the USSR / Made in USSR" on the bracket for flashes;
- there was no T-shaped stiffening rib on the upper surface of the exposure meter superstructure;
- the fastest shutter speed was 1/1250.

Stiffeners appeared already in 1958-59. At the same time, the inscription changed to "Made in the USSR."

In 1974, the fastest shutter speed was changed to 1/1000, and a plastic overlay appeared on the self-timer lever. Photo from

If in 1957 Kyiv-4 still did not have full-fledged competitors in the Soviet photo market, then in the 60s, although leadership remained, according to the Hamburg account, it was no longer so obvious. Since 1964, FED-4 has been quite tangible competition. True, he did not have a shutter speed of 1/1000, but since 1966 the FED-4 had a trigger.

The main variants of Kyiv-4 are now not uncommon. Finding a good copy in good condition is not at all difficult.

In the review today is a 1958 camera with a funny number 5800085. According to classification, this is KIEV-4 (TYPE 1).

Camera Kyiv-4

Kyiv-4 was produced at the Kiev plant Arsenal from 1957 to 1980. I have not been able to locate this model.

Apparatus for 35mm film, rangefinder. Rangefinder base 90 mm.

The shutter is curtain with vertical movement of curtains.

Curtains are assembled from narrow metal links (blinds).

Shutter speeds 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1250 and B are beaten off. A later modification has the shortest shutter speed of 1/1000 .

Regular lens Jupiter-8M 2/50.

Fastening type - bayonet Contax-Kyiv external and internal.

The camera is equipped with a self-timer and a wired sync contact.

Kyiv-4 belongs to the line equipped with a built-in non-coupled selenium exposure meter. The variant without a light meter was called Kyiv-4A.

3/8" tripod socket.

The weight of my copy without a lens is 640 grams.


In front, in addition to the lens and the scales of distances and depth of field placed on the bayonet frame, they are located from left to right:

- viewfinder window;
- below - wired sync contact socket;
— panel of the selenium photoexposure meter, closed with a lifting cover;
- large rectangular eye rangefinder
- lever and self-timer start button.

Rangefinder base 90 mm. A very large base. The Kyiv rangefinder has the largest rangefinder base of all Soviet cameras.

The exposure meter panel is closed with a cover. To raise the lid, you need to press the small button in the loop on the left.

When closed, the cover protects the exposure meter selenium from burning out, and when open, it forms an effective lens hood that cuts off light from the sky. The ribs on the front of the exposure meter should also protect against side light, I think.

The self-timer start button is hidden under its cocking lever.

Behind - only the eye of the viewfinder.

The viewfinder itself - I would call average. It gives a not very large and darkened picture.

The rangefinder area in the center is large, rectangular, and bright.

Below the camera are:
— two rotary locks locking a removable back wall;
- button to turn off the shutter during rewind;
- tripod socket.

The top panel has a complex shape due to the light meter superstructure located in the center.

From left to right it has:

- an uncoupled exposure calculator, on top of which is placed a rewind lifting head;
— bracket for accessories;
- pointer indicator of the exposure meter;
- a focusing wheel and a pressure plate located behind it, which unlocks the stopper of the internal mount;
- arched window of the frame counter and gear wheel for setting the first frame;
- a massive head for transporting the frame and cocking the shutter; combined with the shutter speed head and the shutter button located in the center.

The exposure calculation at Kyiv-4 looks like this:
  • 1. We rotate the inner ring on the calculator by two leashes and set the sensitivity of the film loaded into the apparatus in front of the arrow.
  • 2. Open the exposure meter shutter.
  • 3. We rotate the outer ring of the calculator by the dock knurling so that the arrow in the exposure meter window aligns with the diamond-shaped index.
  • 4. After aligning the arrow with the index, any of the aperture and shutter speed pairs located opposite each other are the correct exposure pair.
  • 5. If there is little light and the arrow does not reach the rhombus, then you can try to combine it with indices 2 or 4 on the same scale. In this case, the shutter speed value calculated on the calculator must be multiplied by the appropriate coefficient.

The focus wheel is an interesting element inherent in rangefinder Kievs. With these devices, focusing can be done by directly rotating the lens in the internal mount, or you can turn a special small wheel in the upper part of the body with your index finger.
Behind the wheel is a plate, when pressed, the internal mount is unlocked if it is parked in the infinity position.

The operation of the Contax-Kyiv mount is described in more detail in a separate article. I will not delve into this issue here. I recommend to look, this is a very interesting type of fastening.

The cocking and film transport head is large and comfortable.

The same head changes shutter speeds. To change the shutter speed, the crown must be raised and rotated to the desired value.

It is inconvenient that the excerpts are engraved finely, the most popular ones are planted very tightly. All this is located on the side surface of the head, under the overhanging knurling and on the side of the exposure meter add-on. In general, I personally have to look closely.

This inconvenience was corrected in the Kyiv-4M model.

The release button has a relatively tight and short stroke.

To load the film into the camera, you need to turn the two locks from the bottom and remove the back wall. Everything else is typical.

Attitude towards the camera

Kyiv-4 is a good option for a collection. Looks interesting and impressive. Finding a good copy is easy and inexpensive. Even in a box with documents and quite early. The design is quite reliable. The vast majority of options I saw were quite working.

Made on