Kiev88 , First impressions
This is my first thoghts regarding Kiev88. I must admit , I’m not a big fan of Soviet cameras, as they’re pretty much unreliable. This being said, my expectations were as low as possible, but I said to myself to give it a try.
When I first laid my hand on it, it kind of feelt kind of familiar, as I’ve been shooting with hasselblads in the past. Being a hasselblad copy, it kind of feels similar, and different in the same time. For example, the shutter speeds are placed on the film advance wheel, wich is far better than on the lens.
The focus ring is well placed far away from the body, so you can have a better grip. The aperture values and time values are not linked together, unlike most of the hasselblads.
Shutter speeds vs Flash Sync
As I’ve already explained in my Hasselblad 2000Fc/M review, there are two types of shutters you’ll find in medium format cameras. In this case, the Kiev 88 has a focal plane shutter, so it can go as far as 1/1000 maxim shutter speeds, unlike the other leaf shutter, wich are limited to a maximum 1/500.
This allows us to open the aperture a little bit more, and we all love that shallow depth of field. Unfortunately focal plane shutters has it’s limitations, in this case the flash sync. If you really need your flash sync to go as far as your shutter speed you should consider a camera with leaf shutter. Otherwise you can enjoy faster shutter speeds you can find in this kiew 88 or other focal plane shutters.
If i had to choose what kind of glass to use, well I wish I could have the Zeiss sharpness, contrast, and color accuracy, mixed with that specific soviet swirly bokeh. So when I first put my hands on this camera this is all I had in mind.
Don’t get me wrong, the optics are ok, sharp enough wide open, but you can not compare this with German or Japanese optics. The contrast is kind of poor but it gets a little better as you stop it down. So, you can use it wide open for bokeh , or you can close it down for extra sharpness, it’s up to you.
Medium format modular camera
As I’ve mentioned before in my Mamiya Rz67 review, modular cameras has some huge advantages.
You can change the film back before the end of it, you can change the viewfinder, as extra accessories and so on. But the best news about this camera is that it comes for a decent price. This is the only soviet medium format modular camera you can find, and the price you pay for it is just ridiculous.
Why you should not buy this Kiev88
Well maybe because 6×6 format square format is not the best option for you, or maybe you can afford a hasselblad. Or maybe a SLR it’s to much for you, you can find smaller and lighter rangefinders. Or maybe you want a reliable camera made with increased quality check. Maybe you want sharper glass?
Why you should buy it
Well the first thing that comes in my mind is the price. If you really want that hasselblad format but you can’t afford it, you can find this for 200 dollars or even less if you’re lucky enough. Make sure it’s in a good condition, as you can find a lot of faulty cameras on the market. Or maybe the swirly bokeh is all you dream about. Maybe you want more lenses without selling a kidney for it. Anyways, this is a great deal if you find it in good shape, otherwise you rather not buy it.
More Kiev 88 Photos
Kiev88 Sample Images – Kodak Tmax 400