|December 3, 2013||Posted by Photo GearHead under Cool Gear Auctions|
Once again, from glorious Mother Russia, comes an old but interesting camera — I’m speaking, of course, of the Kiev 4 35mm rangefinder camera. Kiev cameras were exclusively manufactured in the Arsenal factory located within the great city of Kiev (hence the name) in the Ukraine, after the completion of World War II. Once taking control of Eastern Germany, the Soviets snatched up all of the production resources of the iconic German camera and optics manufacturer Zeiss Ikon and decided things would be go along much more smoothly if the whole operation was continued, but moved to the city of Kiev. Kiev, at the time, it seems, was known only for its chicken dish. And, perhaps the soviet leaders wished to diversify the character of the city’s notoriety? You know, for tourism purposes, or what have you?
For what ever reason, the great communist threat swiftly set about grabbing up the Zeiss Ikon German holdings, moved it all to Kiev, and from there, continued the production of the Zeiss ‘Contax’ line of photographic wonderments. For this reason, most of the post-war Kiev rangefinder cameras are pretty much just clones of the Zeiss Contax II and Contax III line of cameras. So much so, in fact, that reports exist from owners of the very earliest of these Kiev rangefinder cameras removing the ‘Kiev’ nameplates to discover a ‘Contax’ name plate hidden underneath — the soviet manufacturers, of course, in the production of these early models, just using up confiscated stock from the Zeiss facilities and simply re-branding it with Kiev markings.
Today, we find one of these classy (and yet, remarkably, still sassy!) Kiev-4 rangefinder cameras up for sale on eBay. It appears to be, specifically, a Kiev-4A model. However, it’s difficult to tell exactly from the images the seller provides, and the supplied information identifies it only as a “Kiev camera.” Therefore, I think, from the looks of it, it’s actually a Kiev-4A, but don’t take my word as being rock-solid in this instance. It could very well be a Kiev-4 model. What’s the difference between the two? Well, one has the letter ‘A’ at the end of its name, of course! Other than that… beats the heck out of me.
The camera being offered up on the auction block today is being offered complete with three Kiev Jupiter lenses — a 50mm, a 135mm, and a 35mm. Savvy camera speculators in the know, of course, will realize that the Kiev-4 line of cameras actually made full use of the Zeiss Contax bayonet style of lens mount. So, any Carl Zeiss lens made for the Contax mount will be entirely compatible with any camera in the Kiev-4 line of cameras. This Kiev camera also comes with a super-cool looking, spinny-around-thingy universal rangefinder which displays a serial number of 017405. (The camera itself, it is told, displays the serial number 7003829) Along with these most fantabulous of extra add-ons and accoutrement (Please be so kind as to pronounce that in the proper french when reading: ‘ah-coo-tray-mah’), this particular Kiev-4 is also being offered complete with cases for each of the accompanying lenses, two filters of unstated function, and a roll of ‘fomapan’ film. The seller assures that the camera and all parts are in working condition and a good state of preservation — with all optics entirely free from haze, fungus and dust.
This Kiev 4(?) package is up for auction with a starting bid of $349.00 USD. At the time of this writing there are currently no bids on this item. The seller is located in Prague, in the Czech Republic, but will ship worldwide. Click this link to check out the auction for this Kiev-4(?) camera package.