Much has been written online about the Kiev 4A series of 35mm rangefinder cameras made in the former Soviet Union. Being that they were dirt cheap, I got my hands on one fairly quickly on EBay. Something to consider on these Kiev cameras, make sure that the shutter is in working order. The shutter design is a copy of the pre-WWll Contax cameras, and the shutter release/cocking ribbons are prone to breakage. They can be repaired, but the repair is not for the faint of heart, and usually not worth the trouble, as a replacement camera can be had for 30 to 40 bucks. My particular example was manufactured in 1980, and was still the same basic design from the 1950s, and came with the standard Jupiter-8 50mm lens. With a roll of Tri-X 400 in hand, I decided to hit the road to the Los Angeles Harbor, and see what it will do. I snapped a full roll of pictures in the vicinity of the port warehouses, and what was left of Ports O Call.
Once I returned home, I developed the Tri-X in D76, and anxiously awaited the results. Once scanned, I was delighted with the results. The rangefinder was spot-on at all distances! the Jupiter-8 lens had a soft, classic looking quality to it. The majority of my shots we shot with Sunny-16 rule, so I have not experimented yet with wider apertures. From what I have read, the Helios-103 lens was an option for this camara, and is much sharper. They are pretty cheap as well, and I plan on picking one up. I have not shot color with this camera yet, that will be for another blog!