Kiev Range Finder Cameras

"The Authentic Guide to Russian And Soviet Cameras" By Jean Loup Princelle

Most of what is the Kiev Camera came from Germany after World War II and the spliting into what was called sectors of the Occupied Germany.

The Contax was produced in several parts of Germany, so the Russians started making Contax II cameras in their sector. But soon this would be taken to Kiev and a "new" camera was born!

About three models made up the Kiev range finder. These models would only be proto-types before its release to the public in 1949.

Kiev Model 1947 a pure Contax II with all German parts, but face plate engraved Kiev in Cyrillc not Contax and not sold to public.

Kiev Model 1948 similar to the 1947 and some engraved A10 and some A20.

Kiev Model 1949 is the first Kiev and should have been called the Kiev 1. First to be sold to public. All were produced in very small numbers and are more than likely with collectors or lost to the world.

Kiev 2 type 1 the first of the Russian Contax Cameras were made with German Contax parts. As these parts were used exact copies of these parts would funnel into cameras till of course it be came a true Kiev 2 copy of the Contax Camera.

Kiev 2 type 2 the second of the Russian Contax Cameras but now with a new front lens and body plate. Kiev 2 type 2 will be the first Kiev for export and have it face plate changed to Latin lettering under Cyrillic.

Kiev 2A is a second version of the Kiev 2 type 1 now with a PC connection for FP Bulb flash and all the same features as the Kiev 2. Kiev 2A will also be for export and have it face plate changed to Latin lettering under Cyrillic.


Kiev 3 Type 1 is a modified Kiev 2 type 1. Released at about the same time as the Kiev 2 but with an incorperated Selium Cell Light Meter (SCLM). The film rewind knob is larger and coupled to the meter. Meter is an EV meter (Exposure Value) and rewind knob controls film speed and meter ajustement (shutter speed, aperture setting.)

Kiev 3 Type 2 is also a modified Kiev 2 but, this time a Kiev 2 type 2. Also released at about the same time as the Kiev 2 and incorperated Selium Cell Light Meter (SCLM). Like the Kiev 2 Type 2 will offer the consummer a synch-ed shutter for flash bulbs (FP Focal Plane) and SCLM. The new face plate Cyrillic over Latin Lettering will become standard for all future cameras.

The Kiev is no longer be a German Camera but a Russian camera designed like a German Contax camera.

Kiev 4 Type 1 is a Kiev 3 type 2 with . The SCLM is made smaller and the film rewind knob is also made small. The knob is larger in diamiter and is still coupled to meter.

Kiev 4A Type 1 an upgrade of the of Kiev 2A. The camera is the same "A"bsent the SCLM. "A" will mean the camera will not have a meter but the same other wise.

Kiev 4 Type 1a last model production will also start appearing with newer camera backs. Back is flat and has no rivets covered by the leatherett.



Kiev 4 Type 2 is an up graded version of the Kiev 4 Type 1. The cameras are the same except a new self-timer is added with a new smaller activation lever. Kiev 4 Type 2 is also engraved in Latin lettering and surrounded by Kiev engraved in Cyrillic lettering. The Kiev 4 type 2 carries on with one logo for Domestic and Export sales. This is the third upgrade of the Kiev.

Till the production of the Kiev 5 starts none of the Kiev RF cameras were dedigned for electronic flash. They will sync. at 1/25th or 1/30th of a sec. depending on the model.

Note none of the early Kiev cameras had been designed for Electronic Flash. The flash only worked because at ~1/40 of a second or slower the Focal Plain Curtin would stay open long enough to expose a frame of film.