An On-Line Manual for the Kiev-4 camera
that also covers the Kiev-2, 2A, 3, 3A, 4A, 5, 4M and 4AM models


Copies of these Kiev pages in a larger typeface are available at my other website: Click here to go there now


The Kiev-4, front view:

The Kiev-4, top view:


The Kiev 4 is a small-size high-quality camera intended for both amateurs and professionals. It can also be used in scientific research and technical photography.

Four models were available: 4 and 4M with a photoelectric exposure meter, and 4A and 4AM without the exposure meter.

Other models: These instructions also cover Kiev 2 (no meter, reminder dial or flash sockets), 2A (no meter or reminder dial), 3 (exposure meter, no flash sockets) and 3A (exposure meter). All of these models have a flip-out base stand to stabilise their use on a tabletop, a feature that was dropped with the Kiev 4

The Kiev-5 looks quite different from the other models but mechanically it is basically the same design. Some differences are that the rewind knob is at the end of the body instead of on top, film wind and shutter tensioning is by lever wind (treat this with care, it is reputed to be somewhat fragile) in addition to the usual knob and there is no inner bayonet - the standard lens is unique to the model 5 in fitting to the outer bayonet, so that the standard lenses of the other models cannot be used with it. The standard lens of a Kiev 5 similarly cannot be fitted to any other model because there is no room for an internal bayonet fitting. The exposure counter is self-resetting and the numbers appear in the same window as the meter needle.



Frame size on the negative 24 x 36 mm.

Loaded with a 1.6 metre long film the camera will produce 36 pictures.

The shutter is of a slotted type with hinged metal curtains.

The shutter cocking mechanism is interlocked with the film wind mechanism, which prevents double exposure on one frame.

The coated lens Jupiter-8M 50mm f2 is the standard lens for the 4 and 4a cameras, and the Helios-103 53mm f1.8 is the standard lens for the 4A and 4AM models.

Focusing is effected with the aid of an optical range finder within 0.9 m to oo (Infinity).

View finding is effected by use of an optical viewfinder.

The viewfinder and the range finder are combined in one eyepiece.

The camera is fitted with a self-timer providing a 9 - 15 second delay before the shutter opens at your pre-set shutter speed.

The camera back and base combination is removable.

The Kiev-4A model is fitted with a film speed indicator, the Kiev 4, 4M and 5 models with a high-sensitive small-size selenium photo-electric exposure meter.

All models of Kiev camera from 2A and 3A have a synchro contact for operation with either bulb flash or electronic-flash lamps. Models 4M and 4AM also have hot shoes.

For convenience in diaphragm setting after lens focusing, the diaphragm scale is marked twice on the opposite sides of the ring. (Only on one side with earlier model lenses.)

The 85mm f2 Jupiter and the standard lens of the Kiev 5 take 49mm filters, all other Kiev lenses take 40.5mm screw-in or 42mm push-on filters and lens hoods.

Kiev models 2, 2A, 3, 3A, 4 and 4A have 5/16" tripod sockets, 4M, 4AM and 5 have the smaller, more modern 1/4" ones.


1. Remove the camera from the case, after undoing the snap fasteners and the screw on the base.

2. Fold out the two clips of the camera base locks and give them half a turn in opposite directions.

3. Slide the combined camera back and base slightly towards the camera bottom and detach it. In so doing be sure to hold the camera upside down to prevent any the film cartridge and the take-up spool from falling out (the fixed take-up spool will not fall out of a 4M or 4AM model).


The felt-free Kiev cartridge comprises a take-up spool and two rotating slotted tubes, the outer one of which comprises the cap. It differs from a modern cassette in that two buttons in the cap fit into the base locks of the camera and when the base is locked and unlocked, the cassette is automatically opened and closed, so there is no need for a valvet light trap. It must be loaded in complete darkness. Prior to loading, disassemble the cartridge. To this end, turn the cap anticlockwise, remove it and take out the spool. Cut the film end and fix it firmly* in both spool slots. Turning the spool anticlockwise, wind the film tightly, holding it by the edges and avoiding touching the emulsion side, which should face the spool tube. The properly wound film should not protrude beyond the spool flanges. While winding the film do not try to tighten the loosely wound parts of it as it may damage the film emulsion layer. Insert the spool with the film into the cartridge housing leaving about 5 cm of the end of the film hanging out and refit the cap.

*If the cartridge is to be used with a take-up spool, but it should not be as firmly attached to the spool if you intend using it with another cartridge. (Cartridge-to-cartridge loading makes rewinding unnecessary - NOT possible with the 4M or 4AM models).

The removeable take-up spool of the Kiev 4 (LEFT), the fixed spool of the Kiev 4M and 4AM (CENTRE) and the rewind position of the base lock of the Kiev 4M and 4AM (RIGHT)



The camera can be loaded in daylight, but poorly lit places are preferable. In sunlight, turn so that you are loading in the shade of your body. The procedure is as follows:

1. Fix the loose end of the film in the take-up spool. (If you are using the cartridge-to-cartridge method, assemble an empty cartridge around the take-up spool).

2. Place the cassette or full cartridge into the left-hand recess and the take-up spool into the right-hand recess of the camera housing and ensure that the film perforation engages with the teeth of the film transport sprocket. The emulsion-coated side of the film must face the lens.

3. Closing the camera: Holding the camera upside down, place the camera back so that its edges enter the slots in the camera housing. Holding the back firmly against the rest of the body with the thumb of your left hand, push the camera back as far as it will go, turn the clips of the base locks and fold them flat. (You can tell whether the base locks are open or closed by gently trying to fold the keys into their depressions, as only when in the locked position will they fold down.)

4. In the process of camera loading the film leader is exposed. To advance the non-exposed film to the frame window, wind and release the shutter twice. If the camera is loaded properly, the film rewind knob will rotate when the shutter cocking/film winding knob is turned. If the film is loosely wound on the cartridge spool, the rewind knob will be immobile while the first frames are being shot and it is good practice, as soon as a new film is loaded, to gently turn the rewind knob in the direction of the arrow until some resistance is felt.

5. Align the frame counter to zero with the index on the cover, turning the protruding part of the disc.

5 for Model 4A only - Set indicator of film-in-use speed to the proper value by turning the scale button and finding in the film rewind knob to the appropriate figure. Engraved on the scale are figures corresponding to the speed of the film in GOST and ASA units, or you can set the 'sun' or 'bulb' symbols for daylight or artificial light colour film. (Setting this dial is only to remind you - there is no linkage to anything else.)

5.for Model 4 or 4M - Set the film speed on the exposure meter control wheel surrounding the rewind knob against the index mark - on the 4M this is a tiny dot on the black ring at the 12 o'clock position.



To shoot pictures you have to follow these procedures: cock the shutter/wind the film (same movement), set the shutter speed, adjust the lens aperture, remove the lens cap, frame the view, focus the lens, and finally release the shutter.

Shutter cocking is effected by turning the shutter knob clockwise (one complete turn to the stop) or, Kiev-5 only - by a stroke of the lever wind.

Exposure time setting is attained by turning the same knob, pulled out this time, till the black dot on it is aligned with the desired exposure time value. In this position the knob is lowered until it clicks into place. With the shutter tensioned, exposure time changing from a slower to a faster shutter speed demands a somewhat greater effort than when turning in the reverse direction. It is recommended when changing from higher to lower exposure time settings to turn the shutter/film winding knob so that the black dot is a little past the selected exposure time value and after that, rotate the knob in the reverse direction (clockwise), to align it with the desired mark and lower the knob. Set the exposure time after shutter cocking.

The diaphragm is set by turning the rotating ring on the lens to line up the index mark with your desired aperture setting.



Not applicable to the Kiev 5. Focusing and range finding are effected by rotating the small serrated focus wheel, which is possible only after pressing the infinity lock lever situated immediately behind the focus wheel. In practice the act of resting your second finger on the focus wheel and lever automatically releases the lock. To avoid blocking the rangefinder window with your fingers, hold the camera with the fingers of your right hand placed as follows:

Index finger on the shutter release button,

Second finger on the focusing wheel and infinity lock lever,

Third and fourth fingers should grip the black leatherette beneath the rangefinder housing.

This grip allows the rangefinder window to have an uninterrupted view between your second and third fingers. When taking a picture in upright/portrait mode, turn the camera so that your right hand is uppermost to allow you to maintain the correct grip. This may feel awkward at first but it becomes automatic with practice. In the middle of the field of vision of the rangefinder/view finder you will see a brighter rectangular area where the subject viewed has a double image. Focusing consists in combining the two images into one. It is recommended that you combine the two images within the centre of the field of the smaller rectangular area.

If the distance to the subject to be photographed is known, focusing can be effected by using the distance scale. To do this, turn the lens until the desired mark on the distance scale is aligned with the index dot. The depth of field is determined by the distance scale depending on the distance to the subject to be photographed and on the lens aperture selected.

Note: Shooting without the range finder is recommended only with a small lens aperture setting, when the errors in determining the distance visually are better covered by the lens depth of field.

Diagram showing Depth of Field scales for the 50 or 53mm lenses. (All models except the Kiev 5)
Example (RIGHT): The 50mm lens is set for a sharp image of a subject located at a distance of 4m from the film plane. With an aperture value f8 all the subjects located within 2.5 metres to 10 metres will produce a satisfactorily sharp image.

Note: All the distances to the subject are measured from the camera film plane. View finding is effected through the range finder/view finder eyepiece while focusing the camera. Within the eyepiece field of vision you will see exactly the subject that will be obtained within the negative.

Remember to remove the lens cap before pressing the shutter release!

Making your exposure is effected by smoothly depressing the shutter release button. When taking pictures with the 'B' exposure time the shutter will remain opened while the release button is depressed. To obtain a longer exposure time on 'B', the release button can be held down by turning it fully anticlockwise while it is fully depressed. (Not applicable to the Kiev-4M, 4AM or 5.) The shutter will be closed after the release button is turned in the reverse direction till the red dot on it is aligned with the dot on the shutter cocking knob, and the finger is removed from it so that it is no longer depressed.

When using this method, for night photography from a tripod for example, there is a risk of moving the camera while setting and releasing the shutter button, with unwelcome results. To prevent the movement recording on the film, hold a dark hat in front, but not touching, the lens, depress and turn the shutter button, wait a few seconds for any vibration to die down, then remove the hat out of the field of view and begin timing. At the end of your exposure, replace the hat (you can hang it on the lens now) and twist the shutter button clockwise to release it to close the shutter.

The shutter can also be released automatically by use of the self-timer mechanism. Self-timer cocking is effected by fully turning the lever on the front of the camera downwards away from the lens. This reveals a small button that normally resides behind the lever. To actuate the self-timer move this button in the direction shown by the arrow on it. The time delay offered by the self-timer before the shutter is released is within 9 to 15 seconds. Exposure time 'B' with the self-timer engaged is within 1 to 4 seconds for different cameras (it is advisable to check yours using a stopwatch prior to operating the camera with film in it).



Unless you are using cartridge-to-cartridge loading, to remove the exposed film from the camera, rewind it back into the cassette by depressing the button in the base of the camera (all models except 4M and 4AM), or fold up the base lock beneath the self timer and turn it a few degrees to point it to the red dot (models 4M and 4AM) to disengage the film transport mechanism (illustrated earlier) and turn the film rewind knob clockwise (as viewed from above).

To rewind a 36 exposure film, the knob needs thirty full rotations, or twenty for a 20 exposure film. With the Kiev 4 camera the film rewind knob can be extended by pulling it up to make rewinding easier. The button must be kept depressed throughout the rewinding. There are small flip-up cranks on the rewinding knobs of the 4M, 4AM and 5 to make rewinding easier still.

When rewinding is complete, remove the camera back with camera held upside down, take out the cassette and pull the film end out of the take-up spool. Prior to closing the camera, examine it and, if required, clean it with a brush or wipe it with a clean napkin.



As distinct from the Kiev-2, 2A, 4A and 4AM cameras, the Kiev-3, 3A, 4, 4M and 5 models are fitted with a photoelectric exposure meter in the upper part of the camera. As its name implies, the exposure meter is designed to set the exposure time. It consists of the photocell located behind ribbed plate, the calculator, and the galvanometer with pointer and scale.

The calculator is fitted with an exposure time scale arranged on a ring surrounding the rewind knob, as well as with film speed scale in ASA and GOST units (the scale is combined) and aperture scale located on the surrounding ring.

To select the exposure time, proceed as follows:

Rotate the disc to set the film speed value against the index mark on the ring. If the camera is loaded with a film whose speed is not indicated on the scale (e.g. 45 GOST or ASA), align with the index between the 32 and 65 figures. Point the camera at the subject to be photographed and press the small side button to open the photocell cover, set the galvanometer pointer to index mark (a black diamond) on the galvanometer scale by turning the outer ring of the exposure time scale, reading off the exposure time and diaphragm scales of the calculator, and determine the required exposure time..

With the Kiev-3 and 3A, the film speed is set in a cut out window in the meter control 'turret.'

The red figures on the exposure time scale denote seconds, the black figures - fractions of a second. Close the photocell cover and turn the exposure time scale ring fully clockwise. In addition to the black diamond index mark, the galvanometer scale also has figures 2 and 4, which are used if the galvanometer pointer is not aligned with index mark when the exposure time is turned fully anticlockwise. In this case, the value of the exposure time obtained should be multiplied by the figure at which the galvanometer pointer has stopped. Now transfer your chosen aperture/speed combination to the aperture ring and the shutter knob - the meter is only an indicator and rotating the control ring doesn't set anything automatically.

The photoelectric exposure meter is a precise and complex instrument that demands for extreme care in handling. Avoid sharp impacts and jolts. Open the photocell cover only for as long as you need and never point the exposure meter with the cover open directly at the sun!

GOST (FOCT) and ASA film speed ratings though basically similar do not correspond numerically with those of popular films sold in the U.K. (The GOST speed range runs as follows 8-11-16-22-32-45-65-90-130 -180-250-350-500). In practice set ASA figure nearest in value to that on the GOST scale, intermediate speeds being set exactly halfway between those engraved.



All models produced after the early Kiev 2 and 3 are fitted with synchro contacts to apply bulb flash and electronic flash lamps that are provided with plugs conforming to the size of the synchro contact socket. Kiev 4M and 4AM models additionally have hot shoes, but the synchro socket can still be used instead if preferred.. Flash photography should be carried out at exposures marked on the shutter speed ring in green (1/25th maximum) when the frame window is fully opened by the shutter.

With the Kiev 4 and 4A, when the shutter is not cocked, the camera electric circuit contacts are closed; when the shutter is cocked, they are open. Thus, when operating the flash lamp, immediately cock the shutter after having exposed a frame. Connection and disconnection of flash lamps, as well as installation of a new bulb (when using a bulb flashgun) must be done with the shutter cocked. (This restriction does not apply to the 4M or 4AM.) Flash photography should be effected in strict conformity with the instructions furnished with the flash lamps.

Fig. A shows how the red square on the standard lens fits into the notch on the spring on the body. Pressing the lens catch button towards the camera body allows the lens to be rotated clockwise and removed.
Fig. B shows the self-timer ready for actuating by sliding the the release button in the direction of the engraved arrow.



The interchangeable lenses are installed and fixed on the camera instead of the main lens. The main working lenses Jupiter-8M, Helios-103 and the interchangeable lens Jupiter-3 are installed on the bayonets of the inner ring of the focusing mechanism, while all the other lenses are mounted on the bayonets of the immobile outer ring, on which you will find the scales for depth of field setting. The Kiev 5 has no inner bayonet - ALL lenses fit to the outer bayonet.

To remove the Jupiter-8M, Jupiter-3 or Helios-103 lens, depress the spring fixing the lens so as to make it move down, below the red protrusion, and, turning the lens clockwise until the red dots on the lens and the front cover of the camera coincide, take the lens out by pulling it in the direction of its optical axis. (This can be achieved very rapidly by just jamming your thumb between lens and focusing mount so that your thumb nail comes in contact with the domed button at the end of the spring, pushing it back far enough to release the lens.)

To re-install the Jupiter-8M, Helios-103 or Jupiter-3 lenses just reverse the order of operations. (Note that although the Jupiter and Helios-103 standard lenses will readily fit the 4M and 4AM models, a Helios-103 can be a very tight fit in a 4 or 4A and could even cause damage when trying to remove it.)

Note: Before installing or removing any lens, be sure that the distance scales of both the camera and lens are set to 00 (infinity). The Jupiter-11, Jupiter-9 and Jupiter-12 lenses possess their own distance scales, depth of field scales and aperture scales.

Prior to installing interchangeable lenses Jupiter-9, Jupiter-11 or Jupiter-12 on the camera, remove any cap covering the back of the lens, and then fit the lens onto the outer bayonet ring so that the red dot on the lens ring is aligned with the red dot on the camera front cover. Except with the Kiev 5, note that as you fit a lens to the outer bayonet, the mount pushes upwards the sprung domed button situated at the 2 o'clock position and which disengages the infinity lock (with some combinations of lens and body it helps to assist this action by depressing the infinity lock lever behind the focusing wheel). Turn the lens anticlockwise till a click is heard, the sound of the sprung catch on the outer ring of the lens mount dropping into place.

Make absolutely certain that the lens is square onto the body - if it is fitted askew there is a distinct danger that in trying to remove it, the internal focusing helicals may be pulled out of the body. The lens is properly installed if the focusing wheel rotates as the distance scale ring of the lens is rotated.

To remove an accessory lens, ensure that the lens is focused at infinity, hold down the sprung catch and rotate the lens clockwise.

When taking pictures with interchangeable lenses viewfinding should be with the aid of a multi-purpose or a matching viewfinder mounted on the accessory shoe. Except for the 28mm f6 Orion lens, focusing is effected by use of the camera range finder, but in this case the lenses' own distance rings should be rotated instead of the focusing wheel, to decrease the load on the camera mechanism. The infinity lock is disabled by fitting any lens to the outer bayonet.


Store the camera in the case in a dry place, particularly the Kiev 5, which has no flap over the exposure meter cell. Prolonged exposure to light is said to shorten the life of a selenium cell.

Safeguard it against dirt, dust, moisture, sharp jolts and impacts (especially the Kiev 4 and 4M cameras) as the camera mechanism and, first and foremost, the exposure meter can be damaged.

When taking pictures in frosty weather (below minus 10C) do not leave the camera in the open air. Keep it under your coat and remove it only when shooting a subject. When bringing the camera from frosty weather into a warm room, to avoid condensation leave it in the case to warm up, instead of opening the case immediately.

Take extreme care not to contaminate the lens in order to avoid frequent optics cleaning, since the cleaning operation may impair the lens non-reflection coating.

Never exert undue effort when manipulating with the camera. Having detected a defect or damage, do not try to repair the camera. Repairs and adjustment should be done only by skilled specialists.

Do not unnecessarily rotate the shutter release button. Apply only direct 'push-button' action to avoid accidentally engaging the 'T' lock. (If the release button has been locked down it will give the impression that the film wind mechanism is faulty).

Make a note of the serial numbers of your camera body and lens(es) and keep it in a safe place in case of a future theft or dispute. The body number is usually found engraved on the accessory shoe, that of a lens on the ring surrounding the front element. (The first two digits of your serial number represents the 19** year of manufacture.)

- End of Manual - RussianPlaza.Com