When I received my Kiev 4 camera, I was happy like a child to hold in my hands such a beautiful Russian camera. Well, Russian it is, even if it's well known that the Kiev cameras were copies of the German Contax cameras. Some like to say that these cameras are German Contax made in the USSR... But the Kiev 4 is much more than the "poor man's Contax" - it's a real stunning camera with the fantastic Jupiter 8 lens.
image from camerapedia
While shooting my first rolls with the Kiev 4, I had really the impression to shoot with a special camera. But you must learn how to hold this cam first, because the usual way of holding a camera will put your finger on the rangefinder lens…. you must get used to have the 2 first right hand fingers on the top, one for shooting and the other one for moving the little focusing wheel. This little wheel (on the top right of the camera) is a brilliant element of the camera for a very smooth and precise focusing (even if I still got the automatism to focus by moving directly the lens ring…. see the mirror shot in the gallery….;)
Then, the shutter speed is very large, going up to 1/1250, wow that’s a high speed I never suspected on such an old camera (most of them stop at 1/500 seconds) and the lens opens from f:2 to f:22, that’s a huge range of possibilities of shooting in very different light conditions!! And last but not least, the shutter makes such a little noise, a discreet “click” and nobody heard that you just shot a picture!!
Well, there are a lot of great qualities for this camera and if you see there just a cheap copy of a Contax, you’re totally wrong: it’s a KIEV!!!!