The classic Kiev 6C is a sturdy Soviet heavyweight that packs a mean punch and give very impressive results day in day out!
image from photohistory.ru
The Kiev 6C (or “КИЕВ” – I love Cyrillic text!) is a camera made by Kiev Arsenal in the former Soviet Union, present day Ukraine. It is a copy of the DDR’s Pentacon Six featuring the same P6 lens mount. The lens on my model is a Vega-125 90mm f/2.8 which is able to produce the fantastic swirling bokeh we have become familiar with on Soviet lenses of that era (such as the M42 mount Helios 44M).
It is slightly unusual looking, with a shape unlike most of it’s box-y MF cousins, and if you squint a little you could convince yourself it is part of the Zenit SLR range (albeit one which has been hitting the gym and tossing back protein shakes). The shutter release button is rather bizarrely positioned on the left hand side of camera’s front, which can be slightly cumbersome but you eventually find you’re able to twist your hands into an arrangement where you can hold, focus and shoot with ease.
There are waist level finders as well as metered and un-metered prisms available, however I have the metered prism which uses a now obsolete 4.5V battery – but I use 3 little button batteries (like you’d find in your LC-A) wedged into place by alumnium foil. The metered prism uses the GOST standard (ГОСТ, roughly the same as ISO) for film sensitivity, and ranges from 8 to 1000.
There are plenty of shutter speeds available (1/1000s, 1/500s, 1/250s, 1/125s, 1/60s, 1/30s, 1/15s, 1/8s, 1/4s, 1/2s and Bulb) so together with the metered prism there is no excuse for not getting the perfect exposure – though I often manage to do just that!
If you get the chance I highly recommend you check out one of the Kiev range, there’s also an excellent review of the 6C’s big brother – the Kiev 88 – elsewhere on this site you’d do well to take a peek at.