Arsenal

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After World War II, much of the tooling at the Zeiss factory was appropriated by the Soviets and installed in the Ukraine, at a defense factory in Kiev known as Arsenal. Arsenal is best known for having cloned some notable cameras, including models by Hasselblad, Zeiss Ikon, and Pentacon. Most of them were not copied directly, but were instead simplified for production behind the Iron Curtain. Some, such as the Contax clones, were quite good. Arsenal also created one of the most original of all cameras: the Kiev 10. Of all Soviet camera manufacturers, Arsenal also has the largest cult following, given their product complement of cheap yet usable medium format equipment.

The Arsenal factory produced all Kiev (cyrillic: Киев) cameras. The most well-known camera produced at Arsenal is the Kiev 88 (derived from the original Salyut), which shares origins with the original Hasselblad 1000 F and 1600F. Who borrowed whose design is the subject of endless debate, which you can read about in a number of places.

The Arsenal factory also made Mir and Arsat lenses, which were good Zeiss copies. Their ubiquitous quality-control problems notwithstanding, the Ukrainian lenses are quite good, and some of them are outstanding.

35mm

Rangefinder

SLR

Fixed Lens


Medium Format

SLR


16mm Subminiature


Lenses

Medium format

Name Focal length f-number Mount Angle of view Type
Zodiac-8 30 3,5 C and Kiev-88 180° Fisheye lens
Mir-26 45 3,5 C and Kiev-88 83° Wide-angle
Mir-3 65 3,5 C and Kiev-88 66° Wide-angle
Mir-38 65 3,5 C and Kiev-88 66° Wide-angle
Industar-29 80 2,8 Kiev-88 44° Standard lens
Volna-3 80 2,8 C and Kiev-88 44° Standard lens
Vega-12 90 2,8 C and Kiev-88 47° Standard lens
Vega-28 120 2,8 C and Kiev-88 31° Telephoto
Kaleinar-3 150 2,8 C and Kiev-88 28° Telephoto
Jupiter-36 250 3,5 C and Kiev-88 19° Telephoto
Telear-5 250 5,6 C and Kiev-88 18° Telephoto
Tair33 300 4,5 C and Kiev-88 15° Telephoto
ЗМ-3 600 8,0 C and Kiev-88 7,5° Mirror lens

Kiev-Automat

Name Focal length f-number Type
Mir-20 Automat 20 3,5 Ultra wide angle lens
Mir-1 Automat 37 2,8 Wide-angle
Helios-65 Automat 52 2,0 Standard lens for early «Киев-10»
Helios-81 Automat 50 2,0 Standard lens
Jupiter-9 Automat 85 2,0 Portrait lens
Jupiter-11 Automat 133 4,0 Telephoto
Rubin-2 Automat 45~80 3,5 Zoom lens
Granit-11 Automat 80~200 4,5 Zoom lens


Notes


Bibliography

  • Princelle, Jean Loup (2004), The Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras ('Made in USSR'), Le Reve Edition. ISBN 2952252106; or the earlier edition: Hove Foto Books, 2nd edition, 1995. 200 pages. ISBN 1874031630. Paperback.

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