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Kiev-4M ( = Киев-4M) is a 35mm rangefinder film camera manufactured by Arsenal Factory, in Kiev, Ukraine, former USSR, and produced between 1976-87.

Arsenal factory (= Zavod Arsenal = Завод "Арсенал") is one of the oldest and most famous industrial factories in Soviet Union and later Ukraine. It is well known due to the famous Kiev cameras. The factory mainly specialized in optical components for the Soviet military and space programs. The factory also produced the professional grade photographic cameras but civil production played only a minor role in factory output.

The design of the Kiev-4 is firmly based on that of a classic pre-war German camera Zeiss Contax III. Kiev-4M is the modernized model of Kiev-4. All Kiev-4 produced between 1947-87.

There are 5 types and 5 sub-types of the Kiev-4M. [1] [2] [3]


Type 1

  • Produced between 1976-77
  • Distinctive feature of the type: Pre-series type, black top-plate

Type 2

  • Produced between 1976-80
  • Distinctive feature of the type: Self-timer lever as on the Kiev-4

Type 3

  • Produced between 1979 to 1980
  • There are one sub-type of the type 3
  • Distinctive features of the type 3a
    • Olympic
    • Rewind knob old type black
  • Distinctive features of the type 3b
    • Olympic
    • Rewind knob is new type, with white rings

Type 4

  • Produced between 1979-80
  • Distinctive feature of the type: a plate on the back of the camera "Made in USSR" with Latin letters


  • Lens: Jupiter-8M (ЮРИТЕП-8M), 53mm f/2 standard lens (or Helios-103 53mm f1.8)
    • Mount: Contax bayonet mount
    • Aperture f/2 - f/22
    • Focus range: 0.9m to infinity
    • Filter thread: 40.5mm, 42mm slip-on
    • Lens release: By a lever behind the lens [4]
  • Focusing : Match the rangefinder images, via lens ring or via a wheel in the right-front of the top plate
    • Locks on infinity, unlocking via a small knob just behind the focusing wheel
  • Shutter: Focal plane slotted type with hinged metal curtains, vertically travelling
  • Cocking knob: Also winds the film, it should be turned as far as to lock
    • Speeds: 2-1/1000 +B, setting dial on the cocking knob, pull-out and turn [5]
  • Viewfinder: Coupled viewfinder / rangefinder [6]
  • Eye-peace: Large and very bright
  • Exposure meter: Uncoupled high-sensitive small-size selenium photo-electric exposure meter, w/ a lid on its window
  • Exposure setting: Matching needle and black diamond mark in the window, w/ 2 and 4 EV multiplier numbers
    • Adjusts via a complex dial knob around the re-winding lever; Shows GOST (ROCT) scale & aperture & speed scales
  • Others: Hot-shoe; Flash sync. 1/25 or slower; Self- timer: Tripod socket 1/4inch; Strap lugs
  • Back cover: Removable, with the base plate, opens via the lock keys on the base plate
  • Weight: 771g with Jupiter-8
  • Serial no. in the hot-shoe, the first two digits show the production year

Type 5

  • Produced between 1981-87
  • There are 4 subtypes of the type
  • Distinctive features of the type : Self timer lever is in new type
  • Sub-types b and c are with inscription Made in USSR in Cyrillic on the back of the camera


  1. There is an classification of former-USSR cameras by Aidas Pikiotas at Kiev-4M at SovietCams
  2. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin (archived)
  3. Discussion of classifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum
  4. This lens is the Arsenal copy of Zeiss Sonnar
  5. Shutter releasing is whisper quiet
  6. The extreme distance (9 cm) between the windows on the front side, allows for very accurate focusing and makes the camera one of the most accurate rangefinders ever


In English

  • 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.

In Russian