Kiev rangefinder

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The Kiev rangefinder cameras are derivatives of the pre-WW2 Contax rangefinder bodies, and were made after the War by the Arsenal factory in Kiev, Ukraine.


Unmetered models

These are all derivatives of the Zeiss Ikon Contax II.


(or Kiev II)

  • Produced between 1947-57
  • There are 4 types and 5 sub-types [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • Type 1a cameras were made using some original Contax parts from Germany, and produced only in 1947
  • The front plate is engraved only in Cyrillic, which distinguishes it from later unmetered models
  • Lenses:
    • Collapsible ZK or ZK-Zorki 50mm f/2 (1947-1949)
    • Solid ZK 50mm f/2 (1949-1951)
    • Jupiter-8 50mm f/2 Kiev mount(1951-1957)


  • Produced between 1955-58
  • There are 2 types
  • As a Kiev-2 with flash sync added
  • Name on the front plate engraved Cyrillic and Latin
  • Lens: Jupiter-8 50mm f/2


  • Produced between 1956-80
  • There are 8 types and 4 sub-types
  • Upgraded version of Kiev-2A
  • Without the stabilizing foot
  • Later models have top speed of 1/1000 instead of 1/1250
  • Lens: Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2

A rare variant of the Kiev-4A is the 'No-name' Kiev, so called because there are no engravings on it other than the serial number, though a specimen is known with a (probably) after-sale engraving "USSR OCCUPIED GERMANY".[5]
It is equipped with a Carl Zeiss Sonnar 1:2 f=50mm lens.
All serial numbers known so far indicate production in 1963.


  • Produced between 1980-87
  • There are 3 types and 5 sub-types
  • The modernized model of Kiev-4A
  • With a fixed take-up spool
  • With a rewind lever
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2
    • Helios-103 53mm f/1.8

Metered models

They are all derivatives of the Zeiss Ikon Contax III.


(or Kiev III)

  • Produced between 1948-56
  • There are 6 types and 2 sub-types
  • A clone of the pre-war Contax III
  • It has an uncoupled selenium meter
  • Lens: Jupiter-8 50mm f/2

Photo in Fotoua


  • Produced between 1954-59
  • There are 10 types and 3 sub-types
  • As a Kiev-3 with flash sync added
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8 50mm f/2 (1951-1958)
    • Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2 (1958)


  • Produced between 1957-79
  • There are 4 types and 8 sub-types
  • Kiev 4 is similar to Kiev-3A
  • Without the stabilizing foot
  • Some cosmetic styling changes influenced by the Contax IIIa
    • The back part and body is upgraded
    • The size of an exposure meter is smaller
  • Later samples have top speed of 1/1000 instead of 1/1250
  • Lens: Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2


  • Produced between 1976-87
  • There are 5 types and 5 sub-types
  • Kiev-4M is the modernized model of Kiev-4
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8M (2/50mm)
    • Helios-103 (1.8/53mm)


  • Produced between 1968-73
  • There are 3 types and 3 sub-types
  • Pure Soviet design
  • The lens mount does not have the inner bayonet
  • With a film advance lever
  • With the shutter cocking lever
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8NB 52mm f/252mm
    • Helios-94 50mm f/1.8/50

Photo in Fotoua


  1. In this page the model info and typing are as to Alaxander Komarov in Fotoua (archived). You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site
  2. There is another classification of former-USSR cameras by Aidas Pikiotas in SovietCams
  3. Pages from the book of former-USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin (archived)
  4. Discussion of the camera classifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum (archived)
  5. Page about the No-name Kiev by Aidas Pikiotas in


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


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