This is a very small camera from the former Soviet Union. It might be small but it is not light – it is made entirely from metal. The camera measures 28 by 47 by 86 mm and weighs 190g. When new, the camera was supplied with a 13 by 17 mm adapter to allow the film to the used in a standard 35 mm enlarger and a ‘disc’ to allow the film to be developed in a standard 35mm developing tank – info from the Kiev 30 manual. Unfortunately, I do not have these two items, just the camera and case.
The camera opens and closes by sliding. Opening the camera advances the film even if no shot has been taken. It also cocks the shutter, advances the frame counter and reveals both the shutter release button and focus wheel. The cocked shutter has a red dot in the centre. The focus wheel has five distances: 0.5 m, 1 m, 2 m, and infinity and also a red Dot. The red dot represents the hyperlocal distance. The lens has a focal length of 23 mm and the hyperfocal distance is 5 m.
On the other side of the camera to the shutter release button and focus wheel is the frame counter. This counts up. There is a red dot to indicate the end of the shorter length of film that was available which was 18 frames. To the right of the frame counter, beyond the edge of the black case, is a button. Pressing this allows the working part of the camera to slide out of the metal case entirely.
If one does this, there are still a few things to be seen on the case. There are four windows in then casing. 1) frame counter window, 2) viewfinder eyepiece, 3) viewfinder window, 40 lens window. The viewfinder eye-piece is just a hole, the viewfinder window has a plain (and plane) glass cover – this is not a lens – and the lens window is covered with a piece of plain glass.
On the side of the case, by the viewfinder eye-piece, is a calculator for exposures. This is simple to use – it is basically the Sunny 16 rule. To use this, you must align the inner disc to your film speed. Film speeds are in GOST (which is very close to ASA and ISO) and speeds 16, 32, 65 and 130 are available . Next you align the outer disc to the weather. Weather options are icons for 1) sunny beach, 2) sunny inland, 30 cloudy and 4) dull. When the red arrow points to the correct weather, you can read off a combination of shutter speed and aperture. Only three shutter speeds are available – 1/30, 1/60 and 1/200 seconds. Adjusting this calculator has no effect on the operation of the camera – actual shutter speed and aperture are adjusted on the end of the camera.
The part of the camera that pulls out of the case contains all the workings and can be actually used on its own but with no viewfinder.
So, starting with the side with the shutter release button. There is a black strip which has the shutter release button and focus wheel. Besides this black strip is a machined stainless steel plate. This plate has a double leaf spring to keep things snug when put together. There is also a red mark indicating the position of the film plane. This stainless steel plate is hinged and lifts tip to reveal the film chamber. The film is held in a small cassette which must be loaded with film by the user – more later. In the film chamber, there are two recesses to take the film cassette linked by a groove to take the film to be exposed. One of the recesses has a linkage to the film advance mechanism and this recess must contain the take-up spool.
The other large side is more complex. Initially, there is a sliding plate with one straight and two shaped grooves. The straight groove merely limits the movement of the sliding plate. The middle shaped groove advances the film counter, actually advances the film and appears to cock the shutter. I cannot determine what the third shaped groove does although it must have a function. Also on this sliding plate is the frame counter. There frame counter must be set to -1 when loading a new film, by aligning the long line on the counter’s disc with the red dot.
When the sliding plate is slid away, the camera’s serial number is revealed – 7681448 – I assume that the first two digits are the year of manufacture which means that this camera was made in 1976, the second year that this camera model was in production.
On one of the edge sides there is a cut-out window. Behind this is a black plate which slides together with the sliding plate already mentioned. When the sliding plate is slid out, a further cut-out window moves behind the outer cut-out window to reveal the shutter. When the shutter is cocked, the shutter has a red dot on it. When the shutter has been fired, the shutter is plain black. If you look at the red dot while pressing the shutter release button, you can briefly see the lens. This is an Industar-M lens with a focal length of 23 mm.
At one end of the inner meal box is a trapezoidal black end. This sports the aperture and shutter speed controls. Apertures are ƒ/3.5 to ƒ/11. This might seem like a short range but at ƒ/11 and a focal length of 23 mm, the physical diameter of the aperture is only 2 mm. At ƒ/16 this would reduce to 1 mm. There are two issues here. The first is mechanical – making a usable and adjustable aperture of 1 mm. The second is diffraction. At a physical aperture of 1 m, diffraction softening of the image will be a serious issue. Shutter speeds are 1/30, 1/60 and 1/200. The old adage is that you can safely hand-hold a camera at a shutter speed of the reciprocal of the lens’ focal length – so 1/23 seconds – which means that this camera will be usable hand-held at 1/30 seconds. On the side of the trapezoidal end is a PC socket for a flash gun.
While this camera clearly works, I have no ready source of 16mm film nor am I able to develop 16mm film so I shall not be using this camera. Shall I keep it? That remains to be seen – it is very small so will not be in the way of storing large cameras but if I cannot use it, why keep it?