Soviet made in Arsenal Kiev, Ukraine, the last of the Contax clones made in the 1980's. These cameras may look familiar? They are a little more than just a "fake Contax" they are actually 'related'. After WWII the Russians took the original Contax dies, parts and machinery from the Dresden factory and moved them to the Arsenal factory in Kiev Ukraine and began manufacturing their own cameras. It's said that even some of the earliest Kiev's have the Contax stamp under a Kiev badge. The earliest Kiev's are also said to be of almost the same quality as the original Contax but the manufacturing practices have degraded throughout the years.
They have had basically the same design for over 30 years but in the 80's the Kiev 4M and 4AM took on different film advance and rewind knobs, as well as a built in film take-up spool. My sample came to me with a stuck shutter release button, making the advance knob spin continuously. Also the leatherette was in poor shape from an earlier owner. I bought it knowing this but it was the only way I could afford one and it was a challenge I couldn't resist. It has the Helios-103 53mm 1:1.8 which is an excellent lens.
I've completely dismantled the camera, repaired the shutter problem, cleaned and lubed the mechanics and cleaned the rangefinder optics. I also had a go at the front leatherette. It fires very quiet which I'm told is a good thing meaning the shutter spring isn't too tight. It's a delight to play with, I can't wait to try it out.
MANUAL: Kiev 4M and 4AM Manual
this site owned and maintained by R.Wrede,© all rights reserved.