The Kiev-10

Alfred's Camera Page

This page is no longer actively maintained. (Pardon?)

The Kiev-10 Avtomat (Киев-10 Автомат) is perhaps one of the strangest and most innovative cameras from the Soviet Union. It's certainly one of my favourites as far as design and originality are concerned. It looks like a prop from a 1960's scifi movie; in fact it looks more than a bit like a Dalek! At the same time though, the Kiev-10 radiates power, and a fuck-you-all uncompromising dedication to its task – it's large, brute, heavy and completely self-made. For its time its technology level was above par: it had an in-built light meter, an automatic aperture system, a metallic fan shutter to 1/1000s, microcrystals for focusing (which we saw on Zenits first in the 1980's), and a line of excellent lenses in its own bayonet mount that it shared with the Kiev-15 TEE.

More on this remarkable camera later.

Picture of a Kiev-10 used in a no photographing sign in Moscow A similar picture from Budapest

It's interesting that Kiev reflexes are often used in Eastern Europe for "no photographing" signs. The top picture was taken in the Moscow Kremlin in the summer of 2006, the bottom one at Budapest Ferihegy airport in 2005. (I actually got yelled at by a security agent for taking that one.) The camera in the top is a Kiev-10, the one in the bottom a Kiev-15. I'd say both are poor choices for these logos since they're so weird and distinctive − why not pick on the Zenit-E instead?

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