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T O P I C    R E V I E W
seany65 Posted - Aug 04 2023 : 8:13:57 PM
In the recent past I have considered getting a Kiev 88 but have been put off by reports that they can have quite a few faults and that a company called "Arax" re-worked some to deal with many of those faults, but from what I understand even those ones can still have some faults, so I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Zenit 80 cameras? According to sovietcams this was a version of the third variant of the Salyut that was re-named and produced for "TO&E" in England.

Does anyone have any info about how reliable the Salyuts and Zenit 80 were in comparison to the Kiev 88?

Any help would be much appreciated.
22   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
seany65 Posted - Oct 16 2023 : 4:50:24 PM
Thanks to both of you for the new replies and the new info.
xya Posted - Oct 06 2023 : 2:13:29 PM
Originally posted by SteveA

Hi Sean, generally the later Ukrainian ones serial number did not start with the year of manufacture. Ukraine gained independence in late 1991 so the last of the Soviet ones would be around this date (91nnnnn). Also the cameras were marked as made in the Ukraine. Bear in mind they were still made on the same worn tooling - not sure whether a surge in Nationalism after independence was reflected in a marked improvement in build quality!!

Not sure about it. I have a 1992 camera, so after independence, which is impeccable, but it bears the 92 numbering and no indication "Ukraine". As I own quite some, this one is much better made, less "rough", so maybe they really made some progress and maybe they cared more about quality.

I also have a CM camera with a very low number, 1515. This indicates that it is made in Ukraine. Until now I believed that it was made about the year 2000, as I have been told on a Kiev forum, but if you have better information, please tell me. EDIT: https://kievaholic.com/faq_general.html#howold states that until 1999 they used the old system and my camera would be from 2000.

I had an 89 camera which was as smooth as my 92 camera. So I thought that they had improved at least in 89. I gave this camera to a friend and it still works fine.

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
SteveA Posted - Oct 06 2023 : 03:07:08 AM
Hi Sean, generally the later Ukrainian ones serial number did not start with the year of manufacture. Ukraine gained independence in late 1991 so the last of the Soviet ones would be around this date (91nnnnn). Also the cameras were marked as made in the Ukraine. Bear in mind they were still made on the same worn tooling - not sure whether a surge in Nationalism after independence was reflected in a marked improvement in build quality!!
seany65 Posted - Oct 04 2023 : 1:56:45 PM
xva, I understand that, and I too think that "late" would be about that time, but I was wondering how I can tell a late one from an earlier one? Is it the serial number? Would a late one start "88...." or "89...." or something?
xya Posted - Oct 02 2023 : 2:34:01 PM
For me it's the time when Soviet influence and pressure had diminished and Ukraine was walking towards indepndence. Although legally this was achieved in december 1991, it began a bit earlier. So a "late" Kiev would be from the very late 80s, the 90s or later.

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
seany65 Posted - Oct 02 2023 : 12:05:17 PM
Well, I bought a non-focusing voigtlander brillant "v6". Looks almost new, although no filter or meter came with it and the slow speeds are about twice as slow as they should be, but the speeds go up to 1/500th. It does seem to feel better than the Lubitel 166b I broke.

I didn't get a focusing one as it's too expensive for what it is, and I own a shed load of Rollei bayonet 1 filters, so I think I ought to get a tlr for them. On the other hand, I no longer have access to a shop that I can ask to put a Rick Oleson screen in it for me, and the seagull 4b-1 seems to have a bright focusing screen with a split-image rangefinder and they are pulling at me, but they take push-on filters.

PS. Sorry for all the "swearing" (= mentioning the names of non-soviet cameras), but I got a bit carried away.

I have been advised in this thread to buy "late" kiev 88's and I was wondering how to tell if one is "late" or not?
seany65 Posted - Sep 25 2023 : 6:36:08 PM
I do see a lot of Lubitels, and some are listed at £30-£50, which I think far more realistic than those listed at £70 and over, but I've been partly put off by the focusing/mechanical problem on the one I broke (You've no idea how often I have to say I broke something.) When I first got it, neither lens would turn, then when the viewing lens did turn a bit but not much I turned the taking lens and it turned a bit. I alternated turning either lens and the taking lens came off. I screwed it back on and for a while the viewing lens turned fully and the whole thing seemed to work although it was rather hard to tell if anything was in focus even with the magnifier. Then the lens would stop turning again. Eventually I got a bit angry with it. So I'm wary about getting another one.
xya Posted - Sep 20 2023 : 2:08:48 PM
I've got mine via looking at each Voigtländer TLR sale for about 2 or 3 months. Sometimes the sellers don't know what the have. It was something like 60 or 70€... Same for the beautiful Voigtländer Superb with the most desirable Heliar. The camera was dirty and the seller did not mention the Heliar. So I got it for ~100€ (+ 60€ for a basic cleaning service). But again it was 2 or 3 month looking at each Superb coming up.

Getting a cheap workinng Lubitel should be easily possible, there are thousands out there...

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
seany65 Posted - Sep 20 2023 : 12:45:13 PM
xva, I've just clicked on the voigtlander link and it's working for me now. Thank you. I did look into finding voigt. S on ebay and I could only find one, and that was £402, so it was a little out of my price range, and most of the ordinary ones seemed quite expensive as well. So, options have to be considered again.
xya Posted - Sep 19 2023 : 1:36:03 PM
Edited the post and saved it without changes. The links work fine for me...

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
seany65 Posted - Sep 18 2023 : 7:21:44 PM
Thank you Milo and xva for the new replies and the info.

I would have had a go at cleaning the 166B ground glass now that I know it could be done (even though I recently damaged the viewfinder of a "not soviet" tlr, AND lost two of the screws that hold the viewfinder on to the body. I'd taken it off to see how to remove the focusing screen, as I was going to replace it with a Rick Olsen screen, but then I also damaged the two springs that hold the viewfinder open, lol. All this because the shop I would've taken the "not soviet" tlr to for them to swap the screen, have decided to not reply to my last 3 emails, because I wouldn't change the "neutral" feedback that I'd I left after I had to return a lens to them as it couldn't focus to infinity (or the camera I bought from them can't when using wide angle lenses. I've yet to find out the truth). Anyway, I ruined the "not soviet" tlr because I now can't get it repaired.) As I was saying before I interrupted myself, I would've tried cleaning the ground glass of the 166B but I dropped it and bits broke off in such a way that gluing it back together wouldn't have worked.

Is the taking lens of a Lubitel 166B supposed to unscrew at odd times? During various times I couldn't turn the focusing lens at all, sometimes it would turn a little, sometimes it would turn all the way, sometimes it would get stuck, and sometimes the taking lens would unscrew while I was trying to get the focus lens to turn. I presume I was doing something wrong (a generally safe assumption, lol),

Yes, I know I'm a bit "Jinxed" when taking things apart or assembling them, so I shouldn't really do any of it, but sometimes you have to "have a go" anyway.

xva, I don't have any lenses for a kiev 88, I was just a bit worried that if I did by a kiev 88 I'd end up wanting to buy a couple of lenses for it and I have no room for them. I may have had, if I hadn't recently bought a"not soviet"645 slr and a telephoto lens and three film inserts with cases. I also only just have room for a 45mm lens for it, when I can get one. I could possibly squeeze in a Kiev 88, but there'd be little room for any extra film backs.

I clicked on your Voigtlander Brillant link, but I got a "404 not found" message.
xya Posted - Sep 09 2023 : 1:45:02 PM
Hi Sean,

you definitely should get a Kiev 88 camera now to use your lenses, either a Hartblei/Arax version or an ordinary late 88. Concerning your 166B, yes, it's easy to clean the spot. I do have the very nice 166 Olympic https://www.oddcameras.com/lubitel_166_olympic.htm and the Lomography 166+ version https://www.oddcameras.com/lubitel_166+.htm . But I prefer the original, a Voigtländer Focussing Brillant https://www.oddcameras.com/vogtlaender_brillant_s.htm . If you are patient, you can find one for cheap. BTW: the exposure meter is fantastic, but nearly nobody knows about it...

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
Valkir1987 Posted - Sep 09 2023 : 09:48:48 AM
though I presume it wasn't known at the time that they were crap.

Not crap perse. But Hasselblad had technical difficulties with the metal or cloth shutter that can not be solved in this type of design.

Considering the 1000f and 1600f

Accurate timing of the speed of 1/15th. Wether the slow speed with the air brake started before or after the firs curtain moved made not difference. The speed would be 1/20 or 1/10th at the most.

Unequal exposure across the frame on shutter speeds higher than 1/125th. For example on 1/125th It starts around 1/90th and end around 1/175. A difference not noticable on most films. But it will be visible on high contrast films with a low ISO, especially slide film.

Active wear of the Ribbons and curtains which make a 90 degree angle in the camera. The camera needs regular inspection and cleaning more often than 500CM.

These things are not a match for intense (daily) professional use. But for a photo hobbyist who likes to take regular medium format photos. A good serviced Kiev 88 of Hasselblad 1000 would make no big difference to a Hasselblad 500cm.

The ground glass of the Lubitel 166 can be removed easily after removing the viewfinder with the screws. Just rinse it with a proper cleaning fluid and dry afterwards.
seany65 Posted - Sep 08 2023 : 8:59:28 PM
I've considered what I should do and decided that if if I bought either the 88 or the 80, I'd end up buying some extra lenses and I have no room for them nor indeed the camera itself. I have a walk-in closet which has all my books, some of my dvd's, 13 cameras (crammed onto the bookshelves in front of the books) and 3 camera bags on the floor. I have to shift stuff to get to stuff that I need to shift in order to get to stuff.

I do now have a second soviet camera- a 1986 Lubitel 166B, it arrived yesterday. I will be trying to get images that look as if they could be stills from silent films. Probably sounds easier than it is in practice.

PS. I'm worried about asking this question in case it is possible but could risk making the camera unusable if I try it: Is there any way of cleaning the underside of the ground glass "focusing" patch?

At present it seems impossible to focus when indoors.
seany65 Posted - Aug 11 2023 : 11:21:17 AM
Wow, what a lot of info from so many people. Thank you to everyone. Quite a bit to digest, not least that Hasselblad made a couple of crappy cameras, though I presume it wasn't known at the time that they were crap.

I shall read through the posts a couple of times.
Valkir1987 Posted - Aug 06 2023 : 04:20:16 AM
The Zenith 80 (Salyut export version) has a very good finish and assembly compared to later Kiev 88 camera’ s. On the other hand, the shutter release mechanism on the 88 has improved and is a bit more reliable. The automatic aperture control on both bodies is completely different.

The Zenit 80 is pretty much outdated and has limited options for lenses. (Industar-29, Tair-33 and Mir) while the 88 has much more options.

Kiev 88 (and Salyut) must be used with patience and care. (Never use a crank speed winder!) Setting speeds for example can only be done with a wound shutter, in clockwise direction.

Most faults are caused by skipping gears due to rough winding, or worn ribbons. Both can be eliminated by a good workshop that does careful assembly and a lot of checks.
schyter Posted - Aug 05 2023 : 3:55:28 PM
""It seems as if the late 88 cameras were better than the older ones""

maybe then I was lucky. I got a practically new Kiev 88 (from Serbia 1988 year).
I redid the backtraps and everything works like a charm. Fingers crossed.:)



Only dead fish follow the stream ...
xya Posted - Aug 05 2023 : 1:21:22 PM
I have an ordinary 88 from 92 that works fine since many years, no problem ever. I also have an old 80 that is faulty. And I have a Hartblei CM which has the P6 mount. I also own a Hartblei adapter to mount the 88 lenses to the P6 mount.

I use and I love both. It seems as if the late 88 cameras were better than the older ones. If you can put your hands on a Hartblei that has not been used and run down by a professional, it's preferable.

I have made a page about all that. It's a lot to read, but in the end you will have some of your questions answered https://www.oddcameras.com/kiev_88.htm

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
SteveA Posted - Aug 05 2023 : 1:04:04 PM
Hi Sean, the Hasselblad 1600f was a bit of a flawed design which did not stand up to professional use. Arsenal copied this and built it to lower tolerances and in some cases inferior materials. Its such a complex camera, relying on several different things to happen in a precise sequence - any deviations leads to jams or mis-fires. TOE imported the cameras as ZENITH 80 to the UK and managed to eliminate many of the issues, and at least you only had to send it to London if the thing expired. I had dealings with TOE and they were always very helpful in resolving issues.
Arsenal attempted to address reliability issues with a new winding gear design in the late Salyut C's and Kiev 88's. Unfortunately there success was limited...
I had my Zenith 80 refurbished by ARAX about ten years ago but since then have had to fit a new clutch mechanism from a spare camera (nightmare job..) and CLA'd it again. It does seem to work very well (for now at least...)
As an aside I just spent hours setting the speeds up on my Pentacon Six - 5 different adjustment points, another complex design!!

Vlad Posted - Aug 05 2023 : 07:28:10 AM
Hi Fred, of course after Arax or Hartblei after they replace half the camera inside it becomes a beautiful machine, but from factory they suffer a number of design flaws and defects. Actually the problem stems not even from Arsenal, it stems from original Hasselblad 1600f design which is notoriously unreliable itself. Arax and Hartblei truly do wonders with these cameras. I have and use a Arax 88CM MLU myself for shooting, it's a great camera!

Best regards,
Fred_L Posted - Aug 05 2023 : 04:30:17 AM
Are u sure of this Vlad?
I have sent some Salyut and different Kiev or Revue to Arax and they came back in working order..
Vlad Posted - Aug 04 2023 : 10:12:10 PM
None of them were reliable

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