The Kiev III rangefinder camera is a near carbon copy of the pre-war German Contax III camera. The Soviets seized The Zeiss Ikon plants in Dresden and Jena totally intact at the end of the war. Some of the Zeiss manufacturing equipment was shipped to the Soviet Union. Production of the Kiev III began in 1948 with a lot of "liberated" German parts.
Cameras made before 1950 were assembled from Contax parts at Jena in DDR and, according to sources at Arsenal the first cameras were made in Kiev in 1950. This was a small production run and production didn't begin in serious form till 1952. The DDR cameras were stamped or engraved with the Kiev logo, some had Carl Zeiss lenses and some were fitted with KMZ ZK or Zorki lenses.
Frame size: 24x36.
Lens: Jupiter-8 2/50.
Shutter: 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1250 and B.
Quantity: ±120.000 units (unconfirmed).
50072 from first Arsenal production run
A series prefix 1951/53
A 51799 A.Nikitin
A 533194 napchop
B prefix s/n Kiev III (1954)
Known examples of B prefix s/n Kiev III:
B540803 -DIN meter, A.Nikitin
B542140 - GOST meter
B542598 - GOST meter, SovieCams
B542635 - GOST meter
B542922 - GOST meter
B543151 - GOST meter (ebay)
B543341 - GOST meter , Michel's coll.
B544719 - GOST meter, not filled KIEV engraving.
B544797 - GOST meter, okynek
B544919 - GOST meter, A.Nikitin