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 Looking for assistance with Kiev III lens

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hottunacartel Posted - Sep 23 2021 : 11:30:14 AM
I’m looking for identification on this camera and lens. It is on a Kiev III (see imgur link) with a Contax plate affixed over the Kiev name .
The front barrel of the lens has a Zeiss name “plate” (see imgur link)
I have scoured the internet and have not been able to find any additional information. Is this is a genuine Zeiss lens or

a Jupiter lens with a fake plate around the lens.
The back of the lens has no info on it, but the marks for the f-stop seem to be a bit different than on other lenses, especially the holes on the far ends of the f-stop range. Also, there are clicks when moving the f-stop ring but they don't seem to click on each mark.






11   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Brian Posted - Dec 23 2021 : 05:25:56 AM
The J8M started production in 1959, and the aperture scale has click stops and is linear.

This lens is a Jupiter-8. The engraver never bothered to change the serial number, the lens was made in 1951. This lens "very most likely" is made of Zeiss Lens elements, Zeiss fixtures, Zeiss parts and assembled in Russia. I have 1952 J-8's with German lens elements, and later 1952 J-8's with Russian cut-from-Schott glass elements.

The camera was made in 1953. This also "likely" has German components mixed in with it. As to why it's been engraved and called a Contax? All I can say is: you have one of the earliest "fakes" made with original parts that anyone has ever seen. As far as your Dad thinking it was Contax- it must make some great pictures, as it should- It's mostly Zeiss with a Russian Name covered over.
hottunacartel Posted - Sep 26 2021 : 2:15:11 PM
My father sent me this article and it does say at one time Contax plates were made and affixed to Kiev cameras but the one I have seems much more crude looking. www.cameraquest.com/zconrfKiev.htm" target="_blank">http://cschu.redirectme.net/mirrored/cameraquest/www.cameraquest.com/zconrfKiev.htm
I was so confused looking at all the different style of lenses online but good to know it is actually a Jupiter.
I did want to show another picture. I was trying to read if there was anything on the light meter so I removed the front part. There is something there but can not read it. There is also something that looks like it was scratched into it.

fedka Posted - Sep 25 2021 : 12:01:00 AM
I would keep KGB out of this:)
Their workshops were very detail-oriented and the quality was high. They would never screw on a Contax plate over Kiev. Also, if they needed a real Contax they would get a real Contax. Or any other camera for that matter.
So Vlad's theory #1 is more realistic - as soon as the Soviets started copying Leicas people started making fake Leicas out of prewar FEDs. Same happens with the Kievs (though Kievs were not copies, they started from real Contax).
I am more curious why people produces these fakes in the 1930's -1950's? These fakes were often pretty crude to actually pass them for real German cameras. I would think they did it because it was cool. These foreign brands were impossible to have, so it was cool to display them.
The lens is a Jupiter-8, not 8M, you can tell by the aluminum body, and I bet it does not have stop-clicks.

hottunacartel Posted - Sep 24 2021 : 7:20:12 PM
awesome thanks so much. We both thought it looked pretty good but as I said this is really the first time we examined it.
I figured something was fishy with it especially with the "contax" plate affixed over the Kiev name. I'm kinda bummed that there are permanent holes in the body from the contax plate, oh well.
Will update more tomorrow. Thanks again and enjoy the weekend.
Vlad Posted - Sep 24 2021 : 7:01:44 PM

yes thankfully the weather is still pretty mild in Chicago area, so definitely enjoying it ..

Well regarding the lens.. it is unmistakably a Jupiter 8/8m shaped body that's how I can tell...

The engraving.. well there are two possibilities:

1. someone had a professional repairman change the engraving to Zeiss, it's not that hard, in 1990s there were tons of fake Zeiss and Leica lens that looked a lot more professionally redone that yours.

2. another a less likely but viable scenario is that camera was modified in a KGB workshop that each factory like KMZ and Arsenal had during those years to be disguised as western camera as it was easier to and cheaper to modify these than to buy western counterparts.. I generally don't like to believe that romanticized spy story but there is a chance that is how it happened because these workshops were real and produced plenty of spy gear. I guess we will never know for sure but that gives you several hypothesis to choose from

It is indeed an interesting story about a Russian soldier and it is also very possible he had stole it from headquarters to make some money on.. very common scenario is USSR as unsupervised government equipment tended to disappear

in terms of engraving looking professional I tend to disagree, from seeing a lot of fakes this one is absolutely one of the most fake looking . Someone could easily done that with a steady hand and an engraving machine.

Best regards,
hottunacartel Posted - Sep 24 2021 : 6:24:21 PM
Hey! I hope you have a good weekend; weather is going to be nice so I can't complain.
Yes this has been sitting untouched since 1955. Just spoke to my father tonight, he said that the Russian soldier he bought it from was part of the International patrol in Vienna which he drove around the US occupied areas during the patrols. I'll have to ask him more next time I talk to him; it's possible for sure it could have been Cheka. I talk to my parents daily so I'll as more about what he remembers about the Russian soldier.

Tonight he asked how you know its definitly a Jupiter, is there something specific you see with the lens? Also, he said the engraving on the lens "zeiss" looks professional as if it was done at the factory and not home made.

Thanks again!
Vlad Posted - Sep 24 2021 : 1:27:48 PM
Hello again!

To be honest these kind of modifications were very popular in 1990s and early 2000s when these were modified for sale on eBay, but if this is something that old, usually these were modified for the west to hide the fact this was a Soviet camera as those were frowned upon when seen due to cold war tensions. In some cases these "Russian soldiers" may as well be KGB officers trying to blend in in the west and didn't want to be recognized as Soviet agents by using a Soviet camera to take photographs.

Best regards,
hottunacartel Posted - Sep 24 2021 : 08:04:03 AM
@Juhani thanks as well for the reply.
My dad bought it in the fall of 1954 and he said it looked pretty new when he got it. and yes it seems to be a Frankenstein type camera as the "options" don't seem to fit with other pictures I have seen online. As for what else has been added to camera etc we have no idea. He stayed in Vienna until summer 1955 then was transferred to Italy and came back to the states. It has sat up in the attic in their house until a few years ago when he gave it to me. How he bought it was how it came to him.
Question, have you ever seen another Kiev with a Contax plate put over it? I'm kind of bummed it wasn't glued on because it now has permanent screw holes in it. But I guess it helps as it tells part of the story.
cedricfan Posted - Sep 23 2021 : 10:47:17 PM
If so, he bought it in 1956, and the Kiev was made 1953, so it was pretty new then.
Cameras were not cheap back in those days, especially in USSR. So someone has "slaughtered" a fresh and expensive Kiev to get cigarettes, which doesn't sound like a wise thing. Unless the camera didn't cost much, maybe it was not purchased legally by that soldier...

BTW there is a flash contact, any idea who has added it? If back in 50'ies USSR. the camera has been in a professional workshop!

Best regards,
hottunacartel Posted - Sep 23 2021 : 6:58:07 PM
Thanks for the reply. Do you know when the Jupiter 8M started production. There is a long story behind this camera and I'm still trying to figure out why it is made to look like a Contax with a Zeiss lens. My father bought this camera from a Russian soldier while he was stationed in Vienna, Austria prior to the US pulling out after the Austrian State Treaty was signed. For 65 years he thought it was a Contax he had bought for two cartons of cigarettes.

Another question, if it is a Jupiter with a Zeiss front ring, do you think the front ring was done in the Arsenal factory or is that something that could be hand made?
Vlad Posted - Sep 23 2021 : 5:43:39 PM
Hi, looks like just a regular Jupiter 8M with re-engraved front ring..

Best regards,

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