Never trust your trustworthy repairer (home-made hack for your Kiev 60)

UPDATE (2020): this content is terribly old (I worked as a web engineer from the start, when the Internet was just known inside univertities and I published on the web very soon), ...for some reason, I don't know why, the page is visited a lot, and it happens that I'm queried for more information
I no longer possess a Kiev 60, I sold it a long time ago since the medium format really was not my thing, I was a kind of 35mm man; also, I went digital, again, a long time ago, though I love to use a lot of legacy lenses.
So, I'm sorry, but about the Kiev 60 I remember less than what is in the page itself, I can't tell you more!
Love live photography!

Disclaimer: I'm not a repairer nor an expert. Do not blame me if your Kiev breaks while you're trying this procedure. This is the story about what I've done, not a technical document.
Also, forgive me for my English. I'm Italian...

you can see a red stripe in place of the offending knob

I'm a proud possessor of a Kiev 60 russian camera.
Not much more I can say about this: there is a philosophy behind this choice, and those who have similar cameras will understand my words. Others won't.

It is the typical camera that is going to make you swear most of the times, and to compare it to west Europe's products would only spot its defects, which basically lie in the poor quality of the eastern production and design environments.

Yet, this camera can give you great satisfaction if you're patient enough about her (yes, it is a "her") at a price which is ridicolous when compared to that of similar cameras made in Japan or West Germany.
I'm not going to tell you more because, if you're reading this page, you probably know what I'm talking about.

Well, my Kiev 60 had a serious problem since after the first couple of films: it did not arm the shutter and all subsequent shots were lost.
To trivially see if you have the same problem (when most shots are full black you should start wondering...), shot with "B" and the back open. If the shutter stays closed, that's it.
Notice that my shutter would not load when my lever loading was graceful; by an energic movement, strong and fast down to the lever limit, it would work instead.

The first repairer I contacted said: "Kiev? I don't even want to know about it!". Never mind. The second one was a bit more explicative: "this is a typical problem with those cameras, you have to reach a control for the lever that makes it load properly, yet it is a very hard control to reach and after you've done the regulation, it will probably fail again. Once you repair this camera, you're coming in my lab every month because something's wrong again. In a word, I don't even want to know about it!".
Being the conclusion the same (let me also say that the explanation did not convince me so much...), I decided to open this damn' camera and have a try. I never did anything alike, and was actually convinced not to have any chance.

To open the top part of the camera was relatively easy for someone like me who's unaccustomed to such operations; the recommendation is to have a good set of small screwdrivers. The only difficult part regards a round knob in the load lever, under the hood and the three-screw plastic round. This is a piece that is much better opened with the proper tool, that I do not have.

Most of the work proved useless anyway, because I soon felt sick of mechanisms that I could never find the time to explore; also, I lost some more minutes when re-assembling because the positioning of the timing knob is not evident. If a round part falls and you do not know what the hell it is, well... probably it is something that goes between the timing knob that you use and the real mechanism inside. The timing "2" is the straightford choice to easily rebuild the thing, because it provides an horizontal alignment (you'll see what I mean when doing it).

When the camera is open, it becomes evident that the shutter properly loads even if the loading movement is the gentlest; this means that the round knob that limits the movement is misplaced. What I did was simply removing it. I said that disassembling was useless because I suspect that you can do this by the outside, but you can certainly proceed more comfortably by opening the camera: with a hit from the inside part of the top, the knob detaches and it won't prevent any more from shooting.

On the top of this page you can see what the camera looks like after the operation.
Of course, if you have a better solution go for it... the knob certainly exists for limiting the stress on the mechanical parts, yet I have to say that the loading column is so solid that the knob is probably an excessive precaution.

Best regards and... long live the Kiev 60!!!

>>> Back to the site index
>>> Back to my homepage
>>> Torna alla homepage
>>> Gazzetta (IT)
>>> Gazette (EN)