Kiev-4a, Black Body

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Russian Kiev-4a Rangefinder, Contax Copy, Black Body

The Kiev 4a is a well known Russian (Ukrainian to be politically correct) Contax II copy. This was a long running production model - with some slight changes Arsenal factory in Kiev produced it from 1958 to 1980. Kiev-4a is very similar to its predecessor - Kiev IIa, it introduced some cosmetic changes. The lens was also modernized - the aperture dial was engraved on both sides of the lens, so the setting is visible regardless of the lens position. The aperture dial has stop-click settings. And, of course, the name was changed to Jupiter-8M. All these changes made the proven Contax design more convenient to use.

There were two major Kiev-4a variations - the original Kiev-4a (1958 - c.1974) and the Kiev-4a type 2 (c.1974 -1980). In the Kiev-4a type 2 the Arsenal engineers finally admitted that the top speed of the shutter was seldom as fast as 1/1250, and a more realistic 1/1000 was engraved as a top speed. The last model, Kiev-4m, was in production from 1980 to mid-80's.

This Kiev-4a was made in 1978. It is a type 2 model.

Technical Characteristics

Kiev-4a Body

Shutter Speeds

B, 1/2 - 1/1000

Shutter Type

Focal plane, metal/leather curtains, vertical movement

Rangefinder Base

Viewfinder Magnification


Flash Synch


Film Type
35mm film in standard cassettes


9 to 15 seconds

Lens Mount
Contax Rangefinder Bayonet. In ternal and external bayonets fully compatible with Contax II, III, IIa, IIIa
Body Finish
Black Enamel, Leather covering

Lens: Jupiter-8M, 50/2, CZJ Sonnar 50/2 Copy

Focal length

50 mm


1:2, settings from 2 to 22, stop-clicks

Angle of Coverage


0.9 m - Infinity

Filter size


Optical Design
6 elements in 3 groups, click to see drawing

Optical registration (back focus)

31.85?0.02 mm

Contax Rangefinder Bayonet (Internal). Will fit all Kievs, Contax II, III, IIa, IIIa
Polished chrome

This camera is special, it is finished in black enamel, as was its grandmother (or grandfather) - the Contax I. As far as I know, there were no black Kievs produced by Arsenal plant; what you see is a great and detailed work of a skilled repairman/restorer from Odessa, Ukraine (this is where the camera was bought). The camera was disassembled, all chrome panels were painted with a high quality enamel. New finish is baked in a controlled temperature chamber; the resulting finish is tough and durable.

I've never seen a black Kiev in the past and wonder why Arsenal never tried this - it looks so great! Well, I can guess why - they did not really care, since the only customer they had was the Government, and it did not care either.

The camera comes with a plastic lenscap , clean leather case.

As well as any Soviet Contax copy, the Kiev-4a is a rugged and precision camera, equipped with a great lens. It is capable of taking advantage of modern films, and is simply a great fun to use.

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