The Kiev III is a true Contax III copy and the first Kiev model equipped with a light meter. It was made by Arsenal factory in Kiev from 1952 to 1955. As the Contax III, Kiev III features a stabilizing foot on the bottom plate.
The specifications are the same as Contax III's.
- Shutter speeds: B, 1/2 - 1/1250
- Rangefinder base: 90 mm
- Lens: coated Jupiter-8, f = 5 cm, 1:2, coated, a copy of Zeiss Sonnar.
This Kiev III is an early version, it was made in 1953 by Arsenal plant in
Kiev. It is know that Arsenal had a stock of original Contax parts which were
used in the initial production run.
A very interesting feature of this Kiev III is its serial number. It starts
with an "A". I still do not know what this letter represents and would be happy
to learn. I've seen a Kiev III number starting with a "B" (Cyrillic) serial
number as well.
And finally, the Kiev engraving is in Cyrillic only - this is present only on the early Kievs. From the mid 50's it was replaced with a common
dual Russian/English engraving.
The camera is in GOOD+ condition, shows
some use, very clean and attractive. There are no brassing on the chrome parts,
the leather covering is clean and complete. The RF/VF is clear. The lens is
also clean with some minor cleaning marks on the front element. The
meter is not working ; this is quite
usual, since most of older Kievs have dead meters. The shutter is working
well on all speeds. The self-timer is working.
The camera comes with a leather case (shows wear but fully functional), the original metal take-up spool, and
a metal lenscap.
The Kiev III is much less common than its successors - Kiev IIIa and 4. It
is a good user and a desirable and attractive collectible camera.