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Russian Kiev-4a Rangefinder, Contax Copy

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 -1 980). 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 the 1960's. It is a type 1 model.

Technical Characteristics

Kiev-4a Body

Shutter Speeds

B, 1/2 - 1/1250

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. Internal and external bayonets fully compatible with Contax II, III, IIa, IIIa
Body Finish
Chrome, Leather covering

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

The camera is in GOOD+ condition, clean and attractive, the viewfinder is clear and sharp. The lens is also clear and clean with a few dust specks inside (minor and will not affect image quality). The shutter and self-timer are working properly.

The camera comes with a take-up spool and a plastic lenscap.

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.

Kiev-4, 4a Case
Kiev-4, 4a Case
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