All these models are derivatives of the pre-WW2 Contax rangefinder bodies, and were made after the WW2 by Arsenal factory in Kiev, former USSR.

Unmetered models[]

They are all derivatives of the Zeiss Ikon Contax II.


(or Kiev II)

  • Produced between 1947-57
  • There are 4 types and 5 sub-types [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
  • Type 1a cameras were made using some original Contax parts from Germany, and produced only in 1947
  • The front plate is engraved only in Cyrillic, which distinguishes it from later unmetered models
  • Lenses:
    • Collapsible ZK or ZK-Zorki 50mm f/2 (1947-1949)
    • Solid ZK 50mm f/2 (1949-1951)
    • Jupiter-8 50mm f/2 Kiev mount(1951-1957)


  • Produced between 1955-58
  • There are 2 types
  • As a Kiev-2 with flash sync added
  • Name on the front plate engraved Cyrillic and Latin
  • Lens: Jupiter-8 50mm f/2


  • Produced between 1956-80
  • There are 8 types and 4 sub-types
  • Upgraded version of Kiev-2A
  • Without the stabilizing foot
  • Later models have top speed of 1/1000 instead of 1/1250
  • Lens: Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2


  • Kiev 4AM

    by Ryszard Kobus

    Produced between 1980-87
  • There are 3 types and 5 sub-types
  • The modernized model of Kiev-4A
  • With a fixed take-up spool
  • With a rewind lever
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2
    • Helios-103 53mm f/1.8

Metered models[]

They are all derivatives of the Zeiss Ikon Contax III.


(or Kiev III)

  • Produced between 1948-56
  • There are 6 type and 2 sub-types
  • A clone of the pre-war Contax III
  • It has an uncoupled selenium meter
  • Lens: Jupiter-8 50mm f/2


  • Produced between 1954-59
  • There are 10 types and 3 sub-types
  • As a Kiev-3 with flash sync added
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8 50mm f/2 (1951-1958)
    • Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2 (1958)


  • Produced between 1957-79
  • There are 4 types and 8 sub-types
  • Kiev 4 is similar to Kiev-3A
  • Without the stabilizing foot
  • Some cosmetic styling changes influenced by the Contax IIIa
    • The back part and body is upgraded

      Kiev 4

      by Ryszard Kobus

    • The size of an exposure meter is smaller
  • Later samples have top speed of 1/1000 instead of 1/1250
  • Lens: Jupiter-8M 50mm f/2


  • Produced between 1976-87
  • There are 5 types and 5 sub-types
  • Kiev-4M is the modernized model of Kiev-4
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8M (2/50mm)
    • Helios-103 (1.8/53mm)


  • Produced between 1968-73
  • There are 3 types and 3 sub-types
  • Pure Soviet design
  • The lens mount does not have the inner bayonet
  • With a film advance lever
  • With the shutter cocking lever
  • Lenses:
    • Jupiter-8NB 52mm f/2
    • Helios-94 50mm f/1.8

Notes and References[]

  1. In this page the model info and typing are as to Alaxander Komarov in Fotoua. You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site
  2. There is another former USSR cameras classification and info by Aidas Pikiotas in [1]
  3. There are usefull books about cameras of former USSR and have classifications also.
  4. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  5. Discussion about clasifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum


In English

  • Princelle, Jean Loup - Made In USSR - The Authentic Guide To Russian And Soviet Cameras, Le Reve Edition, 2004 (ISBN 2952252106 (ISBN13: 9782952252102) Paperback

In Russian