My Days With Kiev 60

3 min read by Antonio Miše.
Published on . Updated on .
Abandoned town. Shot on Rollei RPX25 with Kiev 60.

If Kalashnikov ever made a camera, it would be Kiev 60.

I love it. It’s a large camera with a shutter that kicks hard with a satisfying sound that promptly reaffirms the understanding that the photo was taken (and maybe overlapped with the previous frame). Sure, these cameras have some flaws, but my two Kiev 60s were amazing. I sold them both two years ago, but now I’m planning to re-purchase. This article will tell you why.

What is Kiev 60?

Kiev 60s are affordable medium format film cameras. You can use all kinds of Pentacon Six/P6-mount lenses, which have excellent, affordable optics — especially the Carl Zeiss Zebra series.

This is me back in 2019 with one of the Kievs I used to own.

Kiev 60 has simple, limited controls: just load the 120 film and shoot — you can even squeeze a few extra exposures with it.

You can mount a TTL prism to get the beefy SLR action in addition to the default waist-level finder. The batteries for the prism light meter can easily be found on eBay or at a local hardware store.

Kiev 60 is a durable camera. It has a focal-plane shutter with a top speed of 1/1000s and Bulb mode.

This camera originally came equipped with Volna/Vega 90mm lenses. Just like the camera, the lenses are simple, easy to repair, and fully manual. The optics are great — highly recommended!

Paklenica national park, Croatia. Shot on Fuji Provia 100 with Kiev 60.

Shooting Kiev 60 in Paklenica national park.

I spent a lot of time with my Kiev 60s, most notably at the Velebit mountain in the Paklenica national park during late autumn. I used two lenses: the 𝒇2.8 90mm Volna and 𝒇4 50mm Carl Zeiss Zebra. I shot on Fuji Provia 100 and Kodak Ektar 100.

Paklenica national park, Croatia. Shot on Fuji Provia 100 with Kiev 60.

I used a tripod to get crisp images at 𝒇16 with the heavy Kiev 60.

Bishop’s house Ston, Croatia. Paklenica national park, Croatia. Shot on Fuji Velvia with Kiev 60.

In its basic form, a film camera is just a lightproof box. The “Kalashnikov” Kiev 60 cameras offer a unique photographic experience: simple, clunky; an affordable entrance into medium format photography.

Paklenica national park, Croatia. Shot on Fuji Provia 100 with Kiev 60.