Kiev 10 – History

The Kiev 10 was manufactured in the Arsenal factory somewhere between 1964 and 1975. It is probably on of the strangest and most innovative cameras to come from the former Soviet Union.

Kiev 10 Automat
Kiev 10 Automat

The 35mm SLR camera is large and heavy and comes with a light meter and has the first Soviet automatic exposure system. The bright viewfinder has a focusing screen with microcrystals to help focusing. There is a line of excellent lenses but they have their own bayonet mount. The mount is shared with the Kiev 11 and Kiev 15 TEE.

The Kiev 10 has a very prominent Selenium meter window on the front of the prism housing. There is no battery needed for its operation as the exposure circuit is powered by this Selenium cell.

Kiev 10 Lens mount, X-sync, dial for automatic or f-stops and huge Selenium cell
Kiev 10
Lens mount, X-sync, dial for automatic or f-stops and huge Selenium cell

The Kiev 10 is also known for its exotic fan-shaped metal blade focal plane shutter. Shutter speeds are between ½ to 1/1000s and an X-sync at 1/60s.

On the top plate there is a combined shutter- and film-speed dial on the left and at the right a simple exposure counter in a small window. Some cameras have a plain accessory shoe fitted above the prism.
The large rectangular plastic shutter release hangs in the front, next to the prism. The rewind crank folds flat into the base.

Kiev 10 Shutter-speed dial with DIN-settings
Kiev 10
Shutter-speed dial with DIN-settings

The automatic mode behaves as a shutter priority mode where the user selects the shutter speed and the camera automatically selects the corresponding aperture value which is also showed in the viewfinder.
If the scene is to dark for the light meter a red indicator shows a reduced measurement range. When the correct exposure cannot be reached with the available aperture values the shutter is blocked and manual mode should be selected.

Kiev 10 Viewfinder and serial number
Kiev 10
Viewfinder and serial number

The Arsenal Factory
After World War II much of the tooling at the Zeiss factory was appropriated by the Soviets and installed in the Ukraine in a defense factory in Kiev known as Arsenal.

Arsenal is best known for having cloned Hasselblad (Kiev 88), Zeiss Ikon, Nikon and Pentacon. They were not exactly copied directly but instead simplified for production behind the Iron Curtain.
They also created one of the most original of all cameras, the Kiev 10.

The Arsenal factory also made Mir and Arsat lenses which were very good Zeiss copies. Their ubiquitous quality-control problems not withstanding these Ukrainian lenses are quite good and some are outstanding

The company still produces cameras and lenses.

Main source : Camerapedia

Personal note
There where 8 models in the 1st version that was made of the Kiev 10 and 3 models in the 2nd version.

The Kiev 10 I am using has S/N 7207661 (PA3060) and is the 3rd and last model of the 2nd version and was build between between 1968 and 1975. Accessory shoe on the prism. Arsenal logotype on the rear plate, though “Sdelano v CCCP” markings are absent on late versions already like this one.
If my information is correct this Kiev 10 was build in 1972.

Other resources

Soviet and Russian Cameras
Communist Cameras
The Kievaholic Klub


Kiev 10 with 37mm f2.8 lens
Kiev 10 with MIR-1 37mm f2.8 lens