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Kiev 6C

Posted by Bengt Köhler Sandberg 2014-02-08

Kiev 6C

Made between 1971 to 1986 by the Arsenal Factory in Kiev, Ukraine.
Often referred to as a SLR on steroids because it looks and works like a normal SLR.
But it's a medium format camera so it is alot bigger and heavier.
The design is based very closely to the Pentacon Six camera and it shares the same lens mount.

Technical info

Lens mount: Pentacon six (P6)
Shutter: 1/1000s to 1/2s + B
Light meter: None in the body but can be used with a TTL viewfinder which has a light meter.
Battery: None for the body but the TTL viewfinder uses three 1.5v SR44.
Flash: PC sync connection (sync 1/30 sec)
- 1135g body only (no viewfinder)
- 1245g with Waist Level Finder.
- 1555g with TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder.

Takes standard 120 or 220 film
6×6 mm negative size.

Kiev 6C


This camera has changeable viewfinder and you have three types to choose between.
Waist Level Finder, TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder and a non TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder.
TTL means that is has a built in light meter.

Waist Level Finder
This is the one I mostly use and I find it to works really great in most cases.
Very easy to compose the shot and it has a little magnifying glass for easier focusing.
Like all waist level finders the view will however be mirrored.
It also has a framing mask which approximately represent a 80mm lens.
Extra smart thing is that under this framing mask you find another little viewfinder.
This is not for composing the shot but to finding focus and you don't see much more than the focus aid system.
There is a mirror which makes this possible and the view looking true this is upside down.

TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder
This makes the camera more like a normal SLR and adds the luxury of a true the lens light metering.
Works very well but is a little darker then the waist level finder and is also noticeably bigger and heavier.
Note that most TTL finders are made for the later Kiev 60 which has a little brighter ground glass.
And using this on the older 6C might give a slightly inaccurate reading.

The light meter is uncoupled which means that it will only give you a reading which you manually adjust to the camera and lens.
There are three knobs to turn for a correct reading.
First the ISO and this knob also has a little red arrow.
Next is a chrome ring which is for the aperture, turn this till the little red arrow points to the the same value as your lens is wide open.
Then the last is the actual reading, you turn this on my flicking a little switch on the side.
Turn the outer knob and look thru the viewfinder until you see a green light which indicates a correct exposure.

Non TTL Pentaprism Prism Finder
Have unfortunately not tested any yet.
Would expect these to be the same as the TTL ver but I slightly lighter.

Youtube clip showing the two viewfinders that I have.
Kiev 6C

Focus aid:

Shutter type:

Focal plane
Horizontal traveling cloth curtain

All mechanical.

Build quality:

Body is all metal and it's very nice and solid.
A common problem with these are however the shutter mechanics at fastest shutter speeds.
This can give uneven exposures or in some cases a very inaccurate shutter speeds at 1/500 and 1/1000.
Another problem is internal reflection which can be caused by just about all the surfaces inside the camera.
Some of the bottom and top
surface are flat metal which is painted black.
These has the most tendency for this but of course if something like this will be a problem depends on a lot.

Look, feel and sound:
It looks and feels huge and a bit cumbersome.
But that is quite standard for any medium format SLRs.
Quite like the feel of the cameras knobs, buttons and levers.
It is however a very noisy one.


It works just like any old and totally manual SLR.
The mirror is not a auto return and will only go down once you cock the shutter.
Which can be a little pain if you miss the moment and don't want to take the shot.
It is not good to leave the shutter cocked for a longer time and this can mean that you ruin a frame because of this.

One odd thing is that the shutter button is located at the left side of the camera.
Which is not very common but works just as good after some use.

All cameras like this also has a big mirror which cases quite a lot of vibrations.
This lacks any mirror lock or equivalent so a nice a sturdy tripod is important if you use longer shutter speeds.


Not the best camera of this type but on the other hand usually a very cheap one, so you get a lot for your money.
Find it very fun to use and can also produce some really nice quality images.

Very nice plus is the P6 mount which has a bunch of really good lenses and most of them are quite cheap.
The most popular is the Carl Zeiss lenses which are way cheaper than for most mounts.

A great camera for anyone that want a cheap medium format SLR.
The later Kiev 60 ver is the same camera but with some slight changes.
The most useful is a better ground glass with has a split screen and microprism.

Thumbs up:
Nice and solid body
Changeble viewfinder
Value for the money

Thumbs down:

No auto return mirror
No mirror lock or equivalent
Mirror and shutter vabrations
Shutter mechanics
Internal reflection

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