1981 Kiev 30The Kiev 30 is a subminiature 16mm camera from the Arsenalna factory in Ukraine. Of all the cameras I own, this is the only one that I will probably never use as 16mm film is basically unavailable these days and I’m not really dedicated enough to cut my own from 35mm film stock.

Kiev 30
Shutterspeed, aperture and exposure calculator

It’s an all-metal camera that folds down to approximately matchbox size. Pulling it open cocks the shutter and advances the film. It also exposes the shutter button and the focus wheel. In the image above, the shutter button is the square, silver button and the focus wheel is just to the right of it in the cut-out section of the top.  The focus wheel is engraved with distance markings as the viewfinder is just a plastic window that’s not coupled to anything so there’s no way to check focus. There are wheels on the side near the lanyard lug to adjust aperture and shutter speed. As might be expected, both of these offer only very limited options. Apertures that can be selected are f/3.5, f/4, f/5.6, f/8 and f/11; available shutter speeds are 1/30th, 1/60th and 1/200th of a second. There is a PC sync socket on the top for some reason too. The lens is a 23mm, f/3.5 unit based on the Tessar formula.

Kiev 30
Yes, there’s a sync socket and a focal plane marker… The thumb wheel on top is for focusing.

The crazy part is the film. The first Kiev miniature camera was the Vega which used a cartridge similar to the later 110 film cassette invented by Kodak. Over time however, the cameras got smaller and the original cartridges were no longer compatible. Instead you had a reusable cartridge inside the camera which you had to spool 16mm unperforated film onto yourself (in the dark obviously). Hardly the sort of thing that the casual photographer that Kiev hoped to sell these cameras to was likely to want to try.Kiev 30