Given the cost of repair and complexity,and lack of mechanical ability, I am still pondering the cost of £150 for a totally restored/rebuilt Contax or Kiev. [I am not going to differentiate Kiev/Contax because it's about having a user camera in Contax style and quality [hence 1950s] My 1952 Kiev II was around £100 without CLA, though it's lovely.
I know that I am wholly crazy about my Contax/Kievs, so, given that silly prices for 1950s Dinky Toys fuelled the obsession, £150 each is OK for me.
Thanks to Oleg, my 1st 1970s Kievs 4/4m @£50 each, were a perfect introduction to the Contax hold,but most Kievs at around £50 with shipping, bought from ebay are very much suspect, I wonder if, £150 could be considered reasonable for one smooth quiet example from the 50s? One guy bought several from ebay and was left with non useable,probably as the dregs of cosmetically excellent,never working Kievs are all that have survived the boom times for Kiev sales?
OK, it's worth it x 5 for me-around 20 Dinky Toys LOL !!
Contax II rat tan and silver 1936 original plus Kiev screws/springs etc Contax III restored with some minor Kiev screws/spring etc. Contax II parts camera pus new/stock Kiev shutter assembly. Contax/Kiev IV 1935/1957 KNeB IV. 1956/1957.
Obviously, it helps to be Kiev Krazy!
Dee's ruptively Gender indee'terminate . Autistic Glitch - cameras help contain and focus an out of phase world . Contax / Kiev surround and ground me in chaos . I may even take a photo or two with my several Digi-boxes . OOPs I stated Female , which was weird . I am actually XY , but my head does not recognise that 'frequency' so forgive me if I don't change it . Love puns - Miss-aligned etc LOL
I think whatever you buy is going to be a gamble unless there is no dispute it has been overhauled by a very well-known expert mechanic. I recently bought a Contax iia through the internet and I had no expectations of it being anything but a core for a rebuild, which is exactly what it turned out to be. Fortunately it is in beautiful unmolested condition and after an overhaul will be able to run as good as it looks.
If I were to be offered a Contax or A Kiev for £150 I'd go for the Contax every time. Its the original. I've had both and the Contax was far the better (and nicer) model. Now I have neither and have a couple of lenses that I can't use.
Kiev in general are not well assembled, the best were the post war, assembled from Zeiss parts, then they were mediocre in quality as the Russians made their own parts, and really trailed away on the last models. The problem is not the design of the parts being bad, but the materials used, Zeiss use high grade steel, case hardened shafts, hardened gears, polished parts, all of which were dropped in the Kiev factory, where mild steel was substituted, shaft were plain steel, etc etc.
Whilst the Contax can take a Kiev shutter, they might look similar, but the finish is poor on the Soviet parts.
Zeiss were perfectionists on quality of the parts, setting very high standards in machining that are not matched even today. When they made tooling and jigs they built to zero tolerances the jig was made and then assessed as to accuracy, and certificated to be suitable for inspection grade work.
They even ran a laboratory to make standard jigs to become German Industry standards, as well as supplying their own works with test equipment. The lathes used were earth curvature corrected, the beds were adjustable to be perfectly flat. The test lathes were able to turn test bars to microns over a 2 metre bar, completely parralel.
Of course in actual factory production more normal tolerances were used, but Even there Zeiss prided themselves on parts being so well made they were interchangeable. Bit different from Leica where they did mix an match of parts to get a good fit, meaning spares might not fit too well.
The Soviets simply could not care about such points, they were instructed to make items and that was that. It had to work, but the way it worked and later wore was of no concern to the factory.
It must be mentioned in passing that Zeiss were totally controlled by the German Government Nazi war production regime, money was of little concern, the run up to the war saw Zeiss expand to provide optical and precision test equipment to other companies, and in that envioroment standards were extreme, far to expensive to maintain outside war preparation.
The Contax was considered a prestige project, and finance was available to make the camera parts to very high standards.
It is known the Soviets were shocked to find the parts retieved from Dresden were made so well, they had much lower engineering standards, not poor, just run of the mill.
It was of far greater use to them to have the staff as prisoners etc who taught the Soviets enough to enter the space program, just as the Germans did in the States.
But for simple camera products, the Russians let it slip badly at times, shoddy, poor deliveries, or plain bad assembly of what were proven designs.
Given the money issues a Contax will always beat the Kiev, unless a very capable camera serviceman re engineers it.
However I was lucky, my own Kiev, an early one some Zeiss parts, is perfect, it works as well as Contax. The main Russian part is the shutter, the Zeiss bits are the transport, shafts and gears, and the delayed action.
The rangefinder looks like Zeiss work as well, all surfaces polished and perfect screws and threads.
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2014 18:49:45 GMT -5 by Stephen