Kiev 35a

The small camera with the BIG problems

Kiev Kiev

The Kiev 35AM is a compact, lightweight, aperture-priority automatic 35mm camera. Very small, hardly any bigger than a packet of sigarettes. It was copied after a Minox camera. But allthough the Korsar Lens is very sharp and very capable, it is not a great camera. The failure rate of this camera is about 70 to 80 percent.
The first roll I ran through it gave 12 exposures on a roll of 24. The other 12 were all black. It has other problems too, meter seems to be stuck and it eats batteries. Keep the batteries in it for about a week and they will be empty. I repaired this camera 3 times now. I repaired the filmadvance, which broke down. I did some work on the shutter which became stuck and now I repaired it for the 3rd time. It works now, but for how long.

Problems with the Kiev 35a can be the following.
  • Batteries don't work for long, a week at the most (short circuit)
  • Opaque shutter, the shutter is just not black enough and light comes through
  • Lightleak from the back or sides
  • Filmadvance does not work
  • Needle does not move
  • Electronics just fail
If I had to choose one bad camera it would be this one. I wasted 30 dollars on it. Worst buy ever. I can say about the Kiev 35a, Great lens, awfull body.
And with a big failurerate like this I'm not likely to buy another one. Pherhaps if I could buy them for 5 dollars a camera, I might. Otherwise, stay clear of this camera, it is the worst one if have seen.


Black or olive drab
Film type 35mm
Lens MC Korsar 2.8/35 mm lens
Focusing scale from 0.5 m to infinity
Aperture scale f2 to f16
Shutter type black metal coil focal plane shutter with vertical traverse
Shutter speeds (seconds)4s to 1/500th Continuously variable
Flash synchronization type X sync, through hot shoe connection
Maximum shutter speed for flash synch 1/60th second

Full-aperture metering, ISO settings of 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800
Power source
6 volts (Maxell LR-44 or equivalent), four required
Frame counter to 36 exposures, with auto-reset
Size 101.5x64x32.5 mm
Weight 200grams

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