In the last two years that I’ve shot A LOT of film photography I’ve mainly done “regular” film, the 135 format kind or “full format". I’ve stayed away from the TLR cameras (of the Hasselblad or Rolleiflex kind), because I’ve never gotten to like the whole looking down the “chimney” to focus, and because they’re eye-wateringly expensive as well.
Somehow I found out about the Kiev cameras (I suspect it was via Ted Forbes’ The Art of Photography channel on YouTube), and the medium format SLR Kiev 60. Unlike the Hasselblad style cameras this one has a viewfinder like “regular” smaller SLRs, so I can focus through the lens like I am used to from my digital and analog SLRs. There’s supposed to be a light meter in the viewfinder, but in true Russian style of course it doesn’t work! That’s okay though, I am slowly getting used to shooting all manual and using a light meter app on my phone.
I’ve put about seven rolls through the thing now and while I can’t say I know all its quirks I am ready to make a few comments about it.
“It’s a Kiev 60. It’s from Russia.”
“No, it’s not made anymore.”
“Yes, it is heavy.”
“Film, medium format film. Same as Hasselblad cameras.”
“Yes, they still make film.”
“Online. You order it online.”
Jokes aside, I like it even though it is a very unique camera to use with a lot of quirks. I have discovered that I most definitely need to give it more light when I shoot, compared to my other cameras. Many images came out way too dark when I shot them at the light meter-suggested aperture and speed, but at least I know that now so I can adjust in the future! Next step is to fashion together some sort of grip for the camera, because it is quite unergonomic to shoot with (not to mention heavy…did I mention the weight?). I don’t know if the thing needs to get bigger (it really doesn’t!), but I think I need some sort of right-hand grip to be able to shoot with it on a long-term basis, be it a wooden grip or a 3d printed one or whatever else I can come up with.