« Great Photographers on the Internet, Part II | Main | Solar Photography with a Coronado PST »

Sunday, 29 November 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Completely revealing my ignorance, what sort of lens mount is that?
What an attractive, all-business-looking camera.

woah...that's an awesome looking camera.

I have a (Kiev?) copy of a Hassleblad around somewhere that someone gave me. I wish it worked as well as it looks. I've never had a whole roll of film through it. I know I could tune it up but...life calls, as does the taking of photographs with the cameras I have that work - more than half!

It's a breechmount or breechlock mount. You insert the lens and then turn the knurled ring, which lock down on the lens and holds it in place. It was another one of those "Universal" standards in photography that never quite became Universal. However, many manufacturers made breechlock lenses and you can find them aplenty at photo trade fairs and such--East German Zeisses and early Japanese lenses and all sorts of things. Very rewarding if what you want to do is play with oddball old stuff. Some of them are competent and characterful too, especially given the large 6x6 negative, and can give you distinctive "looks."


In the 1950's there use to be a photography store in Poughkeepsie New York called ARAX. I bought my first 35mm Agfa camera there. I would like to know where the owner got the name for the store back then.

Thank you Mike,
I will add that one to my ever-growing list of "I'd love to just *borrow* one of those" cameras/systems.
...with the Zeiss from last year's "TOP 10" list,
...and any Fuji 6X9 rangefinder,
...and a Leica MP,
...and *my own* Hassleblad.

dang old economy.

Around 1987 I was looking to buy a Contax 35mm camera from a local dealer, but instead bought an Exacta 66 after the dealer rhapsodized about the big negative and the available Schneider Xenotar lenses for it. I think I paid around $700 for it.

It was a hulking Teutonic design that felt great in my hands, the metal casing's rubberized covering making it impossible to lose one's grip. The lens was indeed bitingly sharp. I later learned that the camera was a renamed Zeiss Jena Biometar cladded with rubber.

Sadly, I returned it within a few days when I ran through three rolls of film and found overlapping images everywhere. Seems the Exacta inherited the weak transport mechanism from the Pentacons, which had the same issue.

I enjoyed playing with a Pentacon Six a couple of years ago but eventually decided that MF was easier with a leaf shutter such as those found on folding rangefinders or TLRs, something "unsettling" about that big flipping mirror.
Must admit to spending many a tempting hour on the ARAX site though but never quite got as far a clicking the "buy" button except for an 80mm standard lens that I used with the Pentacon - fantastic colour!

Cheers, Robin

I bought a 35mm Tilt and Shift from them and am very tempted to get an 85mm T&S before they run out. I'd love to own one of those red leather specials, they are so cheesy.

Folks, don't confuse ARAX with Arsenal!
ARAX continues and lives on, with their special brand of modified Kiev cameras.
And they are every bit as good as they look: I know, I've had a 60 for a while and it is superb. Yes, it is an all mechanical camera that needs regular CLA. So what?
As far as breech lock lenses go: get hold of a mount converter from ARAX for whatever dslr you own, then grab a Sonnar 180/2 or a Flektogon 50/4 from ebay or similar and enjoy two of the best lenses ever made! The Sonnar has one of the best bokehs ever and the Flekkie is nearly impossible to flare even pointed at the sun!

"It was another one of those "Universal" standards in photography that never quite became Universal."

Yes, true...except in the motion picture and television world, where all current lens systems worldwide use various forms of breechlock mount. FYI. Thanks, -KB-

This makes me sad, i recently bought a Kiev 4 Rangefinder from a guy in the Ukraine, and although there were some lightleaks (that Yak hair just was gone after 30 odd years) once I had that fixed it quickly became the camera I carry around with me everywhere, not to mention for $125 (shipped) I got a 50mm and 35mm lens.

What a shame really, I was eying the Kiev 88 to add to my "tool set" :/ See the prices going up on eBay tomorrow *sigh*

Perhaps a picture of a Kiev 60 or 88 would be more appropriate in this case.

It might be interesting to note that P-six mount Zeiss' lenses which come dime a dozen are very easily adapted to most any modern DSLR mount. There are even adapters with shift capability, courtesy of extended flange distance of p-six lenses...
They (the lenses) are also very capable and sharp enough to hurt ones eyes as mounted on the standard 35mm or aps-c camera they use only the best part of the image circle...


"I would like to know where the owner got the name for the store back then."

The owner probably was a native Armenian.

Gevorg named his company after a river in Armenia - Arax- separating the country from Turkey and Iran.


Thanks for posting this Mike! Never heard of ARAX, in my thirty plus years of photography. Just ordered the ARAX-60/MLU standard kit (includes the 80) and the MC Mir-26 (ARSAT), 3.5/45. Total with shipping: $623.70. I plan to feed it a ton of my old Fomapan, leftovers from yea olde FOMA USA days. Never was any good with a square, time to find it if that too can change. Thanks to you, I'll be off on yet another, exciting adventure, as soon as the goodies arrive.

As someone who shoots almost exclusively with Kiev 60's and 88's I feel I should point out that these cameras were very much mass produced and are still available very cheaply if one is prepared to be patient.
I have 3 Kiev 88's and a pair of 60's, complete with the full range of lenses including the legendary Arsat Fisheye, all purchased as new old stock, all working perfectly.
Total cost, around 700 USD, all within the last 2 years.
Panic buying is what pushes up the prices, not closure of the factory.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007