Kiev camera in cigarette pack · USSR
Kiev-JPS 1 is a
Kiev 30 consumer camera 2 ,
disguised as a common pack of John Player Special (JPS) cigarettes,
made between 1978 and 1988 by
Arsenal in Kiev (Ukraine), at that time
part of the former Soviet Union (USSR).
The disguise makes the camera very suitable for
The camera can take 25 pictures on a single 16 mm unperforated
The camera is housed in a black metal enclosure that measures
102 x 55 x 28.5 mm and weights approx. 230 grams.
One end has been modified so that it
looks like a bunch of cigarette filter tips, three of which are
sticking out somewhat.
Two of them are fixed in place, whilst the third one (the longest)
can partly be moved in and out. It is internally coupled to the
film transport mechanism. When it is pulled, the lens becomes visible
and the film advances to the next frame (unless it has already been
advanced). The user can now aim the camera and shoot a picture.
The Kiev 30 16 mm camera
was manufactured from 1978 onwards by the
Arsenal factory in Kiev
(Ukraine). Although it was originally
thought that this variant was made especially for the Soviet Unions's
intelligence agency — the KGB — it
later became clear that they were most likely aftermarket 'inventions',
made in Poland and/or Ukraine to fool naive Western collectors. They
were usually supplied in a (real) JPS carton cigarette box,
together with a spare film cassette.
Quite a few variants of this camera exist. The exterior can be printed
with gold or silver letters, and on some variants, the settings at the
right are covered by the enclosure. Furthermore, some versions have
space for one or two real cigarettes. It is typically housed in a metal
enclosure, but plastic variants are also known.
The print quality varies, and different versions of the JPS logo have
In practice, it would have been suitable to fool only a casual observer.
The actual name for this camera is unknown, so we are using JPS as
According to some websites , the camera used inside the JPS,
is a Kiev 303, but given the production
dates of the observed JPS cameras (1978-1988), plus the fact that
the Kiev 303 was not in production
before 1990, it is more likely that a
or Kiev 30M was used.
The diagram below gives a quick overview of the features and controls
on the body of the JPS camera. At the front is the lens opening, which
is normally covered by a protective metal sheet. As soon as the longest
fake cigarette is pulled out, the
lens opening is uncovered and the
film is advanced to the next frame. A picture can now be taken by
pressing the button at the top.
Note that there is no viewer, so the user has to estimate distance and
direction when taking the picture. When ready, the fake cigarette is
pushed back in, and the lens will be covered again. At the right side
are the usual film and lens settings, plus a lock that gives
access to the interior.
- Gold or silver (white) letters
- Different versions of the logo
- Different typefaces
- Different layout
- Different types of fake cigarettes
- Space for one or two real cigarettes (or not)
- Camera controls covered by enclosure (or not)
- Mounting of the fake cigarette to the transport mechanism
- Metal or plastic case
- Camera body partly painted black
The camera is housed in a black metal enclosure, that carries a black
self-adhesive label printed with the JPS logo and additional text in either
gold or silver. The interior can be accessed from the right side, where
a recessed lever can be twisted to release the camera from the metal
The image on the right shows the bottom of the Kiev 30 camera, after it
has been removed from the enclosure. The front of the camera (the
side with the lens opening at the centre) is painted black, so that it
is less likely to reveal itself, as is the case with some
At the left is the fake cigarette that is mounted to the film transport
mechanism by means of a curved lever and two rivets. In some
versions a straight metal lever is
welded to the mechanism.
At the right are the usual knobs for settings the aperture (3-11) &
shutter speed (1/30-1/200).
The mechanism is very similar to that of the original Kiev 30, although
the horizontal plate of the transport mechanism has been shortened somewhat.
The frame counter at the centre has been left in place, but the old case
locking mechanism has been removed from the advance-bracket.
The upper side of the JPS camera is virtually identical to the original
Kiev 30. It is shown in the image on the right with its film compartment
open and the 16 mm film cartridge removed. At the right is the
advance lever (fake cigarette).
The diagram above this section, shows a JPS camera (with serial number
8810683) behind a Kiev 303 camera (with serial number 9162510).
It is clear that the cameras were very similar and that probably only
the outer plastic case was swapped for a metal one, which made it easier
to disguise as a John Player Special cigarette pack.
Production dates as early as 1978 and as late as 1988 have been observed,
which suggests that this was not a limited production run, but more likely
a post-Cold War hype, possibly composed from production left-overs of the
Arsenal factory, staged by people in some former Eastern Block countries
to fool naive West European and US collectors, in order to generate an
CameraKiev 30 (S/N: 8810683)
Film16 mm unperforated
Frame size17 x 13 mm
LensIndustar-M 23mm f/3.5
Aperture(5) 3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11
Shutter(3) 1/30, 1/60, 1/200
Focus50 cm — ∞
Dimensions102 x 55 x 28.5 mm (without fake cigarettes)
Weight230 grams (without loaded film cartridge)
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 17 January 2019. Last changed: Monday, 21 January 2019 - 10:33 CET.