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Kiev 303
Miniature 16 mm camera

The Kiev 303 is a miniature 16 mm photo camera, released in 1990 by Arsenal in Kiev (Ukraine), as the successor to the popular Kiev 30 and Kiev 30M cameras. It is actually an improved version of the Kiev 30, with an extra shutter speed of 1/250. It has the same Industar 23 mm f/3.5 lens that focusses from 50 cm to infinite, with stops at 1 and 2 metre. It was available in five colours: black, green, red, white and grey. Due to its small size, it was suitable for covert photography.

The camera measures 84 x 46 x 27 mm (when closed) and weights no more than 178 grams. Before taking a picture, it has to be extracted as shown in the image on the right. This uncovers the lens and advances the film to the next frame.

The user can now use the small viewfinder at the left to point at the subject, and take a picture by pressing the square shutter release button at the right, close to the front edge of the camera. To the left of the shutter release button is the focus knob, which ranges from 50 cm to infinite. Note that short distances will cause a parallax error.
  
Expanded Kiev 303

Due to its small size and short focussing range, the camera is suitable for covert photography, and to some extent also for covert document photography (although it has a parallax problem). It is often suggested that it was used by the intelligence services of the former Soviet Union (USSR), such as the KGB. Although this is possible, it is far more likely that the KGB used other cameras, like the Ajax F-21, the Tochka-58 and the Minox range, which were also available to them.

Complete set in original packaging
Complete kit
Kiev 303 in leather carrying case
Kiev 303 with wrist strap
Expanded Kiev 303
expanded Kiev 303 (bottom view)
Open camera compartment
Removing the film cartridge
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Complete set in original packaging
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Complete kit
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Kiev 303 in leather carrying case
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Kiev 303 with wrist strap
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Expanded Kiev 303
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expanded Kiev 303 (bottom view)
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Open camera compartment
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Removing the film cartridge

Specifications
  • Device
    Pocket camera
  • Purpose
    Consumer and covert photography
  • Manufacturer
    Arsenal (Kiev, Ukraine)
  • Production
    1974-1983
  • Film
    16 mm unperforated
  • Frame size
    17 x 13 mm
  • Exposures
    25
  • Lens
    Industar-M 23mm f/3.5
  • Aperture
    (5) 3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11
  • Shutter
    (4) 1/30, 1/60, 1/200, 1/250
  • Focus
    50 cm — ∞ (stops at 1m and 2m)
  • Dimensions
    84 x 46 x 27 mm (extracted: 108 x 46 x 27 mm)
  • Weight
    178 grams
References
  1. Subminiature cameras, 16 mm - Variations in Kiev Subminiature Cameras
    Website. Visited January 2019.

  2. Camerapedia Wiki
    Retrieved January 2019.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Saturday 19 January 2019. Last changed: Wednesday, 13 September 2023 - 07:28 CET.
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