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Kiev 35A
Minature 35 mm camera

The Kiev 35A is a compact minature 35 mm camera with a fixed lens. It was manufactured by the Arsenal Factory in Kiev (Ukraine) 1 between 1985 and 1991. It's a near exact copy of the Minox 35 EL, that became a popular camera for inconspicious (covert) photography during the Cold War.

The image on the right shows a typical Kiev 35A camera. It has a Korsar 35mm/f2.8 lens and automatic exposure with shutter speeds up to 1/1000 sec, similar to the specifications of the Minox 35 EL. In addition, the shutter speed can be set manually between 4 and 1/500 sec.

The camera is nearly identical to the Minox 35 EL, including the iconic red shutter button at the top. Check the enlarged picture below to see the two cameras side-by-side. The one on the right is the real Minox. Note that the accessories of the two cameras are fully interchangeable.
Minox 35A, ready for use (lens open)

Although the cameras look identical at first sight, the actual build quality of the Kiev 35A is much lower that that of the original Minox 35 EL. The Soviet-variant was known for light leaks and for its many electronic failures. Both versions can be found easily today on auction website like eBay.

  1. At the time, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union (USSR).

Minox 35A, ready for use (lens open)
The Kiev 35A, the booklet (front) and the box
Artificial leather carrying bag
A Kiev 35A (left) and a Minox 35 EL (right)
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Minox 35A, ready for use (lens open)
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The Kiev 35A, the booklet (front) and the box
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Artificial leather carrying bag
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A Kiev 35A (left) and a Minox 35 EL (right)

The original Minox 35 on the right and the Soviet copy - Kiev 35 - on the left.

Technical specifications
  • Device
  • Medium
    35 mm film
  • Lens
    MC Korsar 35mm f/2.8
  • Focus
    1m to ∞ (scale-focus)
  • Aperture
    f2.8 - f16
  • Shutter
    1/500 - 4s, continuously variable
  • Flash
    X-sync at 1/30s, hot shoe
  • Exposure
    Aperture-priority, Semi-automatic
  • Film
    135 film
  • ISO
    25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800
  • Battery
    6V (4 x Maxell LR-43 or equivalent)
  • Size
    102 x 64 x 33 mm
  • Weight
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 22 March 2012. Last changed: Thursday, 16 November 2023 - 12:40 CET.
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