Kiev 88 :: Inexpensive Medium Format

The Kiev 88 has long been hailed as the most inexpensive way to get into a medium format modular camera system. You can get an entire system for a fraction of what you’d pay for a Hasselblad.

A few shots I did back in the day on the Kiev 88 –

But how is the quality? Is it worth it? Or is it easier to save a little more and upgrade to an actual Hasselblad rig?

I’ve had mine for years. I’ve had 2 actually – the first one died on me. They are great, but you earn every shot you take. They are extremely finicky and awkward to use. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about photography though when I first started shooting mine so I believe their value is in what you want out of a camera.

If you’re new to medium format or new to photography for that matter – you will learn a lot. And they are super cheap so its definitely an easy way to get into medium format.

The Kiev 88 was produced in the Ukraine up until about 2009. There are third party companies that bought remaining inventory and modify them. Unfortunately this starts getting expensive so I still advocate the original model.

The Kiev 88 is a copy of the Hasselblad 1000F. Originally known as the Salut – they later boasted a hot shoe and renamed the model the Kiev 80. A few more improvements lead to the classic Kiev 88 design.

I’ve covered this camera on the show before, but not in a full deep dive review. Today we will finally do that!


Kiev 88 on Camerapedia –
The Arax Kiev 88 Site –
My original video on the Kiev 88 from 2012 –