The Kiev B.i.G.
A review written in 1998
by TRA

In what ways is the Kiev B.i.G. better?

The Kiev B.i.G. aims to correct the main design faults of the Kiev 88, especially by eliminating internal reflections and light leaks and providing an improved lens mount.

Internal reflections

[C232-61:  Black shutter curtain on the Kiev B.i.G.]

The focal plane shutter in the Kiev 88 is made of brass-coloured metal curtains, which apparently introduce reflections within the camera body that degrade the image falling on the film.  Non-blacked metal components within the mirror box add further reflections.  In the Kiev B.i.G., all these components and both sides of the shutter curtains have been effectively coated in a matt black finish.  The floor of the mirror box is also covered in a matt flock-finish material that successfully eliminates reflections, and “ghosting” and other unwanted reflections have been totally absent from all negatives that I have exposed on the Kiev B.i.G., so this improvement has obviously been completely successful.

Light leaks

Another source of problems apparently frequently encountered with the Kiev 88 (and not unknown on the Hasselblad!) is the seal between the camera body and the film magazines, and the slot within each magazine into which the “dark slide” – a metal sheet – is inserted before removing the magazine from the body.  Light leaks here obviously cause unacceptable degradation to the image on the negative.  The careful installation of the light seal during manufacture of the magazines should prevent light leakage into the dark slide slot, and adjustment of the body catches that hold the magazine in place should avoid the same problem between magazine and body.

The Kiev B.i.G. has not introduced design changes here, although quality control is supposed to prevent faulty magazines from reaching the public.  I have to report that this is only partially successful, and I had to return one 645 magazine and the Polaroid back to Brenner because of light leaks.  The replacements supplied have been problem-free.

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© TRA February 2002, November 2005  Minor formatting improvements: November 2018