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


[C213-6:  This cube-shaped camera fits comfortably in the hand]

The Kiev B.i.G. is a medium format single lens reflex camera based on the well-known Kiev 88, itself largely inspired by the Hasselblad 1000F, first produced in 1952.  The Kiev 88 is manufactured by Zavod Arsenal (usually translated “Arsenal Works”) in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and versions of the Kiev 88 have been produced under various names (Salyut, Zenit 80, Kiev 80, etc.) over the past forty-plus years.

The Kiev B.i.G. was first announced in 1994, and has been available since 1996 from Brenner Spezial Foto-Versand in Germany.  “B.i.G.” is Brenner’s brand name, and the camera may be available from some other suppliers under a slightly different name.  They now seem to be calling it the "B.i.G.-Six".

Brenner report that a group of former Arsenal employees set up a private company to produce this modified and improved version of the Kiev 88, which seeks to eliminate the main faults commonly found in the basic model, as well as providing an improved lens mount and better quality control.  In this review we shall see to what degree they have been successful.

It would appear from what Brenner says that this is therefore not the same camera as the Kiev 88 with the Pentacon Six mount (sometimes referred to as a “Kiev SIX”) that is apparently now being produced as an option by Zavod Arsenal.

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Note: camera design moves on, and the Kiev 88 cameras available new from Michael Fourman of Kiev Camera since February 2002 are a big improvement on this model.  To contact Kiev Camera, go to the Links page.


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