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

Close-up accessories: extension tubes and bellows

[C215-8:  Two Pentacon Six tubes being used on the 
Kiev B.i.G. to photograph a postage stamp.]

Poor manufacturing tolerances also prevent the use of some other accessories.  These problems may not be entirely due to the Kiev B.i.G.  Thus, my Panagor 2x converter, the mount of which is clearly not manufactured to tight enough tolerances, does fit the Pentacon Six and Kiev 60 without any problems, but will not rotate fully into position on the Kiev B.i.G.  Though it is usable, it will not lock in place, and the aperture pin therefore cannot fully open the lens diaphragm.

Of the two “Russian” (i.e., Kiev) extension tubes supplied with the Kiev 60, the shorter one will not fit in the Kiev B.i.G. at all, although it will fit the Kiev 60, the Pentacon Six and the Exakta 66.  As all five East German tubes fit the Kiev B.i.G. without problems, this must again be a question of tolerances in the manufacture of the tube – although if it had been possible to fit a totally standard Pentacon Six breech-lock bayonet mount on the Kiev B.i.G., there would have been no difficulties even with these accessories.

[C213-21:  Pentacon Six bellows used on the Kiev B.i.G.,
with the smallest East-German close up tube mounted first,
to enable access to the shutter release.]

It is also not possible to use the East German bellows directly on the Kiev B.i.G., as the wide back-plate of the bellows prevents access to the shutter release.  However, unless one wishes an extension equivalent to using the bellows at minimum extension, it is possible to fit a small extension tube first, and then add the bellows, thus enabling the shutter release to be used.

To see the use of the Exakta 66 bellows on the Kiev B.i.G., click here.

For information on bellows that may be usable on the original Kiev 88 (non-B.i.G. modification) see here.

In fact, the shutter and lens release buttons have been moved from their usual position on the Kiev 88.  On the Kiev B.i.G., the shutter release, which includes a standard thread for cable release, is mounted a fraction of an inch to the right (viewed from above) of its standard position, onto the right-hand side of the body, facing forward at a slight angle.  This is very comfortable to operate.  The lens release button is mounted on the left-hand side of the body, and is also easily accessible, as can be seen from the following picture.

[C213-6:  The shutter release can here be seen under the forefinger, with the lens release next to the thumb.
See how comfortably the Kiev B.i.G./Kiev 88 sits in the hand, with all controls conveniently-placed.  Move the forefinger slightly to use the stop-down lever on the lens.  Focus, meter and change aperture or shutter speed with the right hand.]

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© TRA February 2002.  Latest upgrade: July 2020