Lens Mounts: Kiev-88

Pekka Buttler, January 2024

To use a wikipedia term, this article is a stub (I’ll extend it with further material later…)

Basic information about the Kiev-88 mount

First off, and to avoid any subsequent confusion: the Kiev-88 mount is medium format SLR mount. If you know the implications of the larger format, skip this intro. Otherwise: read on.

That the Kiev-88 mount is a medium format mount has two major implications:
1) Kiev-88 lenses (alike other medium format lenses) are designed to produce a much larger image circle, in order to cover the much greater frame size of 120-format film. In general, this also means that medium format interchangeable lenses tend to be bigger than their ‘full frame’ or 135-format counterparts.
2) As the frame is larger, so too is the mirror, and unavoidably, so too is the mirror box. This leads to that the Kiev-88 mount’s s flange focal distance is a very generous 82,1 mm. This has significance for adapting such lenses.

Origins of the Kiev-88 mount

The Kiev-88 mount is a proprietary lens mount used by a Soviet series of medium format modular system cameras, modelled after the Swedish Hasselblad 1600 F / 1000 F.
This Series contained the following models:
• Salyut / Салют (1957–1972)
• Salyut-S / Салют-С (1972–1980) (sometimes also called Kiev-80)
• Kiev-88 / Киев-88 and Kiev-88 TTL / Киев-88 TTL (1979–?)
• Kiev-90 / Киев-90

Further, there used to be a number of export versions of the Salyut-S/Kiev 88 which made international appearances under a wide range of names, including Zenit-80/Zenith-80, Kiev-Six, Vitoflex, Kalimar Sixty-Six, Revue 6×6 and Soyuz.

At some stage1 the people in the Kiev 88 community came to the conclusion that the Kiev-88 mount was more of a burden than an asset. As a result, it became somwehat popular to have your Kiev-88 camera modified to use a Pentacon Six mount. In the end2 even the manufacturers agreed and started offering a Kiev 88 body that had a Pentacon Six mount. That version goes under the name Kiev 88 CM. Point is, if you buy a Salyut/Salyut-S/Kiev-88, etc., it is possible that its mount has already been modified.

Specifications of the Kiev 88 mount:

Mount type: It’s complicated (lens release on body)
Flange focal distance: 82,1 mm
Film format: 6 cm x 6cm (‘Medium Format’)
Mount communication: One lever for aperture stop-down (camera to lens).

When I say “it’s complicated” (the Kiev 88 mount type) this is because the Kiev 88 mount uses almost3 the same mount as the Hasselblad 1600/1000. That mount in turn is sometimes referred to as a bayonet mount, sometimes as a thread mount, sometimes as a “multi start thread” or “coarse thread mount”.

The point is, that you insert the length into the mount, and twist it (ca. 90 °) into place, where it locks (like a bayonet mount). However, if you look at the lens’ mount, you will see a number of very coarse (and short) threads. In effect, the lens mount is based on threads (that draw the lens in towards the body when you rotate it), but also has a locking mechanism.

Adapting Kiev 88 lenses:

First off, with Kiev 88 lenses being medium format lenses, they produce an image circle that comfortably covers all regular (APS-C to digital medium format) sensor sizes. Moreover, users of adapted Kiev-88 lenses are likely to be blessed by an effect called the ‘crop factor advantage’ 4. Furthermore, there is a wide range of ready-made adapters for adapting Kiev-88 lenses on digital cameras available, including adapters by some well-known adapter makers.

On the other hand, given that crop factor and the fact that no focal reducers for Kiev-88 lenses currently exist, people who adapt Kiev-88 lenses will have no lenses that are able to produce a rectilinear wide-angle image5. Moreover, due to the Kiev-88’s massive6 flange focal distance, even relatively small Kiev-88 lenses will look big on dSLR’s and huge on mirrorless cameras.

But, that large difference in flange focal distances, combined with the greater-than-modern image circle also opens up one very interesting usage scenario for those adapting Kiev-88 lenses, namely Tilt and Shift adapters.

Identifying the Kiev 88 mount:

A visual guide will be added later, sorry.


  1. I have no idea when this started happening, so people are welcome to inform me. ↩︎
  2. Ditto. ↩︎
  3. Based on online accounts, cross-compatibility is somewhat hit/miss. ↩︎
  4. The ‘crop factor advantage’ refers to that when using a lens on a smaller film/sensor than originally intended, only the centre-portion of the image circle is used, thereby lessening vignetting and avoiding or ameliorating many off-centre aberrations (such as field curvature and astigmatism). ↩︎
  5. The widest rectilinear lens for the Kiev-88 mount is the 45 mm Mir-26 which – when used on a full-frame camera – will give you the same angle of view as the Contax Zeiss 45 mm Tessar. ↩︎
  6. The Kiev-88’s flange focal distance (82,1 mm) is big compared to dSLR’s FFD’s (44–46,5 mm) and massive compared to that of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (16–26,7 mm). On the other hand, among other 6×6 format SLR’s the Kiev-88’s flange focal distance is in the medium range (min: Rollei SLX: 74,00 mm; max Rollei SL66: 102,8 mm) . ↩︎

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