|with expired Fuji Reala film, 2014|
Two years ago I purchased a Kiev 19, the older model, from a seller in Russia. It arrived with a Helios 50mm f/2 lens. The Helios lenses are in general, very good. My lens self-destructed last year, and I could not put it back together. However, because the Kiev 19 uses stop-down metering, I can use non-AI lenses as well as AI- lenses, so I certainly did not lack for a lens. In the photo above it has the very desirable and very good Vivitar 28mm 2.5 wide-angle lens attached.
The Kiev 19 has a vertically-travelling metal focal-plane shutter, B, 1/2 - 1/500 shutter speeds, a hot shoe, and a PC flash connector. It has a metal body, and in general, I believe is better made than the 19M. It's no Nikon FM, but it isn't a Cosina-made FM10, either.
With current prices for real Nikon F-mount film cameras being quite low, it may be hard to justify purchasing a Kiev 19 or 19M, especially considering the feature set. The stop-down metering may be a bit archaic for some, but it does work pretty well. One thing to watch for though, is to avoid light coming in through the eyepiece, which will throw off the metering. It's very sensitive to sidelight coming in.
I haven't used mine in a while, so it may be time to take it on my next road trip, in the hunt for red October, or maybe gray November.