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My Russian Cameras
Although most of my collection is devoted to Mamiya 35mm cameras, I do have a modest collection of other cameras, from early Kodak folders to an old (but still functional) Burke & James 8x10 View Camera (that I am getting ready to restore). The cameras on this page include my Russian-made 35mm rangefinders, SLR and medium-format folders that were manufactured in the old Soviet Union. However, I do not have any technical information about them, beyond what you read here.

A Brief History
Production of the "FED" version of these Leica copies was begun in 1934. The similar Zorki rangefinders were first produced in Krasnogorsk, a suburb of Moscow, at a factory named for the location, beginning in 1948. The factory, locally known as KMZ, the "Krasnogorsk Mekanicheski Zavod" (Krasnogorsk Mechanical Factory) has produced many Soviet cameras in addition to the Zorki, including the Zenit 35mm, the Zenit 80, the Horizont, the FT-2 and the Mir. The KMZ still produces cameras today. Write to me if you have FED, Zorki or Mir information to share.

Fed-1 NKVD   Fed-1 NKVD top
FED type 1(C) (c.1939)

One of the earliest FED known  
One of the earliest FED Rangefinders ? (c.1934)

The Russian FED Rangefinder
The name "FED" comes from the initials of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police. The FED-1 (c.1934-55) was the earliest successful Leica II(D) copy, and the only one achieving any measure of success before WWII. I have several FED 35mm rangefinder cameras in my collection, although not all of them are illustrated here.

FED NKVD CCCP & YCCP Rangefinder
The camera pictured above (top row; serial number 124420) has the FED NKVD CCCP logo engraved on the top plate, which would indicate it is a FED type(1d) with a manufacture date of 1939-41. However, the serial number is low enough to be a FED type(1c) made from 1935-39 (the 1c usually had a "YCCP" engraved, instead of the "CCCP"). These facts would seem to indicate this camera was produced during that transition, which would be a date of about 1939.

One of the Earliest FED Rangefinders?
The FED rangefinder pictured above, (bottom row - with the yellow filter; serial number 3214), if authentic, would be one of the earliest FED known. However, many FED rangefinders were repaired at the factory, or otherwise altered, so that statement has to be somewhat tempered. This camera has the Cyrillic "FED" logo and the distinctive "hammer & sickle" that indicates it as one of the first FED cameras made (c.1934), a very rare camera. Like typical FED rangefinders, it has removable bottom plates for film loading, and the lens is a collapsible 50mm Fed f/3.5 (apparently an early lens, with no serial number) with shutter speeds of B, 1/20, 1/30, 1/40, 1/60, 1/100, 1/200 and 1/500. It has a focus lever near the body mount to assist in focusing.

FED-2 Rangefinder, with blue covering (c.1958)

"Blue" FED-2 Rangefinder
The FED-2 cameras were produced from 1955 into the 1970's. All models had a removable back, and a combined viewfinder/rangefinder. From 1956-on they included a self-timer and flash sync. Early models had a large, milled advance knob, and a collapsible lens similar to those on the earliest FED models. Models, like the one pictured above, made after 1958, had a new, smaller milled-edge advance knob, and non-collapsible lenses with a large milled collar. Body coverings were predominantly black, but examples do exist with coverings in dark red, dark green, grey, sand and (like above) in very dark blue. The various colors are found much less often than black.

Zorki-2C "Festival" Rangefinder
This camera is a rare Zorki-2C (serial number 57169574), produced in late 1957. It is rare in that it was produced specifically for the Moscow International Festival of Youth (held in 1957), and factory-engraved accordingly (see inset of engraving on left side of top plate, bottom right).

The "2C" designation (see inset, below) is a misnomer peculiar to English translations of the camera's Russian name. The apparent "C" is actually the letter "S" in the Cyrillic alphabet. The camera has a removable bottom for film loading; shutter speeds from B, 1/30 to 1/500; the 5cm Industar-50 f/3.5 lens (serial number 5845953); a self-timer and a synch post on the front of the top housing, the same features of the regular Zorki-2 (c.1955-60). It also has a milled lens collar, instead of the usual focus knob.

Zorki-2C Name Engraving
Zorki 2-C Top Plate

Zorki 2C International Youth Festival 1957
ZORKI 2-C (c.1957)

Youth Festival Engraving
Engraving commemorating the
Moscow International Federation of Youth

ZORKI-3 Rangefinder (c.1951-55)
Zorki-3 Rangefinder
The Zorki-3 (left, c.1951-55) was a new design, with more cast-metal parts, a longer body and a tallerer top housing than the 2-C. It also had a larger 1:1 viewfinder combined with a 39mm base rangefinder. The slow speed dial was located on the front of the camera body, and some came with a locking feature.


ZORKI 3-C (c.1955)
Zorki-3C Rangefinder
The Zorki-3C (below left, c.1955-56) was similar to the Zorki-3 and Zorki-3M (not pictured), but with a new longer top housing. The sync contact was on the top front of the housing, and it had no self-timer. Like the 3M, the slow speeds had been combined with the fast speeds in a single top dial. Using a cloth focal plane shutter, the Zorki-3C had a fully removable back for film loading, and shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/1000, including B.

This particular camera (serial number 5504427) was produced in early 1955, and has a 5cm Jupiter-8 f/2.0 lens (serial number 5434084).

Commemorative Zorki-4 Rangefinder
The Zorki-4 (c.1956-73) was virtually identical to the Zorki-3C, but with a self-timer. It has a focal plane shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/1000. It was the most common Zorki, with more than 1.7 million manufactured. Variants could be found with Roman lettering, as well as Cyrillic, and it could also be with or without a viewfinder bezel (as this one is).

This particular model (serial number 67632645) was produced in 1967, has a 5cm Industar-50 f/3.5 lens, and is in excellent condition. Rarer than most Zorki-4's because of its edition, this Zorki was stamped (see picture below, right) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1967. The commemorative Zorki-4 usually brings about 33 percent more in the collectible market.

Zorki-4 50th Anniversary Commemorative
ZORKI-4 (c.1967)

Zorki-4 Top Plate
Stamped in commemoration of the
50th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution
Russian Mir (Peace) Camera
MIR ("Peace") Rangefinder (c.1960)

Mir Rangefinder
Also produced in the Krasnogorsk factory, the Mir (Russian for "Peace") rangefinder (c.1959-61) was essentially similar to the Zorki-4, with removable back and self-timer, but it did not have the slower shutter speeds.

This particular Mir (serial number 6054035) was produced in 1960 and has a 50mm Jupiter-8 f/2.0 lens (serial number 6029681), and is in excellent condition, although it does have a few very faint cleaning marks on the lens. Surprisingly, the Mir is uncommon today, and can bring three- to five-times the price of a Zorki-4 at auction.

START SLR (c.1958)
Start SLR
This Russian SLR (left, c.1958-64) was apparently inspired by the early Exacta. The bayonet-mount lenses of the Start (the Russian translation of its engraved Cryllic nameplate) have Exacta-style shutter release arms. It has a cloth focal-pane shutter, and settings include B and 1-1000. The normal lens was a 58mm Helios f/2. Once considered very uncommon, they are appearing in the market with more regularity, although finding one in operating condition is often still a challenge.

ZARYA ("Dawn") Rangefinder (c.1959)
Zarya Rangefinder
The Zarya (bottom left, Russian for "Dawn" - c.1959) was similar in many ways to the FED-2, but it had a restyled and simplified top housing, using just a viewfinder, without the rangefinder. This camera is also rare in auction, and fetches a surprisingly good bid on the occasions it does appear.

ZARYA Engraved Cryllic Name

ZENIT EM (c.1980)
Zenit EM
Zenit is a name associated with Russian SLR cameras at least as far back as 1952. The model line is still being produced today. This model is the Zenit EM (c.1965-81). It has an uncoupled selenium meter and an automatic diaphragm, using a 44mm Helios lens. In 1980, it was made in many combinations of chrome or black body, with two different Olympic logos commemorating the Russian hosting of the games that year.

This one has "Moshva 80" and the five interlocking Olympic rings on the front of the top housing (see detail immediately below). Another version had the Olympic rings at the base of a tower (like the Zenit TTL shown next). During its years of manufacture it was also sold as the Revueflex-EM and Cosmorex-SE.

ZENIT TTL (c.1980)
Zenit TTL
This particular camera model is the Zenit TTL (c.1977-85). Similar to the Zenit EM shown above, it has stopped-down match-needle metering, and an automatic diaphragm. Its standard lens is a 44mm Helios. It was made in many combinations of chrome or black body, and could have either Cyrillic or Latin lettering (like this one).

This particular one was produced in 1980, and has the five interlocking Olympic rings and a stylized torch on the top housing. During its years of manufacture it was also sold as the Cambron-TTL by Cambridge Camera in the USA.

Kiev-4 Rangefinder
The Kiev-4 rangefinder (right, c.1957) continued a model line begun in 1947. The first Kiev cameras were assembled from Zeiss-Ikon parts, and the total first-year production has been estimated from a few dozen to a few hundred. Modeled after the Contax III, it has a focal plane shutter with speeds from 1/2 to 1/1250, including B, a flash sync on the front of the body, milled rewind and film advance knobs and a self-timer. It used a 50mm Jupiter-8 f/2 lens. Production of the Kiev-4 model ended in 1980.

KIEV-4 Rangefinder

Another addition to my Russian collection is this 35mm Kristal camera (right, c.1961-62). It was produced by the Krasnogorsk factory (if my references are correct, for only two years, with production ending completely in 1962). Introduced at the same time as the Zenit-3, the Kristal had several features borrowed from the Zorki-5 and Zorki-6, all housed in a body heavily influenced by 1940s art deco. The body was finished in either a black or grey hammertone enamel (like this one), with art-deco ribs.


MOSKVA-5 (c.1956)
Another new addition to my Russian collection is this medium-format (120 film) Moskva-5 (Moscow) rangefinder (left). Produced by Krasnogorsk from 1956-60, it was essentially a copy of the Zeiss Super Ikonta C. It also borrowed heavily from the Bessa II. Unlike the Super Ikonta's pressed metal body, the Moskva-5 body was die-cast. It has a streamlined top housing with integral optical finder. An optional mask allows for 6x9 or 6x6cm images. It has a 10.5cm Industar-24 f/3.5 lens, in a Moment-24S 1-250 synchronized shutter.

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