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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Soviet Cameras 1 - Intro and Zorki 3M

[Camera - 35mm - Rangefinder]

The purpose here is to make brief comments about some Soviet era cameras I own or owned. Those aren’t in-depth reviews, just my own impressions about some interesting cameras. They are cheap, fun and plenty available on second-hand market. 

People tend to exaggerate when talking about the so-called “Soviet Leicas”. Some people says they are even better than the german counterparts  and others says they are total junk. The true is something between the two opinions.

They are all derivatives from the Leica I in terms of mechanics and basic design but they have some pretty evident differences.

What’s good ?

They are affordable. Very.
You can use any M39 screw mount Leica lenses (and compatibles) on them
They’re simple mechanically
They’re usually tough
And durable

What’s bad ?

The rangefinders are not very precise
Some gears are made of very bad materials
Some suffer from a very bad quality control

The good thing is if they break you can buy another one for less than fixing it.
I own/owned all the cameras shown here. Most of them were sold.

Zorki 3M with a nice lens set !
For me, this one is the best looking soviet camera ever made. The one above was custom painted in black enamel and looks really great ! The shutter speeds are B plus 1s to 1/1000s but the shutter speed selector is extremely fragile and has pieces made in aluminum. To be honest it’s not well projected and very prone to break.

The viewfinder is one of the best on soviet made cameras, big and clear.

The objectives, from left to right are: Industar-22 50/3.5 , Jupiter-8 50/2 , Jupiter-12 35/2.8 and Russar MR-2 20/5.6 and it’s related viewfinder.

Important: Always cock the shutter BEFORE changing speeds, otherwise the shutter may break. It's a project flaw of all of those "Leica derivatives" soviet cameras, except for the Zorki-6.

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