I bought this from a customer at a vintage fair I had a stall at. The funny thing about the fair, I came away with more cameras than I took. Many people coming up to me saying they had a film camera at home and would I like to buy it. Mostly I said no, but I said yes to this one. I looked at ones sold on eBay and halved the price, that was the fee I was willing to pay and they accepted. This one is mechanical so I could see it worked quite well, but you never know. It was definitely missing the take up spool so I would have to buy one of those.
As the title says there are a few versions of this camera, this is the second. It was produced between 1969-1980. That is quite a long production time. You can find all the technical details you might like here. I love these old Russian cameras, they just work and rarely seem to stop. They look like bricks and last like them too. This example came with the regular Industar 61 lens. I tried it with with a collapsible jupiter lens, but it didn’t seem to work quite as well. After I put in a 100 asa film and took it to a couple of historical places. First to Chatham Dockyard and then finished the film at Battle Abbey, the site of the Battle of Hastings.
I found carrying the camera a little awkward due to the lack of strap rings. That meant I had to rely on the original camera case and strap which was a little thin. I really wanted to cut it and replace it with another, but that seemed wrong. The long length of the strap did mean I could carry it over my shoulder instead of around my neck. The viewfinder was small, but the second image was nice and clear. The camera has an uncoupled selenium cell sensor with a match the needle type indicator. I relied on that at both locations. Loading the film was fine, but unloading it was a bit of a pain due to the lack of a lever. There is a thumb wheel and boy is it hard to move, and that is even after you have managed to put it in reverse mode. To do that you have to rotate the collar around the shutter release in a clockwise direction. That was not easy if you have got to the very end of the film. This reviewer also mentioned this system as a bit unconventional. I wasn’t actually sure it was rewinding until I felt the film finally give way.
Here are my test shots.
Well would you look at that. All perfectly exposed, well done light meter. The lens is nice and sharp too. What a cracker. Still not sure it is worth the weight though. If this was your only film camera then yes it is. But if you have other, lighter choices…hmmmm tough choice. I think I prefer the Zorki 4 and the Fed 2 to this one for a variety of reasons.