What about FSUs


TPF Noob!
Jan 7, 2005
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Somewhere, over the rainbow.. (paris)
what about Former soviet union cameras? Even if much of them are copies of western camera (esp. leica and Zeiss-Ikon), some are very advanced (such as the Leningrad.)
Post your Soviet experiences, what you like and dislike, the historical parts of your gears...

I'm the very happy own of a Kiev IIIa, built in Kiev in 1956. It's equiped with a 1957 Jupiter 8, which is a truly great lens. Some crops I've made are much better than those I made with modern lenses!
It's a whisper quiet camera, emitting a light "clop" or "pfschuit" depending of the speed. Yes! It's much quieter than a Leica IIIf for exemple, because of the short distance the metal shutter have to do.
The super-large rf base is very practical when using the gorgeous Jupiter 9, a sonnar-cloned 2/85.
The grip is somehow special, but all the commands being under your right fingers (1st finger for realease, 2nd for focusing, the others for holding), it can be see as one of the first ergonomicaly-studied camera.

I love shooting with the hyperfocal (stopping down to 16 all is on focus from 1.5m to the infinite, 1m20 stopping at 22), it's a true "reportage" camera.
The only truble I have is a very slow 25th of a second, looking like a 15th, what causes lots of blured pics...:(

What about your CCCR gears?
Stef, my first Soviet era camera was a Zenit B, which I bought in Brno, former Czechoslovakia, in 1973. I had it for about 7 years, until I arrived in the US. At that point it decided to 'play dead' so I took it apart. The rest is posted on my collecting website, bellow my banner/signature.

The other interesting camera I have is the Zorkii 4 'Special Edition', the 50 Years Of Soviet Power (celebrating the 50th year since the October Revolution of 1917, which started the rule of the Communism in Russia). It's in mint condition, have not shot one roll with it since I bought it. Built like a tank, yet with a very fragile shutter. So fragile that it breaks down if you set the speeds first and then wind the film/cock the shutter. It should be done in reverse, wind up first and then set the shutter speed. Other than that, a simpler version of a Leica SM cameras.

There are some rarities, such as the SPORT camera, the very first 35mm SLR ever built, at the GOMZ factory, I believe in the early 1930s (1933?).


This is a frontal view of the SPORT.​


A view from the top. Observe the waist level finder magnifying glass.​


It used two cassettes like these above.​

This camera was sold a few weeks ago on Ebay and no, I didn't buy it. It was rather expensive. ;)

The other interesting little camera is the Narciss. A miniature SLR camera made in 1960 for a short time and which used 16mm unperforated film. It's on my list of 'Wanted'...:lol:

The lenses made for the Kiev are very good indeed, if you find one that really passed the Quality Control of the Communist era, which was pretty much non-existent. Based on other collectors' experiences, one needs about ten lenses in order to find a really good one. You are lucky indeed to have one of the good lenses.:)

That's all for now...​
Oh, by the way... Did I mention that I love your avatar? I'm a cat person.
Fortunetely, till around 58-59, Kiev cameras and Jupiter lenses were built by or under the supervision of German technicians.
I don't think the lenses inside the Jupiter are real Zeiss ones. They are close copies of the latters, though; but if you're lucky enough to find, say, a 1951 Jupiter 3 or 8, you'll be glad to find that, not only are they Sonnars clones, but also that they're REAL Zeiss lenses!
It explains the fantabulous quality of the "soviet" lens of the era.
Anyway, you can find a real zeiss-labeled Sonnar 1/5 or 2/50 for around 150$/€, the price you'd pay for a plastikish 1.8/50 AF lens....
well, I think I should call myself FSU RF collector. I've got a Leningrad, some Zorkis and Kievs (some are excellent, some are junk - same counts for lenses). in other words, I love soviet camera stuff (nearly all of them needed CLA but I like that kind of work) :)
that's cool santino!
When you buy a FSU camera, you don't only buy a camera. You buy history. The history of how you cam was made, its origin etc. Well, there's no history at all for some of them, but for the most famous ones there is. Kiev and the Zeiss-Ikon factories, FED and Fedor Djerzinsky, Zorki and Leica or the Lubitel, copied on a copy of the Rolleiflex.

I've also got a Pentacon, a big nice Praktica LLC. At the time it was released, Pentacon (late contax) claimed it was the first eletrically commanded lightmeter. Instead of having a cam transmitting the diaph position, an electric system did the job.
The lens that comes with it, a 1.8/50 Meyer optic, is unfortunetely out of order (fungus, sand etc) so i use a gorgeous SMC Takumar 2/55 of which I'm really pleased.
Otherwise, I got a 4/200 Pentacon, diaph jam on it, don't have the results yet.

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