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My experiences with soviet cameras

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Soviet cogitations: 40
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Dec 2010, 17:54
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 23 Nov 2011, 00:16
I have been collecting and using Soviet cameras for about a year now, and I love them. They are really great, fun to use, and durable. Great optics too.
Here is the brand new Zenit Automat I bought for 100 bucks. Made in 1990 yet never opened! Wont use it until Christmas:
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My personal favorite, and the most advanced soviet 35mm SLR, Zenit 19:
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Here are some example photos from it that I took (using japanese fujifilm):
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I really like my Zenit 19. The Helios-44M-4 Lens is pretty much the ideal 58mm Prime lens, sharp, wonderful bokeh, plentiful and cheap. (not to mention well made)

I also have a lot of other soviet cameras, a FED-5, more Zenits (122, 12, TTL, E, 3m), a Smena Symbol, Elikon Avtofocus, and Kiev 4.
But my favorite has to be my 1982 manufacture Zenit 19, made in the Moscow suburb of Krasnogorsk.
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Soviet cogitations: 1
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jan 2012, 16:27
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 20 Jan 2012, 16:30
The Zenit is great, I have a Zenit 12, but I really recommend Praktica cameras-the MTL series was in my opinion the best SLR system in the Eastern Bloc, with great reliable and ergonomic design. The Pentacon Six, a massive East German 120 film SLR, is also an awesome beast, and one has to love the Soviet Lubitel TLRs as well.
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Soviet cogitations: 1277
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
Party Member
Post 25 Feb 2012, 13:19
WOW! You take some beautiful pictures. Are you a professional? My grandmother would often tell me that soviet cameras were great but this is the first time I've ever seen such clear pictures taken with one. Here in Ukraine it's very easy to buy soviet cameras but I've never seen one in such perfect condition as the ones you have.
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My laws shall act more pleasure than command,
And with my prick I'll govern all the land.
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 25 Feb 2012, 15:46
Yeqon wrote:
WOW! You take some beautiful pictures. Are you a professional? My grandmother would often tell me that soviet cameras were great but this is the first time I've ever seen such clear pictures taken with one. Here in Ukraine it's very easy to buy soviet cameras but I've never seen one in such perfect condition as the ones you have.


think we might be able to arrange something? Id love to own one and i have a friend id like to give one as a gift.
How expensive are they normally?
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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Soviet cogitations: 1020
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2011, 15:17
Party Member
Post 25 Feb 2012, 15:50
Yeah, those are really fantastic pictures. I'm quite impressed.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 25 Feb 2012, 19:35
+1 to what Yeqon and khlib said. It really amazes me sometimes how much talent of all sorts one can find on the internet. Perhaps this is the real future of art.


With regard to the cameras, I'm glad you're enjoying them Aeroflot. This was one of the many technologies that a lot of perestroika-era Soviet liberal economists and Western commentators forgot about when talking about the complete backwardness and inefficiency of the economy. Back in 1990 the country produced nearly 3 million photo cameras, while last year only something like 15,000 were made in the RF, according to national statistics...
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 124
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2012, 00:06
Unperson
Post 31 Mar 2012, 13:08
Imagine if Russia remained under Tsarist rule. They should had been forced to import cameras from imperialist America rather than have no option but to manufacture them themselves. Zenith appears to have good quality. Pictures have perfect contrasts. Can you give me the website where I can buy them, Aeroflot? or can you sell one to me on December when I probably would have enough money for it?
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Soviet cogitations: 21
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Apr 2012, 17:05
Pioneer
Post 29 Apr 2012, 01:27
Aeroflot

I attempted to send you a PM, it shows in my "outbox" so I am not sure if it was sent or not?
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 29 Apr 2012, 01:35
It will be in the outbox until he reads it.
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Soviet cogitations: 21
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Apr 2012, 17:05
Pioneer
Post 29 Apr 2012, 01:37
Loz wrote:
It will be in the outbox until he reads it.


Thank you very much, Loz!
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 40
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Dec 2010, 17:54
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 10 Oct 2012, 15:12
Well I am back, with some information for those who asked.

The best place to get a Zenit is actually eBay. The more advanced ones (19, 18, Automat) fetch a higher price. The 12 and 122 are developed versions of the TTL/E, very nice to handle although simple. The TTL/12/122 have no auto, but has a match-needle to indicate exposure.

Average price for a good condition Zenit is $35-$100 depending on model, lens.

I recently got the Zenitar-M 16mm fisheye, it was made in 2000 but designed in 1990.

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Found this on a walk through town, a Yugoslavian Artillery Gun, a copy of a USSR design, in small town USA.
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Another option for USSR produced cameras comes out of Kiev, made by Arsenal. Its name is...Kiev. (Original, I know.)
Its a Sovietized Nikon Nikkormat, well at least thats the simplest way to put their 35mm SLR.
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So far I only shot 1 roll of Black and White film through it, these are the three I think are worth sharing:
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American Infrastructure at its best, a Telephone Junction Box. Verizon, a network ahead. (Ignore non-fios areas and never upgrade them, do trash bag repairs to enhance profit)
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I enjoy these cameras a lot! They tend to be more fun to use than ones made by the Japanese etc.
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Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 10 Oct 2012, 20:27
Somehow black and white seems to suit better. Nice work
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 221
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Feb 2013, 06:55
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Pioneer
Post 05 Feb 2013, 03:28
I plan on buying an East German PRAKTICA BX20 one day when I get the money. But those are some lovely pictures you took! And very great quality! It rivals the quality of today's cameras!
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Soviet cogitations: 54
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Nov 2013, 03:30
Unperson
Post 08 Mar 2014, 01:55
Do these SLRs use batteries just like my Pentax film SLR? I'm kinda groping in the dark if all SLRs use batteries to charge the gadgets for aperture and shutter speed. Can somebody clear these things for me. I want to buy Soviet cameras too one day.
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