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FSU Former Soviet Union RF This forum is for the Former Soviet Union rangefinder cameras, especially the many and various Fed, Zorki, and Kiev.

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Old 01-29-2017   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

Very interesting, thanks.

For what it's worth, as a kid oranges were only available for me around Christmas and the same for some apples and so on. Nowadays, of course, we have plastic supermarket apples and fruit and it's available all the year but not worth bothering with, imo.

Regards, David
That's exactly right. I suspec this is tha reason that growing up I only once met a kid who had allergies (to poplar fluff). Once in my entire life there. Both my kids have allergies now..
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Old 01-29-2017   #42
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Another interesting question is: Why did the soviets make it so hard to date their cameras and lenses?
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Old 01-29-2017   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
Another interesting question is: Why did the soviets make it so hard to date their cameras and lenses?
Are you referring to "dinner and a movie, walk back home, kiss goodnight at the door, maybe staying overnight" type of a date?
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Old 01-29-2017   #44
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Quote:
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Fair enough, and thanks for actual numbers, but how meaningful was "average" salary in a wildly unequal society such as China in 1986? Or even today?

Cheers,

R.
Before 1989, China still under tight planning type of economic, factory works started around 40 yuan per month salary. But 1984-1988 were fast growing years of China and ended up high inflation, unhappy salary employees, and 89 Tiananmen Square event.
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Old 01-29-2017   #45
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Regarding Soviet Union citizens and their dispensable money:

IIRC, I've been told that during the 1980s some Soviet citizen were willing to pay up to 500 USD (or Deutschmarks, but that was not so much less) for a pair of worn Blue Jeans as far as they were from the West.

Is that actually true?

I mean, one could read a couple of years ago that people in East Asia were willing to «donate» (well: sell) one of their kidneys for an iPhone, …
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Old 01-29-2017   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radi(c)al_cam View Post
Regarding Soviet Union citizens and their dispensable money:

IIRC, I've been told that during the 1980s some Soviet citizen were willing to pay up to 500 USD (or Deutschmarks, but that was not so much less) for a pair of worn Blue Jeans as far as they were from the West.

Is that actually true?

I mean, one could read a couple of years ago that people in East Asia were willing to «donate» (well: sell) one of their kidneys for an iPhone, …
Not true about 500$. In the middle of eighties we went at night to the rug store which was selling Made in USA jeans by special invitation. It didn't cost 500$. I was wearing them for four years. Speculants were also selling jeans and it didn't cost 500$. Even if they have to go in jail for it.
We also have "jeans like" from EE block available in the stores.
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Old 01-29-2017   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
Another interesting question is: Why did the soviets make it so hard to date their cameras and lenses?
I don't understand this question. FSU cameras and lenses are most easiest to deal with in terms of date. First two numbers are very often year of production.
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Old 01-29-2017   #48
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Quote:
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Another interesting question is: Why did the soviets make it so hard to date their cameras and lenses?
Match making date joke aside, FSU cameras are mostly easy to figure out the time of manufacture by year by looking at the camera's serial number in most cases.

Other cameras made in Japan or Germany or USA or the UK or other European nations that made cameras, one needs a specialist book or now online research to even find that info, if possible that is.
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Old 01-29-2017   #49
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Not true about 500$. In the middle of eighties we went at night to the rug store which was selling Made in USA jeans by special invitation. It didn't cost 500$. I was wearing them for four years. Speculants were also selling jeans and it didn't cost 500$. Even if they have to go in jail for it.
If it wasn't USD 500 (or Deutschmarks 500), do you recall the price then for these (illegal) items? Was it USD/DEM 200 perhaps?


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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
We also have "jeans like" from EE block available in the stores.
I know, but the Soviet people in the 1980s who wanted to show off that they have the money to buy (illegally) original US or Western European Blue Jeans despised the Eastern bloc «mimicry» Blue Jeans, I've learned
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Old 01-29-2017   #50
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In China, from early to mid eighties, we still preferred olive green and navy blue type of colors. Blue jeans were the same color of factory uniforms and not a fashion at that time. Until later eighties jeans started the popularity, every teenage wore one including me.
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Old 01-29-2017   #51
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If it wasn't USD 500 (or Deutschmarks 500), do you recall the price then for these (illegal) items? Was it USD/DEM 200 perhaps?
In eighties 99% of the Soviet people didn't know how much dollar was. We were not allowed to buy it. I don't recall jeans to be very expensive.
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Old 01-29-2017   #52
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Saw this on a local second hand shop.

Mid-90s, some Swedish photography magazine.

Second hand gears section, price in Swedish Kronor.
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Old 01-29-2017   #53
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Not true about 500$. In the middle of eighties we went at night to the rug store which was selling Made in USA jeans by special invitation. It didn't cost 500$. I was wearing them for four years. Speculants were also selling jeans and it didn't cost 500$.
I remember Latvian friends briefly after the wall dropped, roaming the flea market spending all the money they could on used Levi's (selling hereabouts for maybe 30DM), as they could sell them for three or four times that amount back home. Which would make it the equivalent of about 100DM, in 1990 - prices may have been higher when the wall was more of an obstacle (and USSR citizens had to buy at intermediate flea markets in Poland or Hungary), and they must have dropped soon after that, as all the USSR appeared to start trading Soviet photographic gear and army surplus for used jeans on German flea markets.
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Old 01-29-2017   #54
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
In eighties 99% of the Soviet people didn't know how much dollar was. We were not allowed to buy it. I don't recall jeans to be very expensive.
200 rubles
About a month of my fathers salary
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Old 01-29-2017   #55
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The first two numbers of the serial number date KMZ stuff, that's Zenit and Zorki etc but as I seem to have a 1933 Zorki I don't really believe that. OTOH, it has an Industar-22 lens on it starting its serial number with 53.

For short period, about 10 years, FED used the first digit but it didn't last long for obvious reasons. From memory 8 meant 1958 and 9 mean 1959 and so on but I can't be too sure and haven't the time to dig out the source for that. It works for my 60's cameras.

Otherwise (if I'm wrong) I've some 1925 and 1911 FED lenses...

Regards, David

Last edited by David Hughes : 01-30-2017 at 00:42. Reason: Second thoughts.
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Old 01-29-2017   #56
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From memory 8 meant 1958 and 9 mean 1959 and so on

Regards, David
I think Zorki 1c and 1d, from 1951 to 1955, have the same rule.
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This is a very interesting thread
Old 01-29-2017   #57
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This is a very interesting thread

Dear Board,

I have enjoyed reading this thread. I am particularly interested in the responses of posters who lived in Soviet bloc countries. For a typical suburban American kid growing up in the 1960's and 70's I welcome the chance to see an alternate perspective that is vastly different from what were told. I find that enlightening.

And I'm glad to know my Kiev 4AM is a 1965!

Regards,

Tim Murphy
Harrisburg, PA
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Old 01-30-2017   #58
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Yup! It proves that you should never trust politicians...

Worse still, are those hangers on who then pick up the ball and run with it.

Regards, David
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Yo
Old 01-30-2017   #59
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Yo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Murphy View Post
Dear Board,

I have enjoyed reading this thread. I am particularly interested in the responses of posters who lived in Soviet bloc countries. For a typical suburban American kid growing up in the 1960's and 70's I welcome the chance to see an alternate perspective that is vastly different from what were told. I find that enlightening.

And I'm glad to know my Kiev 4AM is a 1965!

Regards,

Tim Murphy
Harrisburg, PA

When I first asked I wasn't sure what kind of response I would get,
But the comments have been great! I'm more of a product of the 90's and old Russia has always had this mystery about it. It's really interesting to hear from people that actually lived there, and the info and pictures others have found.
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Old 01-30-2017   #60
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About putting a date to the manufacture of fsu cameras and lenses. I note that many of the replies include 'mostly', 'most cases', 'between the years', 'for a short period' etc. thus showing I wasn't far wrong. lol! The methods apparently changed over the years etc. why did they do that?
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Old 01-30-2017   #61
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The best source I know of to date FSU is
http://www.sovietcams.com/index.php?358713866
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Old 01-31-2017   #62
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Hi,

It's rather like early Leicas; you just have to interpolate the numbers and guess...

Regards, David
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Old 02-04-2017   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
inexpensive,
not exported to the West
so practically impossible to find outside the USSR and soviet friendly countries
I need to say that in the '60s -for instance- USSR-made cameras were officially imported and distributed in Italy by the "F.O.S. -Foto Ottica Sovietica", then from their successors, the Atemsa and Antares. All firms connected to the Olivetti company of Ivrea.

Later -I mean in the 80's, Soviet cameras (along with the DDR-made Prakticas and Pentacon), were imported and distributed by Cattaneo of Genoa, formerly importers of the Leitz/Leica products.

I remember also, that the so-called "No-name Contax" (actually, a non-branded Kiev-4A, mounting a Zeiss Jena Sonnar 50/2 lens), was imported and distributed in the USA.

All, well earlier the fall of the Berlin wall...

Re. the blue jeans affaire, I've been an exchange student in Warsaw, in 1986 and 1987. Besides the shortage of many goods, western-made jeans were not rare to find and with some "creativity", many polish young people were able to buy them at the officially "for foreigners only" Pewex" stores.
Besides that, I don't think that the KGB would have taken to the Lubyanka or Lefortovo a guy buying a pair of jeans (different if it would have been a "financial activity" in order to accumulate US-Dollars).
Regarding the price of cameras, I should look for the "Preiskurant" indicated on some original cardboard box's labels, but I remember that the rangefinder Kiev-4 ranked among the expensive cameras.

Best wishes,

Enzo (E.L.)
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Old 02-04-2017   #64
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
1962 prices from Soviet book by Bunimovitch "Camera choice".
Keiv-Vega - 22руб.50 коп. Smena - 11руб, Smena-2 13 руб, Smena-5 - 9 руб. Smena-6 13 руб. 50 коп. Zarya - 27 руб. Unost 27 руб. Zorki-С 28 руб, Zorki-2С with Industar 30 руб. Zorki-4 with Jupiter 61 руб. Zorki-5 with Industar-50 28 руб. Zorki-6 with I-50 43 руб. Fed-2 with I-10 26 руб. Mir with I-50 35 руб, with J-8 48 руб. Drug - 70 руб. Kiev 111А (если 83 руб. Kiev 4А -115 руб. Kiev 4 - 125 руб. Leningrad 125 руб. Zenit-С 50 руб. Zenit-3 80 руб. Start -130 руб!!! Lubitel-2 10 руб. Lubitel 8 руб. Estafeta - 24 руб. Unikor 6 руб. 50 коп. Iskra 85 руб. Moskva-4 24 руб. Moskvа - 5 26 руб. Salut - 400 руб (!) FT-2 43 руб. Sputnik - 26 руб. Narziss - 85 руб (suggested).
Those were the prices as I remember in the late sixties and early seventies. A loaf of bread was 0.12 RUB at that time, 0.5l Moskovskaya Vodka was 3.62RUB, 0.5l Stolichnaya Vodka was 4.12RUB . My initial engineer salary was 120RUB (1978).

selfie 1966 by Ilya, on Flickr

Last edited by IlyaB : 02-04-2017 at 07:53. Reason: correct spelling error
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Old 02-04-2017   #65
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Russian Rangefinder forum has similar thread on ten pages.
http://rangefinder.ru/club/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=15404

I'm helping with translation here.
Somewhere in fifties prices went down.



Zorki-2C 700 RUB, FED-2 550 RUB, Kiev-III around 2000 RUB.

FSU prices from fifties are 10:1 to later prices due to money reform (10:1 devaluation).


1955 Official shipping catalog with prices.









Lubitel listed around 100 RUB. Smena 200 RUB. Zorki 705 RUB. Kiev 2000 RUB. Kiev 2340. Average monthly salary around 740 RUB.

Zenit C was 700 RUB in 1959 with average monthly salary of 770 RUB.

Here is the wages table (monthly payments),

http://opoccuu.com/wages.htm

years on the left, next to it is average FSU salary. I'm finding it accurate from what I have read and what I have myself.

1962 prices from Soviet book by Bunimovitch "Camera choice".
Keiv-Vega - 22руб.50 коп. Smena - 11руб, Smena-2 13 руб, Smena-5 - 9 руб. Smena-6 13 руб. 50 коп. Zarya - 27 руб. Unost 27 руб. Zorki-С 28 руб, Zorki-2С with Industar 30 руб. Zorki-4 with Jupiter 61 руб. Zorki-5 with Industar-50 28 руб. Zorki-6 with I-50 43 руб. Fed-2 with I-10 26 руб. Mir with I-50 35 руб, with J-8 48 руб. Drug - 70 руб. Kiev 111А (если 83 руб. Kiev 4А -115 руб. Kiev 4 - 125 руб. Leningrad 125 руб. Zenit-С 50 руб. Zenit-3 80 руб. Start -130 руб!!! Lubitel-2 10 руб. Lubitel 8 руб. Estafeta - 24 руб. Unikor 6 руб. 50 коп. Iskra 85 руб. Moskva-4 24 руб. Moskvа - 5 26 руб. Salut - 400 руб (!) FT-2 43 руб. Sputnik - 26 руб. Narziss - 85 руб (suggested).

Руб is Rubl. Коп is kopeyka (1 Rubl is 100 Kopeyek).
Average monthly salary in 1962 - 84 RUB.


In seventies prices went up due to new models. But they kept same manufacturing, pricing strategy.
Cameras like Lubitel and Smena were very affordable. Zorki, FED were one, half-salary range. SLRs and Kiev more expensive. Medium format was even more expensive.
Salut-S was 435 RUB in 1979, monthly average salary 150 RUB.

Da ztrastvuet Souz Sovetskih Sozialisticheskich Resbublic!
i love this forum
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Old 02-04-2017   #66
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A great contribution, thank you (btw, that catalogue of Soyuzposyltorg is a most interesting document.

Enzo (E.L.)
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Old 02-15-2017   #67
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Saw this on eBay

Price of Helios-103 (the sharpest 35mm RF standard lens from FSU, suspected to be the 6-element 50/2 Summicron copy) in 1984

56 rub


How much was the Summicron from the same era?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #68
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As a British teenager in the mid 1970s, Zorkis and Kievs were the only affordable way into 'quality' rangefinder photography - or they were, at least until my Dad presented me with the Leica IIIC in my avatar (long story, but he effectively got that one for free - and it was then a typical, tired 'spotty chrome' 1950 model).

I recall buying a Zorki for something like £18, and - one by one, as I earned money by painting windows at home - a set of Jupiter lenses for the same kind of price per item
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btgc View Post
Speaking of slides, I've found and scanned one. People say it weren't Soviet or ORWO film.


Lost champions by mm35exp36, on Flickr
ORWOCHROM and other Soviet-era slides
http://club.foto.ru/forum/21/706757
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #70
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Actually, my first 35mm. camera, was a 1968-made Kiev-4A, bought back in 1975, when I was 16 years old. It was (almost) identical to my grandfather's Contax-II on which he taught me the fundamentals of photography and I could afford it with the money I was able to spare for the purpose of buying a good camera.

By the way, it still works flawlessly.

E.L.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #71
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See also http://rogerandfrances.eu/photography/new-second-hand (1963 prices UK)

Cheers,

R.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #72
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I remember in 1976 paying around £20 for a Zorki 4k in Cardiff, Wales . I was into potholing and wanted a decent camera, not my then current Nikkormat, to go down Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (take that autocorrect) and be able to use the split image rangefinder on a helmet lamp. Then I saw the bloke at the South Wales Caving Club with his Bronica and 6x6 slide show and was blown away...
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
inexpensive,
not exported to the West
so practically impossible to find outside the USSR and soviet friendly countries
The only source I remember was Cambridge Camera in NYC. And sometimes Olden advertized them.

Was Cambridge the only one importing them?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #74
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A lot depends on what you call "West". Outside the USA, it applies to rather more than the USA.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #75
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A lot depends on what you call "West". Outside the USA, it applies to rather more than the USA.

UK, Austria etc. were «soviet friendly countries», I suppose
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radi(c)al_cam View Post
UK, Austria etc. were «soviet friendly countries», I suppose
Well, I don't think that the UK could have been particularly "friendly" with the USSR.

Italy held a different position perhaps, due to the fact that in my country took place the biggest and better organized communist party outside the Warsaw Pact; but I don't think that this could have been the true reason of the regular and official import of cameras and optical equipment from the USSR, DDR, Czechoslowakia, etc. as reported in my post no. 63.

By the way, my first Kiev-4A was of a very "parallel" import to Italy. It arrived to one of the many photo stores in Venice that were regularly supplied by Soviet and East German sailors arriving to Venice's Harbour aboard of merchant vessels.

Best wishes,

Enzo (E.L.)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonhswebmaster View Post
The only source I remember was Cambridge Camera in NYC. And sometimes Olden advertized them.

Was Cambridge the only one importing them?
Kalimar sold Zenits and Lubitels under their own brand for quite some time, I don't think soviet cameras were as rare in the U.S. as one might expect.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #78
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Quote:
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UK, Austria etc. were «soviet friendly countries», I suppose
Da, tovarisch.

Actually, my dear old great grandmother Florence was a Party member. Her father was a very, very rich man (owned Ellacott's ironworks) who made unwise investments and lost all his money. Flo then did what any sensible young woman of the time would do and joined the Party. Her children (including my grandmother) were on the hard left of the Labour Party. My father, her grandson, was on the soft left of the Conservative Party into his 30s or 40s, but then moved rightwards. Regression to the norm, perhaps.

Cheers,

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #79
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Hi,

I would have said that the main reason for the imports had nothing to do with politics but a lot to do with people buying cheap and selling dear.

BTW, I've a collection of old photographic magazines, from the 20's onwards, and the first mention of a USSR made camera came in the early 40's but the writer of the article said that he had heard rumours of it (the 30's FED) years ago but had never seen anything to confirm it. In the next edition of the magazine was a letter from someone with another FED 1 and he bought it thinking it was an export version of a Leica...

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #80
Dralowid
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Dralowid is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,189
Quote:
Originally Posted by radi(c)al_cam View Post
UK, Austria etc. were «soviet friendly countries», I suppose
Well many of our ex Public School/Oxbridge old boys seem to have been working for them in one capacity or another...
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