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dll927
02-03-2005, 12:30
With some camera models, mainly FED or Zorki, I see ones called "export model". Is there some significance to this, other than maybe printing the brand name in something westerners can understand?

I've bought a couple of cameras from Russian/Ukraine dealers that came with instruction manuals that are definitely NOT export models. They are in Russian, which is Greek to me. Fortunately, the cameras work in any language.

pshinkaw
02-03-2005, 12:42
The conventional wisdom is that export models were better quality cameras than those for the ordinary workers of the USSR. However, I have not heard of anyone claiming that there was any quality control on ANY Soviet cameras. So how did anybody know which ones were best for the West?

Also, there was a strong belief back in the 60's that Japanese export cameras (those imported through the authorized importers) were qualitatively superior to those retained for the domestic market. This actually has some basis since the Japanes had standards and inspections. This may be the origin of this idea. Keep in mind that the East Asian work ethic was considerably different from that of the USSR. I'm sure that every worker at Nippon Kogaku felt ashamed when a defective Nikon was returned.

I think it may be a myth at the Soviet Export models were batter made. A lot of them are in better condition simply because they were exported and their Western owners didn't use them as much as their Soviet worker counterparts. I have examples of both and I can't really tell the difference.

-Paul

peter_n
02-03-2005, 13:21
My first SLR was an export Zenit 3M - I took it to the Soviet Union on a trip and the people there couldn't believe that it was made in the USSR. I think there may be something in it.

Solinar
02-03-2005, 15:49
The only difference I can see is one has Cyrillic script and the other may have Latin script. The parts are the same.

John Robertson
02-03-2005, 17:53
I bought my Fed 2 in Leningrad in 1962, when the lady serving me in the store found that
a. I was British and b, that I was paying in Dollars, she took the original camera back from me and brought another in different packaging. I think they were subjected to better quality control.

Oldprof
02-03-2005, 18:28
... I'm sure that every worker at Nippon Kogaku felt ashamed when a defective Nikon was returned ...



Yup ... they got so choked up they couldn't eat their ramen noodles.

pshinkaw
02-04-2005, 06:11
The comment seems alittle unnecessary, or perhaps I am reading more into it than is really present?

-Paul Masashi Shinkawa

mac_wt
02-04-2005, 06:40
I have a FSU lens with the distance in feet (I think on my fed 4; I have to look to be certain). I think this qualifies as an export version.

Wim

Pherdinand
02-04-2005, 06:58
"The conventional wisdom is that export models were better quality cameras than those for the ordinary workers of the USSR. However, I have not heard of anyone claiming that there was any quality control on ANY Soviet cameras. So how did anybody know which ones were best for the West?"

I dunno about the soviets and their cameras, but i spent my youth in the communist Romania. There was a quality control. EVERYTHING that was of a reasonably quality, was exported. From potatoes to components of a nuclear power plant (no joke - France bought lots of these before 1989 from a factory right in my town). Only stuff that were defective, useless or absolutely necessary were sold to us in the shops. Occasionally, workers managed to steal some of the "good stuff" out from the factory and distributed it within the bigger family/friends, like, salami and other non-homemade food products.
Saying about a camera, car, cassette player you had that it's "export quality" was a common equivalent of saying "hi-fi" today.

In some communist countries it was a bit better (eastern germany e.g.), in some it was worse (no examples here) but it was a general attitude to keep the Image of the Country and the System as good as possible.

Oldprof
02-04-2005, 10:15
The comment seems alittle unnecessary, or perhaps I am reading more into it than is really present?

-Paul Masashi Shinkawa

Paul, I apologize for giving offense. None was intended. I don't think there is anything racist or insensitive in saying that Americans eat hamburgers, Germans eat sauerkraut, and Japanese eat noodles. But I do understand how remarks concerning ethnic groups can be seen as insulting. I have nothing but the highest respect for the Japanese people and their many wonderful products - and I try to have the same respect for all human beings. My comment was intended as a satirical comment on how much a factory worker might actually be aware and be upset by one defective item that slipped through the production line.

pshinkaw
02-04-2005, 10:51
Oldprof:

I appreciate your apology. Thank you.

Now getting back to cameras...

I suspect that the average Japanese camera factory worker, when looking in the mirror in the morning was probably not asking themselves how they could produce better cameras that day. However management probably expected them to maintain that attitude throughout the production process. My point is that the industry had high expectations for the quality of the entire production process and had ways of pushing that agenda. If that ever existed in the Soviet bureaucracy, it did not migrate very far downstream.

Based on what others have posted here, I'm willing to concede that the made in the USSR or CCCP engraving probably meant that there was some qualitative difference in the camera. But, the examples I own (5 all together) do not show any differences.

-Paul

ddunn
02-04-2005, 12:59
Oldprof:

<snip> I suspect that the average Japanese camera factory worker, when looking in the mirror in the morning was probably not asking themselves how they could produce better cameras that day. <snip>

-Paul

However, the Japanese were very much influenced by the quality control methods of W. Edwards Demming. This is what enabled them to make the huge quality leap. The average Japanese camera factory worker probably was asking himself how to produce a better camera that day.http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=42618#

peter_n
02-04-2005, 13:58
I spent three years working for a Japanese company - Standard Radio Corporation - and believe me, quality was job one (hang on a minute - haven't I heard that phrase before somewhere? ;) ).

We were obsessed with quality - constantly purchasing the competitor's products and taking them apart to see if we could improve our own. Not a bad way to be - on reflection I think that's where I got my own perfectionist traits... :)