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View Full Version : Learned Perceptions .


dee
11-14-2009, 12:14
Sorry to highjack your place again , Roger , but it seems to be the forum most open to interpretation and lateral thinking [ something inbuilt with Autism LOL ]

It began to dawn upon me that I had read many comments from engineers who have serviced both Kiev II and Contax II , who avow that the quality of an early Kiev is the equal of Contax .
That the German and Ukrainian engineers were determined to create a flagship quality item - eventually to be compromised under impossible production targets .

But I could not grasp this . At first , I thought that it was ASdee which gets stuck in the groove of same / not same , but then it dawned upon me just how I had been conditioned into Soviet Sub-
standard and German Superlative .
It's as if the moment we see Cyrillic engraving it signals ' inferior copy '
whereas , it was probably a genuinely respectful tribute to the original camera created by the engineers who designed the Contax .

It took both a properly serviced [ by an ex Arsenal tech ] 1951 KNeB II which is just whisper smooth and quiet and a near mint 1952 KNeB II to convince me ... and to recognise that , even at 130 , an as new pre 1952 KNeB II may be a true bargain among classic rangefinders .

Even in respect of later USSR cameras - TOE , the English Importers assured me back in the 70s , that the majority of cameras brought in worked perfectly - though they were checked over as a matter of course . Warranty claims being no worse than Japanese cameras .
My two TOE Kievs 4 and 4a in box , tend to bear this out as they work perfectly after more than 30 years . The finish may be basic , but they also wear well - kind of at-tractor-tive .
In retrospect - would TOE have created a very successful business importing junk ?

Soviet engineers seemed to be tarred with a similar label - disproved by engineers and designers at Skoda - bringing their own unique understanding of a smart , tough inexpensively designed vehicle to local and world markets . Mike Haley assures me that the ex-Arsenal techs have been pleased to bring my broken Contax cameras back to life - undoubtedly amused that they should be called upon to rescue what they term a ' Kiev copy '

I had been condtioned into believing this , just as I had been Stupid util I knew that I have a glitch - and that , in some limited fields , this can be Other-Wise .

I wonder how much else is distorted by biased popular opinion ? Certainly much of who how I am - which , I guess prompted this Kontax Kuriosity .

charjohncarter
11-14-2009, 15:55
I wonder how much else is distorted by biased popular opinion ? Certainly much of who how I am - which , I guess prompted this Kontax Kuriosity .
__________________

Probably a lot has been distorted, I have a Russian or Ukraine fish-eye. It's a Zenitar 16mm. It works well the fit and finish isn't Japanese quality, but I actually like it. Besides, who else is producing stuff I want, certainly not the Japanese.

Roger Hicks
11-14-2009, 23:05
Did Soviet engineers ever have an original thought other than Sputnik, it seems to me as though every item introduced as Soviet hardware was a copy from a Western original?

Likewise, I think the spectre of the USSR was an amazing stimulus to the West, as such was the Apollo program (NASA not Nikon).

Um... Yes. Ever heard of Kalashnikov? He turned 90 last Tuesday. Or in lens design, Maksutow and Slussarev? Tupolev and Yakovlev aircraft? Or the Lada Niva? Leningrad camera? Papri meter? Most of the Russian snapshot cameras? The last three examples weren't necessarily much good, but they were certainly original.

No doubt there are many, many more but my knowledge of the history of Russian technology is not all that great.

To return to Dee's original post, feel free to ask quesions like this, as the answers ca be very illumimating. Clearly there are some people who are even more conditioned than you and I by poor, late Soviet quality control and the shortage of R&D funds caused by Stalinist inefficiency. But Russian and Ukrainian engineers and craftsmen were/are the equal of any in the world, once freed from the constraints of 'We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us'.

Cheers,

R.

Keith
11-14-2009, 23:21
Don't start me on Lada Nivas ... ! :p

These things were everywhere here in Oz for a while and were touted as being cheap and reliable ... if there's any still left on the roads I certainly haven't noticed them!

Incidentaly the Lada engine is basically a Fiat 1600 ... I had a friend who seemed to like them but did admit to me that the apparently totally reliable one he owned had been meticulously dissmantled and reassembled by him from scratch as soon as he'd bought it ... new!

When rebuilding the engine he discovered a big end bolt had not been tightened at all at the factory and had actually fallen out! :eek: :D


[edit] ... I meant to add I do actually have a Kneb II from the early fifties and it is indeed whisper quiet and extremely smooth ... BUT ... the viewfinder is horrible!

Tracnac
11-14-2009, 23:32
Don't start me on Lada Nivas ... ! :p



Ehehe yes something like : How to double the price of your Lada Niva ? Refill your gas tank.

Yvan.

pakeha
11-14-2009, 23:33
Lada Nivas? i saw two today and the most recalled car over here is the holden common door:D

pakeha
11-14-2009, 23:34
Q. can i get a wing mirror for my Lada?

A. thats a fair swap

Roger Hicks
11-14-2009, 23:38
Yes, but the Lada Niva suffered (once again) from quality control problems, not design faults. There are still quite a few here in France -- in fact, I think you can buy 'em new -- and once they've been sorted they're allegedly very reliable.

There's also, of course, "Can I have a hub cap for my Lada?"

"Yes, sounds like a fair trade" (EDIT: I see Pakeha beat me to it with the wing mirror version while I was writing this post).

Yes, the Lada engine is Fiat -- but all sorts of engine designs are licensed/borrowed/rebuilt. The Rover V8 is the best example I can think of. And besides, we all know what FIAT stands for: Fix It Again, Tony.

Cheers,

R.

pakeha
11-14-2009, 23:49
Sorry Dee, had to happen:bang:

But i believe you have quite a valid train of thought about this.
All the above FSU produced stuff is of course mechanical , made from nuts and bolts and metal, made to be repaired if needed, not thrown out like something planned to be obsolete. And yes there is an element of `them bad, us good`. The Germans have had a dream run with their marketing, you know BMW, Mercedes have faults . every electrical part i have had to replace in swedish cars is stamped with Bosch!

Keith
11-14-2009, 23:58
Yes, but the Lada Niva suffered (once again) from quality control problems, not design faults. There are still quite a few here in France -- in fact, I think you can buy 'em new -- and once they've been sorted they're allegedly very reliable.

There's also, of course, "Can I have a hub cap for my Lada?"

"Yes, sounds like a fair trade" (EDIT: I see Pakeha beat me to it with the wing mirror version while I was writing this post).

Yes, the Lada engine is Fiat -- but all sorts of engine designs are licensed/borrowed/rebuilt. The Rover V8 is the best example I can think of. And besides, we all know what FIAT stands for: Fix It Again, Tony.

Cheers,

R.


I worked on Rovers in the late sixties and early seventies Roger ... wonderful cars full of leather and woodgrain!

Apparently the Rover V8 engine was originally an Oldsmobile design ... all alloy V8s were pretty unusual back then and I have very fond memories of driving the Rover 3500 S and the more luxurious 3.5 saloon ... :)

dee
11-15-2009, 03:54
Is that Bosc[t]hed ? Sometimes it seems that it's just hype that carries a product , not real world reliability .
Of course , it wasn't the Ukrainian Engineers who designed that KNeB viewfinder LOL . It's odd , I have no problem adjusting from Leica M8 to Kiev though

I hoped that this would not be taken too seriously , and the point of rebuilding something thrown together with suspect parts is why so many 50s / 60s Lambrettas are now so much better than they were as cheap post war transport - even using ex - army paint !
Indeed , there were entire industries to rebuild your new camera so that it actually worked !

Trius
11-15-2009, 12:21
The local photo shop (where there is film, paper, chemicals a few cases of lovely used film gear, and an owner/repairman who actually does complete tear-downs and rebuilds) has a Nikon RF w/ 35/3.5 (I think) and a Kiev (I don't recall the model/vintage) with a Helios 103. I'm going to peek through both viewfinders next time I'm in. I did peer through the Nikon yesterday and my, it was dim.

dee
11-27-2009, 13:50
Just an update on the perceived quality concept .
I would love to complete my Contax / Kiev indulgence with a nickel finished camera .
Originally a KNeB II or 1947 script KueB II , but now I am set on a K III a which has been awaiting it's fate .
Except that I would much prefer a nickel Contax ... though I accept the a 1956 camera in good condition is potentially a better user [ meter parts not being the same twix Contax / Kiev ] and quality is indistinquishable .

It's not potential ' value / resale ' - new leather would preclude this .
Is it Contax Ghost perceptions of lost granduer ?

Even a Kiev with Contax face plate would be OK . A donor C III would cost an additonal 80 or so , cutting into funds .

I can't quite work this one out .

Dave Wilkinson
11-28-2009, 02:23
Just an update on the perceived quality concept .
I would love to complete my Contax / Kiev indulgence with a nickel finished camera .
Originally a KNeB II or 1947 script KueB II , but now I am set on a K III a which has been awaiting it's fate .
Except that I would much prefer a nickel Contax ... though I accept the a 1956 camera in good condition is potentially a better user [ meter parts not being the same twix Contax / Kiev ] and quality is indistinquishable .

It's not potential ' value / resale ' - new leather would preclude this .
Is it Contax Ghost perceptions of lost granduer ?

Even a Kiev with Contax face plate would be OK . A donor C III would cost an additonal 80 or so , cutting into funds .

I can't quite work this one out . Ruben....Oh Ruben!....why hast thou deserted us? ;)

wolves3012
11-28-2009, 12:47
And besides, we all know what FIAT stands for: Fix It Again, Tony.

I was told it was "Fix It Again Tomorrow" and Ford was "Fix Or Repair Daily"