Greetings, Western imperialist sow. I am Colonel Troskovoynicovsky writing from within the great Soviet Republic. Your days are numbered, but be joyful temporarily, for while we design your inevitable collapse and political re-education you may enjoy one of our many glorious peoples’ best picture taking kits. These Party-approved photo cameras have been manufactured patriotically and for glory of the State by noble members of the proletariat, and are ready to provide enjoyment for the remainder of your short existence.
Naturally, the purchase of any non-sanctioned camera is strictly forbidden and will only serve to hasten your destruction. So, decadent scum, unless you dream of working in salt mine, destroy your opulent Leica, your inferior Nikon, and prove your commitment to the ideals of communism by shooting one of these Soviet hero cameras.
Among the most popular and longest-lived of our glorious Soviet cameras (3.3 millions sold, 21 years production cycle), the Zenit E is a 35mm SLR that’s simple, reliable, and strong as bear. With a capable mechanical shutter allowing speeds from 1/30th of a second up to 1/500th of a second, manual rewind and advance, and a vast choice of two standard kit lenses, it offers everything a good worker needs, and nothing you don’t. This camera’s visionary creators have even seen fit to include such luxuries as light meter and lever for self-timer, though selfies are to be refrained as this style of photograph is frivolous and self-indulgent.
The Zenit E is equipped with the greatest of mounts, the M42 screw mount, which means that this camera can mount the entirety of exceptional Soviet glass. It can also fit with other lenses from other makers, though I caution against mounting of Pentax, Fuji, or any non-Soviet M42 lenses, as this could delay advancement in the party. Those who do buy inferior western glass will have the practice noted in their zapiska.
For more information on the Zenit E, reference People’s Ministry of Secret Documents Party File Number 756, Page 17 and associated microfiche.
This 35mm rangefinder camera was based on the famous Zorki 4, another superior Soviet camera whose production run outlasted all of its contemporaries. This includes Leica’s decadent M3. It’s a compact, beautiful machine capable of performing all tasks a photographer could ask of it. The 4K is preferred (mostly in the lazy West) due to its inclusion of the easier-to-use film advance lever (which replaced the earlier cylindrical advance knob), and a fixed take-up spool. The camera uses M39 screw mount lenses, of which there exist many excellent models.
In order to ensure this camera may only be enjoyed by true supporters of the party (who always read instruction manual) we have deliberately sabotaged our own design. Shutter must always be cocked before changing shutter speeds. Failure to do so destroys the camera. This has never happened to a single good, Russian comrade, only to foreigners, which once again proves the ineffectiveness of the illiterate western camera user.
Today, though our perfect communist system is currently sleeping, all is not sad news. For the Zorki 4K can be purchased on filthy capitalist pig sites for very few Soviet rubles. Due to their low cost, it presents one of the best values for good workers looking to buy into what surely must be the best rangefinder photo system in the world.
Kiev 60 TTL
There is old, Russian proverb that says; never bring knife to an intercontinental-ballistic-missile-fight. And it is true also for cameras. Why shoot puny 35mm film when we can enjoy superb Soviet medium format camera? The Kiev 60 is just such a camera. Gigantic, and likely too large for frail western hands, it’s also very comfortable as it shares much the same functionality and design with its smaller 35mm SLR counterparts. Just much bigger.
The TTL version offers through-the-lens light metering for those of weak mind and eye who cannot meter the Russian way – we mentally calculate shutter speed and aperture while staring un-blinkingly at the sun. It uses modern 120 film from notoriously inferior producers Kodak, Fuji, and other non-Soviet manufacturers who will soon be crushed under the tread of our mighty machine.
Like many of the other cameras I’ve listed here, the Kiev 60 is an incredible value. And while some fools claim we copied the design from a Pentacon Six, this is incorrect. We simply remade their camera into a far superior machine. We Russians have never copied any designs from anyone. Ever.
Lomo Lubitel 2
While other brands from other nations attempted to create decent TLR cameras, all their efforts were for naught. This is because in 1954 Lomo created the Lubitel 2, the best TLR the world has ever known. Don’t believe me? Let’s see what you think after a talk with my friend, Electrified Mattress Spring.
Made of a secret Soviet plastic with metal used intelligently for focusing rings and viewfinder, the Lubitel 2 is lightweight, yet durable. This makes it a superb choice for forced marches or long winters in a Siberian missile-defense outpost. The waist-level viewfinder is the brightest of any TLR, making it an exceptional camera for those who shoot often in low-light situations, such as our good comrades above the arctic circle.
It uses 120 medium format film exposed through a Lomo 75mm F/4.5 taking lens, and while some commenters may say this maximum aperture is slow, we would counter that it is in fact you who is slow. The Lubitel features a concise control layout in which all functions are primarily centered around the lens. This streamlines operations in much the same way that bureaucracy does. There is no frame counter, so it is plausible that western-educated photographers will find it difficult to know how many shots remain. Perhaps they should spend less time on their precious You Tubes and more time in arithmetic studies.
FED 1 (NKVD, S)
Only through the visionary wisdom of NKVD founder F.E. Dzerzhinsky could such a miraculous camera come into existence. Even more of a miracle, this amazing camera was produced by youths diligently serving the state in a labor commune. Had they not been orphans, their parents would have been proud.
The Fed 1 was our great state’s first improvement over the inferior Leica II. It is a basic and functional camera that has been carefully engineered to take incredible pictures. Reasons that you should buy one of these cameras over the Leica… equivalent… are plentiful. First, some are marked with the name of the secret police, which may help you avoid unpleasant confrontations in dark alleys. Also, its viewfinder is fairly bright and shows one focal length (50mm). It uses M39 screw mount so you can use Leica lenses, though doing so will have you shipped to the gulag on the first available bread truck.
But perhaps the most important reason to choose a FED is that it shows your commitment to the ideals of communism, and that you’ll suffer for those ideals. What I mean is this, good comrade, your FED will never work right and you’re going to have to live with it.
Uh, thanks Colonel. That was… educational.