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Now that we’re talking bout black Kievs…

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Guess what: I had another one a while ago. Just it wasn’t a rangefinder but a SLR. And bigger. This is important for a photographer. Size matters, and every photographer knows ladies like big. Well, it’s the one above. Yes, this “ARAX” is in fact a modified Kiev 88, which, incidentally is not even remotely related to rangefinder Kievs.

See, the Arsenal factory, the maker of the Kievs in Soviet Ukraine, made a little of everything, from military rifles to photo cameras. But more rifles. OK, you just need to know that all cameras ever made there at the Arsenal factory were called Kiev, regardless of their film format or if they were still or cinema cameras. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, camera production seemed to have completely stopped.

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I see a vanilla Kiev and I want it painted black…

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…no chrome anymore, I want it to turn black   ♪

I see the Leicas shoot dressed in their black chrome   ♫

I have to turn my head until chrome from my Kiev goes   ♪

etc.

Yes, the Rolling Stones’ songs were all about cameras, but they had to adapt them to be more mainstream. Busters.

Now, today we’ll give a little rest to Zenits and their ancestors and we’re going to talk about Kievs. More or less.

Continue reading I see a vanilla Kiev and I want it painted black…

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The Leica led to the FED, the FED led to the Zorki…

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…and the Zorki led to the Dark Side. Or to the Zenit, which is the same thing for all of us who own one.

We were saying in the last article about Zenits that they basically came from the Leica. Let’s see how.

In the 1930s imports in the Soviet Union were scarce and the official economic doctrine put great emphasis on autarchy, so the great plan of the commies became to produce everything at home… by breaking any patent laws if necessary. Many implements of Soviet manufacture, especially consumer goods were close copies of Western models, and cameras were no exception. Well, as close as the Soviet production model, which clearly didn’t favor quality, allowed.

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In the beginning, there was only Leica…

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…and God (Oskar Barnack) saw that it was good, but it had no rangefinder, so in the second day He created the Leica II… It was more or less like that.

What? Leica? Barnack? Weren’t we talking about Zenits? Fear not, for everything will become clear… as Lynda Blair said in The Exorcist, in time.

Serious now. Why did I put the Leica here? Because the Leica is a not-so distant relative to the Zenit. Genealogically we could put it all like this: the Zenit comes from the Zorki, which comes from the FED, which in turn comes from the Leica II. In other words, the Zenit is the grandson of the FED, Leica’s Soviet evil twin.

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Parental Advisory: we’re talking Zenits

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Zenits. Look at them. They’re immoral.

 

Am I going to write bout Zenits in the same blog I write about Leicas? Did I go crazy for good? Do we photogs make love better than common rabble? The answer to these and other relevant questions is Yes Madam, Yes Indeed.

We will save questions number two and number three for the future, as each deserves a post of their own for sure. About question number 1, I’m not only writing about Zenits, but I’m dedicating a whole section to this. No, I barely sell any Zenit, but there’s the remote chance that someone reaches this blog innocently looking for info about them and inadvertently misclicks into my store, which would be great, instantly to be mesmerised by the sight of that very expensive Zenit I’m selling. So maybe it’s worth the shot.

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Chrome and leather

Plastic. EEW
Plastic. EEW

What is this? WHAT IS THIS? Yes, what you just saw in the pic above is an analog Canon amateur camera. The name is just not important, as Canon had different names for the same model in each continent, and sometimes they used completely different names for the same camera with some minor difference, like the color of the paint they used or the data back they mounted. These are just perks of global marketing, I guess.

But yes, this above is a Canon analog all-plastic SLR from the 90s. And want to know a secret? This is the camera which I have used most and most successfully during my days as an amateur photographer. It’s just so convenient: if you want, it’s auto everything (I normally shoot in aperture priority mode), it has a wind/rewind motor and you can even adapt M42 and Nikon lenses onto its EOS lens mount. The batteries last forever and the systems of the camera use it so wisely that you can even let it in ON position during months and it won’t deplete. Plus, it’s so small and light that you can take it everywhere without even noticing. The only down to it is that being all-plastic, you better be careful not to drop it on a hard floor or you will be picking up a broken camera; the hinged back is particularly prone to breaking: I’ve experimented this first hand. And hey, they can be bought nowadays for twenty bucks if you know where to buy (which is like one fifteenth of their price back in the day).

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Champagne Showers

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Someone told me once (well, it was my mother, which makes all this a little more sad) that the pictures I post in my blog won’t sell any cameras ever. “They’re non-descriptive”. Duh, nobody cares that the ones in the evilbay store are descriptive, but oh, well.

Maybe there’s something true about it, but I don’t think I’m giving up my studio style here in my blog. I really think my camera porn style really belongs in here. I’m not only trying to desperately sell some cameras to you, which is quite obvious, but also to share with you people some of my work.

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DisasteR

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Oh, look, a Leica. Wait, what is this… thing? Yes, this hump over it is a prism. This is a SLR camera, the last (well actually there was a R9, with identical external design) of the Leica R line. Yes, R stands for reflex.

It’s not that they were bad cameras (they weren’t), it’s just that they were hopelessly outdated in their time. Canon and Nikon gave infinitely more value to the pro photographer for his money, not only buck for buck, but in absolute terms: less weight, electric winding and rewinding, autofocus, high frame rate… If you were a pro, Leica-mania (or Leica bigotry) were the most powerful arguments to invest into the R system. It’s just that…

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Gimme an F

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Doesn’t look like it changed the world, eh?

 

For those of you who are not really into camera history, this thingie may look quite unimpressive. It’s just a simple SLR. The speeds range goes just from 1 second to 1/1000. No internal or TTL light meter. No auto mode and no automatic winding. Well, yes, it’s got interchangeable prisms, but still…

Even though, there are two things in this cutie that changed everything, EVERYTHING in camera and photography history. It was 1959, and Rangefinders were still king. The Leica M3, THE no-nonsense rangefinder camera was the rage: professionals had abandoned everything else because Leica and its system were aeons away from any competitor. Yet, this was to last only five years, because, friends, all pros abandoned their fabulous Leicas in favor of this unassuming SLR camera above: the Nikon F.

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What’s going on here

OK, so this is supposed to be the intro to this blog. First of all, let me apologize in advance for my English. I’m not a native English speaker and you’ll be seeing a lot of strange and bad English here, for sure.

Why are we here? About you: you might have just googled one of the cameras here in my blog and misclicked in, or followed a wrong link somewhere. Well, it doesn’t matter. Come in, come in.

About my purpose… well, I have to say it’s quite a nefarious one. I won’t lie to you, cause I want to sell you classic cameras, and they cause addiction. You don’t believe me? We’ll see. Well, I thought about writing something bombastic here about my love of photography and cameras and all, but, people, I don’t take you for dumb. I mean, it’s true, I love photography and cameras and all (well, it’s a problem more than love, I got a camera problem. Big one), but, above all, I want to sell my cameras, so I made this blog to show them to you.

Some people around me had the big idea that if I bought so many cameras, It would be great marketing trying to show them to you as I see them. So they want to instill my camera disease (GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome, we’ll talk further about that) into you. That is the nefarious part.

So what you will be seeing here in this blog is, short and simple, the ravings of a lunatic, pathetically trying to sell you cameras. Expensive ones. Yes, we have cheaper cameras too, but you should definitely buy the expensive ones.

About selling and buying, yes, your guess is right: this blog has a twin Ebay store, Camera Store Barcelona, where you’ll be able to find most of the stuff we’ll be discussing here. It’s Camera Store because we don’t sell pianos and Barcelona because it’s catchy. Well and I live there too. Nice place.

Buy cameras.

From me.

Please.