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Introduction to Soviet SLR Cameras

3 factory families produced Single Lens Reflex cameras(SLRs) in the Soviet Union. They were GOMZ/LOMO, KMZ/Belomo and theArsenal at Kiev.

GOMZ produced the first SLR not only in the Soviet Union and with the Sport may very well have produced the first SLR ever Unfortunately due to their penchant for seceracy we will never know if the production definately preceded Exacta. Then after they were renamed LOMO they produced the only "advanced system camera" attempted in the USSR the Almaz.

The Arsenal at Kiev produced a series of original automatic SLRs The Kiev 10 and Kiev 15. They then produced a series of Nikon lens mount compatable cameras the Kiev 17, 18, 19,19M and 20.

KMZ and its' subsidiary Belomo made the largest number of different SLR models by far. The Zenits were designed and initially built at KMZ, then manufacture of some models was transferred to Belomo. There appears to be no logical scheme for which models were transfered for manufacture at Belomo. Sometimes a model was manufactured at both plants, sometimes the cameras were made at Belomo with a changed model number and sometimes the cosmetics of the camera were changed as well. The Soviet consumers believed Belomo products to be inferior and much prefered the KMZ products.

© Nathan Dayton 2000