Russian "Leicas"

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by lee_shively, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. I never buy anything from ebay but, of course, I did recently peruse
    the site. There are the most gawdawful tacky Russian copies of screw-
    mount Leicas available that are outlandish. I'm not talking about
    Zenits or Feds or whatever, these cameras are inscribed "Leica"
    and "E. Leitz/Wetzler". For no other reason than the fact that they
    are so tacky, I'm tempted to buy one just to set on a table beside a
    lava lamp below a velvet painting of Elvis. Has anyone actually
    tried to make photographs with one?
  2. I have the same repulsion/attraction thing going with them, and one of these days might try to grab one out of sheer, morbid curiousity.
  3. I had a few of them years ago, bought them in Russia for ten bucks apiece. They were inscribed Leica, and the ones that were actually Feds looked a bit like Leicas but the Zorkis were pretty poor copies. They all had lenses that said Elmar but were copies of Industar 50mm lenses, and were generally of poor quality. I put a few rolls of film through them, mostly to see what would happen, and the results were none too good.

    My conclusion: those "gawdawful tacky Russian copies" were just that, funny to look at. Put them beside the lava lamp, that's where they belong. Having used Leicas for years, I found the gritty handling and overall poor quality of the Russian stuff to be unpleasant to use. I have read on this forum where some folks get good results from Russian lenses, so fine. But the bodies are junk.
  4. I've got an old Zorki, with coated Industar lens. Marked as, and looks like a Leica screw mt. Dunno the model. My wife got it for me someplace along the line.

    Other than the film transport needing a tiny shim of stick on felt (to get the film to run straight on the rails), it works pretty well. The shutter is acceptable, and the lens is sort of "glowy" but sharp enough for smallish prints. Focus is corrected for the Industar, and will not focus other LTM lenses well, but is fine with the Industar.

    All in all - tacky but perhaps useful - I leave it out in plain sight along with a "Commission" rifle and non-functioning Jennings handgun as incentive for a thief to grab em and move on when I'm out of town.
  5. Yeeech!!!! Save the money and buy some film.
  6. Russian "Elmar" Industar-50 Full/center verus 50mm F2 LTM Summicron; chrome; latest version; 1000+ bucks:<BR><BR><IMG SRC=><IMG SRC=><IMG SRC=>
  7. Some of the Russian, actually Ukrainian, stuff is OK. The Kiev IV and IVa which were nothing more than updated Contax IIs and IIIs, built using the original tooling, could be very good if you were reasonably kind to them and the lenses, as Kelly shows, could be more than acceptable.

    The problem has always been quality control, or the lack thereof. In his book 'Collecting Classic SLRs', Ivor Matanle shows pictures taken twenty years apart with the same Zenith E. If you get a good example, you'll have a quirky yet very acceptable picture taking tool. The trick is to get a good example...

  8. - morons just shut up after your simple demonstrations, and all became very, very quiet: no one wanted to post anything more.<br>
    H.P. tried to rationalize post-factum, but, well, that sounds thin. The fact is , there is a huge amount of put-down of the mortal "communist" enemy with which the people who profeteered during the cold war brainwashed the plebes. That is what we see here reflected, unthinkingly.
  9. .. so it's better just to take advantage of the dump from the former USSR (caused by political situation) while it lasts, rather than snigger feeblemindedly, don't you think so?
  10. While not Leicas, I wouldn't be too quick to diss the Russian stuff. Some of it is very good, and the prices cannot be beat.
    Example, I recently bought a Zorki 3 for $60. Sent it to the Ukraine for cla and new shutter curtains, $40 total. It came with a very nice jupiter 8. For another $62 I got a wonderful Jupiter 12 35mm. Another $51 got me a J-9 85mm. Finder I already had. So, not counting finder,I have a very capable 35mm rangefinder set up for $213. Not bad.
  11. Marc James Small the author of : Non Leitz Leica Thread Mount Lenses(Wittig Fachbuch )

    said about Russian lenses:
  12. I bought an Ukraine made Fed5 with Industar 50/2.8 lens two years ago
    from ebay <p> It has one window rangefinder, up to 1/1000 shutter, self timer and an uncoupled selenium meter<p> Brand new for $45 <p>
    It is like a tank, very solid, however quite rough. I haven't time
    to put film through it yet<p>
    I may use its Industar lens as enlarger for 35mm BW negatives.
  13. Folks, how long are you going to put up with Bender's insulting, incomprehensible rantings before banning him? C'mon, enough is enough.
  14. Lex,<P>

    That moderator thing going to your head, is it? Michael Bender and I have butted heads a time or two, and I confess I that find his style often abrasive (just as some people do mine, I'm sure) - but that's no reason to go banning people. He has made some valuable contributions to this forum - and his point about Soviet-made lenses is valid, in my opinion (though it's probably true that they give new meaning to the term "sample variation") . <P>

    And why shouldn't he be free to be himself here, in any case? If being rude or disagreeable were cause for the banning axe, a good part of would be "disappeared" overnight - leaving behind a comfortingly homogenous but hopelessly bland environment.
  15. I have used several Russian cameras and Some were dogs and others not so much.

    Zorki 4K. Great camera with the Black Jupiter 8 lens stopped down its very capable. My slow speeds are off about a stop but still very usable.

    Zorki 3m. I tried to like this camera. Its feels very nice and I was able to get some good prints from it but it was a crap shoot. The shutter was too eratic. The chrome Jupiter 8 was prone to flare very easily and the aperture marks were not accurate. Some one had taken the lens apart and had not put it back together just right.

    Fed 5B Ugly and I hated the ergonomics but this camera gives accurate and very good exposures. The Industar 61 L/d is very sharp too.

    Zorki 1 This is my absolute favorite russian. I use it along side My M6TTl . The Z1 has a vc 21mm mounted and has yet to give me a bad exposure. The Industar 22 collapsable elmar copy is very good .

    I recently shot some pics at a party using the Z4k with the J8 and My M6 with Summicron. The resulting 5x7s are very difficult to tell apart. Of course enlarging to 8x10 and above reveal the Leica to be superior , however the Russian is quite good.
  16. Hector, I've been moderating the b&w forums only about a month, not long enough for it to swell my noggin. I'm not suggesting anything I wouldn't have said before here or on any other forum. Bender's few worthwhile contributions are far outweighed by his repeated insults and ravings. You really think the forum would become bland from the absence of incomprehensible blatherings and shouts of "morons" from one person?

    Besides, there are already plenty of sharp-tongued photo.netters who can at least write intelligible insults to keep the place spicy.

    Hey, it's up to you folks. Don't bother you, guess it shouldn't bother me. I don't hang out here much, just enough to learn something. But it's kinda like visiting a library and having to walk around a steaming pile of poop in the middle of the reference section.
  17. Lex, I haven't participated in this forum for more than a month or two myself, but am familiar with the fellow of whom you speak so eloquently. My guess is the long-standing members treat him as you would that pimply, horn-rimmed younger brother who never washes his hands after he goes to the bathroom and plops down in the living room in his stained pants with you and your friends. As I said, it's just a guess.
  18. Well, just to make it clear, I don't mind sarcasm, as long as it's accompanied by a biting wit - emphasis on wit. Scott Eaton is one of my favorites for his razor wit, even when I'm on the receiving end. He's a hoot, and usually right.

    It's witless drooling ravings like Blunder's that give me the heebie-jeebies. Makes South Park and Jackass seem like Oscar Wilde.
  19. That mannerless boy fairly often has a decent eye for photos, but unfortunately his position is most often presented in a style that is grossly inappropriate to the context. As a result he is unable to convey a meaningful position in most forum threads. You'll probably find that he is simply ignored in large part by the people he interacts with here which probably makes him even more cranky.
  20. here is the score of the Russian stuff I own;<BR><BR> Industar -50 and 22 (50mm F3.5) good to excellent.<BR><BR> The Five Jupiter-8's (50mm F2) are good when stopped down to about F4; wide open 1 of the 5 have a gross offset in focus. <BR><BR>The famed Jupiter-3's (50mm F1.5) of mine are all real soft wide open; and two of the three have offsets in focus. ie the flange to film distance is wrong; even when scale focused. I mentioned this before; and got flack; like I'm a "jupiter-3 hater"!; I just gave my samples results.<BR><BR>The three Jupiter-9's here are sharp; but only one of them actually tracks with the focus cam and lens helix. The 2 duds were regreased by bozos; who screwed up the lens. The stiff vintage late 1950's version; focuses correctly with Leica. These are 85mm F2 lenses.<BR><BR> The Orion-15 28mm F6 of mine is very sharp; I use mine alot.<BR><BR>One must consider the time and energy required to get a decent Russian lens; some are known duds; or known to have problems at times; others such as the Industar 50/22 and Jupiter-8 have a better chance of getting a decent performer. Because the 20 dollar Induster-50 is almost as good as my 1000+ dollar New Summicron; I tend to use it in more risky shots; because the lens cost is abit cheaper. <BR><BR>Some people tend to get their egos hurt; because some Russian stuff works well. It requires alot of testing to weed out the duds. Most of my duds are from USA sellers; all of my better Russian lenses here were from the Ukraine or the USSR. USA sellers tend to resell their duds; the ones that focus wrong etc.<BR><BR>It is far less risky to get a used Leica; Canon; or Nikon; etc LTM lens; than getting a Russian lens. For those who like to experiment; getting a Russian lens and body can be fun. Prices on Ebay have more than doubled in the last 3 years; so has overseas shipping; due to security/scares/etc. Long ago it was easy to get 5 to 10 lens for 100 bucks!
  21. Russian cameras can be really great, even sometimes the finish is not as good as some western cameras. Anyway, the export versions are better (as the Zorki 1b, mine is as pretty as a Leica or a Canon rangefinder). For the Zorki 1, you need to have : -good shutter curtains in good shape (but it is true for any camera) -speeds working good (same thing) -rangefinder correctly adjusted, easy to do it yourself -lens to film distance checked (28.8mm from the lens mount to the film pressure plate, you can adjust that with a caliper and thin paper shims under the lens mount. Sometimes I ask myself if the people who say russian cameras are bad have any experience with a GOOD WORKING and WELL ADJUSTED FEd or Zorki...

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