project and decided not to pursue the publication of their own 3rd edition of the book.

A very interesting episode of the "quest" for rare cameras was the search for Belarus camera "Rakurs-670". Viktor had phoned all possible leads for this camera, all the people that may have known anything about it. And finally on 13th day he had found a person that was at some point in time involved in assembly of such model, and he had photographs of it. Afterwards, a trip to St. Petersburg proved to be very successful, where Viktor had met Alexander Afanasiev. The team from Minsk had not only made a lot of photographs of examples for the book but also had acquired quite a few rarest pieces for their collection.

A famous ophthalmologist Leonid Balashev had provided access to his collection which contained rare cameras like "Moment-20", "Kompakta"...

In Moscow resides a mysterious collector hiding under alias of "Igor Moskvin". His father worked on Krasnogorsk mechanical Factory with accredited camera inventor of Russian Soviet Federation Republic - Marenkov. Igor had first examples of cameras that had come off the assembly line. Eventually Igor had started selling off his collection. But something unfortunate had happened. Allegedly Igor was conned and part of this collection had disappeared. Since that episode he only talks to collectors via a third party. The first time Igor Moskvin had provided photographs from his collection were made with a point & shoot camera. The quality of shots was terrible. He was asked to find a professional photographer to take those pictures but the photographer had taken pictures with a wide angle lens. The distortion had to be corrected later on the computer. Nevertheless, this was such a unique material, containing information about cameras that were not known not only to the authors of this catalog but even to the veterans of the industry regarding some of the provided examples. This is not surprising if we recall the story told by Anatoliy Padalko - a camera designer at KMZ.

In early 1980s - a General Secretary of Central Communist Committee Leon Brezhnev was photographed on a trip outside of USSR with a Polaroid camera and given the resulting picture right there and then. Upon returning back to Soviet Union, Brezhnev had summoned Dmitry Ustinov (Minister of Defense of USSR at the time) and had given him a task: "Soviet Union has such advanced photographic industry and we do make a Polaroid?! Start producing it right away!" A minister of defense in turn had summoned Anatoliy Padalko who he was friends with and explained the given situation. As it was said - it was done. Newly invented camera had worked perfectly, but the Soviet chemical industry could not produce the film packs. But the question is - what was the name of the camera? Even the designer himself could not answer it - he forgot. When Anataliy Padalko had found out about the existence of the photo museum in Minsk he had given the authors of the book another interesting camera - "Foton-Super- l"("Zenit") No. 0001.

Also there is another tale of one camera designer from Belarus. It's the kindest person - Adam Andreyevich Zyl'.

In 1980, a unique camera for its time was made under his direction - "Avtolikon-645", the prototype of which is now located in the museum "Mir Foto".

The Soviet Union had collapsed, but the cameras made in USSR remained. Thanks to enthusiasts the Soviet cameras are known and collec&d in Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, Brazil, China and many other countries.

The book author team and Viktor Suglob personally would like to deeply thank their friends, undeterred enthusiast collectors of Soviet cameras and foreign authors of books of Soviet and Russian photo equipment Jean Loup Princelle and Valia Ouvrier. Their publications to this day are being served as Viktor Suglob's everyday references and kept on this table at all times. He considers these people to be his teachers.

The authors also sincerely thank for their help Moscow residents Igor Bazhan and his team "RSU-repairshops", Yuriy Krylov, Alexander Kamynin, Igor Moskvin, as well as St. Petersburg's Alexander Afanasiev, Leonid Balashevich, Kiev's Yuriy Davydenko who had made a big contribution to the creation of this catalog. And a special thanks to Aidas Pikiotas from Vilnius.

The authors hope that first edition of "1200 Photo camera from USSR" will interest not only professional photographers and collectors but a wider audience in all parts of the planet. They will have a chance to familiarize themselves with the most interesting catalog of Soviet photographic equipment and experience the diverse world of photography.


Alexandr Sushkov



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