image by PlanktonMSC (Image rights)
The Almaz (Russian: Алмаз - 'Diamond') cameras are a series of 35 mm single-lens reflex cameras made from 1979 to the late 1980s by LOMO in Russia. They are broadly copies of a Nikon F2, with a detachable prism viewfinder which can be exchanged with different viewfinder types. They have a Pentax K bayonet lens mount.
There are four models. Only one was produced in large numbers. The others are really prototypes, and the exact specification varies even within the small number made.
- Almaz 101
This camera, made only as a prototype in 1979, has a focal-plane shutter with overlapping metal blinds travelling vertically, giving shutter speeds from 8 - 1/1000 second, plus 'B'; (according to George Abramov at PhotoHistory.ru; other sources give the slowest speed as one second, or 30 seconds). It has a lightmeter (which is in the body, not in the prism unit). The film speed is set on a dial around the rewind crank, between ISO 12 and 1600. There is an exposure compensation control, from -1 to +2 stops. There is a capstan in the base, where a motor drive could connect to the film advance. There is a self-timer on the front left hand side of the body. The shutter is synchronised at 1/125 second, with a single [PC socket] (on the front of the top housing, by the rewind crank).
The lens is an MC Volna-4 50 mm f/1.4 (serial no. 800001).
According to Aidas Pikiotas at SovietCams.com only one example of this camera is known, in a collection in France.
- Almaz 102
This camera has shutter speeds 1 - 1/1000 second, plus 'B', with flash synchronisation at 1/60.. The prism unit includes a shutter speed dial (which mates with the dial on the camera), and lightmeter information including the set speed is displayed by an LCD visible in the viewfinder. There are two PC sockets, for bulb and electronic flash. The self-timer lever is now to the right of the lens. Sixty-three copies of this camera were made (of which some were apparently sold: SovietCams gives a price).
image by Thomas Vogt (Image rights)
- Almaz 103
This is the only version of the camera that was sold in significant numbers; 9508 copies were made. It has an MC Volna 50 mm f/1.8 lens. It has two PC sockets.
- Almaz 104
This camera was not sold; about ten prototypes were made. It is a simplified version of the Almaz 102; the light meter reading is shown by coloured LED lamps in the viewfinder. As on the 102, the prism has a shutter speed dial which mates with the one on the camera: however, the notes at SovietCams state that the prism is not interchangeable with the one for the 102. The 104 has the f/1.8 lens. It has one PC socket.
- George Abramov: article in Russian: Almaz camera series at History of the Soviet Camera Industry (PhotoHistory.ru). Very informative article (and system translation handles Russian quite well).
- George Abramov: Notes on Almaz cameras at PhotoHistory,ru, with some photographs.
- Almaz 101 at SovietCams.
- Almaz 102 at SovietCams.
- Almaz 103 at SovietCams.
- Almaz 104 at SovietCams.
Past sales by Westlicht Photographica Auction in Vienna: Cameras:
- Almaz 102 serial no. 8400308, sold at the thirteenth auction, on 7 June 2008.
- Almaz 102 serial no. 8300186, with a magnifying right-angle finder (attached to the prism finder), sold at the fourteenth auction, on 30 November 2008.
- Almaz 103 serial no. 8503287, with an Almaz data back and both prism and vertical magnifying viewfinders, at the thirteenth auction.
- Almaz 104 sold at the twentieth auction, on 1 November 2011.
- Almaz 104 sold at the fourteenth auction; apparently not the same camera as the one above (at least, the lens serial no.s are different).
- Prototype Volna-10K 35 mm f/1.8 serial no. N003 by LOMO, at the fourteenth auction.
- Prototype Volna-10K serial no N053, at the fifteenth auction, on 23 May 2009.
- Vega-13 100 mm f/2.8 serial no. 840010 by LOMO, at the seventh auction, on 21 May 2005.
- MC Oberon 11K 200 mm f/2.8 serial no. 9300041 by VOMZ, in the fourteenth auction.
- MC Telegoir K 200 mm f/2.8 serial no. 91074 by GOI, at the fifteenth auction.
- MC Telegoir K 200 mm f/2.8 at the seventh auction.
- MC Yantar-12 35-100 mm f/3.5 serial no. 830006 by LOMO, at the seventh auction.