Iskra

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The Iskra is a folding coupled-rangefinder camera for square-format pictures on 120 film, made by Krasnogorsky Mekhanichesky Zavod KMZ ('Mechanical Factory of Krasnogorsk'), Moscow, USSR. It is a high-quality camera. It is a copy of the Agfa Super Isolette of 1954, and the camera's FXCh-18 shutter is a copy of the Synchro-Compur RMX/RMXV used on the Super Isolette.[1]

Искра (Iskra) means 'Spark'. This was the name of the secret Marxist newspaper founded by Lenin in 1900. It was a political newspaper of Russian socialist emigrants established as the official organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party.

Contents


Iskra

38722 copies were made of the various types of the first model of the Iskra between 1960-63. There are 3 types and 1 sub-type, with some changes to the body.[2][3][4][5]


Type 1

  • Produced in 1960
  • Distinctive feature of the type: without adjustment bolt on the top plate
  • Lens: Industar-58


Type 2

Type 2a

  • Produced between 1961-63
  • Distinctive feature of the type: an adjustment bolt on the top plate

Specifications

  • Format: roll 120 film, picture size 6x6cm
  • Aperture and speeds are coupled and turning the coupling ring on the front of the lens, turns the aperture and speed rings together, according to Exposure Values
  • Lens: Industar-58 (ИНДУСТАР), 75mm f/3.5; Tessar design with 4 elements in 3 groups; Aperture: f/3.5-f/22, possible to set separately
  • Focusing: Yellow rangefinder images must be matched in the viewfinder for exact focus, via focusing ring w/ grooved silver handle, behind the lens-shutter barrel
  • Shutter: FXCh-18 central leaf shutter, speed: 1-1/500 +B, very quiet, possible to set separately.
  • Viewfinder: Coupled rangefinder/viewfinder
  • Winding: Does not work without film loaded
  • Double exposure prevention and auto-stop film advance (the spool reel is blocked when reaching the next frame).
  • Frame counter: Auto resets, advance type, doesn't work without film loaded
  • Other: Self-timer; Flash PC socket; Flash sync at all shutter speeds; Cold-shoe; Film type reminder dial
  • Body: Aluminum; Weight: 912g
  • Serial no. engraved on the back of the top plate with KMZ logo; first two digits show the production year
  • Caution: You must change the shutter speed before you cock the shutter. This is the opposite of almost every other Russian camera.

Type 2b

  • Produced between 1961-63
  • Distinctive features of the type: with inscription "Made in USSR"
  • Lens:Industar-58


Type 3

  • Produced between 1961-63
  • Distinctive feature of the type: Iskra name on the front is with script Latin letters, export type

Iskra-2

The second model is the Iskra-2, produced between 1961-64, with quantity only 6118 copies. The only change in this model is the addition of a Selenium meter. Controls for the meter are integrated into the knob that was the film reminder in the original Iskra.

There are 3 types of Iskra-2.[6]

  • Type 1 with Cyrillic inscription of Iskra on the top plate
  • Type 2 with Latin inscription, export type
  • Type 3 Microscope version, bellow with the lens replaced by plate with MFN-9


Notes

  1. See Hans Kerensky's Flickr set comparing the FXCh-18 to a Synchro-Compur from a Rolleiflex.
  2. According to Alexander Komarov in Fotoua. You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site. There is another former USSR cameras classification and info by Aidas Pikiotas at SovietCams
  3. Other writers on Soviet cameras have their own classifications.
  4. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  5. Discussion about classifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum
  6. According to Alexander Komarov in Fotoua

Bibliography

In English:

  • Princelle, Jean Loup (2004), The Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras ('Made in USSR'), Le Reve Edition. ISBN 2952252106; or the earlier edition: Hove Foto Books, 2nd edition, 1995. 200 pages. ISBN 1874031630. Paperback.

In Russian:

Links

  • Iskra at Fotoua by Alexandr Komarov, including pictures of various types.
  • Iskra at Sovietcams
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