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The predecessor of Krasnogorski Mekhanicheskii Zavod (Красногорский механический завод) – Krasnogorsk Mechanical Works or KMZ – was founded as Krasnogorsk Optical Works in 1942 in Sverdlovsk in the Urals in anticipation of a German invasion of the Soviet Union.[1] It produced optical equipment for the Soviet army, but as of 1994 very few surviving items were known.[1] In 1944 the factory moved to Krasnogorsk, a western suburb of Moscow.[1]

In 1945 KMZ began manufacturing photographic lenses based on specifications obtained from the Carl Zeiss factory in Jena when it was captured by the Red Army. In 1946 the factory began making cameras, starting with the Moskva folding camera.[1] In 1948 it began assembling FED cameras[1] to offset slow production from the FED factory. A little later it produced cameras termed "FED–Zorki" by later collectors: cameras engraved both with the name FED and with the KMZ emblem.[1] By 1949 it made some design changes, and thus production of the Zorki began.[1] In 1952, KMZ created an SLR based on the Zorki, and thus the Zenit was born.[2]

During the following decades KMZ focused on the mass production of existing designs while also expanding into military optoelectronics and other military production. In 1993 it was privatized and became the Krasnogorsky Zavod, SA Zverev (Krasnogorsky Plant, JSC stock company). In 2005 KMZ closed its camera division but continued production of the Horizon panoramic cameras, which were based on military artillery optics. A digital model, the Horizon D-L3, developed jointly with Silvestri, was shown at Photokina in 2010, but does not appear to have been sold. Since 2008, the KMZ plant (as much of the former-Soviet optical industry) is part of the Shvabe holding company, itself owned by Rostec, a state-owned multi-industry corporation. Krasnagorsk's recent activities include development of electro-optical devices for military, aviation, space and remote sensing applications, and analytical devices.[3] The plant's website includes camera manufacture in its stated activities, but with no details, and it is not clear that cameras are currently made there. The site does state that production of lenses recommenced in 2012 (the MC Mir-20M 20mm f/3.5, Helios 40-2 85mm f/1.5 and MC APO Telezenitar 135mm f/2.8 are specifically mentioned).[3] During this time the logo has changed from a trapeza, to a trapeze with a reflecting ray of light and an open arrow, then a closed arrow, and finally a thick ray of light.

35mm cameras


reconnaissance camera



  • 510, 520, 610, 620


  • FT-2
  • Horizont
  • Horizon 202
  • Horizon 205 pc
  • Horizon S3pro
  • Panofot


  • Astra

120 film cameras




Screw-out Lens

  • Yunkor (Юнкор)




KMZ manufactured lenses under a bewildering variety of model names. Because of the way Soviet industry was organised, some of these lenses were also made by other factories at times.[4]

  • Jupiter[2]
  • Lanthanum
  • Leningrad
  • Maisons
  • Meteor
  • Mercury
  • Minitar
  • Mir (e.g. Mir-1)
  • Orchid
  • OF-28P (ОФ-28П) f2.8/28mm Panorama
  • Orion
  • Pentar
  • Rubin
  • Roussarie
  • Signal
  • Sputnik
  • Tahir
  • Tair
  • Telemar
  • Teletair
  • Telezenitar
  • Uran
  • Uranium
  • Variogoir
  • Variozenitar
  • Vega
  • Zenitar
  • ZM
  • Zodiac


  • Universal turret finder (28,35,50,85 and 135mm)
  • Filters
  • Lens hoods


  • 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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 HPR. Leica Copies. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1994. ISBN 1-874485-05-4. P.345.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 HPR. Leica Copies. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1994. ISBN 1-874485-05-4. P.346.
  3. 3.0 3.1 About the company, in the KMZ pages at Shvabe.
  4. See Alfred Klomp's Camera Pages.