Chaika II was produced by the Belomo factory in Belarus (then in the USSR) between 1967 and 1972. Chaika means “seagull”. It has the same camera body as the original, but with several minor changes.
This camera is very dear to me because I bought it last year, on my first trip alone. I wanted to travel and I had a friend living in Poland, so I went to visit him! One day, we were walking in Krakow when we accidentally found an antique shop, well hidden in the basement of an art gallery. When we got inside, I couldn’t believe my eyes! The shop was like a big room, with no shelves or any kind of order, the objects were just lying on the floor or on top of each other, everything was old and dusty… I had never seen anything like that! I stayed there for two hours, looking through all the stuff. When suddenly, under some books, gloves and a pair of glasses, I saw the Chaika II… and I fell immediately in love! It was small, a little bit heavy (as it should be) and I knew it was waiting there for me all these years. I don’t think that buying a camera on the internet can ever compare to this experience!
So I got a roll of 35mm film and started shooting. I was somewhat confused because the film didn’t seem to end! It just went on and on and on… I thought that the camera was obviously broken. But when we got to the hotel, I “googled” it and I was amazed to discover that it is a half-frame camera! How cool is that? I took 72 shots with one roll (36 × 2).
As disadvantages, I’d say that it doesn’t have a flash shoe, so you can’t use flash. Also, you can’t do multiple exposures.
Lens Industar: 69
Focal length, mm: 28
Relative aperture: f/2,8
Shutter: 1/30s, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250s + B
Diaphragm scale: from 2,8 to 16
Focusing, m: 0,8 to infinite
Film: 18 × 24mm frames on 35mm