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Camera Collections: Alexandr Altabaev's Soviet Stash

This week's Camera Collection is proof that analogue love could run in your family's blood. Community member @japsix from Sevastopol shows us her father's massive medley of Russian cameras that her mom won't even allow to be kept in the house because there's just so many!

Photos by japsix

Hi, Dasha a.k.a. japsix! Tell us about your father’s camera collection. How did he start collecting film gear?

My dad Alexandr Altabaev bought his first camera, when he was 12 years old. He sold an aquarium and bought a brand new SMENA-6. He still remembers the price: 13,5 rubles. Then he used many other cameras, among them: Kiev-4, Agat-18 and Zenit C. Most of my childhood photos were shot with this Zenit.

However, my dad began collecting cameras only about 3 years ago and now the collection counts around 60 cameras (not counting lenses, exposure meters and other camera accessories). The collection started from Zenit 122. Of course, these are mostly Russian cameras, but there are also such beauties as a tiny ZEISS IKONA 520/18 and Olympus OM1. My dad usually visits Sevastopol flea market (he knows all the camera sellers there) but pretty often the most valuable findings await you in the most unexpected places in the hands of a random person, who knows nothing about film photography.

My mom doesn’t allow us to keep all the cameras at home (there’s just not enough space for all of them in our apartment) so a larger part of the collection is stored in my dad’s garage. So when I came up with the idea to make a story about the collection for Lomography, my dad had no choice, but to gather all the cameras in one place – so we had 2 huge bags and 3 large boxes all densely packed with cameras. Then we loaded all these treasures to my dad’s charming Honda (which is 38 years old) and went to the center of the city to make some shots.

Can you itemize every camera, accessory, and film in the collection?

There are such cameras as: FED 1, FED 2, FED 3, FED 4, FED 5, FED 35, FED Micron, FED Micron 2, FED 50, Zorki 1, Zorki 4, Zorki 10, MIR, Zenith C, Zenith 3M, Zenith ET, Zenith TTL, Zenith 122, Chaika 1, Etud, Kiev 3A, Kiev 4, Kiev 10, Smena 1, Smena 2, Smena 6, Smena 8M, Smena symbol, Smena 35 and many more. (Read about the more interesting pieces on japsix’s LomoHome blog!)

Does your dad like to use the cameras or admire them from the shelf?

My dad doesn’t simply buy cameras; he repairs them, so every small detail in them works perfectly fine. He doesn’t use all the cameras, but he shoots with the FED-1, Olympus OM1 and Zenit 122 pretty often.

Will he ever part with his collection?

Oh no! This is our family treasure!

Is the collection complete or is there still that “Holy Grail” piece your dad is looking for?

Of course there are cameras that he wants for the collection. For example, right now, he is looking for an old model of Horizon to shoot some nice summer panorama pictures.

Fast Camera Collection Facts

Number of cameras? Around 60
Number of accessories? Well, hard to tell, but not less than 30
Number of films? Not much, comparing to the number of cameras
Number of years collecting? Around 3 years
Biggest buy/most expensive items? Zeiss Ikon Ercona (around $80) and Olympus OM1 (around $90)
Sweetest steal/cheapest scored items? A very rare FED-1, manufactured around 1949-50 which my dad bought it for $2.50!
Most prized possessions/favourites from the collection? FED-1, Zeiss Ikona 520/18, Olympus OM1
Amount of money spent? Oh, no idea!!!

Thanks for showing us your dad’s Camera Collection, japsix!

You might also like:

Care to share your Camera Collection? E-mail denise.sanjose@lomography.com with the contents of your camera shelf, film fridge, and what not, and you could be our next featured film photographer!

written by denisesanjose


  1. japsix


    @denisesanjose Thank you SO much, dear for publishing the article and for all your help with editing))))

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. bsdunek


    Your Dad must be a neat guy; I'm sure you're proud of him. He sure seem to enjoy himself. Better than spending all his money in bars. I really like that little red camera, but can't tell what it is. I'll be searching for that.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  3. af-capture



    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  4. japsix


    @bsdunek thank you so much for your kind words, i really love Dad and of course i'm proud of him, his talents and his beautiful collection. as for the little red camera, you don't have to search, here is the link to my blog entry with the info on all the cameras:
    I wanted to include this info to the article, but that way it was too long, so Denice advised me to publish this material in a blog entry.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  5. yerzmyey


    Incredible. :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  6. denisesanjose


    @japsix Thank you for sharing your dad's amazing Camera Collection!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  7. clickiemcpete


    Great collection! :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  8. mapix


    really nice article! thanks!!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  9. adi_totp


    WOW.. great one dear! @japsix ... can we see your dad's photos?? I'm curious :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  10. novakmisi


    bravo ! :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  11. plyshbel


    Здорово! Крепкого здоровья папе и пополнения коллекции!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  12. gepo1303


    Nice article, nice pics, nice collection

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  13. wil6ka


    I am such a fan of your dad, dascha, as I am fond of you :3

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  14. vicuna


    impressing collection!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  15. madiba


    ma che belle ....complimenti !!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  16. ms_deer


    hi Dasha, great and impresive collection of your's Dad cameras;] i really like etiud and this little bakelite beauty,it is "maskotka"??my russian isin't very well;] and a big bunch of greetings from Gdańsk to Sevastopol, one of my favourite cities!it was my vacation place for 4years;] i really love this place. do you take those photos near the Lenin monument?we used to drink there a lot;]
    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  17. sirio174


    A great Jupiter 50/1,5 on your Zorki 4 - like me! Same camera, same lens, works great!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  18. sirio174


    However my preferred Russian Rangefinder is Zorki 6!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  19. japsix


    @yerzmyey @clickiemcpete @mapix @novakmisi @gepo1303 @vicuna @madiba @sirio174 THANK YOU for your kind comments, my friends! It really means a lot to me!!
    @adi_totp Thank you one more time, my dear!! kisssessss
    @plyshbel огромное спасибо!!
    @wil6ka Спасииибо, мой прекрасный! Приезжай как-нибудь в Севастополь, папа сам покажет тебе коллекцию))

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  20. japsix


    @ms_deer Hi! Thank you so much for you kind comment! This tiny camera is MALUTKA, you can see more info about it in my blog entry:http://www.lomography.com/homes/japsix/blog/97387-my-dads-camera-collection
    As for the shots, they were made in a park near to Suvorov square, but of course i know the place you are talking about))))

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  21. mafiosa


    Great story!! Thank you for sharing <3

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  22. fragilesouls


    i want all of those cameras :'( omg your collection is just breath taking :)))

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  23. 134340


    oh dasha!! it's really AWESOME collection!!!! most of them i've never seen before. thanks for sharing us!! :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  24. japsix


    @mafiosa @134340 Thank you SO SO much, girls <3 <3 kisses!!
    @fragilesouls thank you very much for your like and kind comment, it really means a lot to me

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  25. disdis


    simply, i admire your father!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  26. akula


    Thank you for sharing this.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  27. goonies



    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  28. guanatos



    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  29. adamo-75


    Thanks so much for sharing! My dad gave me his Canon AV-1 in my teens and this kickstarted my love of photography ;D

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  30. erbswurst


    this is just awesome, love the little Malutka, great collection and a wonderful dad!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  31. kibs


    I love this camera collection! They all look so wonderfully cared for. Your Dad is awesome and please thank him for sharing his collection :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  32. japsix


    @disdis @akula @goonies @guanatos @adamo-75 @erbswurst @kibs Thank you, my dear friends!! And special thanks from my father!! This collection is our family treasure and your feedback is really important to us! Thanks one more time <3

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  33. jeabzz


    @japsix woohoo what an impressiv collection!! thankx for sharing! :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  34. herbert-4


    @japsix Wonderful collection!!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  35. kangiha


    wow, that's awesome, great article, thanks for sharing, Cheers!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  36. allanbendiksen


    Great article.

    10 months ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch, 中文(繁體版) & Русский.