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Iskra, a Really Wonderful Old Russian Folding Camera!

Here's the Iskra, a particularly well made Russian 120 folder from 1960. This may be one of the best Soviet cameras ever made! It seems to have been based on the Agfa Isolette II.

The photo of the Iskra camera was taken with the Ricoh Caplio Industrial Camera, and the background is an old pillow slip.

The Iskra (means “spark”) was the 2nd to last Russian 120 folding camera (Iskra II was the last and had a selenium light meter), and was a very high end effort by KMZ in Kraznogorsk. They were made from 1960 to 1963, and they replaced the Moskva 5.

I bought my example from the Fedka Store for US$205 with guarantee, and it works perfectly. The things to watch out for are light leaks in the bellows, and worn out frame counter. It has a an automatic frame counter like a Rollei Automat. They were very well made, but many were very heavily used by pro photographers. Some were converted to the red window and the counter removed. Mine appears to have
only been lightly used, and only had dry grease on the shutter, easily remedied by Harry at Camera Max. It has a sweet little leather case, and looks very Indiana Jones. It folds very flat, and if your coat pocket is wide, it might fit.

Anyway, the data:
Size: not all that big.
Weight: very heavy.
Materials: metal, glass, leather.
Viewfinder/rangefinder: integrated, very bright, 55mm baseline, parallax correction. Accurate!
Lens: Industar 58, Tessar type, 4 element, f/3.5 to 22. Sharp! Excellent bokeh!
Focus: helical, rangefinder coupled, 1m to infinity.
Shutter: Moment leaf type, 1 to 1/500sec. plus B. Accurate! Flash sync with all speeds, PC socket.
Note: the shutter and aperture have an interconnect for setting same exposure values, and most important, YOU MUST CHANGE THE SHUTTER SPEED BEFORE YOU COCK THE
SHUTTER!! This is the opposite of almost every other Russian camera.
Film: 120 rollfilm only.
Service life: with a CLA’ing every decade or 2, probably forever. Harry at Camera Max tells me that there is a leather processor in LA that makes bellows to order in colours. The bellows can be replaced, if necessary for about US$100.

I think that for reasons of fine art, 120 film will be around for the foreseeable future. If you find one of these, your multiple-great grandchildren may use it.
Enjoy.

written by herbert-4

10 comments

  1. superlighter

    superlighter

    great camera! B&W shots are my faves!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. wuxiong

    wuxiong

    Yes, great Russian Camera. I love the pictures.:))

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. dogma

    dogma

    WoW another amazing camera from my favorite type: folding! Gallery i so great a specially portrait #2

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  4. bravopires

    bravopires

    marvellous camera and marvellous shots!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  5. paramir

    paramir

    wonderful results! super-sharp images. looks like a great camera!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  6. droogieboy

    droogieboy

    Wonderfully sharp pics for such an old folding camera. Well done!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. myloveletter

    myloveletter

    great gallery! wish i could try the camera!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  8. panelomo

    panelomo

    classic beauty!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  9. life_on_mars

    life_on_mars

    great gallery )) Really good russian heavy-monster

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. masala27

    masala27

    Very nice photos. Vibrant.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam