Elikon 535: Pure Soviet Design


Technical evaluation and practical plastic machine

Diving for filipino Internet I found an article on a blog about a small 35mm camera. It was a camera from the factory Belomo, whose history goes back to 1971, GOMZ developments. its initials are means Mechanichesckoye Optiko Beloruskoe Obyedinenie and was founded in Minsk, Belarus. In the beginning the company started to manufacture photographic equipment, with great and Soviet products, such as models and Agat Chaika 18. Belomo The company has survived until this day, perhaps because they are now engaged in manufacturing optical supplies and materials for military use (scopes, laser pointers, night vision …) Also, commercial relations with the German company Zeiss.

I got the camera after three unsuccessful attempts. I bought and returned to the foreign sellers three machines which did not work before finding the one I have now, it works perfectly, they are fragile. These are the risks of Internet shopping, I guess.

The Elikon 535 is a camera that is certainly unique. I had never seen such a device. Industrial design of the “Cold War” era is very evident with those curves and the materials used. I suspect that this model dates back from the early nineties and which had as its commercial target for the young consumers. The exterior is made entirely of lightweight plastic and could only speculate about their internal mechanisms, probably plastic. On the front are a fantastic lens MINING-2, the systems approach and speed + exposure, the protective curtain that shields the lens and from any harmful external factors.

photo by DICK CHUA

At the top is located the exposure counter window, the red trigger on the handle rewinder and a universal flash hotshoe, which ensures we can use it at night, for example.

At the bottom we find a selection of ASA, surprisingly useless because all it does is point to the speed bar + exposure to “guide” our calculation. Yet we can choose between 50, 100, 200 or 400 iso’s. Systems approach and speed + exposure, apart from being totally manual, zone focusing is indicated by icons such as sun, clouds, a boat, a person … The machine synchronizes with all positions bar + expo speed and that’s cool. It also has tripod socket at the bottom.

photo by DICK CHUA

Three points that made me fell in love with this camera:

a) The lens MINING-2, Siamese cousin MINITAR -1 provides a high contrast, vignetting and vivid colors. Certainly the results could happen in some cases by the Lomo LC-A … Mine cost me 25 bucks, in case anyone is wondering.

b) This feature makes the 535 Elikon is really interesting. This is an automatic camera that lacks. photometer I imagine that to reduce production costs, the meter has been replaced by a speed ratio + fixed exposure, which can be varied through the mentioned bar. For those like me who lack the original manual (in Russian!) here is courtesy of relations Fedglass Group @ FLICKR Elikonas 535:
1 / 90 @ 3.8; 1 / 97 @ 4.6, 1 / 130 @ 5.6, 1 / 206 @ 6.3, 1 / 325 @ 7.1, 1 / 512 @ 8.0,11,16. Notice that the speeds 1 / 97 @ 4.6, 1 / 206 @ 6.3, 1 / 325 @ 7.1 does not marked on the bar but are present and functioning.

c) the ability to surprise, its film spool is sometimes a bit yanky and produces images that are not meant to be or shots that I just don’t remember taking…

It’s a cheap camera, lightweight plastic casing looks compact but with a fantastic lens that makes it a fantastic camera. I loved the results from a Filipino friend who uses it with B / N mode but I have found that crossed processing achieved great results. It comes in black or greenish gray. Today it is hard to find a good unit of this one and sellers are not always sympathetic (an Andalusian seller’s out there still trying to sell their defective Elikon 535 camera – stubborn as a mule), but if you can get your hands on this little baby, don’t hesitate to get one, It is a good investment!

written by beni on 2011-04-15 #gear #review #user-review #hard-to-find #elikon-535

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  1. sikucai
    sikucai ·

    this camera gonna be my next target! i'll buy it soon after i play enough with my LC-A! btw, nice review!

  2. beni
    beni ·

    hey thanks for translate @niko_fuzzy

  3. richidearthworm
    richidearthworm ·

    WOW that is a really cool camera and very nice review

  4. onegreenfan
    onegreenfan ·

    wow, just got one for real cheap too .solid ,light and russian

  5. dogma
    dogma ·

    Nice one!

  6. robotmonkey1996
    robotmonkey1996 ·

    Isn't this lens called "MINAR"?

  7. beni
    beni ·

    @robotmonkey Correct, is wrong in translate ;D

  8. belkabelochka
    belkabelochka ·

    "...its film spool is sometimes a bit yanky" - yep, mine too...I'm wondering if this is a common problem. Oh well!

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