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I am an Soviet and Russian camera collector residing in State of Illinois, USA. I have only somewhat recently started collecting (since May 2007) these fine examples of Soviet and Russian mechanical engineering and design that until late 80s have been closed off to the rest of the world. Now that these cameras have come to light, I want to share them with all of you. Recently I have decided to start cataloging Soviet and Russian cameras online, thus the project was born, which is a Wiki catalog of Russian and Soviet cameras.
Vlad's Soviet/Russian Photographic Equipment Collection

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Vlad's Description
Body Serial #: 61019925
Lens Serial #: I-50 #6258152

Wiki Catalog Entry
Kristall was really innovated camera for that time. It body was made using pressure molding what make it much more technological (and cheaper) to make. Kristall also has open back and new shatter design. With new technology was possible make cameras on conveyer using automated machinery and produce 1000-th cameras each month. That was proven by Kristall’s forerunner Zenit 3M and later Zenit E, in fact the only difference between Kristall and Zenit 3M is that top cover on Kristall was pressure molded while Zenit 3M was stamped by old way. Because this fact Kristall top has to be painted (by hammerhead paint) instead of usual chrome plating. And it made this camera unique. Probably new innovation was not working as expected for top cover.

Very few of the Kristall cameras are not hammerhead painted but with chrome paint. One of this with the s/n 61021914 is documented by Alexander Schulz in his book "Zenit - Die Geschichte der russischen Spiegelreflex-Prismensucherkamera mit M39-Objektivanschluss" (german). You can see a picture of this camera at: (see V.2). On this cameras are documented for the s/n range of 61017708 to 62032739, see:

Before production started were added ribs on the top of the prism for stiffness, and only after 2 years this technology was dropped together with name of the camera and camera with stamped and chrome plated top become famous Zenit 3M and then Zenit E. The Kristall was fit usually with an Industar-50 lens (some sources say that it was seen with Helios-44 lens too, but cameras with original Helios-44 lenses are hard to find; JLP writes there were only preserie of such lenses available in 1960, other black lenses came out in 1966, the Helios-44-2 from 1955 on in black). Shutter speeds is standard 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, weight 675gr. Camera was in production in 1961-1962, about 65,433 copies are made. Price 56 rubles in 1961 (price needs to be confirmed)
Wiki Catalog Images

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