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Luiz Paracampo
Luiz Paracampo

Brazil
1848 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 14 2009 :  9:05:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit Luiz Paracampo's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Today I received this letter:

First my compliments, an excellent site and a huge source of precious informations about Soviet cameras!

I write about the TCBBC Soviet camera, in fact I have two of these cameras, one of the first run ( roughly till number 500 ) equipped with the Sonnars salvaged in Jena, and one of the second run ( over 500 ) equipped with the post war Jena Sonnars ( numbers over 3.000.000 ).

I have to poin that:

1) The camera IS NOT A FED!! you can well understand
looking to the shutter construction in die mold
alluminium in the TCBBC and brass folded in the FEDS
or FED-ZORKIES of the same period ( 1949 or 1950 ). Is easy to
recognize this also not opening the camera and measuring
the position of the screws holding the shutter assembly on the FEDS and FED-ZORKIS comparred with that on the TCBBC.

2) The TCBBC ever ready case IS SURELY NOT OF RUSSIAN ORIGIN! But very close to that of the 1948 year Exactas delivered to USSR as war repairs.

3) Some ( few and surely original ) NO NAME TCBBC appeared in Germany's auctions

Finally, according to my informations the TCBBC was not a FED but an entirely new camera made to be equipped with the in Carl Zeiss Jena salvaged ZEISS SONNARS to be gifts for the high range officiers of the Red Army to celebrate the victory over the nazis.
The first run was not enough so the Red Army ordered a second run, of course with new and after war produced Jena Sonnars ( numbers over 3.000.000 ).
The production of the cameras was IN GERMANY as show by the quality, the skilling in the aluminium die molding in the shutter housing construction, the appearence of no name original cameras in Germay and last but not least the quality and construction of the ever ready cases.


Waiting for yours
Sincerely

Paolo Bellesi

I want to answer him but will ask for your help!
Regards LP

Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1025 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 14 2009 :  10:50:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dear Luiz,
I also have two TSVVS cameras ... from 1949 and 1950.

I have been of the belief, for quite some time, that the TSVVS was made in Germany and the points made by Paolo Bellesi are all correct. In fact, I would add also that the TSVVS has matching impressed numbers on the base of the shutter cage and the inside of the bottom plate, very much the same way that the Contax has numbers. In fact, here are some notes that I made and sent to Vlad several months ago concerning the origin of TSVVS:

(1) On the bottom of the shutter cage and bottom plate is an
impressed - stamped (not engraved) number on every TSVVS. There is
only one other camera that I know of that has this unique
feature .... the pre-war Contax.

(2) Actual Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are always found on the TSVVS ...
not just Zeiss optical blocks in Russian KMZ mounts (BK or ZK lenses).

(3) The actual chrome finish on the TSVVS is closer to the quality
of the Contax (brighter and finer) than on any Kiev, FED or other
Soviet camera.

(4) And of course, as we all know, the TSVVS has the mount made to
fit the Zeiss Contax lenses. This is an unusual choice for a Leica-
style rangefinder and to me would seem to point to a need to use
Zeiss Contax mount lenses.

(5) There is nothing on the camera that says it was made in USSR (or
in USSR Occupied Germany for that matter).

So, all of these facts, to my mind, make the possibility that these
cameras were made in Germany, possibly in a secret military workshop
that was connected to, or a part of, Carl Zeiss in Jena .... made
immediately after the war for the Soviet Army (probably the
Topographical Service ... even though they may have been used by
officers instead).

To make things even more complicated ... I also believe that the No
Name Contax-Kiev may also have been made or partially made in Germany
as it the chrome finish is of the same quality and brightness of the
Contax and the mechanics are so much smoother (but that is another
story).

So, Luiz, those are my thoughts and maybe you can write to Paolo Bellesi and ask him to take a look at this post and others that may follow in this thread.

Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4134 Posts
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Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  09:09:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Well Bill and Luiz, this topic had came up number of times between Viktor, Yuri Davidenko and I here in Paris.

I am only posting what I've heard and none of it is my opinion.

Yuri is assuring me that the information he has is solid, that his friend's father had worked at Almaz factory in Moscow region who had seen with his own eyes the production of these cameras from the parts and optics from reparations in Germany. Almaz factory was making highly classified production so documents either were not kept or were destroyed.

Viktor said that the whole story of TSVVS is very very foggy and he himself only relies on what he had heard from reputable people about Almaz factory but after I had presented some points that Bill was pointing out, Viktor said that it's a very logical and very convincing but he started approaching it from the angle of history and the mentality of Soviet in the mindset of just winning the victory over Germany. The way Viktor put it was - "We, the chest-thumping Soviets, the most powerful country in the world, just won this victory over Germany and we will ask Germans to make the secret cameras for our officers on the most-powerful red army?!?!?! No way!! (just quoting Viktor here ) This would be most embarrassing to our Soviet pride and the party!! We would rather go and take away German equipment and parts from Jenna or other factories in DDR territory, and maybe bring their engineers to Moscow and have them use their equipment in our factory to make the highest quality possible cameras for our most valued officers of the army.

This was what Viktor and Yuri Davidenko pretty much said. And mind this, these are the people who had traveled the country and had interviewed every possible camera designer, engineer, assembly line worker which they could find. Viktor says no one is 100% sure, the story behind this camera was most likely lost is classified archives but everything does point to domestic USSR production with high probability of this Moscow Almaz factory. When it comes to Yuri he actually almost swears by it.

Thus is the whole story...

Vlad
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1025 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  11:03:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for that report from our friends Vlad.

I think that the Almaz story could be true, but there would have to be more proof about it than we have so far. I know from dealing in antiques and art that second hand observations are not always very reliable, no matter if they are from a father, friend, or uncle etc.

If Almaz was making cameras, it seems that they would have made some other cameras and there would be some records, instruction manuals, etc. This kind of camera would not be top secret and if it was, it would not have been in the hands of regular military officers. So far, all cameras I have seen that were made in the USSR have had documentation and manuals ... even the KGB use cameras made at the secret workshop of KMZ! So if the KGB cameras have a manual ... why not a TSVVS manual.

It would not be embarrassing to have a camera made by captured German technicians and captured German equipment on captured German soil. Especially if the camera was not known to have been made in Germany as there is no indication of it. In fact, the Russians have always looked up to German technology, as has the rest of the world, and very much so in the field of cameras. That is why the Leica and Contax were copied. No doubt the Russian occupiers considered occupied Germany to now be part of the greater Soviet territory and everything in it theirs. I believe it is possible that the Soviet bosses in Moscow would have ordered the use of the factory in Jena to make the TSVVS, almost as a "war spoil" item for the victorious Soviet Generals to carry with them, almost as a trophy ... the best camera available, with the best German lens and the best qualities of both the famous Leica and the famous Contax, and made by the German technicians now under Soviet control!

If the "chest thumping" theory that the Soviets would never have a camera made in occupied Germany was true, then why would they allow this camera to have a German lens attached? No, it would have had to have been a Russian badged lens.

I agree with Victor that the story is still unknown or foggy, but please look at the e-mail that Luiz has shown us from Paolo Bellesi and the notes of my observations. Although somewhat repetitive, there are many reasons, blooking at all of these observations, to carefully consider whether this camera was made in Germany.

One last point is that there are examples of TSVVS that seem to predate the end of the war and so it has also been suggested that the camera is actually of total German design and was in existence during the war in Germany. I will try to find the information about this that I may have retained in my notes.

Regards, Bill

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Zoom
587 Posts
Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  11:06:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Vlad

... The way Viktor put it was - "We, the chest-thumping Soviets, the most powerful country in the world, just won this victory over Germany and we will ask Germans to make the secret cameras for our officers on the most-powerful red army?!?!?! No way!! (just quoting Viktor here ) This would be most embarrassing to our Soviet pride and the party!! We would rather go and take away German equipment and parts from Jenna or other factories in DDR territory, and maybe bring their engineers to Moscow and have them use their equipment in our factory to make the highest quality possible cameras for our most valued officers of the army.
This was what Viktor and Yuri Davidenko pretty much said.


I'm very surprised that Viktor don't know a history... a history of the "Sowjetische Militaradministration in Deutschland", for example.
About: "This would be most embarrassing to our Soviet pride and the party!!" -- nobody had such crazy thoughts at that time...

Edited by - Zoom on Jun 15 2009 11:07:21 AM
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1025 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  12:33:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree with Zoom... I think there was no embarrassment to the Soviet pride or party in winning the war and making Germans do what was said by the new Soviet authorities. Soviet pride at that time was very high. The idea that this small detail of actual location of manufacture would be an embarrassment is more like feelings that the next two later generations may have felt, and that is why folks of our generation (although, obviously I'm not Russian) may think that that is the way it was just after the war.

In the case of TSVVS, it is better to look at actual documentation about the manufacture of the camera, as well as the actual details of the camera itself. With the lack of documentation from any manufacturer or factory and no manuals or passports, all we can do at this time is to look at the details.

None of the details look to be Soviet, except for the design of the engraving, and the details of the materials and construction do look to be German. I have never seen a Soviet camera that had no manual discovered and no passport. Even KGB cameras usually have this type of documentation unless made in a tiny amount (perhaps less than 10 ... things like the microfilm cameras) and certainly not cameras that are made in production numbers of 1000, like TSVVS.

To me, more things point to non-Soviet production, from the evidence. Although I respect Yuriy Davidenko and his great knowledge, a report of a sighting or knowledge of a camera being made almost 60 years ago by a friend of his father, is very weak, and for example, would not stand up in a court of law, nor can it be considered reliable evidence without some supporting documents or photographs, etc. Is Almaz Zavod known to be a camera manufacturing plant at all? Any other cameras made there?

Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4134 Posts
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Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  5:32:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bill and Zoom. You do present a very convincing argument, I am merely playing a neutral party here just trying to get to the truth as we say..

Personal opinion regarding the missing documentation and the comparison to Ayaks series is that this was much earlier, than the Ayaks and the process of documentation may have not been established, but that is purely my speculation.

Also regarding missing documentation - Viktor told me the following story: BelOMO, Arsenal and GOMZ in hierarchy of Soviet factories were subordinates of Moscow - and by Moscow I mean KMZ. GOI had the final word on approving designs of cameras or lenses developed in either factories and have even directed some production to one or other factory. For example the story of Avtolikon 645 that Viktor has in his collection - (straight from this camera designer) what happened was is that the camera designer had developed it and from what I understood GOI said - give it to Arsenal to produce. The designer flat refused - he said, it's my design and I work for BelOMO and BelOMO should produce it. This had created a massive scandal because the designer would not release the drafts of the camera to GOI to take to Arsenal for production, this person had even be excluded from Communist party for that, but he still refused to give up the camera design to be produced elsewhere, so the camera just died at prototype stage. But according to testers at GOI this camera at the time had surpassed Mamiya 645 in quality. This was to the point of hierachy of the factories (sorry I kind of went off course a little with this little story .. but back to missing documentation - when KMZ was overloaded they would send off some production to BelOMO and in a lot of cases this was not even documented. For example - BelOMO Zenit FS-12 in Viktor's collection. There is no record of it anywhere in BelOMO, is just because KMZ had asked BelOMO to produce these cameras because they were backed up, this was an ad-hoc thing and BelOMO had produced a few hundred of them. Viktor has accidentally acquired one and then he had met a person who was actually an assembly line worker who was involved in the assembly of this camera. Almost everything was sent from KMZ but BelOMO was putting them together and stamping them with the BelOMO "Lens" logo. What happened to all these camera? the assembly worker said - "oh I just too about 48 of them little by little and was taking them to Poland to sell". So here's that.. and there are many other cases of this kind of thing of missing documentation. But I agree it is not BelOMO and it is not KMZ in TSVVS case - it is some other camera and some other factory, but my point was that from what I've heard we can't just assume that in Soviet union everything was accompanied by paperwork.. and i guess I should say - IT WAS SOVIET UNION - nothing was normal there . And probably that is why we like it so much. Everything is a mystery.

I guess I'm reiterating and clarifying from what I've gathered Viktor's position was that Moscow and KMZ was the heart and soul of the optico-mechanical production at the time and they would've protested that the most elite camera made for the Soviet elite would be produced somewhere than Moscow.

Thus this also leads me to believe from what I've heard how this organization was structured - if GOI does not approve camera design it does not go to production - maybe GOI is the first logical step where the information about this camera should be looked for???

Vlad
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1025 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 15 2009 :  10:18:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Vlad,

Thanks for the interesting information about some of the structure and organization of the factories.

But this was a bit earlier and, as camera factories KMZ, was just being formed at least as far as large production series cameras go, as was the case with Arsenal. So at the time of the TSVVS these companies were not so huge and BeLOMO non-existant. Even from the beginnings of series camera production in the USSR, like Fotokor, FED, etc. any camera produced in numbers did have passports, manual, and other official papers. Of course there could be some exceptions, but not likely in a camera of such a high quality and sent to the military as well.

Yes, we can always say "It was the Soviet Union" to try to explain away anything unusual, but that will not be a good answer and can apply to any country in the world!

My understanding, in general, was that GOI was the State Optical Institute and, as far as camera production went, mostly designed the lenses and tested them. And that they may have been instrumental in giving the lenses to a specific factory to produce, but that the camera designers were actually at the factories and the prototypes were made at the factories (and then probably, or possibly tested with the appropriate lenses at GOI). I have a fairly large collection of GOI prototype lenses, but have never seen a prototype camera at GOI. I think even GOI was subordinate to the Party bosses in Moscow, but not to KMZ which was also subordinate to the Part bosses.

It would be a good idea to get information from GOI, but I don't know of anyone who has had luck with that. Hopefully some real documentation about the TSVVS will surface and will give a solid clue as to it's maker and origin, but without that all we have are the details of the camera itself.

So far I have never heard anyone give any example of a physical detail of TSVVS that would seem to be related to any other Soviet production or specific Soviet camera, while many details seem to be related to German cameras and production method details. So although I don't know where it was made, it looks more German than Soviet to me, as far as my own knowledge of FED cameras, Kiev cameras, and Contax cameras goes. So I think it would be good to look in the former East Germany for some documentation.

Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4134 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 16 2009 :  03:31:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bill, may be... lots of good points, but to add about GOI - from my conversation with Viktor, Aidas and Yuri DVD - according to them GOI's primary role was to actually direct, test and approve any camera/optics production that is prototypes and designs that are coming out from the factories themselves and it also happens that they do have the Research and Development facility for some of their own stuff.. so if there is a new design at the factory it is being sent to GOI first, they mull over it, approve/reject it and then say ok you can make it at Arsenal or BelOMO or in some cases redirect the actual production to some other factory. That is my understanding now.

Vlad
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Zoom
587 Posts
Posted - Jun 16 2009 :  10:05:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Vlad

Viktor told me the following story: BelOMO, Arsenal and GOMZ in hierarchy of Soviet factories were subordinates of Moscow - and by Moscow I mean KMZ.


Sorry, it is delirium... By the Ministry of the defensive industry (MOP).

quote:
Originally posted by Vlad

GOI had the final word on approving designs of cameras or lenses developed in either factories and have even directed some production to one or other factory.


Nope. Yes, a new cameras and lenses must be tested and endorsed by GOI, but the "Head" was in the MOP.

quote:
Originally posted by Vlad

...my point was that from what I've heard we can't just assume that in Soviet union everything was accompanied by paperwork.. and i guess I should say - IT WAS SOVIET UNION - nothing was normal there . And probably that is why we like it so much. Everything is a mystery.


Far away from reality again, sorry... I don't know what do you understand by the word "normal"... But it is simply: an archives were not stored infinitely... Ten years -- max... :( 50 years and more -- in a special cases...

Edited by - Zoom on Jun 16 2009 10:12:37 AM
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1025 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 16 2009 :  10:11:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Vlad,
I think that the reports on cameras from GOI, from testing themselves, while important to the development, testing, approval and possible manufacture of cameras, was never it's primary role or function, although it was important to the camera industry and now to us as collectors of the cameras. There is much information on the internet that talks about GOI and its importance in the scientific community of the USSR and the world as a whole.

It does not just also happen to have a Research and Development facility .... this was their main function in the Soviet Union and they are known around the world for their advances and work in theoretical physics and optics, including telescopes, space optics, work with lasers, etc.

Although it would appear tha GOI did test cameras, prototypes, as well as develop lenses, they were probably not always the power to make a decision on whether a camera would go into production or not, as illustrated by this interesting article, which may relate a somewhat unusual circumstance (or maybe not so unusual):

http://cameras.alfredklomp.com/ft2/index.htm

As you and many others have told me ... It was the USSR!

About TSVVS ... I am not convinced that this camera was made in Germany ... just that many physical clues could lead in that direction, to my eyes, and I'm not convinced that the camera was made in Almaz Zavod without more proof than third-hand observation which can always have problems when the sighting was 60 years ago.




Regards, Bill

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Juhani Halmeenmaki
cedricfan
Finland
962 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 16 2009 :  1:30:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit cedricfan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
One small point: what I have understood Contax production lines were shipped to Kiev after victory and thus no factory to build anything in eastern part of Germany eexisted nor it was possible or even likely?

Best regards,
Juhani
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1025 Posts
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Posted - Jun 16 2009 :  2:43:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello Juhani,
Yes, probably in 1948 the main Contax production lines were shipped to Kiev. However, the story of these German factories is quite complex and the Contax production line in Germany were several, with the location even changing during the war, from Dresden to Jena due to bombing, and with many production tools and personnel remaining in East Germany even after the war, which is why there are post-war East German cameras, including models from Dresden and Jena, for example Contax, Pentacon, Werra, Exacta and others. So, it may be quite possible that a design could be made with the remaining Zeiss or another factory's facilities at either Jena or rebuilt facilities in Dresden, or some other location. Certainly the tools and facilities still existed in East Germany to make a camera like the TSVVS, although I just suspect it from the details of the camera and have no certain knowledge of it.

Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4134 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jun 16 2009 :  5:30:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Zoom,

thank you for information about MOP, I guess there is always higher authority! But good to know. I was merely stating that no camera was produced without GOI approval, but didn't know they kick it up even higher for that... interesting!

Well by normal in Soviet Union I was talking about cutting corners and having right connections in right places to get the shortcuts for certain things.

Bill,

thank you for the article link, I will read it when I am back in Chicago and comment on it then, unfortunately short on time here in Paris, post what I can in between the excursions. By the way totally accidentally ran into Aidas today by Notre Dame cathedral... that was quite an interesting coincidence .

Juhani,

as Bill already said, according to Peter Hennig's article (http://www3.telus.net/public/rpnchbck/zconrfKiev.htm) there was a parallel Contax production still in Jena with far fewer pieces produced than the Kiev counterpart.

Vlad
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
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My Collection

Posted - Jan 22 2020 :  3:20:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Coming back to this... So many years had passed, so many things learned about Soviet cameras and still VTS-VS (aka TSVVS) information eluded us until I ran into this document in the vast spaces of VKontake social network posted by a collector only known as "Kot":


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2212020_MyuR55yEZ7M.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2212020_dLmBRxHbTos.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2212020_W8CLihiKws8.jpg

Cover:

Topographical Service
Armed Forces of Russian Federation

E.I. Dolgov, S.V. Sergeev

History of Division of Topographical Service

Moscow 2012



------

Excerpt 1:
Service and assembly workshop #64
Service and Assembly floor EMZ (??) 1945-1946
Service and assemebly workshop #68 VTS 1946-1950

Service and assembly floor or experimental mechanical factory VTS-KA was formed in Germany in city of Fraiberg (32 km south-west of Dresden) in accordance to directive of Main organizing directorate of GSH-KA (??) #/org/12/87441c from 04/10/1945 on the basis of optical-mechanical factory which was part of concern "Hildenbrandt". From the aformentioned directive: "..into the contingent #30/400 of experimental factory VTS KA inlcude service-assembly floor (city of Fraiberg) consisting of 5 military and 72 civilian personnel. All to be reported to the head of topographical division of GSOVG headquarters". With the directive GSH KA # org/9/88242 on 17/12/1945 this assembly floor has been designated as "Field post 75467".


-------
Excerpt 2
In September 1945 the service-assembly floor was reorganized into "Service assembly workshop #68 VTS BC USSR".
The workshop had manufactured: multiplexes, stereo periscopes (?), stereo mirror scopes, portable power plants for motorized topographical forces, amateur photo cameras and other.
The workshop was disbanded in 1950 with the formation of 7/10/1949 German Democratic Republic. All the manufacturing equipment and materials were transported to factories #106 EMZ (Moscow), 64 OMM(Riga) and 65 OMM (Lvov).
Heads of workshop and floor:
Engineer-Major B.A. Shilin (9/10/1945-14/07/1949)
Major G.A. Gordienko (22/04/1949-23/01/1951)

----------------


Quite a handful of information confirming the rumors of German manufacture of VTS-VS (aka TSVVS).

Best regards,
Vlad
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Juhani Halmeenmaki
cedricfan
Finland
962 Posts
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Posted - Jan 22 2020 :  10:48:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit cedricfan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow!
And Freiberg links to Pentacon...

Best regards,
Juhani
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luigi gesi
schyter
Italy
43 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 23 2020 :  1:42:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit schyter's Homepage  Reply with Quote
great job Vladislav !!!

--------------------------

Only dead fish follow the stream ...
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1025 Posts
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Posted - Jan 23 2020 :  3:36:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Great work finding that document Vlad! Finally some detailed information that is believable about TSVVS. Thank you and Hello to all!

Best regards, Bill



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Ulrich W.
uwittehh
Germany
720 Posts
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Posted - Jan 23 2020 :  3:56:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit uwittehh's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Really amazing, Vlad!
I always though that it could be that the TSVVS was build in Germany because of the totally different assembly (screws and so on) and the build quality. Pentacon... why not ;-)
Bill, welcome back.

Ulrich

http://fotos.cconin.de
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Ulrich W.
uwittehh
Germany
720 Posts
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Posted - Jan 23 2020 :  4:00:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit uwittehh's Homepage  Reply with Quote
And by the way, maybe we will see more information when Putin opens the WW2 archives ;-)

Ulrich

http://fotos.cconin.de
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Elmar Lang
Italy
8 Posts
Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  07:14:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello,

most interesting news indeed, but alas, no direct proof that the VTS-VS was built in Germany, unless anything would come from the Zeiss Archives (now including all the papers also from the Eastern German part of the famous firm).

Until now, we can read some info about a laboratory located in Freiberg, working on behalf of the VTS-SV, in charge of the assembly of various optical/measuring equipment and -OK, interesting detail- "amateur cameras", not actually mentioning which cameras would they be.

I agree that this camera always shows a better finish than the average of other Leica-similar cameras of Soviet origin/production, but I cannot consider this detail as evidence for a german-made camera, besides having employed Zeiss-made Sonnars with Contax attachment. I can say that USSR-made cameras at some times were made with care of finish and detail.

I think that a "The End" to this intriguing story, will be when some researcher shall find a folder, either in Germany or in the Russian Federation, where the production details of this camera shall undoubtedly appear.

All the best,

Enzo (E.L.)

Edited by - Elmar Lang on Jan 24 2020 07:16:31 AM
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Jacques M.
France
2313 Posts
Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  08:34:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello,

OK, Enzo, you are right. But it's certainly a stone more towards Germany, after many details of construction, for example the numbers stamped inside and the use of brass for the body (cf the Jena-Contaxes). Probably, we are not very far from the end of the story...

I wait for this moment, like you all!

Thanks to Vlad to have found this doc, and delighted to have seen Bill's sign!

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4134 Posts
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  10:30:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Enzo,

to be honest, it only "confirms the rumors" about German origin that were going around in the past, and it made me question things now, because in the recent years I've been of the opinion that this entire camera production is fake made in Ukraine for collectors market, made by very skilled people in post-soviet factory conditions (same ones who possibly made FED-Sport, Zorki-75, Zorki-250, FED Stemar, etc) as I'm yet to see any accompanying documentation. Also the fact that I haven't seen a single VTS-VS camera in bad condition and they all work so smoothly like new (cameras from 1940s, even German ones usually have issues with deteriorating lubrication, yet to see an aged version of it).

So I agree with you, this doesn't completely prove anything, just made me stop and think.. I am also skeptical about the "2012" dating of this document, this could've been written knowing that these cameras already exist.. so yes.. definitely more information than we had before, but I still want to see a manual or a box for this camera...

And Bill, great to hear from you!!

Best regards,
Vlad
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  10:32:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Also since this is a fairly recent document with authors listed, maybe it's possible to track down the authors for more information.
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luigi gesi
schyter
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  11:04:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit schyter's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Vlad

Also since this is a fairly recent document with authors listed, maybe it's possible to track down the authors for more information.



The two authors of the 2012 document (E.I. Dolgov, S.V. Sergeev) are officers of the Russian Armed Forces (reservists) and have written several books on the history of the topographical service of the last 200 years.

https://www.worldcat.org/title/istoriia-chastei-topograficheskoi-sluzhby/oclc/1005514753&referer=brief_results

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Only dead fish follow the stream ...
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luigi gesi
schyter
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  11:26:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit schyter's Homepage  Reply with Quote

quote:
So I agree with you, this doesn't completely prove anything, just made me stop and think.. I am also skeptical about the "2012" dating of this document, this could've been written knowing that these cameras already exist.. so yes.. definitely more information than we had before, but I still want to see a manual or a box for this camera...

And Bill, great to hear from you!!

Best regards,
Vlad



the 2012 document is authentic.

"" In February 2017, the 205th anniversary of the topographical service of the armed forces of the Russian Federation was celebrated. For the 200th anniversary, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has prepared a book "The history of topographic service parts". The authors are: reserve officer of the Topographical Service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Military Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Research Center (detection and navigation support) of the 27th Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, who became part of the Center for Research and Analysis of Problems Security Information Agency "Arms of Russia", E. Dolgov and Reserve Officer of the Topographical Service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Researcher at the Scientific Research Center (support topographical and navigation) of the 27th Central Scientific Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation S. Sergeev.""

http://istgeodez.com/istorii-chastey-topograficheskoy-sluzhbyi-neotemlemyie-chasti-istorii-otechestva/

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Edited by - schyter on Jan 24 2020 11:27:43 AM
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luigi gesi
schyter
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  11:44:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit schyter's Homepage  Reply with Quote
this the book

http://hamlet.ru/?view=item&id=28294

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Vladislav Kern
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  2:49:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the information Luigi! I will try to figure out how to contact these authors and will report the results!

Best regards,
Vlad
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luigi gesi
schyter
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  3:09:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit schyter's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Vlad

Thank you for the information Luigi! I will try to figure out how to contact these authors and will report the results!

Best regards,
Vlad



perhaps through the "Axiom" publishing house (Moscow)

https://sbis.ru/contragents/7725627698/772501001

Сергеев, издательство «Аксиом»



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Edited by - schyter on Jan 24 2020 3:13:28 PM
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Vladislav Kern
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  3:16:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, this publishing house does not exist anymore, I am trying to get ahold of Tatyana Dundukova who was the general director and also sent an email to a topography society expert maybe he can advise.
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luigi gesi
schyter
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Posted - Jan 24 2020 :  3:21:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit schyter's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Vlad

Yes, this publishing house does not exist anymore, I am trying to get ahold of Tatyana Dundukova who was the general director and also sent an email to a topography society expert maybe he can advise.



You are doing a great job.
In the registers of the Freiberg municipality, no clue can be found on the factory???

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Elmar Lang
Italy
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Posted - Jan 25 2020 :  12:33:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In my opinion, the research should go through the papers of the Carl Zeiss archive, now including all what was collected from the various sites belonging to the Eastern part of the Carl Zeiss Foundation and Zeiss Ikon - Zeiss Jena and "VEB" Carl Zeiss Jena: the amount of papers is huge, dating from the "SMAD" to the "Wende".

The first "VTS-VS" camera I've ever seen in my hands, was in 1990 at a shop in Venice, taken by a Russian gentleman, who took many other pieces. Pity, that camera was already "reserved" for a collector.

Edited by - Elmar Lang on Jan 25 2020 12:45:45 PM
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
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Posted - Jan 25 2020 :  2:11:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello again everyone,

I have an update, I got in touch with a renown Soviet topographer and historian in the field. He is well aware of this camera and told me that he discussed the topic with the authors of this book at one point in time, and that they do no have any more specific information beyond what they have printed about it. He had not heard anything else either about it in their field...

So I think Enzo's route of starting to dig the DDR (GDR) archives is the only alternative that we have left.

Best regards,
Vlad.
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Detlev Vreisleben
Detlev
Germany
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Posted - Jan 26 2020 :  3:25:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There was a factory Max Hildebrand in Freiberg/Sa. The factory was dismantled in 1945 to 1948
http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2612020_NivelliergeraetTheodolit_Hildebrand_WichmannP1010591.jpg

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Detlev Vreisleben
Detlev
Germany
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  03:44:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The factory exists again: https://www.fpm.de/index.php?c=1&s=historie
When you read the history you get doubts in the production of a camera:
8.Mai 1945
Besetzung der Firma durch die Rote Armee, teilweise Demontage der Maschinen und Ausrüstung, 15 Arbeiter erledigen kleinere
Reparaturen an Vermessungs-Geräten und -Instrumenten

Occupation of the company by the Red Army, partial dismantling of the machines and equipment, 15 workers make smaller repairs to surveying equipment and instruments

28.Okt. 1950
Gründung des Betriebes VEB Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik
1958
Anbau Betriebsgebäude
1962
Erweiterung durch Neubau
1966
Zusammenarbeit mit Carl Zeiss Jena, Erweiterung der traditionellen Produktpalette durch Geräte der Röntgen-Analysenmesstechnik

There could be documents in the State Archives: Feinmechanik-Optik (H) 1946
Enthält u.a.: Max Hildebrandt GmbH (Freiberg), Karl W. Höhnel (Glashütte), Hoh & Hahne (Leipzig)
StA-D, Rep. 11384 Nr. 1996
and in the "Technische Sammlung Dresden"
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Jacques M.
France
2313 Posts
Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  07:48:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I am not sure that the question of time is always pertinent.

In Jena, for example, the dismantlement and the production of the very first batches of Jena-Contaxes were simultaneous in 1946, and the "running" production was made a bit later, from 1947, with the original parts by a very reduced team.
The same for Arsenal, where there was certainly a "contraction of time" (happy Soviets!) between the production of some very rare Feds (1946), the production of the first Kievs (1947) and the use of the three Jena lines for the running production.

That was only my cogitation about that thrilling thread...

Amitiés. Jacques.


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Detlev Vreisleben
Detlev
Germany
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  10:36:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sometimes Freiberg and Freital have been confused


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2712020_CIA.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2712020_CIA2.jpg

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  11:02:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you Detlev!

Very interesting info! Seems like CIA had no information regarding cameras...

Best regards,
Vlad
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Detlev Vreisleben
Detlev
Germany
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  11:21:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In Freital had been several camera producing factories.

https://www.dresdner-kameras.de/firmengeschichte/firmen/firmen.html
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Vladislav Kern
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  11:28:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
No it's definitely Freiberg. From the same poster "Kot" on VK, it says that this theodolite is a copy of German theodolite Th2a (Max Hilderberandt factory),
and in 1945 in the Freiberg in MaxHildenbrandt factory there is a VTS workshop that started to make this same Th2a with VTS-VS markigns and later under Soivet name of OTS-62 (VTS) after move of the VTS workshop to Baltics.


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2712020_UOCFZsJsUoA.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2712020_aiwcqFtK79g.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2712020_z850IJUE5UI.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/2712020_8fwIvhupD4w.jpg

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Detlev Vreisleben
Detlev
Germany
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  11:38:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You are right, but the document doesn't mention a camera production in Freiberg.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  11:44:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Indeed. I just find the fact that so many cameras are know but NONE have any papers or boxes highly suspicious..

Thank you Detlev, the CIA document is most helpful!

Vlad.
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  6:11:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Vlad,

Maybe possible that there were no boxes made for this small edition of military cameras meant for officers of the USSR Topographical Service (or to whom and wherever they were distributed). Boxes are usually for civilian cameras as are manuals. Maybe there was no "passports" needed as they were produced in Germany but meant for Soviet military use.

They don't appear to be fakes and it would be prohibitive for anyone making fakes to go to such trouble and expense over the high quality manufacture and the cost of obtaining so many of the Zeiss lenses. And if not authentic, why go to the trouble of making two versions of the engraving?

The marking on the theodolite is different than the camera because of the "K". But the serial number uses the same designation "No." as the TSVVS where the earlier theodolites by Hildebrand use the "Nr." designation for the serial number.

I have always thought that the camera was made in East Germany but given to officers in the Soviet Union because of the manufacturing details.

Regards, Bill

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xalmaz
Russia
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Posted - Jan 27 2020 :  11:12:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit xalmaz's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nightphoto


Maybe possible that there were no boxes made for this small edition of military cameras meant for officers of the USSR Topographical Service (or to whom and wherever they were distributed). Boxes are usually for civilian cameras as are manuals. Maybe there was no "passports" needed as they were produced in Germany but meant for Soviet military use.





Here is presented TSVVS with box(but i'm not sure that box is original):

http://yelphimoff.narod.ru/bronshtein/RusCamera.htm

Unfortunatelly, can't find original site of Alexander Bronstein...




http://xalmaz.narod.ru
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
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Posted - Jan 30 2020 :  10:49:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you xalmaz, I am in contact with him, will ask for more information.
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Vladislav Kern
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Posted - Jan 30 2020 :  11:37:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A bit more information, I've been corresponding with a Russian military topographer, and obtained some extra information I am posting here some interesting snippets of our correspondence:

"Найти документацию по ним, как мне кажется - не возможно. Мастерские были военные - все либо сожгли, либо в недоступных архивах. "
"I think it is impossible to find documentation for them [cameras], workshops were military, they either burned everything or it's in the inaccessible [to public] archives"

"Камера использовалась при фотографировании во время полевых работ в 1950-ые годы. Работы выполнялись на Дальнем Востоке.
Было ли это поощрением или камера выдавалась по службе - не могу знать, но никаких дарственных гравировок и надписей нет.
Существуют отдельные виды работ, при выполнении которых необходимо делать фотографии местности. Точно к таким видам работ относится демаркация государственной границы - пограничные столбы и характерные ориентиры фотографировались. Могу предположить, что для таких целей в полевые отряды выдавались такие камеры.
То что то камеры использовались исключительно в наградных целях - это вряд ли, это скорее исключения из правил.

Приведу цитату: "Про фотоаппараты у геодезистов вспомнила одну мелкую деталь. Много лет отец снимал домашние фото аппаратом, который потом передал мне, оставшимся у него не знаю с каких времен. Это был стандартный для тех времен ФЭД (не зеркалка), но на самой камере, там, где пишут название, было написано "ВТС" и больше ничего. Могу предположить, что линейка аппаратов делалась на том же заводе по заказу службы. Отец обращал мое внимание на то, что объектив был - нестандартный для общедоступных ФЭДов, возможно даже цейсовский, но врать не буду, точно не помню. Поставил ли этот объектив отец или такой была комплектация сейчас уже не узнать"."

"The camera was used for photography during field work in the 1950s. The work was carried out in the Far East.
Whether it was a meritorious award or the camera was given out for service - I can’t know, but there are no gift engravings and inscriptions.
There are certain types of work, during which it is necessary to take photographs of the area. The demarcation of the state border refers precisely to such types of work - border posts and characteristic landmarks were photographed. I can assume that for such purposes such cameras were issued to field detachments.
The fact that the cameras were used exclusively for award purposes is unlikely, it is rather an exception to the rule.

I’ll quote: “One small detail I remembered about cameras from surveyors. For many years, my father took home photos with the apparatus, which he later handed over to me, I don’t know from what time. It was a standard FED (not a SLR) for those times, but “BTC” was written on the camera where the name was written and nothing else. I can assume that the line of devices was made at the same factory by order of the service. My father drew my attention to the fact that the lens was non-standard for regular FEDs, maybe even Zeiss, but I won’t lie, exactly I don’t remember. Did father put this lens himself or was it such a bundle?"



Best regards,
Vlad

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
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Posted - Jan 30 2020 :  11:49:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Alexander Bronstein has kindly provided me with more detailed photos of that camera box. It is quite plain...


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/3012020_83198860_2543204285923546_5280322640123265024_n.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/3012020_84137376_794603631012123_859831823931277312_n.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/3012020_84433982_179889856724635_5151127245015744512_n.jpg


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/3012020_83101564_2567392373495093_4336284705293860864_n.jpg

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Detlev Vreisleben
Detlev
Germany
71 Posts
Posted - Jan 31 2020 :  01:57:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Vlad,

The plaque on the bottom of the case is interesting.

Detlev


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/3112020_TSVVS.jpg

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Jacques M.
France
2313 Posts
Posted - Jan 31 2020 :  3:00:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The plaque is interesting. Can somebody translate what is written? I see 1957 as an anniversary date (?): probably late if it's the case...
The cable release with its special case inside the box is interesting too. A pity we don't know more about it.

Jacques.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
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Posted - Jan 31 2020 :  3:06:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Here's a better photo.

It says:
"To Colonel Maximov L.K. for many years of excellence in service in detachment of VTS SA (Military Topography Service of Soviet Army) from head of VTS, December 9 1957".

Cheers,
Vlad


http://www.ussrphoto.com/UserContent2/3112020_84002721_160790025358946_8312377858118909952_n.jpg

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Jacques M.
France
2313 Posts
Posted - Jan 31 2020 :  3:20:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Vlad.
The Military Topography Service sounds right, of course.
But what about the date? This VTS-VS is "officially" a 1950 camera. The last batches of Jena-Contaxes were delivered well inside the fifties, especially the 305xx series. But is a comparison possible?

Jacques.

Edited by - Jacques M. on Jan 31 2020 3:21:53 PM
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