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John Frank

1 Posts
Posted - Aug 26 2023 :  8:15:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, my name is John Frank, I'm an American, and a mechanic and father of two living in Guinea, West Africa.

Due to a surplus of boredom and listening to some photography podcasts (that's where I first heard about Vlad, through the Classic Lens Podcast), I decided to make the jump and get into film, though I've been shooting digitally since the pandemic. While I don't mind shooting digital, I discovered that I really like a more manual, involved process.

My wife, an ethnomusicologist, took a film photography class when in school which she really enjoyed, and we decided that we would get a film camera for an upcoming trip to France later this year. It will also likely be used to document a cultural festival for a local people group who are renowned throughout West Africa for their artistic abilites.

I showed my wife a picture of a Zorki 1 and a Kiev 4a, and I asked her which camera we should get, as either one would offer a more immersive experience and a more affordable entry to a rangefinder with interesting lenses - Leicas are too pretentious and expensive for me.

She settled on a Kiev, and so I started looking on Le Bon Coin, a sort of French craigslist, but is actually still used by people, unlike craigslist. I managed to find an untested Kiev 4a, KMZ turret viewfinder, and Jupiters 8, 9, 11, and 12 for €150 that I immediately bought. I'm hoping to learn camera repair, and I thought that for the price I'm taking a relatively small risk.

I also found a Contax III on Kamerastore for €80 that I bought and sent to OKcamera to have it refurbished, so that at least I would have one camera that would definitely work for our trip back to France.

I also found an Orion 15 in Contax-Kiev for $140 that I also jumped on, and will be delivered to me in Guinea in a couple of weeks.

After the long essay/intro, I arrive at my questions:

I was wondering, does anyone have an idea of how many (or the ratio of) Orion 15s were made in Kiev mount vs LTM? Mine came from GOMZ in 1964, as I understand it the first year of export production, s/n 643385, and I was wondering if anyone knows if there was a separate numbering system for LTM vs C-K, or even relative production numbers for Orion 15s in general? Were serial numbers limited to each lens design, or was it entire production of a factory for a given year, for example, would it be possible for the next lens produced by GOMZ, say 643386, to be a Jupiter 12 instead, and the next Orion 15 maybe getting a number like 6436XX, for example?


Also, more of a general thing, my wife and I are looking to immigrate to France, and I'm potentially looking to try to apprentice as a camera repairman, with the hopes of getting a job working in a small atélier that might get us a visa to stay. If anyone knows someone who is looking for an apprentice, I thought I might put that out there. I speak French fluently, as well, not like a typical American who has "studied" French.

If you have any questions, I'm a relatively open book.

Since what is available in Guinea is relatively limited, I'll probably also be learning film development here; I'm looking forward to the process of everything!

P.S. Since Guinea has a long history of cooperation with China and the Soviet Union, I'm hoping to see what I can find in terms of vintage photography equipment, so to speak. I'll be going to a camera store next week potentially, and if I see anything interesting, I'll be happy to share photos. If anyone sees anything they like, I would be happy to buy it and send the things from France when I arrive in the end of October, as the postal service isn't really extant here.

Edited by - franque on Aug 26 2023 8:19:43 PM
37 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Aug 27 2023 :  03:02:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit xalmaz's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Suppose, ZOMZ.

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156 Posts
Posted - Aug 27 2023 :  2:50:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the forum. There are a few French members around here, but the forum is not too active these days.

In any case I wish you good luck for your trip to France and more luck for your future plans...

www.a7camera.com www.120folder.com www.instantphoto.eu www.135compact.com www.oddcameras.com
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sean perry
United Kingdom
329 Posts
Posted - Sep 08 2023 :  8:40:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello and welcome to the forum, John. You'll find a lot of info here, though occasionally it can be rather quiet.
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