As has already been written on the pages of, the Soviet industry has repeatedly tried to create a professional camera for demanding customers. But each time these attempts ended in failure. This was facilitated by the poverty of the Soviet population, poor quality control in factories, state regulation of enterprises, lack of competent specialists and many other factors.

soviet almaz

The Soviet photo industry already at that time created and managed to stop the production of cameras such as Leningrad or Start. Despite a considerable number of failures, Soviet photographers needed professional equipment. And in the late 70s, the Soviet Union once again decided to try to create a professional camera, but this time at the GOMZ factory.

almaz camera
Almaz 103

The Almaz camera was developed on the basis of Japanese and German cameras. One glance is enough to understand that the cameras of this series are very similar to Nikon F.

In total there is information about the four cameras in this series:

  • Almaz 101;
  • Almaz 102;
  • Almaz 103;
  • Almaz 104.

But now you can find only Almaz 103 since the rest of the models were released in single copies.

Almaz cameras
soviet camera almaz

Like Nikon cameras, the Almaz has a shutter with metal lamellas. The Almaz models have different shutter speeds, for example, the Almaz 101 had shutter speeds from 8 seconds to 1/1000, and the Almaz 103 from 1 second to 1/1000.

almaz soviet camera

The viewfinder on these cameras was large, and 98% of the frame was visible in it, which is a huge step forward compared to the 68% of the Zenit.

In addition, the cameras were equipped with a TTL exposure metering system, which was also a rather rare feature for the Soviet photo industry of those years.

ussr camera almaz
soviet lenses almaz

Almaz cameras were planned to be equipped with such lenses as theĀ  MC Mir-47K 2.5/20, the MC Volna-10 1.8/35, the MC Volna 1.8/50, the MC Volna-4 1.4/50, the MC Vega-13 2.8/100 and MC Yantar-12 3.5/35-100. Most of these lenses are very rare and very difficult to find on open sale.

So what are exactly Almaz cameras?

This is a classic example of the Soviet industry and the Soviet approach to everything.

The task was to create a camera for professionals. Professional photographers themselves suffered from a lack of good cameras with good equipment. This task was to be performed by the plant. But the plant dragged on all development deadlines and released the camera at all not what was planned.

Later, the camera began to lag far behind progress and ceased to meet the needs of photographers. But of course, Soviet factories could not continue to update the camera as they do in Germany or Japan, and the production of cameras was stopped.

Of course, the Almaz cameras are superior to many other cameras made in the Soviet Union. But they are not very common in online stores and are relatively expensive, and their equipment is still inferior to German or Japanese cameras.

From this, we can conclude that if you really want to buy an Almaz camera, then you should probably do it. But we believe that it is much better to buy a more common and reliable Kiev 19 or less equipped but much more charismaticĀ Zenit 1.

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