Fotokor-1 is one of the first Soviet large format cameras. This is a folding large format camera of 9×12 format with a double bellows extension.

The Soviet camera Fotokor-1 was positioned as a camera designed specifically for photojournalists. It was released in 1952 and was intended to be used for filming news, events and reports.



Fotokor is a folding plate “universal” camera of 9×12 format with a double bellows extension, the creation of which began in 1928. In fact, this is the first Soviet mass camera – for 11 years of production (from 1930 to 1941 inclusive) more than 1 million copies were produced.

Fotokor-1 became more or less accessible to a wide audience and was very popular among photography enthusiasts. It was reliable and easy to use.

Of course, in our time of smartphones and fast digital cameras, it is difficult to imagine that such a camera as the Fotokor-1 was considered a camera for reporters. But if you look at the studio cameras of those years, which were quite difficult to assemble and disassemble each time for shooting, and even more so to transport the entire structure, everything will become clear to you.

Fotokor Specifications

  • Type: 9×12 folding camera
  • Manufacturer: GOMZ plant
  • Production period: from 1930 to 1940’s
  • Format: 9×12
  • Lens mount: fixed lens
  • Lens: Ortagoz f4.5/135
  • Shutter: leaf shutter with speeds of 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 sec. plus K and D
  • Viewfinder: ground glass
  • Lighmeter: none
  • Flash synchronisation: none
  • Selftimer: none
  • Weight: 1150 grams

Fotokor-1 Review


Fotokor camera
Fotokor large format camera

Fotokor camera was equipped with Anastigmat Ortagoz f4.5/135 mm lenses, (in some recent releases, Industar-2 f4.5/135 mm Tessar type lenses were used).

Like other similar cameras (for example ARFO-3), the feature of Fotokior is the ability to move the front standard in horizontal and vertical directions.

soviet large format camera

Fotokor Shutter

Fotokor camera was equipped with a GOMZ shutter. The shutter design was developed by Soviet engineers based on the German Vario shutter.

It is a classic leaf inter-lens shutter without pre-cocking with shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50, and 1/100, as well as K (the shutter is open while the shutter button is pressed) and D (the first press of the shutter button opens the shutter, the second – closes). The production of GOMZ shutters began in 1932.

soviet large format camera

The first series of Fotokor 1 camera was equipped with imported Compur shutters with speeds of 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, and 1/200 as well as B and T or also imported, but cheaper Vario shutters with shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50, and 1/100, B, and T.

Focusing With Fotokor-1

The GOMZ Fotocor camera’s focusing system uses ground glass located on the back of the Fotokor camera body. Focusing can also be done using the distance scale.

Cameras of this type in the Soviet Union were called universal, as they could be used both for pavilion shooting and for shooting on the street. In addition, using the Fotocor 1 camera, it was possible to take macro shots since the camera had double extension bellows.


The image quality obtained with Fotokor-1 was quite good for its time, since it was equipped with a lens that was quite modern for those times. It provided good detail, although the resolution was lower than that of German models.

Nevertheless, Fotokor-1 was popular among photographers in the USSR and was used by both professional and amateur photographers. It was fairly affordable and offered good functionality for its time.

In general, Fotokor-1 was an important step in the development of photography in the USSR and left its mark on the history of photographic equipment.

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