Fixing Russian camera?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ezwriter, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. ezwriter

    ezwriter Member

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    Got an old Russian camera from a thrift store. Name on front looks like Cmapm,looked on ebay looks like KMZ Start model.
    Cant see anything out of viewfinder until u take the lens off and push mirror out of the way. Then shutter works.
    Can i fix this? worth taking to shop? Dont know any repair shops in Cal. but like to fix myself. thanks
     
  2. dehk

    dehk Member

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    you sure its not one of those you have to wind it first to let the mirror down?
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    These early Russian SLRs are fairly simple shutters, they are based on rangefinder cameras with a mirror box added. So it may well be worth a careful look.

    Ian
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Yes, the name in cyrillic script is Start in roman characters.
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I had one of those way back, lets see it must have been in 1966 or thereabouts. There was bayonet mount on the lens and I also had a 39mm screw mount adapter so it could take other similar aged Russian SLR lenses, or pre-set lenses with a T2 interchangeable mount.. The lens that came with it was a 58mm F2 in polished alloy construction. This lens was probably a clone or derivative of the Zeiss Biotar as used on the Practica and Pentacon models. It also had a small knob on the top plate that unscrewed and pulled up a hooked knife inside the body, cutting the film off so you could develop a short length without having to wind the film back into the cassette. This was very similar to one used on the Exacta Varex 11a,11b and I think the VX1000

    However I digress. The mirror was an odd affair and when you cocked the shutter the mirror was pulled into place by a fine cord* on one side, I think it was on the left. This has probably rotted and snapped with age. It probably is repairable but at what cost? It probably is worth trying just for the unique-ness of the camera.

    *This cord operation was also used on the Pentacon V and Vb and early Practica IV and IVB models too
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2012
  6. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    More on what dehk was mentioning:
    I don't have a Start, but I do have a Zenit 3M, which an SLR made well after the Start was, and it doesn't have an auto-return mirror. That means that when you look through the viewfinder, you see nothing because the mirror is in the up position. As you wind the knob, it lets the mirror down so that you can then see your subject for your next exposure. Upon pressing the shutter, the mirror flips up so the light can hit the film, and the process begins anew, rendering the scene non-visible until you wind again.

    If this is not the issue and the mirror won't lower, chances are the mirror bumper foam is sticky and deteriorated. You can easily fix this yourself with a replacement foam, or the felt from a 35mm film canister cut to the proper size and adhered with a dab of rubber cement works well too.
     
  7. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I had zenit et at 1986 bought new and you see the image at viewfinder , no need to wind the camera.
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    kmz start.jpg

    here is the KMZ Start
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    After owning a dozen or more russian cameras my rule of thumb is that if they need fixing they make good paper weights. They are just not worth fixing. :smile:
     
  10. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    Unlike an Argus aye:munch:

    The above is ah, I think you call it politely B.S.
     
  11. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    yep, that's the one. The shutter release is also just like an Exacta too. I for the life of me cannot remember what happened to it. It certainly didn't finish up as a paperweight. Ah, so long ago and so many cameras later..........
     
  12. Fanshaw

    Fanshaw Member

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    One of the nice things about Soviet cameras is that they didn't use foam for light seals or mirror dampers. They used felt, so no problems with sticking mirrors or deteriorating seals. Later models like the LOMO are an exception, unfortunately.
     
  13. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Why would you want to fix a Russian camera?
     
  14. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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  15. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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  16. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    looks like a russian copy of an early pentacon slr ... I'd say, if it doesn't work it makes a good paper weight -- really, you can find another for $25 or so.
     
  17. Jon Goodman

    Jon Goodman Member

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    Cyrillic is fun to learn and use...C is S, P is R...several things like that. Looks daunting at first, but it isn't so bad. More letters than we use, but like Welsh and Italian there is no J in the alphabet even though the J sound is used generously in the spoken language. (think Rudolph Giuliani) Interestingly many words in Russian are the exact same word we use (jacket...but it is zhaket, humor...but it is yumor).
    Russian cameras are not difficult to repair. If anyone wants to learn, I have a box of them for sale. It now also includes two rangefinders (a FED3 and FED4). The FED3 I repaired a broken shutter ribbon in (common fix) but the slow speeds are not right (timer issue). There is a Zenit 3M I converted to instant return mirror several years ago just to show it could be done. Still seems to be working so-so. And there is a complete black Zenit EM needing shutter ribbons replaced. Actually there is another 3M which could be re-shuttered. That box would be fine when cold weather arrives. I think you could make at least 3 and possibly 4 working cameras out of it. If you want it, please let me know.
    Jon
     
  18. Jon Goodman

    Jon Goodman Member

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    Not exactly...one of the worst and most persistent light leaks a Zenit E will suffer is the foam used to seal the side of the pentaprism. There is a 2mm gap between the mirror cage and the body casting. Light pours in from the meter window on the top and goes straight into the mirror chamber where it overexposes every shot. The mirror dampers on the E were thin little pads of dense foam and the dampers on the 3M were tiny dots of rubber on each end of the mirror frame.
    Jon
     
  19. ezwriter

    ezwriter Member

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    Yes its the Start as shown in the pic u posted. I noticed now when i click shutter, then wind, u can see thru viewfinder when winder gets about 3/4way around
    (in line w/ camera) then scene goes dark again. Is that normal with these? If so how do u focus and compose?
    There is a wire inside, on left, pulling the mirror out of the way but seems it should stay up but not doing it. thanks for your help.
    ez