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Helios lens

Camera Moscow-4 review

I again return to the topic of Moscow medium format cameras. Today our guest is Moscow-4.

Moscow-4 is a modernization of the Moscow-2 model. It is Moscow-2, because we remember that Moscow-3 is a plate camera, and it stands alone in the lineup.

The picture shows the device that is visible on the left - Moscow-2. On the right is Moscow-4.


Find, as they say, 10 differences ...

Perhaps we won't get ten, and the differences are not so noticeable, but they are.


1. A sync contact has appeared. In the picture, it is clearly visible between the shutter cocking lever and the number.

In what year did Moscow-4 come out? Bingo! Of course, in 1955, because it was in this year that many Soviet cameras received synchrocontact en masse. The Moscow line is no exception.

Read more on the topic of starting flash sync in this review.

The shutter Moscow-4 is called Moment-23S. The shutter Moscow-2 was called Moment-1. The set of shutter speeds for these shutters is the same. I don’t know if Moment-23C is different from Moment-1, except for synchronization. If you know, please write.

2. Moscow-2 shot 60x90 mm footage. On the 120th photographic film there were only 8 such frames. This is, of course, very small and inconvenient. The quality of photographic material gradually improved, and by 1955, narrow film made it possible to have quite decent photographs.

The fivefold difference in the area of ​​the frame was simply not needed. Well, or not always necessary.

Therefore, Moscow-4 got the opportunity to shoot in two formats 60x90 and 60x60 mm. When choosing the second format, 12 frames already fit on the film. One and a half times more.

To implement shooting in two formats, the camera was additionally equipped with:


Firstly, a removable frame 60x60 mm in the frame window.

Those. It was still impossible to change the format on the fly.

Secondly, - the second window with a flap in the rear wall.

As you know, type-120 film assumes control of the frame advance by special marks on the paper leader, with which the film is laid along the entire length.

The leader has several sets of marks with borders and frame numbers - for different formats.


If shooting is carried out in 60x90 mm format, control is carried out through the lower window. For 60x60 mm format - the top window is used.

Thirdly, Moscow-4 has a special hinged plate that narrows the viewfinder's field of view for shooting in 60x60 mm format.



This plate is by default pressed to the "floor" between the frames of the viewfinder and fixed there with a latch. When the latch is pushed back, the spring will lift the plate and press it against the front frame.

Something like that.

All other Moscow-4 and the second model are no different.

Moscow-4 was produced not very long - from 1955 to 1958 and does not differ in a wide variety of modifications.

I will only note that later issues had a completely different shape of the upper part of the hull and looked more like Moscow-5.


Such a late version of Moscow-4 is more rare and is in this photo, but we will consider it separately later.

Modifications Moscow-4 as a review - earlier - cannot be called very rare if you are not looking for something specific and unusual.

It is more difficult to find a device in good condition and with, for example, a frame in the frame window that has not been lost.

On the Moscow-4 devices, separate numbers are affixed on the lens, shutter and on the body (on the inner surface of the hinged cover). In all cases, the first two digits of the number indicate the year of manufacture. The number of the device is the number on the case.

In the review we have a copy of Moscow-4 in excellent condition, 1956, number 5617402.

Camera Moscow-4
Moscow-4 is a folding medium format camera. "Harmonic".

Frame size - 60x90 or 60x60 mm. Standard film type 120 produces 8 or 12 frames.

The device is a rangefinder, and the principle of operation of the rangefinder is based on a wedge optical compensator.

Foldable optical viewfinder, not coupled with rangefinder.


Fixed lens Industar-23 1 / 4.5 f11cm. Aperture limit - f32. MDF - 1.5 meters.

Optical design (lenses / groups) - 4/3

Aperture blades - 10

Central shutter Moment-23C. Beats shutter speeds 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, V.

The device is equipped with a sync contact. No self-timer

The weight of my copy is 860 grams.

Control elements:

Building Moscow-4 is of complex shape and its main surface is covered with leatherette pasting. The lining consists of several parts, with light metal elements and molding in between.

All this together makes the device very aesthetically pleasing. Beautiful, I would even say.


When folded, the body of the device is quite thin. On the right side there is a small leather strap for carrying.


To unfold the device, you need to press the button on the right side of the top panel.

The front cover is folded back with a spring to the left and the accordion fur with a shutter and a lens at the front end is pulled forward.

The viewfinder frames will automatically open at the same time.

All together it looks very impressive. But at the moment of opening, it is better to hold the front cover so that it does not hit the stopper. The spring is strong enough, and the blows to the mechanisms are not beneficial.
Finally, you need to manually flip up the compensator, which is located to the right of the lens.



There are two 3/8 ”tripod sockets on the body. The first is at the bottom of the case. The second is on the hinged lid. They need to be used when the frame is in vertical orientation.


Also, in vertical orientation, the device can simply be placed on any surface. In this case, the hinged leg on the front cover comes in handy.

The film in the device moves from right to left. The broach head is on the left side of the top panel. The direction of rotation is indicated by arrows, but there is also a counter for rotation in the wrong direction.

There is no frame counter. Medium format film type-120 assumes control of the frame boundaries by marks on the film leader. The entire length of the film is covered with paper opaque rakodorm, on the back of which there are marks of frame borders and their numbers.

When moving the frame, you need to open the shutter in the window for the appropriate frame format on the rear wall of the camera and control the appearance of the border mark through the red glass. The photo is above.


The shutter cocking is a separate operation and it is carried out by the lever on the right side of the lens. The lever must be cocked up.

Just below the lever at Moscow-4 there is a socket for a wired synchrocontact.


The descent is carried out by a button in the upper left part of the case. The button is shifted forward, and it is, in principle, quite convenient to press it with your index finger, if you hold the camera, covering the folded cover with your left hand (4 fingers on top, the big one supports the body from below). Like a camcorder, but grip with the left hand.

The button has a slot for a release cable. In addition, it locks after release until the broaching head is slightly rotated. This prevents re-exposure.

However, if re-exposure is needed or there is simply no desire to use the button, the shutter can be released with a lever to the left-bottom of the lens. It is not blocked.

The viewfinder consists of two hinged frames with lenses. It gives quite a large, sharp and light picture.
The viewfinder field of view is adjusted for the selected aspect ratio.



The rangefinder consists of several units.

The first part is located in the superstructure at the top of the hull. Everything is familiar here. There is one window in the back, two in the front. Inside the add-in, the mirror system superimposes two pictures on top of each other. Focusing consists in combining pictures into one.

But there is no swing mirror in the superstructure. Instead, the Moscow-4 has a wedge expansion joint. It is in front, to the right of the lens, opposite the right rangefinder window.

The compensator consists of two circular prisms. Round glass has one edge that is thicker than the other. There are exactly two of them in the frame.

The compensator is mechanically connected to the lens focusing ring. When the focusing ring rotates, the prisms in the compensator also rotate, moreover, in different directions.

To be honest, I don't really understand how everything is there with the T.Z. optics occurs, but the picture seen through the compensator is shifted to the side.

All this is clearly visible in the video. Here Moscow-2 was filmed, but in this case there is no difference. I deliberately did not erase the dust on the compensator. Thanks to the dust, it is clearly visible that the two glasses rotate in opposite directions. And it is noticeable how the image of the superstructure of the apparatus visible through the compensator is displaced.

The right eye of the rangefinder looks forward precisely through the compensator. And it is thanks to the work of the compensator in the rangefinder window that one of the pictures shifts when the focusing ring is rotated.

For focusing, there is a special wheel with teeth to the right of the lens - it transfers rotation to the lens focusing ring and to the compensator. But you can also rotate the front ring on the lens - everything will be transmitted correctly.

The front of the device is densely covered with scales, which are made with great care and look very nice.


The scale on the inner circle is the distance. They are printed on the focusing ring. The index is on the right under the compensator.


On the middle stationary ring of dark color, light numbers are the diaphragms. On the left is the scale of the diaphragms themselves. They are switched by a leash with an arrow on the left.

On the right is the depth of field scale.


The peculiarity of the Industar-23 lens is that it demonstrates its best performance at distances from 5-6 meters and beyond. Therefore, it is quite reasonable to use the focus on the GEM, for which the apparatus is adapted.

Dots are marked on the distance scale (between 8 and 15 meters) and on the aperture scale (between f8 and f16). If you set the parameters for them, then the lens will be focused on the hyperfocal distance and the entire space from about 4.5 meters to infinity will be sharp.

The outer circle is the shutter speed switching ring. The scale is on the right. The index is the same as for the distances.

ATTENTION. According to the instructions, the shutter speeds can be changed only BEFORE the shutter is cocked. This is not typical, please note.

Folding the apparatus is a more laborious procedure.

Fold in the viewfinder manually. First, we tilt the front frame, then cover it with the back one and snap it shut.

Do not forget to lower the expansion joint down!

Next, you need to press the two chrome levers and slide them along the curly slot in the guides towards the body. This takes some effort.



When the levers are pushed back, the lid will begin to close. Close it carefully and at the same time bring (correct by hand) the left side of the lens under the cover. The lens should dive under the half-closed cover, after which it can be closed all the way.


In the closed position, the lid snaps into place.

To load or remove the film - you need to open the back wall.



Latch on the right under the strap. The wall is hinged to the left.

Attitude towards the camera.

Moscow-4, early, as in the review, - I think the most mechanically complex camera in the line. She has a downright maximum number of parts that can be folded, reclined, turned, etc.

Plus, a very charismatic retro look.

If you plan to add Moscow to your collection, but are going to limit yourself to one model, I recommend just such a Moscow-4.

Source fotoussr.ru
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