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Camera Salute (early, self-timer) review

Salute is a Soviet medium format camera. The camera is a high-level, technological, modular design unprecedented before its appearance.

Salute is not the USSR's own development. In fact, this is a copy of the Swedish Hasselblad 1600F camera.

Hasselblad is the name of a Swedish dynasty of entrepreneurs. At different times, the dynasty owned several companies with different names.

Back in 1841, in the port city of Gothenburg in western Sweden, the Hasselblad family founded their first trading company, F.W. Hasselblad & Co. The company was engaged in trade and was headed by Fritz V. Hasselblad - the great-grandfather of that very Victor Hesselblad.

The company was doing well, and one of the areas of activity was the import of components and products for photography.

Arvid Viktor Hasselblad - the son of the founder of the company, himself was fond of photography. He considered this market a promising one and founded a separate photography division in the company.

In England, Arvid Victor met and negotiated a partnership with George Eastman, the man who would soon become the founder of Kodak. In 1888, Hasselblad began importing Eastman products as the sole distributor in Sweden. Kodak laboratories and retail chains were created and developed.

Karl Erik Hasselblad, the grandson of the company's founder, praised the profitability of the photography business and continued to develop this direction. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that all this time the business of the Hasselblad dynasty, although it was very closely associated with photography, was a trade business.

Victor Hasselblad (his name is written in two parts, the reason is unknown to me) - Eric's son was also fond of photography and from his youth showed ability in projects to improve existing cameras.

At the suggestion of his father, young Victor traveled around the world as a student in the photography industry. First in Germany and France, then in the USA, he worked at factories for the production of cameras and films, photographic laboratories, camera stores. This is how Viktor Hasselblad learned how cameras and lenses were made.

In 1937, Victor opened his own photographic store, Victor Foto, in the center of Gothenburg. There was a photo laboratory in the store, and this was Victor's first commercial step, made independently of the family.

In the spring of 1940, the Swedish government asked 34-year-old Viktor to make a copy of a camera taken from a downed German reconnaissance aircraft. It can be seen that the authority of the Hasselblad dynasty in the field of photography was great, although Victor did not have any production experience, after all, in fact. Sweden is a small country. The military apparently had no other options.

According to legend, when asked to copy the camera, Victor replied: "No, but I can make the camera better than this one."

So, the first camera by Viktor was the Hasselblad military camera - HK 7 for aerial reconnaissance. The Swedish Air Force purchased 500 of these cameras. The photo is probably just such a model from the Web.

Further, during the Second World War, Victor's company designed, produced and sold several more models of cameras to the army. At the same time, the company mass-produced watches and accessories for them.

After WW2, the main focus of production was also watchmaking, and the staff was highly qualified in assembling precision movements. In addition, the company set up production of slide projectors and car parts for Saab.

By the way, mass sources on the Web do not say where Victor got the capacity, personnel and orders for the production of watches.

It was during this period that Victor began to design a new generation of cameras for the consumer market. The device was conceived with characteristics and properties unprecedented for that time. Here, of course, the experience of working for the military and the experience of producing precision watch movements came in handy.

The Hasselblad 1600F was unveiled at a press conference in New York on October 6, 1948. Single lens 6x6 SLR camera with Kodak interchangeable lens, interchangeable cassettes and viewfinders. For its high technical characteristics, the camera received positive reviews from critics. Photo from the Web.

The number 1600 in the name means the fastest shutter speed available in this model - 1/1600. For a medium format camera in 1948, this was, of course, comparable to fantasy. However, the rest of the camera's capabilities, as well as its design, were no less futuristic.

The new camera has attracted attention in many countries and there have been several attempts to copy the concept and design. As a result, Salute appeared in the USSR.


I, traditionally, do not find anything shameful in this. If there is a good idea and it is successfully implemented in metal, it will be strange not to adopt the idea, but to reinvent the wheel again.

I don’t know how the creation of Salut looked in terms of copyright and patents. Perhaps the USSR somehow maneuvered in the legal field, perhaps it simply ignored this obstacle.

The development of the Soviet counterpart Hasselblad 1600F took a long time. Fireworks began to be produced only in 1957 - 9 years after the prototype was released.

By the way, the USSR is not the only one who copied the Hasselblad 1600F. The Japanese Bronika was also created as "the same Hasselblad, but Japanese and better."

In the photo, Bronica Z is the first model in the line of this brand. Photo from the Web.

The first Bronica, by the way, also came out only in 1958. Later Saluta for a year. And Bronika does not produce lenses for its cameras. This was done by Karl Zeiss. Pictured is a Nikkor lens.

However, Bronica was not developed by one of the most powerful defense companies in one of the most powerful countries in the world. And Bronica actually outperformed Hasselblad in some ways.

Hasselblad 1600F ideas are evident in the products of the Japanese Mamyia. Photo of the Mamyia RB67 from the Web. This model appeared in 1970.

Mamyia RB67 made frames in 60x70 mm format and for the first time had not only a removable, but also a swivel back. This made it possible to obtain both vertical and horizontal frames without changing the orientation of the device. After all, sighting through the shaft, if the apparatus is lying on its side, is inconvenient, to put it mildly.

Summing up the moral assessments of the facts of technology copying. My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with copying good ideas (it is still desirable to be in the legal field, of course).

But the fact that the Bronica and Mamyia lines developed, offered the user more and more new models and chips, and the Soviet Kiev-90 and Kiev-645 (both photos from did not fly, this is possible and necessary reproach the Soviet photo industry.

Copying is good as a start for your own thoughts. If you always only copy, then there will always be a lag for these same 10 years. And in a competitive market, this means a path to collapse.

Let's go back to Salute. The camera was produced by the Kiev Arsenal.

The first issues of Salute had a self-timer.
The Hasselblad 1600F did not have such a unit, this is a domestic addition. A large, solid self-timer cocking head was placed on the camera body to the right, behind and below the main head.

Here, I think, everything is clear. On the one hand, the designers wanted to make a device with the "full stuffing" functionality. Well, how can you do without a self-timer, if even Smena-2 has it since 1955?

On the other hand, I didn't want to limit myself to just copying. Not comme il faut. Something needed to be improved.

Even if this logic was not voiced directly, it was definitely present in my thoughts.

In addition, the first issues of Salutes had an exposure of 1/1500.

Such a rare model with a self-timer and a shutter speed of 1/1500 is presented in the review.

There were problems with the reliability of the first Salutes. First of all, there were a lot of complaints about this very self-timer.

It would seem that there can be difficult? The self-timer was already used by that time on both central and curtain shutters of many models of Soviet devices. And there weren't many problems with him.

But no, it was not possible to make this node reliable on Salyut. Self-timer broke, consumers were unhappy.

The company tried to improve the design. Apparently, due to internal changes, the self-timer button changed its position several times.

In the 1957-61 models, the self-timer start button was located under the main crown.

In models from 1962-63, the button was made behind the self-timer cocking head. Photo of such a model from The sliding arrow button is clearly visible.

Information about the movements of the self-timer start button from the book "1200 cameras from the USSR".

Also, in the period 1958-62, models were produced without a separate self-timer button. It was launched by pressing the shutter button.

It is this model of 1959 that is now in the review.

The above date intervals indicate that 2 or even 3 designs could be produced at the same time! The search for an acceptable option was constantly going on.

But it was not possible to achieve stable operation of the self-timer. Since 1963, the Salyut self-timer has disappeared.

There was also a problem with the 1/1500 shutter speed. The accuracy of its development left much to be desired and nothing could be done about it either.

Since 1965, the exposure 1/1500 for the Salutes disappeared (for some reason, together with the Doden wedges) and the shortest exposure became 1/1000.

It's fair to say that the original Hasselblad 1600F, with its fastest shutter speed and overall reliability, also had issues.

The cameras of this model, with all the public recognition, were released less than 4 thousand copies.

In 1953, a modified Hasselblad 1000F camera appeared. The minimum exposure in it, as the name implies, was already only 1/1000.

And NASA used a special version of the Hasselblad 500EL for use in space programs.

However, since the release of the Hasselblad 1000F, the brand name has been associated with quality and reliability by users.

But back to Salute.

The device assumed the use of interchangeable optics. For the camera, the lenses Mir-3 3.5 / 66 and Tair-33 4.5 / 300 were produced with a pre-set aperture.

In the equivalent of 35 mm film, their FRs correspond to 35 and 160 mm. If you do not really understand what this means, I recommend the article on crop factor.

The range of available RFs for Salutes can be considered quite sufficient. The volume of release of interchangeable optics specifically for Salyut, however, was not large. Photos of these lenses are rare. Mir-3 , Tair-33

Since 1965, export versions of Salutes have been produced. They went under the names Кiev 80, Revue 6x6, Revue 80, and even Zenith-80. As I understand it, under these names Salyut-S and Kiev-88 could also be exported later.

What the Soviet photographic industry could compete with was the price. In the 60s, domestic products really enjoyed popularity abroad. The technologies were adequate, the quality was acceptable, the price was not high.

It is known that in the early 70s a small amount of the Salyut-K modification was produced.

Sources differ on this point.

According to one version, Salyut-K is a prototype of the future Salyut-S.

The prototype was supplied with a pentaprism. A number of interchangeable lenses were prepared for the new modification: Kaleinar-2 2.8 / 150, Jupiter-36 3.5 / 250, Mir-26 3.5 / 45. The second cassette in the delivery set was offered in 6x4.5 cm format.

However, the upgraded camera went into production under the name Salyut-S with the only change - a new diaphragm blinker mechanism.

From the second version it follows that Salyut-K is a special improved version of the Salyut-S apparatus for scientific purposes, incl. space programs.

One way or another, Salyut-S was released in 1972.

Looking at the letter "C" assigned to the name, you might think that it means that the new modification has a sync contact. Such examples have already been: Zenit-S, Zorkiy-S.

But Salyut had synchrocontact from the very beginning. Salyut-S received a new "blinking" diaphragm system and a new lens for this system - Vega-12V 2.8 / 90.

In the original Salute, the "blinker" was implemented as follows:
For sighting at an open aperture, it is supposed to be opened with a special lever on the right of the lens. The lever moves down and locks in this position.

At the same time, turning the aperture ring switched the stopper, but the diaphragm itself remained open.

When the trigger is pressed, the diaphragm pre-opening lever is first released. The spring returns the lever to its place, the diaphragm is closed to the set value.

Only then does the shutter release.

A similar system comes to mind only one - on Photosnipers.

For Salyut-S, the "blinker" has already become a classic for the B mount. It does not require preliminary opening.

What the letter "C" means in this case is anyone's guess.

The exposition of the Arsenal plant museum displays a copy of the Salute apparatus, which belonged to Yuri Gagarin. The controversy over whether this camera flew into space is taking place on the Web.

At the end of the historical block, let's also see what models of cameras Salyut competed with on the Soviet photo market.

So, 1957. In the segment of the medium format on the counters, from the most modern, there are Lyubitel-2 and Moscow-5. In terms of functionality, they, of course, cannot be compared in Salute. They have neither such an assortment of exposures, nor a change in optics.

DSLRs are already available in the narrow format segment. The Zenith line began in 1952, and by the time Salut was released, the Zenit-S model was relevant. In terms of interchangeable optics, he is doing well, but he and Salyut cannot compete with other parameters.

In general, needless to say that Salute looked fantastic for its time. Let's add an extremely unusual design here.

The Salute apparatus can now be found without much difficulty. The self-timer version, of course, is much less common.

Well, now it's time to take a closer look at my copy of Salute.

In the review, the 1959 camera is in a state of close to excellent, serviceable, at the number 5900154.

Salute camera (early version with self-timer)

The fireworks were produced at the Kiev Arsenal from 1957 to 1972. The volume of the issue was about 50 thousand copies. I don't know how many of them were self-timer.

The device is medium format, designed for film type 120. Forms frames 60x60 mm in size. 12 frames fit on one film.

Standard lens Industar-29 2.8 / 80. In my copy, the lens is coated, as evidenced by the letter P on the front cut.

The front lens is positioned far enough to protect the lens from backlight.
Industar-29 had a special device for installing light filters, which made it possible to use filters with a smaller diameter. This made it possible to make them cheaper. But my copy seems to have lost this device. Or I can’t take it off the lens. Unclear.

The optical design of the objective is 4 lenses in 3 groups, "Tessar". MDF 0.9 meters. Aperture limit f22. Aperture blades 11 pieces.

For a medium format, 80mm is a normal lens.

Mount - bayonet B. Focal length 81.10 mm.

The lens has a diaphragm presetting mechanism that is not compatible with later models of Salyut-S devices.

Corrugated stainless steel shutter with horizontal travel.

The shutter speeds are rebounded: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/1500, V. U later modifications from 1965, 1/1500 shutter speed is absent.

My copy has an interesting situation. There is an exposure 1/1500 in the passport. There is also such a division on the head, but it is ground off together with a part of the metal. Although the numbers are still visible.

The head is set to a value advising 1/1500 and the shutter works out something short.

It seems that the company (or service) could not achieve the exact work of 1/1500 and therefore removed this value from the head.

The early Salutes had a self-timer until 1963, then this unit was abandoned.

There is a wired sync pin jack. Synchronization with electronic and disposable flash lamps is possible.

Viewfinder focusing screen - Fresnel lens with matte circle and Doden wedges. Late modifications have no wedges.

The field of view is 53 × 53 mm.

The weight of my specimen in standard equipment with lens, shaft and back is 1.45 kg.

Control elements:

Salute is a modular apparatus. This is his main idea.

The basis of the whole structure is a cube-shaped body. In the upper part of the body there is frosted glass for sighting, in the back there is a metal shutter curtain, in the front there is a bayonet.

Various modules can be hung on the housing. True, nothing was widely released for Salut, in addition to the standard kit.

Therefore, we attach the standard Industar-29 in the front, the shaft on top, and the film cassette back. It turns out Salute.

The set included 2 cassettes. With the standard kit, the photographer could change the film from black and white to color, slide, etc. in the middle of the reel. Convenient, although all this is not very operative, in fact.

A tripod or a handle can be attached to the bottom of the device for a more comfortable grip. I recently reviewed this one.

There are two tripod sockets. Both underneath, both 3/8 ". They are made in pairs to transfer the center of gravity of the camera on a tripod when using lenses of different weight.

On the left side of the body there is a round selector of flash types (electronic or with disposable lamps). In its center is a wired sync contact socket.

Salut has no staples for accessories. To attach the flash, you need some kind of additional bracket with attachment, most likely, to one of the tripod sockets.

At the top of the device is a folded viewfinder shaft. To open it, you need to take a flat round leash on the back of the shaft cover to the right. There are two leashes next to each other. We now need the one in front and the smaller one.

When the latch is released, the springs will first raise the front, then the rear, and then the side walls of the shaft.

At the bottom of the shaft there is a huge frosted glass with Doden wedges in the middle. The wedges are not very large. To make focusing easier, there is a magnifying glass in the shaft. It is pressed against the front wall. To release it, you need to move the shaft latch to the right again.

The Salute mirror is sticky and therefore something is visible in the viewfinder only if the shutter is cocked. Considering that the shutter speed can only be changed when the shutter is cocked, the instructions directly recommended that it be cocked immediately after the shot. And keep the device with the cocked shutter.

To visualize Salute, you need to hold it at chest level and look down into the mine.

By the way, if you still need to raise the apparatus, for example, over the heads of people, it was recommended to keep the Fireworks upside down over their heads and look into the shaft from the bottom up.

The viewfinder picture is large and bright. I would say very large and very bright. Nevertheless, for some reason it is difficult for me to catch the focus. The magnifying glass doesn't help.
Even out of habit, it is VERY hindered by the fact that the right and left in the viewfinder, of course, have changed places. You can get used to it, but you just need to get used to it. This takes time and practice.

is folded manually. First you need to fold the magnifying glass, then lower the side walls in any order, then the back one and at the end put and snap the front wall.

On the right side of the body is the large and gripping main head. It serves for cocking the shutter and moving the frame. And she changes the shutter speed.

To cock the bolt, you need to turn the crown forward (clockwise) a full turn. At the same time, the film is pulled in a fastened back, where the rotation is transmitted by means of gears.

To change the shutter speed, you need to pull the head away from the body and, in this state, turn it in the desired direction until the required shutter speed is aligned with the index on the body.


To the left and below the main head, my specimen has a self-timer cocking head.

To start the self-timer, you need to turn the crown counterclockwise until it stops.


My copy starts counting down when I press the shutter button.

The release button is in the front of the case, on the bottom right. It has a cable slot.

Left symmetrically - bayonet release button.


Replaceable cassettes

If the cassette is removed, then that part of it that is adjacent to the device must be covered with a special metal plate - a gate. Otherwise, the film will simply light up.

If the gate is not pushed in, the back plate will not be removed from the device. The latch is locked. There is a latch at the top of the back. At the point of attachment to the device. Behind the shaft latch.

In turn, if the gate is pushed in, the release button will not be pressed. It is also blocked.

Everything is well thought out here.

In general, after attaching the cassette, the gate must be pulled out by the wire clip to the left, and the gate must be reinserted before removing the cassette.

The film can be loaded both into the removed cassette, and into the attached to the device. This was even recommended so as not to leave the shutter curtains defenseless.

On the left side of the cassette there is a rotary lock. By opening the lock, you can pull the transport mechanism to the left from the protective case of the cassette.

On the right side of the cassette there is a handle with folding ears, which is used to scroll through the empty area of the film and set the counter to “1”. The end of the filmed film is wound onto the receiving spool with the same handle.

In the back of the cassette there is a hatch, opening which you can observe the frame markings directly on the film leader.

But if the first frame is exposed, then it is more convenient to use the frame counter on the right side of the cassette from below.

On the cover of the hatch there is a reminder of the type and sensitivity of the film.

It is necessary to talk about another subtlety of using removable cassettes.

The cassette can be removed from the apparatus both with the shutter cocked and deflated.

There are two small round windows on the right side of the device. One on the body of the device, the second on the body of the cassette.

The windows change color synchronously.

The windows become white:
- on a cassette - if it contains an unexposed frame;
- on the device - if the shutter is cocked.

The windows become red:
- on a cassette - if the frame is exposed;
- on the device - if the shutter is released.

Accordingly, when putting on a backdrop with a film, you need to control that the color of the windows on the device and on the cassette matches.

Otherwise, either one unexposed frame will be wasted, or one frame will be exposed twice. Both are unpleasant.

A relatively compact wardrobe trunk made of standard "linoleum" was included with the Salute.

The latch on the hinged lid seemed interesting to me. I have never met such people before. The latch is a metal drum with a slot on an axle. This slot accommodates the tab on the cover. After that, the drum is rotated and the tongue is fixed inside.

Something like that.

Salute is a device, of course, for a professional. By a professional, I mean a person for whom photography is a profession. Paid work.

The advantages of Salut are fully disclosed, mainly in fairly narrowly specific conditions. In everyday life, the apparatus is redundant.

It is heavy, does not shine with ergonomics. Its management is quite complex and associated with many strict restrictions. Violation of the rules is fraught with breakdown. There is even a special tab attached to the instructions, where all these restrictions are listed. In big red letters. I have attached following instructions.

With tz. collector, Salute, of course, is a welcome exhibit. Especially early models. The device is beautiful and unusual in its monumental elegance.

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