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Helios lens

Camera Silhouette-Automatic

The Silhouette-Avtomat is a Soviet scale camera manufa
ctured at BelOMO.Its exposure control is automatic with aperture priority.

The Silhouette-Automatic concept is a logical continuation of the Viliya line, which included the Silhouette-Electro model.

In 1973-85, the Viliya family united 4 models of simple cameras, differing in the degree of exposure control automation, but unified as much as possible. I have reviews of Viliya-Auto, Silhouette-Electro and Orion-EE. The simplest thing - Viliya - I don't have.

Somewhere near the end of the 70s, the enterprise apparently decided to pay tribute to the progress and release updated versions for the two most advanced devices - Silhouette-Electro and Orion-EE. Well, and with more simple - to say goodbye, I guess.

So prototypes with the names Silhouette-2 and Orion-2 appeared.

By the way, they are mentioned in the 1979 book “Cameras of Belarus”.


Orion-2, as far as I know, remained a prototype, and Silhouette, however, with the name already Silhouette-Avtomat, was mass-produced from 1979 to 1983.

The volume of the Silhouette-Avtomat issue in one of the sources is indicated at 50 thousand copies, but I will allow myself to doubt this, since for the 80s of production and such a quantity, the device is now less common than it should have.


In addition to the completely black version, which is in the review, there are also versions of the Silhouette Automatic with a white top. What is more common - I will not presume to say.

I saw my copy for the first time in a fairly long period.

In the review, the device is numbered 2602648. The year of manufacture is unknown to me. The external condition is excellent, but the shutter is faulty.

Camera Silhouette Automatic
Silhouette-Electro was produced in 1979-1984 by the Belarusian Optical-Mechanical Association (BelOMO).


Fixed lens - Т-92 2.8 / 38. Aperture limit - f16.

The shutter is central with electronic control. Shutter speeds from 8 to 1/500. Excerpt B no.

The shutter and aperture are different parts.

The exposure meter Silhouette-Avtomat is based on a cadmium sulfide (CdS) photoresistor

The devices were equipped with a central sync contact and a socket for a wired sync contact. They had no self-timer.

The weight of my copy is 438 grams.

Control elements:


The body of the device has become more compact, although the weight has increased by 38 grams.


There was more metal in the decoration, although the Silhouette-Electro body was also not purely plastic.


There is now a soft lining that is tactilely more pleasant than the texture on plastic.

But this, of course, is the lyrics. Of the fundamental differences, the device received:

  • - faster lens (f2.8 vs f4)
  • - additional short shutter speed 1/500 (Silhouette-Electro had only 1/250)
  • - the classic release button on the top panel, opposite the keys in the front part, typical of the Viliya line.

All three points are offset.




Overall, the Silhouette Machine looks nice both visually and technically. The scale is quite adequate for the beginning of the 80s. True, not devoid of flaws.

In the front of the body there is a lens, a front viewfinder window and a matte light receiver to form a luminous frame.

On the front section of the lens, the eye of the photoresistor of the exposure control system is visible from above.


Behind - only the eyepiece of the viewfinder.

The viewfinder of the Siluat Automatic is not bad. It gives a large, slightly tinted picture. Parallax-corrected cropping frames in the field of view.


There are three lamps in the lower part. The central green, when the shutter is half pressed, signals the readiness of the automation to work out the required exposure and at the same time allows you to check the battery's suitability.

There are also two arrows.

If the one on the right also lights up in green, this means that the unit can take a picture, but will use a slow shutter speed. It is necessary either to turn the diaphragm ring so that the arrow does not light up, or to mount the apparatus on a tripod.

According to the passport, the Siluat-Avtomat can work out shutter speeds up to 8 seconds, but in reality it can take longer. Therefore, the warning is serious.

At the same time, the question of the fact that there is very little light for the picture is not shown separately in any way. Apparently, the middle lamp just won't light up.

If the arrow on the right also lights up red, it means that there is a lot of light. Close the diaphragm.

In principle, everything is logical enough. Colored arrows in the viewfinder. On the diaphragm ring - they are duplicated, and also colored. Everything seems to be simple.

It's a shame that the arrows in the viewfinder and on the aperture ring point in different directions.
My copy has a lifeless automation. Therefore, I do not know how this is actually implemented - I am guided by the instructions. In the instructions, the green arrow (little light) is located on the right and points to the right. And to rotate the diaphragm ring to open it, you need to to the left. Fortunately, the arrow on the ring itself looks there.

Likewise with the red arrow.

In general, the newcomers were taken care of, but in the end they were also confused.

Below the device are located:
- shutter release button for rewinding the film;
- rectangular plastic battery compartment door;
- 1/4 '' tripod socket



The Silhouette-Avtomat is powered by four RC-53 batteries or from the assembly 4RTS53. I have a separate article devoted to the topic of replacing Soviet batteries with modern counterparts.


On the left side there is a socket for a wired sync contact.


The top panel contains:
- rewind head with folding tape measure;
- bracket for flashes with a central sync contact;
- release button with a rotary fixing sleeve around;
- shutter cocking lever and frame advance;
- frame counter window.

When you attach the flash to the bracket, the unit will automatically switch to a shutter speed of 1/30.

The trigger has a "ready" position.



The shutter button is conveniently located, the stroke is relatively tight and long, but this is necessary for a clear half-press.

By turning the ring around the button, it can be locked against accidental pressing. This method is not suitable for working out long exposures, because the device has no exposure B.


The aperture is controlled by the middle ring on the lens. In addition to the numbers denoting apertures, there are also arrows on the scale that we talked about above and three weather symbols:
- bright sun;
- a cloud;
- window (indoor shooting)

It is also well conceived, the extreme symbols are even painted in the colors of the arrows, such as immediately warn about possible problems.

Closest to the device is the focusing ring. There is no depth of field scale.



The setting of the film sensitivity is also realized with a ring on the lens - farthest from the device. Leash and scale (GOST + DIN) - at the bottom.

This is in vain, so conceived and carelessly implemented.
In vain, because setting the sensitivity is not such a frequent operation to drag it "to the front corner."

It is trashy because the sensitivity ring, although smooth, is located close to the diaphragm ring. Moreover, it has exactly the same diameter. And the diaphragm ring is very narrow, the fingers on it do not fit. In general, changing the aperture - in half of the cases, you accidentally change the sensitivity.


To open the device, you need to pull up the rewind tape. The door is hinged to the right.

Attitude towards the camera.

The Silhouette-Avtomat is compared with the device from LOMO Electra-112. This is quite true, cameras are of almost the same class. Except that Electra is a rangefinder, of course.


And the problems of the Silhouette-Automatic machine are similar. Raw, unreliable electronics and too high a price tag.

The retail price of the camera in 1985, according to photohistory.ru - 95 rubles. It is expensive for the scale.

Source fotoussr.ru
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