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Helios lens

Camera Tourist review and instruction

This post begins a series of reviews on Soviet photographic equipment of the 30-40s of the last century on the Photographic equipment of the USSR project.

Of course, a solid historical resource cannot ignore this most interesting layer of Soviet photo-reality.
Fortunately, already in those years, many cameras in the USSR were produced in solid series and therefore it is quite inexpensive to acquire some models now. It is more difficult to find a copy in working order.

Today we are reviewing the Tourist camera.

Tourist was produced in the late 30s in Leningrad at the "State Optical and Mechanical Plant named after OGPU" (GOMZ, later LOMO).

The tourist was among the very first developments of the company.

Unfortunately, I have not found anything on the history of the Tourist. All Soviet photographic enterprises were primarily of a defense orientation. Civilian production was secondary.

Even now, on the historical pages of their sites, enterprises prefer to be proud of nothing at all about the history of amateur photographic equipment.

I have no information that Tourist has a specific foreign prototype, but the design of the apparatus is so simple and obvious that, most likely, there are enough foreign analogues. Then no one saw the need to reinvent bicycles, and devices of this class were similar in all countries.

After the publication of the article, the reader of the project Sergey Krasnov pointed out the similarity of the Tourist with the Zeiss Ikon Bebe device. Well, the similarities are pretty obvious.

Camera Tourist

The tourist was produced in 1934-1940 at the GOMZ. The total output was over 136 thousand pieces. This is quite a lot, considering that photography was progressive at the time, but not that widespread.

The standard lens is a fixed Industar-7 3.5 / 105, a four-lens anastigmat with a Tessar scheme.

Optical design:

Resolution, center / edge (lin / mm) - 27/14.
Aperture limit - f32.
Aperture blades - 10 pieces.

The device is designed for photographic plates measuring 6.5 x 9 cm. The plates were loaded into special attachment cassettes.

With the help of my article on the crop factor, it is easy to calculate that in the equivalent of 35 mm film, the Tourist lens had FR = 41 mm, i.e. was wide enough.
On the resource of Georgy Abramov, there is a review of the Tourist in an article from the magazine "Soviet Photo" No. 1 for 1938.
It can be seen from the reader's letter that Industar-7 had good characteristics for those times and was appreciated by users.

The same lens was installed on the Reporter apparatus, which belonged to a significantly higher class of complexity. Reporter pictured. This is a very rare device.

The shutter is a central inter-lens type "GOMZ". The shutter beats shutter speeds 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, V, D and does not require a preliminary cocking. More on that later.

Here is the range of shutter speeds that caused complaints from users of those years. The lack of fast shutter speeds made it impossible to realize the potential of a high-aperture lens. The diaphragm had to be covered.

A tourist is a clap camera or simply a folding camera. The focal length of the lens is very large and in order to reduce the dimensions of the device during transportation, it was folded.

When folded, the Tourist does not exceed the dimensions of a Zenit camera, and the folding design looks very funny today.

To make the Tourist ready to take pictures, pull the front wall with the lens and shutter towards you. For a convenient grip, there are special semicircular notches on the short ends of the back of the case.

When unfolding, the four spacers begin to straighten. The spacers should be straight when fully extended.

Do not try to pull the body halves hard. If the spacers in the final stage of unfolding do not stand up straight, help them to straighten out manually.

To fold the device, you need to press on the middle of the spacers so that they begin to fold and then gently and evenly bring the front and back halves of the case together.

The material of the fur that connects the parts of the body is similar to leather, and the entire body of the Tourist is bakelite. The ink inscriptions were most likely done by hand.

The weight of my copy is 580 grams.

Control elements:

The tourist is optimized for both horizontal and vertical orientation of the frame. He even has two tripod sockets. Therefore, in order not to get confused, we need to agree on where the apparatus has the upper hand.

In order not to confuse anyone, I will focus on the vertical position of the frame because this is how the name of the device on the front panel and the GOMZ emblem on the back are correctly positioned.

True, it is more convenient to use the Tourist in a horizontal position ...

So, the lens, levers for switching apertures and shutter speeds, as well as the release lever are located on the front of the body.

The Tourist's bolt does not require cocking. At shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100, you just need to push the lever to take a picture. As the lever moves, the bolt spring will be compressed. When the lever reaches the end position, the spring will straighten and the bolt will work.

It is clear that the lever at the same time has a solid stroke and comes with some resistance, which increases the risk of wiggling.

At shutter speed K (short manual) - the shutter will open when the lever is pressed and close when the lever is released.
At shutter speed D (Long manual) - the shutter will open when the lever is pressed, but will not close when the lever is released. To close the shutter, you need to press the lever again.

Next to the lever is a cable release slot.

The Tourist has no self-timer and synchro-contact, which is natural for those years.

There was no room for the depth of field scale either. Moreover, in the instructions, the concept of depth of field is given, but no specific recommendations or DOF tables are given. The device is in no way focused on shooting with focusing on the GFR, although, it seems to be just obviously necessary.
Tourist can be focused in two ways - by the distance scale on the lens and by frosted glass.

When focusing on the framing distance scale, the Tourist is equipped with two folding viewfinders.

The first viewfinder, a frame viewfinder, is mounted on the left side of the body. The viewfinder is folded back, and the frame itself extends from the front of the body.

The second viewfinder - optical - is located on the top of the body. The frames of both the front and rear lenses are folding.

The optical viewfinder gives quite a sharp picture, but has a magnification of 0.3x. This means that it reduces everything by about three times.

Both viewfinders can be used in any frame orientation and both do not provide precise frame boundaries.

For me, the optical viewfinder does not offer much advantage over the frame viewfinder. For what purposes the camera was equipped with both types is difficult to understand.

If you decide to focus on frosted glass, then viewfinders are not needed. There is a whole procedure for this case.

There is a door behind the back of the device, locked with a sliding latch.

Opening the door on the back of the reveals a soft leather hood. To keep the hood in shape, it has two spacers.

Insideyou can see frosted glass with a rather large matte finish.
Next, you should set the shutter speed to D and open the shutter.

The light, passing through the lens and the body of the apparatus, falls on the frosted glass and forms an image on it exactly as it will subsequently form on the emulsion of a photographic plate.

Rotate the lens helicoid to achieve a sharp image on frosted glass, as shown in the photo below.

It is inconvenient to hold the Tourist in your hands, there is nothing to take reliably from him. It is very easy to hit the spacers and thereby disrupt the plane of focus.

Therefore, when photographing using frosted glass, it was recommended to mount the camera on a tripod. This is very good advice. 3/8 ”tripod sockets are located on the bottom and right sides of the unit.

The matting on the glass is large, but the Tourist's lens is still a bit dark. I would not say that this method allows you to get focus that is radically more accurate than on the distance scale.

The picture is, of course, inverted on both axes.

My digital camera thickens the colors a little about vignetting, everything looks better with a lively eye, but the vignetting is still VERY strong.

But, one way or another, the focus is on.

This is followed by, without touching the focusing ring of the lens and without moving anywhere, perform the following steps:

1. Close the shutter by pressing the release lever again;
2. Set a different shutter speed, if you need a different one;
3. Set a different aperture, if you need a different one (it's easier to focus on the open one, of course);
4. Remove the backdrop with frosted glass from the device (!!!);
5. Put a cassette with a record in place of the backdrop;
6. Pull the gate out of the cassette;
7. press the trigger;
8. Push in the gate.

Until p 7 is completed, it is still necessary so that the subject does not run away anywhere ...

It is clear that if we do not use frosted glass focusing, then we do not need a backdrop with glass and the camera will always have a cassette ready for shooting.

To remove the back plate or cassette, you need to slide the latch on the top of the device.

In my opinion, the focus on frosted glass in 90% of cases did not justify the complexity of the operations spent on its implementation, and most likely the Tourist was more often used as a scaler.

There is also a subtlety. When the cassette slide is extended, i.e. the unit is ready to shoot, the shutter blocks the optical viewfinder. Of course, the gate can be pulled out completely, a special light-protective edge was provided in the cassette to cover the gap, but I think that users preferred to play it safe and did not completely remove the gate.
Thus, in most cases the Tourist was used as a scaler with a frame viewfinder.

Attitude towards the camera.

Looking at devices like the Tourist, you begin to sincerely respect the photographers of those years.

As the saying goes, "here you are not here" ... ..

The biggest difference from more modern devices is, of course, a strictly limited stock of photographic material.

The Tourist had 6 cassettes. Taking a camera with you, you can take 6 pictures. And that's it!

Most likely, the cassettes could be bought additionally, but firstly, this is money, and secondly, the cassette with the record weighs a little more than 90 grams. To be able to take the number of shots similar to a standard narrow film cassette, you need to carry with you, for example, on a hike, 3.3 kg of only loaded cassettes.

In general, then people did not have the habit of clicking the shutter left and right. Each frame was unique, unrepeatable and deserved the work spent on it.

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