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Helios lens

Soviet apparatus that changed the photo forever!

In the 1930s, Soviet engineers developed a camera, which was the first step on the road to modern DSLRs. 

When you take a picture, it would be nice to imagine what will be in the frame. Today, this is taken for granted, but once photographers had to rely on the eye because they could not "look from the lens."
At the end of the 19th century, cameras appeared in the construction of which they tried to take this flaw into account: bending down and looking through the window in the top cover, the photographer could see with a special mirror what exactly would fall into the frame. But this was clearly not the final decision. Before taking a picture, the mirror often had to be lifted manually by pulling the rope. And the cameras themselves at that time were huge. 

Then came portable cameras, and the need for a “view from the lens” began to be felt even more urgently. And only in the 1930s did photographers finally have the long-awaited opportunity.
A camera almost unknown outside the USSR, released by the GOMZ Leningrad plant. The prototype of “Sport” was the “Helvet” camera designed by Leningrad engineer A. Gelgar, first mentioned in No. 7 of the magazine “Soviet Photo” in 1934 and then in No. 1 for 1935. In April 1936, the same magazine reported that it was at the GOMZ plant named after The OGPU in Leningrad prepared the production of the Sport narrow-film SLR camera. The first version of "Sport" - "Helvets" was released in an amount of about 300 pieces with a frame size of 24 × 38 mm and 24 × 36 mm.
This camera was different from all previous ones in one simple but ingenious solution. This awkward-looking, as if composed of boxes camera was called "Sport". In the bulky add-on above the camera, there was a major innovation: a prism, the mirrors of which reflected the view from the lens upwards - into the window where the photographer could look. 

It was the first camera in history equipped with such a prism, the first single-lens reflex camera, colloquially known as a “SLR”. Later, on its basis, modern models with a pentaprism were developed, where light from the lens is reflected through the viewfinder window on the rear wall of the case.
In Soviet literature, “Sport” was categorically called the world's first single-lens reflex camera with a 35-mm film. Western sources, as a rule, leave primacy to the German Kine Exakta camera of Ihagee firm (presented at the spring Leipzig fair of 1936). Apparently, the prototype of "Sport" was developed a little earlier than the "Kine Exakta", and the real mass production started later. In any case, “Sport” was a completely original Soviet development.
“Sport” has gone through several modifications, and a total of 20 thousand of these cameras have been released. Production was cut short only in 1941, when the blockade of Leningrad began. The pioneering role of the camera became more widely known after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it is still remembered as a camera that quickly gave way to more popular contemporaries. Like many other significant inventions, "Sport" could not conquer the market, but its founders rightfully own the pioneer laurels. 

Sport cameras currently have significant collection value.
1. The camera shoots on a 35 mm perforated film. Frame size 24 × 36 mm. The film is charged in non-standard cartridges, one charge (2 m of film) allows you to make 50 frames. The film is rewound from the feeding cassette to the receiving one; rewinding is not provided. 
2. Shutter — mechanical, focal, consists of two rigid lamellas moving along the short side of the frame. The upper lamella moves vertically, rising into the superstructure of the viewfinder along the rear wall. The lower lamella moves along a complex path from a horizontal position at the lower wall of the chamber with the shutter open to a position at an angle close to 45 ° when closed. The shutter works out shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200, 1/500 s and “B” (manual). 
3. Mirror viewfinder - with frosted glass and a magnifier. In addition, there is a direct telescopic viewfinder.
4. The camera was equipped with an Industar-10 3.5 / 50 mm lens with bayonet mount. There were other lenses for this mount, unknown. 
5. Film rewinding and shutter cocking are performed by one hand wheel located horizontally on the side wall of the viewfinder add-in. 
6. The body of the camera is metal with a removable rear wall.


Sport is a very interesting SLR camera, which is part of the story and will become a worthy instance in any collection.

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