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Camera Moscow-3 review and instructions

As I promised, I continue my story about the Moscow line of cameras. We recently reviewed the second model, today we are looking at the third.

Moscow-3 is personally very interesting to me precisely in the historical and technical aspect. The fact is that this device shoots not on film, but on photographic plates of 6.5x9 cm format.

Yes, Mokva-3 is a plate camera. The only one in the lineup is Moscow.

Moreover, I believe that Moscow-3 is generally the only Soviet post-war mobile plate camera. I emphasize, mobile.

No, by the way, progress is progress, but the role of photographic plates in the post-war period will not be discounted at all.

Moscow-3 was produced in the early 50s. But the cameras of the FC series were in production from the 30s to 1987 !!! A massive camera with a long history.

FC - these are just plate cameras with a 13x18 or 18x24 cm plate format. Photos from the Web.

True FC is an apparatus for a photographic studio or for reproduction work. They are bulky and better suited for stationary use. Even a modification of the FKD (PhotoCamera Dorozhnaya), I think, no one will call a mobile one.

Nuuu, there was also a much rarer Vostok camera of 9x12 cm format. Also from the beginning of the 50s. And the device is also, rather, stationary.

But the more I do not remember anything massive, even relatively.

Thus, there are few post-war plate apparatus in general, and most of them are pavilion ones. Moscow-3 is precisely a mobile camera.

The production of Moscow-3 began (it is generally accepted) in 1950 and ended in 1951. Evgeny Pavlenko's book "Moscow 12345" provides evidence that the very first devices of this model appeared in 1949.

If you look around in the chronology of the Soviet photographic industry, you will notice that the Moscow-1 apparatus was turned down in 1950. It was a scale medium format camera.

The rangefinder Moscow-2 had already been produced for several years by that time.

Back in 1950, the first Amateur came out. This device is structurally simpler than Moscow-1, but at the same time a full-fledged TLR. True, the first Moscow has a larger frame - 6x9, versus 6x6 for Lyubitel.

In general, who needed a bigger shot - Moscow-2 suited them. The one who was less satisfied - the Lubitel

Scale Moscow-1 did not fit into the future and was curtailed.

Perhaps, after that, some production capacity and stocks of components were transferred to the third model. Although, the devices differ greatly and if it is possible to talk about continuity, then it is rather arbitrary.

Why photographic plates?

Again, on the rights of idle speculation, I will make an assumption.

At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, film did not occupy a dominant position in Russian photography.

Before the Second World War, the FED was a mass domestic film camera with a circulation of about 180 thousand copies. At the same time, more than 1 million of Photographers # 1 were released and, for example, about 136 thousand of Tourists. And still quite on the move were a variety of ARFOs, EFTE, etc., numbering in tens of thousands.

By 1949, the Soviet photo industry had just recovered and began to function after the Second World War. The situation with a fleet of equipment in the hands of the population did not differ much from the pre-war situation. The new cameras simply did not have time to release a sufficient number of them. Most, or at least - a significant part of the devices in circulation were for plates. This is a hypothesis. Hardly anyone has exact data.

Imported models cannot be discounted, but there was a structure there too, I suppose, with a large share of records.

Even now, it is easier to find a serviceable Photo Correspondent No. 1 or Tourist than the Zorkiy sample of 1949 or Moscow-1.

Many years have passed since the end of the War. The country needed photography, which means that, one way or another, the production of photographic plates was restored, there were some kind of warehouse stocks.

There were also old school photographers who believed that photographic plates were “our everything”.

But the Photographers and Tourists were already thoroughly outdated by the end of the 40s.

I will assume that Moscow-3 was supposed to meet the demand for the upgrade of pre-war plate cameras.

True, the size of the plates Moscow-3 was 6.5x9 cm, while the most popular Photocor - 9x12 cm - was twice as large. Photocor also had a double fur stretching and a lens centering mechanism.

In general, a full and unconditional upgrade came out only for Tourist owners. The new apparatus had to go straight to them.

Moscow-3 was produced for only 2 years and the volume of production was small - about 11 thousand copies.

Why so little?

Perhaps the existing demand has simply been met?

The advantages of the film are obvious. Those who need a large frame could purchase a Moskva-2 camera with a 6x9 cm film frame. Almost the same as the Moskva-3 records.

The needs of the orthodox "plate-makers", one way or another, were closed, and their number was not replenished. Amateur photography finally moved to film.

There is information that for Moscow-3 there was an adapter for film type 120 with a frame size of 6 × 9 cm.

This is how the logic of the appearance and rapid departure from the scene of the Moscow-3 camera seems to me. If you have other hypotheses or even reliable information, please write.

Now Moscow-3 is a rather rare device. Although, if you do not need any specific modification, it is not a problem to get it.

Collectors distinguish several modifications of the third Moscow, although the differences are purely cosmetic. We will not dwell on them in detail.

On the earliest cameras, lens inscriptions were applied to the light metal end cap. Moreover, the KMZ emblem was of the old format without an arrow. T.N. "Coffin".

In a later version, the emblem acquired an arrow.
A little later, the inscriptions began to be applied to the inner black conical ring, and the emblem was again old at first. The review is just such a model.

Modifications with the old emblem on a black background were released about 2.5 thousand.

At the camera in the review, the rear viewfinder frame is covered with black paint. These were released in 2000. Starting with this particular modification, textured pasting began to be made from leatherette. This is according to information from the book "Moscow 12345".

Models before mine, such as, for example, with a light frame - had to be pasted over with leather.

Further, the emblem of the KMZ acquired the arrow and in this form the Moscow-3 was produced mainly in 1951 until the very end of production.

Of the extremely rare, there is information about such a modification. Presumably, the limited edition was timed to coincide with the 5th anniversary of the Victory.

The body of the device is made of mahogany, and the portraits of the leaders are crowded out on the back of the burgundy leather wall.

Simply enchanting. On the resource, the authenticity of the instance does not seem to be questioned.

The numbering of the Moscow-3 chambers was carried out by years. The first 2 digits in the number are the year. At the same time, there are three numbers on the device. On the lens, on the shutter unit and on the body inside under the removable back.

The device number is the one on the case.

Today in the review is a copy of Moscow-3 in excellent condition in 1950 with the number 5005347. Let's take a look at it.

Camera Moscow-3

Moscow-3 is a folding plate camera with a format of 6.5x9 cm plates.

Produced at KMZ from 1950 (1949) to 1951. Circulation - 11.3 thousand copies.

The device is scale, plus it has the traditional for plates the ability to focus on frosted glass.

Foldable optical viewfinder.

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-5. Bounces shutter speeds 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, V and D.

The device does not have a sync terminal and a self-timer.

The weight of my copy is 963 grams.

Control elements:

The Moscow-3 apparatus is not as large as the imagination suggests when thinking of a plate accordion.

The body is metal. All ends are covered with leatherette, body ribs are painted with black metal.

On the right side of the case there is a small strap for removing the device from the case and for carrying.

To open the device, you need to press the button under the strap. There are two buttons, now we need the one that is closer to the front of the device.

When you press the button, the spring will swing the front wall forward and to the left and at the same time the accordion will straighten and the shutter unit and lens will move forward. It is interesting to watch this process even just to observe how all the details move smoothly.

The frame viewfinder does not open itself when unfolding the device; it must be done manually by pulling the front part of the frame adjacent to the body up. This frame will fold back and the front frame will rise from under it.

In both frames of the lens. The picture is large and light.

The viewfinder is also folded up manually in the reverse order. We press the front frame, then cover it with the back one and press it against the body to fix it.

The shutter button is located on the upper surface of the body to the left of the viewfinder.

It is convenient to hold Moscow-3 in much the same way as holding a video camera, only with the left hand.

The palm covers the door thrown back to the left, the thumb supports the body, the index finger on the trigger. The right hand holds its side.

Everything is quite convenient and reliable.

The body has two 3/8 ”tripod sockets. It is a little atypical that the slot for vertical orientation is located at the end of the case, and not on the hinged cover.

I think this is because with a plate apparatus it is also necessary to perform operations that require some effort. Removing a gate from a cassette, for example.

If the device is attached to the lid, you can loosen the mount.

There is also no traditional hinged stop on the front cover. The shape of the Moscow-3 hull is such that it can stand vertically on a horizontal plane, resting on the entire area of ​​the folded back cover.

Focusing is accomplished by rotating the knurled ring at the front of the lens.

The depth of field scale is marked on the black ring to the right of the focusing ring.

More to the right are the shutter speed icons. Shutter speeds are switched by turning a narrow ribbed ring.

The difference between the Moment-5 shutter is the presence of a long exposure D. If you choose such a shutter speed, when you press the shutter button, the shutter will open and remain open even after the button is released.

To close the shutter, you need to re-press the button.

When using V and D shutter speeds, the shutter does not need to be cocked!

The shutter cocking lever is on the right under the lens unit. A little lower - a nest for a cable.

The lever is cocked by an upward movement. You only need to cock the shutter when using automatic shutter speeds.

I did not find in the instructions whether to switch automatic shutter speeds strictly before or after cocking the shutter.

Apertures are switched by a metal pointer to the left of the lens.


Moscow-3 can be focused in several ways.

  • The first, and, I think, the most widespread is the focus on the FIU.

Dots are marked on the distance scale (between 8 and 15 meters) and on the aperture scale (between f11 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 second way is to use Moscow-3 as a scale apparatus. Those. we determine the distance by eye and set it on the focusing ring.

In the first two cases, instead of a backdrop with frosted glass, you can immediately use a cassette.

  • The third method is the most difficult - focusing on frosted glass.

The device has a removable backdrop with frosted glass inserted. The matte surface is located at the same distance from the lens as the emulsion of the photographic plate.

Light passing through the lens forms on the frosted glass exactly the same image that will be projected onto the plate.

To see the picture, you need to slide the latch at the back of the device and open the door. There is a folded rectangular hood under the door. It needs to be spread out and two spacers spread out inside.

The hood is needed to cut off the ambient light and make it possible to observe the picture on frosted glass in the dark. This makes it brighter.

So, here, observing the actual image on the glass, you need to bring focus.

Naturally, the image on the frosted glass is inverted on two axes.

Also, the picture is heavily vignetted and completely dim even at f4.5.

I don’t know who else, I couldn’t see the moment when the focus appeared in room lighting. Perhaps it will be better in bright sun.

Therefore, I think that in reality the focus on frosted glass was not used very often.

I will describe approximately the procedure for shooting with frosted glass. Not all points need to be performed strictly in the order indicated, but I think it's easy to understand which ones.
1. Open the aperture to f4.5. Otherwise, you simply cannot see anything on the glass.

2. We knock out the excerpt D.

3. We unfold the hood at the back of the device.

4. Press the shutter button. The shutter opens.

5. Looking at the frosted glass behind, we focus.

6. Press the shutter button. The shutter closes.

7. Set the desired aperture.

8. We set the required shutter speed. Let's say it's some kind of automatic.

9. Cocking the shutter.

10. Remove the backdrop. To remove it, slide the button under the strap in the direction of the arrow.

11. We put the cassette in place of the backdrop. The left part is inserted into the groove, and the right part is pressed until it clicks into place.

12. We extend the gate (cassette shutter). I did not see recommendations in the instructions not to remove the gate completely. The fact is that if you take it out, then theoretically light can enter the free slot. But perhaps this is not so critical.

13. If the device is on a tripod, skip this item. If the camera is in hand, then fold the viewfinder and compose the frame.

14. Everyone !. You can shoot! We press the descent.

15. Slide the gate. It is important not to forget to do this.

16. We remove the cassette, and if we are not going to photograph the same scene repeated, then put the backdrop in place again.

Something like that.

Folding the apparatus is a little more laborious.

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

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.

Attitude towards the camera.

Moscow-3 was completed with this type of case made of cardboard and leatherette. The case includes an apparatus and 6 cassettes. Only 6 cassettes, Karl!

Going to a photo shoot, a photographer from Moscow-3 in the 50s carried a bag weighing 1.5 kg, and could only count on 6 frames.

That's when they knew how to appreciate the plots.

Today I photographed an important cell phone number on a piece of paper with my phone, so as not to write it down, and took 6 pictures just in case in 5 seconds….

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