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halfframe cameras

made by

MMZ , Minsk , Belarus , USSR


Origin of the Camera`s name
the CHAIKA types
the CHAIKA II types
the CHAIKA 3 types
the CHAIKA 2M types
special and rare CHAIKA items
one lens only ? - no, many !!!
this and that and manuals

cover of manual from May 1966

When we come to speak about the great CHAIKA camera we first have to give some
background information on the situation of the former soviet camera industries.
There was a big company named GOMZ ( ) .- meaning: Gosudarstvennyi OptikoMekhanicheskii Zavod ( - ), This is one of the
eldest opto-mechanical companies from Soviet times founded in Leningrad in 1932 as a
follow-up to the VOOMP factory union. World famous products are: Fotokor , Reporter ,
Komsomolets , Leningrad , Lubitel and Smena - just to name some well known cameras.
The factory logo looks like this:

In 1962 GOMZ became a part the Leningrad Optical and Mechanical Association of
Enterprises (LOOMP), (= -
, ).
In 1965 the name changed again as Leningrad Optical-Mechanical Union. (LOMO), (=
O-M O, c). The factory logo is here:

In 1957 there was a company found: MMZ - Minsk Mechanical Factory ( Minskiy
Mechanichesckiy Zavod imeni S.I. Vavilova ).; located in Minsk, Belarus, ca. 450 Km west of
Moscow. Apart from optical production they gave birth to the Chaika and Smena cameras.
The factory logo looks like this:

In early 1970 Vilejka Zavod (OM RUP "ZENIT" better known as: Vileiskiy Zavod Zenit)
was found as a joint venture factory between KMZ and MMZ settled in Vilejka near Minsk.
It`s main purpose was to produce cameras of the zenit brand. Many of Vilejka produced
cameras are said to be of poor quality. The factory logo looks like this:

In 1971 MMZ, Vileijka and Peleng ( they produce the wonderful MC Peleng 3.5/8 Fisheye
Lens ): became BelOMO (Belorussian Optical and Mechanical Association). A merged
association which kept using their own brands beside the Belomo signet. Factory logo is:

Now, to put it right: There is a company called LOMO and a company called BeLomo !
The one that we are talking about when reflecting on the CHAIKA camera is: BeLomo.
Other cameras that were produced by BeLomo are:

Agat 18 the half frame follow up to the chaika`s

Elikon about 9 different types
Estafeta - mediumformat
Etude - mediumformat
Orion EE version of vilia ; and prototyp KM with coupled rangefinder
Shkolnik - mediumformat
Siluet like vilia
Smena ( M and 2M ) [ all other Smenas are LOMO products !]
Vesna plastic camera with smena 2Mshutter
Vilia 3 different version, optical similar to smena symbol

MMZ Vavilova BelOMO plant

The name of the camera.

In 1963 there was the first female cosmonaut sent to space: Valentina Tereshkova .
Although born in central Russia her parents were migrated from Belarus. On June 16, 1963
she went to space for 3 days, orbiting the earth 48 times. Her call sign in this flight was:
Chaika . In comemmoration of this woman - who later became a high decorated member of
the supreme soviet, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Vice
President of the International Womans Democratic Federation the chaika camera got its

President Medvedev and Valentina Tereshkova April 2011

(source: www.kremlin.ru )

The camera: Chaika

early manuel cover ( 1965 )

Around the year 1964 the technicians of MMZ were working on a half frame camera in a
solid metal body with 4 speed shutter behind the lens.
Production of this 1st version started in 1965 and ended in 1967.
Film size:
35 mm
Frame size:
18x24 mm
Frames per roll:
max. 72
Industar 69 ( not interchangeable ! )
Relative aperture:
2.8 ( 2:8; 4; 5:6; 8; 11; 16 )
Focal distance:
28 mm ( eqivalent to 42mm on fullframe )
Resolution capability:
center: 42 lin/mm border: 20 lin/mm
Angle of the lens field of view:
56 deg
Working distance of the lens:
27,5 mm
Shutter speeds:
1/30; 1/60; 1/125; 1/250; and V ( B )
Overall dimension:
78 x 112 x 44 mm
390 g
Shutter release is rectangle in the top housing

pre-series camera picture from sovietcams.com

This beautiful handy camera offers:

PC contact
cable release connection
tripod socket
film speed reminder on the bottom of the camera
Close focusing to 0.88 m ( 0.61 m at f:16 )
and comes with a production quantity of: 171.400 units ; sold for 21 rubles in 1965 till 67
Even this first edition of Chaika cameras appear in several versions:

Type 1.0 - A
This is the box of the first version as sold in `65:

Despite from the pre-series the version 1 cameras ( all 1965 ) came with different leatherette:

picture from sovietcams.com # 5002793

The early cameras had this noppy leather and showed industar 2.8/28 on the lens ring.

Type 1.0 B
Later this was changed into industar-69 2.8/69 and the leatherette was a bit smoother on the

picture from sovietcams.com # 5023913

Type 1.0 - C
A third item I found on the internet has green (grey) leatherette and looks like this:

( if original ) --- this item is # 5004041

If this was original or refurbished I don`t know, according to the paint and leather condition
the lens-ring looks awfull and it is the body that usually shows signs of wear first.

Type 1.0 D
There are also items with white leatherette.

Lens-ring says: industar only = type 1.0 A

but also has black rewind knob = type 2.0

and made in USSR inscription = type 1.1

and the serial of this item is: 6097496.
So here we are with an obviously refurbished camera from 1966 with as new cosmetic
appearance and some components mixed together. --- and you find more than one for sale !!!

From more than 171-thousand produced units it seems that most that survived are from 1966
according to serials of cameras offered for sale.

Type 1.1
Many of the 1966 production has inscription "made in USSR" in kyrillic on the backside!

Type 1.1 --- # 60451xx, 60574xx, 60974xx etc...

Type 1.2
has film speed marker with DIN markings:

type 1.2 --- #60529xx

Type 1.3
without "made in USSR"

type 1.3 --- # 60468xx,

Type 1.4
with GOST and DIN markings

type 1.4 --- # 60468xx

The 1966 edition seems to have been sold in a box-set like this:

with zip-case, flash-attachement, straps, lens cap, manual, passport, camera, spool, box

Type 2.0
Somewhen in 1966 the rewind-switch knob was made of plastic instead of the former used
metal one.

Type 2.0 --- # from on 60698xx

Type 2.1
in 1967 there appeared cameras with additional made in USSR in different letter-style

type 2.1 --- #70050xx to 70075xx

Obviously all of the series 1 Chaika`s have:

complete silver sprocket wheel wind mechanism

black inner shutter housing
constant price of 21 Rubels during production period
identical leatherette on front, back side and back-door opening mechanism





Chaika ( 1 )




In total : ~ 171.000 units

(unofficial values due to research only ! )

cover from manual February 1966

The different leatherettes of the Chaika body

early type Chaika 1 (1965 )


soft nopped


from on 1966

unsettled black

smooth white

There are also grey and red variants I`ve seen, but not shure if original or fake.