35mm SLR system • Discontinued


A 35mm film SLR system created by the Leningrad Optical-Mechanical Association (USSR). It is considered the last attempt of the USSR to develop its own professional system for photojournalism and specialized photography. Professional cameras (mainly Japanese-made) for large publishing houses were centrally purchased in capitalist countries for convertible currency. The goal of developing the new system was to save scarce foreign currency. As a result, the Almaz-103 camera was born, which had interchangeable viewfinders, interchangeable focusing screens (a first for a Soviet camera), Pentax K mount with support for automatic aperture, focal plane shutter with speeds ranging from 1 to 1/1000th of a second, self-timer, multiple exposure feature, flash synchronization at 1/60 sec, removable back, which could be replaced with a data back (also a first for a Soviet camera), and even a support for electric motor drive. However, with all this rich functionality, the camera worked only in fully manual mode and did not have an exposure meter (in the future, however, it was planned to produce an interchangeable pentaprism with a TTL exposure meter).

Unfortunately, the complexity of the design required a completely different production culture and machine park, inaccessible to the civilian units of LOMO. The result was numerous breakdowns of sold cameras and their return to the retail chain. In addition, due to high costs and non-market pricing, LOMO suffered large losses in the production of the camera. Production of the Almaz-103 was discontinued in 1987, and the development of new models of the Almaz family was stopped in 1989.

In addition to the Volna 50/1.8 MC standard lens, only the Mir-47K 20/2.5 MC wide-angle lens was produced by LOMO. However, it was also possible to use lenses designed and produced for Zenit cameras with the Pentax K mount or "A"-series lenses with interchangeable mounts.

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