watcha doin’ Sport?

Russian SPORT Camera c1930 with rudimentary pentaprism finder. courtesy of  Siim Vahur

Toronto. Growing up, camera innovation seemed to be mostly German with a dash of other European and American tossed in. But Russian? Really?

According to this article from BBC’s Future site, dated 18th May 2016, by Stephen Dowling, “How this odd-looking camera changed how we take photos“, a Russian Photography Museum says the first SLR with a mirror version of a pentaprism was designed in 1930 for a Russian Camera called “Cnopm” a name that translates as SPORT in English.

Prior to pentaprisms, SLRs used waist level viewers and flip up mirrors giving an upright image reversed left to right for viewing and focussing. My Exakta used both a waist level viewer with a condenser for greater brightness, and an exchangeable pentaprism that allowed eye level viewing with the image both upright and correct right to left. Both had a ground glass bottom for focussing. The Pentaprism’s ground glass was removable too and could be swapped for a tiny dual prism rangefinder in the centre of the ground glass.

Thanks to fellow PHSC member, photo history buff, and good friend, George Dunbar, for this unusual find. Russian? Sure – shades of my Exakta!

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