FED-Arsenal (made from a Zorki-1b) ..... 35 mm film / coupled rangefinder ..... lens: INDUSTAR-22 "MOCKBA" / 50 mm f.3.5 .|
Non-factory modification (circa 1980s or earlier ?) of a 1950 Zorki-1b. Made in Krasnogorsk, USSR.
Production: unknown, but not many.
Notes: This is an older 'fake' made from an early Zorki, with an authentic 1948 "MOCKBA" KMZ lens. The rangefinder housing has a fake engraving with an early "FED" logo and the "binocular prism" logo of the Arsenal Zavod. There is a Soviet military "hammer and sickle" emblem in the Arsenal logo as well.
The "fantasy" story of this camera is that it was made at the famous Arsenal factory in Kiev from original FED parts (maybe parts from Berdsk). The time was just after the end of World War II, 1946-1948. This was supposedly to fill the need for cameras for the military at a time when the FED and KMZ factories were not yet in production. Although this is a plausable, intriguing, and attractive story, this camera and other examples of the "FED-Arsenal" have been shown to be modern fakes when closely examined.
The rangefinder cam at the top of the inside of the lens mount, the shutter release button style, the "cross-shaped" shutter curtain bolts, the shape of the release spring, and other internal parts all identify this camera as a 1950-51 Zorki. By 1950 the Arsenal Zavod was well into serious production of the Kiev cameras, FED and Zorki were well into production, and so there would be no reason for a FED-ARSENAL camera!
The quality of the fake engraving on the rangefinder housing is poor and looks like the camera was engraved (after polishing off the original chrome and Zorki engraving) and then thinly chrome-plated, rather than the traditional factory technique of a heavy chrome plating that was then engraved into.
But ... it is an interesting historical old fake with an interesting story and an authentic rare lens of the period, as well as a hard to find camera (until they start making 21st century fakes of this ???).
more photos at: nightphoto.com