- Krasnogorskiy Zavod
name = OAO "Krasnogorskiy zavod im. S. A. Zvereva"
type = OAO
foundation = Krasnogorsk,
Russia( February 1, 1942)
Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast
key_people = Valeri Zhigulich (director)
Optical engineering, metallurgy, optoelectronics
Cameras, night vision devices, rangefinders, military optics
homepage = http://www.zenit-foto.ru
intl = yes
Krasnogorskiy zavod im. S. A. Zvereva ( _ru. Красногорский завод им. С. А. Зверева; "Krasnogorsk Works named after S. A. Zverev") is a
Russian factory in Krasnogorsk near Moscowwhich specializes in optical technology.
During the Soviet period it was called Krasnogorsk Mechanical Works ( _ru. Красногорский механический завод, "Krasnogorskiy Mechanicheskiy Zavod"). The abbreviation KMZ ( _ru. КМЗ) is still in common use.
KMZ is known largely for its photographic and movie
cameras of the Zorki, Zenit and Krasnogorsk series, several million of which were produced. It also has a large military optics and mechanical engineering division.
Founding and post-war years
After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in
World War II, the Red Armyhad acute need for precision optical instruments. The existing factories were either inaccessible, such as LOMOin besieged Leningrad, or overloaded with demand, such as FED which had just been evacuated from Kharkivto Berdsk. The KMZ factory was set up in 1942near Moscow, which by then was no longer in immediate danger from German troops, on the site of a recently evacuated mechanical plant. Initially the company took over production of scopes and binocularsas well as reconnaissancecameras.
After the end of the war, KMZ began producing photographic lenses in
1945to the specifications of the Carl Zeiss corporation, whose factory in Jenahad been overrun by the Red Army and largely transported off as war reparations. In the post-war years KMZ also began producing the Zorkicamera, a close copy of the German Leica II and the Soviet FED, as well as copies of Zeiss medium-format cameras under the name Moskva. These mark the beginning of consumerproduction at KMZ besides the original military focus of the company. During the following years, KMZ was the main supplier of photographic lenses in the Soviet Union.
1950s and 1960s: Years of creativity
The mid-1950s saw the beginning of a period of heightened R&D activity at KMZ. One reason was that lens production could be offloaded to a number of other new optical plants, including Arsenal in
Kievwhich began producing lenses in 1955. This freed up valuable resources at KMZ. Another reason was the changed economic policy under Nikita Khrushchev, which placed more emphasis on producing consumer goods, such as cameras, instead of investment goodsand heavy industry. As a result, KMZ produced several highly interesting concept cameras that won international prizes at fairs such as the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels.
Zorkiline of rangefinder cameras underwent significant modifications that moved it gradually from being a direct Leicacopy towards an original camera line of its own. Several other highly interesting rangefinder camera lines were developed out of the Zorki in the early 1960s and put to market in relatively small numbers. However, the most influential camera developed during this period was the Zenit, a single-lens reflex camerabased on the Zorki rangefinder body. The Zenit line was presented in 1953, and of the first generation of Zenit cameras, more than 1.2 million units were produced until the end of the 1960s. A major redesign was presented in 1967that made the line compatible with the M42 lens mountthat was in use worldwide. In 1965, KMZ also began producing movie cameras, of which was the Krasnogorsk series for 16 mm filmwas the most well-known. During this time, there was substantial cooperation between the military and the civilian sections at KMZ; an example of this is the Horizont panoramic cameraof 1967, which was developed out of an older artillery camera and continues to be produced in modified fashion to this day.
1970s and 1980s: Catering to the domestic market
The pace of R&D for consumer products at KMZ substantially slowed down at the end of the 1960s. One reason for this might have been the relatively low output figures. Since large amounts of resources were channeled towards research and development, production figures itself were low. Under the conditions of the Soviet planned economy, these absolute production figures tended to be the main indicator for a company's productivity, which made it somewhat undesirable to invest in research and development. Another reason may have been the changed economic policy under
Leonid Brezhnev, which again focused increasingly on heavy industryand arms production.
During the 1970s consumer production at KMZ shifted towards producing large numbers of individual, relatively simple models of the existing product lines. These still underwent smaller modifications and innovations, but there was a clear focus on mass production. The Zorki line of rangefinder cameras was continued until 1980 with a single model dating back to the 1956, of which 2.2 million were produced with some modifications. The Krasnogorsk-3 movie camera was produced in a largely unchanged fashion from 1971 to 1989. The Zenit line of SLRs saw somewhat more substantial modifications, such as the addition of light metering, but here too the focus was primarily on mass producing tried-and-true models, rather than implementing technical innovations such as automatic exposure that had been standard in the West for almost a decade before they appeared on the Zenit. To cope with domestic demand, Zenit production was outsourced to several other camera works in the Soviet Union as well. More than 6 million Zenit cameras were produced at KMZ until the end of the 1980s, but by that time the Zenit comparatively outdated. During this time, the relative importance of the military section of KMZ grew, in response to the increasing focus on arms production in the USSR in general. KMZ also developed a major focus in
metallurgy, mechanical engineeringand optoelectronics.
1989, KMZ had about 32,000 employees.
Since the 1990s: Collapse and reconstruction
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, KMZ production was largely in disarray. Consumer products such as the Zenit line continued to be produced for some time, but found competition on the international market increasingly hard. KMZ continued to be present at international photography fairs such as
Photokinaor PMA and even presented some new products, but had trouble with production and marketing. The photography division of the company was closed in 2005. [ [http://www.zenitcamera.com/qa/qa-digital.html KMZ Digital Camera FAQ] (in Russian).] Currently, the only camera line in production is the Horizon line of panoramic cameras, [ [http://www.zenit-foto.ru/index.php?show=cat&raz=20&m=4 Horizon series current production overview] (in Russian)] which caters to a niche market and has little international competition.
In 2007, there was some discussion of a resumed camera production at KMZ and the possibility of producing a
digital camera, [ [http://www.zenitcamera.com/rec/news-2007-06-04-01.html Press release of June 4, 2007] (in Russian)] but this has so far remained insubstantial.
* cite book
last = Princelle
first = Jean-Loup
title = The Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras
publisher = Le Rêve
date = 2004
isbn = 2-9522521-1-4
pages = esp. pp. 120-125
* [http://www.zenit-foto.ru/ Official company website] (in Russian)
* [http://www.zenitcamera.com/ Website of the company's photography and R&D division] (in Russian)
* [http://www.zenitcamera.com/catalog/cameralist-eng.html Complete list of KMZ camera products] (in English)
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