Hasselblad 1600, 1000, Salyut/Salut, Zenith 80, KIEV 80, KIEV 88 Medium Format Cameras.
Their origins, design, working and similarities.
A Project by Steve Ash

History of Hasselblad and its Russian copies

Design and operating principles

Origins of the Russian copies?

Similarities and differences between the Hasselblad and Russian copies

Cameras, lenses, hints, links, acknowledgements

As illustrated above, the cameras consist of:

An outer body, which provides fitting points for the lens, back, shutter and lens releases, tripod, flash.

An inner chassis containing the mechanical components.



Shutter Curtains

Viewed from the back of the camera, these wrap around the inside of the body as illustrated below:



The arrangement for the Hasselblad and the Russian copies is so similar that the Hasselblad illustration will cover both cameras.

At the winding mechanism side, the blinds terminate on geared axles which interact with the winding mechanism and stacked gears.

At the other side of the camera, they are fastened to axles which terminate on the tensioning spring assembly, discussed later.


Tensioning of the blinds.
The tensioning mechanism consists of two gears with coil springs inside. These are tensioned by adjusting screws on the front of the assembly. As the camera is wound, the unfurling blinds apply more tension to the springs. When the shutter is released, the gears pull the blinds back to the resting position.

Speed selection/winding mechanism.
This assembly is extremely complex. Any slight mis-adjustment of one of its several gears will render the camera useless. The simultaneous events occurring are:

1. The inner and outer disks in the diagram below rotate together as the wind knob is rotated.

2. The train of gears linked to the gear that winds the film back starts to rotate. The large gear with the cut-out, visible when the back is off the camera, winds a tensioned gear in the film back to advance the film. This gear also sets the tell-tale in the back to WHITE. When the cut-out aligns again with the gear in the film back, a pin visible above the cut-out gear is pushed into the camera back to release the gear, which springs back round to its starting position again.

3. In the Salyut, the cut-out gear also operates the camera tell-tale to show WHITE. The Hasselblad differs in this respect, explained later.

4. At the same time, the shutter blinds are being wound on, and the pair of stacked gears in the shutter speed mechanism advanced to the start position. These elements are locked together by the straight and bevelled gears in the speed selector/winding assembly, on the curtain rollers and in the body itself.

5. A lever on the stacked speed gears tensions the slow speeds air brake.

6. The lens diaphragm lever is moved forwards to open the lens diaphragm.

7. The camera body tell-tale is lifted and latched to show WHITE.


There is a ratchet which catches in the gear teeth of the wheel linking the winding mechanism with the large cut-out gear to prevent the whole tensioned operation from springing back if one stops half way through the wind.


Firing the shutter

1. The release is pressed.

2. A lever running the length of the base of the camera is pushed back. If the dark slide is in the back, it is unable to pass through it and so prevents the shutter firing.

3. Assuming the dark slide is out; a pin in the shutter release mechanism now engages and locks the black gear on the base of the stacked gear assembly.

4. A lever is operated, which releases the mirror.

5. In automatic diaphragm cameras the diaphragm operating ramp flies back, stopping down the diaphragm.

6. The stacked gears are released from their locked state.

7. The lower gear starts to move, and with it the opening shutter blind.

8. At a point predetermined by the set speed, the lower gear triggers the top gear to move. This is triggered through the pins and catches in the centre disk between the stacked gears.

9. For slow speeds, this trigger is delayed by the intervention of the slow speeds air brake. This device is tensioned by the stacked gears, and the speed of discharge is given by a bladed rotor which spins round as it is released. Nominal run-out time is one second; the stacked gears engage it for various periods from 1/15th to second.

10. The lever mentioned in 2) above passes into the film back and resets the tell-tale to RED