Fotokor-1 is a folding bed plate film camera, manufactured by GOMZ , (Gosularstvennyi Optiko-Mekhanicheskii Zavod = State Optical-Mechanical Factory), Leningrad, former USSR andp roduced between 1930-41 Formerly the factory's name was VOOMP. Fotokor (Фотокор) is also known Photokor or Photocor in the west.

Fotokor means Photo journalist (= Foto-korrespondent in Russian)

It is deeply inspired from ICA Ideal or Nagel Recomar; in fact all plate cameras of the same period resemble each other, but just of moderate quality. Nevertheless it became the first million-seller of Soviet camera production. Estimated 1.3 million Fotokor-1 were made.

Fotokor-1 offered with Compur, and Vario (in very early models) and Gomz shutters, Ortagoz (most common), and Industar-2 lenses.

There are a lot of versions/types of Fotokor-1 [1] [2] [3] [4]

Fotokor-3 (1938-41) is a late version of Fotokor series.


This data belongs to the camera in the pictures.

  • Model: 1934, type 4d, (produced only in 1934). This type 4d is a very rare camera in the Fotokor-1 series [5]
  • Format: 9x12cm plate
  • Lens: VOOMP Anastigmat Ortagoz (ВOОМП AHACTИГMAT OPTAГOЗ), 135mm f/4.5; Aperture:f/4.5-f/36[6]
  • Focusing: bellows focusing by a thumb wheel on the right of the front plate, pointer on the lower left of the lens standart, distance scale on the left of the front plate; Focus range: 1.5-10m +inf
  • Shutter: GOMZ ( ГОМЗ); speeds: 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 + B & T (К & Д = K&D) [7], [8]
  • Cocking and Shutter release: by the same lever, manual shutter cocking and releasing on the same time, for the speed settings, by pressing once the lever, the diaphragm opens and closes
  • Viewfinders:
    • Waist level Brilliant Finder on top of the lens standard, turning 90 degrees left on its own axis for landscape pictures, w/ red sprit level
    • Sports finder: A big wire sports finder, hinged on the lens standard and used with a folding rear peep sight frame,
  • Bellows: double extension, slides vertically and horizontally with the micrometer screws on the lens standard
  • Back cover: as a ground glass screen, w/ lid and cloth hood, removes by sliding upwards via unlocking its latch, then you can fit the plate film holder [9]
  • Others: Tripod socket 3/8inch; Lugs for leather hand grip [10]
  • Body: metal ; Weight: 1035g

Notes and references[]

  1. According to Alaxander Komarov in Fotoua. You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site. There is another former USSR cameras classification and info by Aidas Pikiotas in SovietCams
  2. There are usefull books about cameras of former USSR and have classifications also.
  3. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  4. Discussion about clasifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum
  5. Types are as to Fotoua by Alexander Komarov[1]
  6. Ortagoz lens seems a Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear variant
  7. GOMZ shutter is a copy of Vario shutter of Gauthier
  8. Engravings on the shutter dial: ВOОМП (VOOMP) logo and very early ГОМЗ (GOMZ) logo
  9. Engraving on the back cover: VOOMP logo
  10. Engraving on the hand grip:Фотокор No.1 (= Fotokor No.1, the T's italic form is M in Russian)


In English

  • Princelle, Jean Loup - Made In USSR - The Authentic Guide To Russian And Soviet Cameras, Le Reve Edition, 2004 (ISBN 2952252106 (ISBN13: 9782952252102) Paperback

In Russian