James Bond, the woman, and the Club
“It’s… Alive! Alive I tell you!”

Shooting Russian spies

 Discover Rewarding Photography Photosniper

Discover Rewarding Photography came free with Russian cameras in the early 70s. I got my copy when I bought my Zenith B in about 1972; I was thirteen and it was, I think, my first book on photography. I read it and reread it, and absorbed every morsel of knowledge.

I pored over the lens specifications again and again and was convinced that one day I would have a large collection of big powerful lenses. This never happened and I prefer wide angle and short telephoto lenses now.

What I didn’t realise back then was that along with a great deal of good advice from the author, some of it was a puff piece for Russian equipment.

Well, fair enough. Not too long ago I went to a free street photography workshop run by one of the Japanese camera companies, who told us how wonderful their cameras were. Same difference.

Discover Rewarding Photography Ham Sandwich

But it seemed to work, because I later bought a Zenith enlarger and a Zenith Photosniper, which was a Zenith camera, long telephoto lens, standard lens, and accessories in a metal case.

The book said about the outfit, “An idea which won instant acclaim when introduced is the Photosniper, basically an SLR in combination with a 300mm lens in quick focus mount with a steadying gunstock.”

Despite its appearance, SLR stands here for Single Lens Reflex, not Self Loading Rifle…

The 300mm f/4.5 long lens was very good, as were the standard 58mm Helios lenses that came with both my Zenith B and the camera in the Photosniper outfit.

Also very good was the lens on the Zenith enlarger. In the 80s I went to a small camera shop in Aylesbury, thinking to buy a 50mm Nikon enlarging lens to replace the original Russian one.

The honest man in the shop advised me to stick with the original lens as I’d see no improvement. Later, I realised he was right.

Discover Rewarding Photography was published in 1971 by Technical and Optical Equipment, importers of Russian equipment. It was widely believed but without much evidence that they were a front for the Russian secret services.

Discover Rewarding Photography by Ronald Spillman

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