Fotosnaiper

The Early years


This article will try to clear some of the fog around the early years
of this rare and strange camera.

A little bit of history...

The Fotosnaiper (or Photosniper) FS-2 was first made back in 1937 by a firm known as VOOMP-GOI. There is a bigger story behind VOOMP-GOI but this article is about the first of the Snipers. This Photographic Gun as they called it was produced between 1937 and 1943. According to Princelle less than 500 were made by VOOMP-GOI. The camera had a 300 mm 4.5 lens from GOI During World War II production of the Sniper was switched to KMZ (around 1942/1943). How many FS-2's were made by KMZ is not known. They assembled remaining VOOMP-GOI FS-2's and later built them themselves and replaced the GOI lens with a TAIR lens (also a 4.5/300mm). The "Russian and Soviet Cameras (1840-1991)" book by Yuri Ryshkov mentions that the FS-2 was stil produced in 1949 but now had an Industar lens with the same specs. The first FS-2 units were intended (According to Princelle and the GOI Museum in Saint-Petersburg) for military use with the Red Army. Still excact production numbers of the KMZ FS-2 are not known, but KMZ did not make many FS-2's. It is doubtfull that they made more than a few hunderd.

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FS-2 Data;

The camerabody is a FED I rangefinder fixed to a reflexcage. This has been done by removing the L39 mount and placing a "rapid plate". The lens fitted on the cage is a GOI f4.5/300mm lens. KMZ models came with a TAIR f4.5/300mm lens and it is possible that some came with a f4.5/300mm lens from Industar. The entire set is connected to a wooden gunstock with a bajonetlike mechanism. the eyepiece has a dioptre setting. It even has an instant return mirror. The trigger takes the shot.

Variations

  • The VOOMP-GOI units came in Olive green or black.
  • KMZ units ment for the Red Army had the "Star, Hammer and Sickel" on the left side of the camera reflexcage (as seen from shooting position)
  • It is not known if later units produced after 1945 still had the "Star, Hammer and Sickel" on the side.


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A few FS-2 shots

FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2
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Who used the FS-2?

  • Some high ranking party officials (they received them as gifts)
  • The NVKD, before known as the OGDU but better known after WWII as the KGB.
  • The Red Army (Recon Units) for use with observationposts and Deep Recon (going behind enemy lines and making shots of enemy strongholds)
The most famous user of the FS-2 was Nikita Khrouchtchev.
I will quote this famous story from Princelle;
"The story goes that Nikita Khrouchtchev, a famous amateur photographer and proud owner of a FS-2, went one morning to the neighbouring Krasnogorsk to have it serviced and was suprised that the factory no longer made them. The fist secretary's wish was granted in 1965 with the arrival of the Zenit-E. That year, 350 Zenit-E and 15 PhotoSniper outfits were to be marketed." End of quote.
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Credits,

I would like to thank,

Vladimir Gritsuk for his great info from the Goi Museum in St Petersburg and the use of his photos of the FS-2. All photos off the FS-2 on this page were made by him.

Nathan Dayton for his outstanding website on Soviet cameras.
click here to enter his website,
Communist Cameras .

Mark Tharp for Great Website on Russian rangefinders.
click here to enter his website, Russian Rangefinders .

Jean Loup Princelle for his fantastic book "The Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras ". Also referred to as " The Soviet Camera Collectors Bibel ". All of the data mentioned here comes from this book and from the info from Vladimir Gritsuk.

"Russian and Soviet Cameras (1840-1991)" a catologue by Yuri Ryshkov.

Whitout them this article would not be here.

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Copyright Tom A.H. Piel

All rights reserved