I got this mysterious camera last week. It tells a strange story: The man who found this East German Altissa Altix V with interchangeable Tessar 2.8/50 had been working as a forest ranger in a military restricted area, owned by the Russian Airforce near the Polish border. In 1970 he had been in this forest as he heard and saw some metal parts rustling through the trees. After searching a while, he found, among other unidentified parts, this camera and took it home directly ( where he kept it hidden till 1990 ). Afterwards the whole area had been blocked and had been searched through by the Russian Army und GDR police forces. He had been also consulted by the police and had been observed a long time by the East German secret police. The finder feels certain that this camera is related to some Russian Sojus project. The Altix without leathers has a few scratches and dents and the lens attachment has some damage. Interestingly the shutter blades are completely dismounted ( have no idea what purpose this will serve ). The lens is still uncleaned. I don’t know if this is a true story or simply a fairy tale, but the adventurous story alone is worth the 25.- Euro purchase price .
What an interesting story, Mik. And an interesting camera.
It poses a number of questions:
When the finder said Sojus project did he mean the Russian Sojus (or Soyez) space station project? I believe the word was also used at one time to refer to Warsaw Pact combined army and air manoeuvres in Poland and the DDR. (Sojus = joining together in Russian?)
Several of the Sojus space station launches came to grief, though at the time the Russians kept rather quiet about why, but if the camera had fallen from a space craft during launch surely it would have burned up re-entering the earth's atmosphere?
The DDR is quite a long way from the launch sites of the Sojus space station project in Russia, and I imagine any debris would have fallen in Russia.
More plausible is that it fell from a Warsaw Pact aircraft (helicopter perhaps?) which for some reason broke up, or partly broke up, at fairly low level. This might account for the fairly light damage after the camera fell through the trees. It would also account for the Russian Army and Volpo search for pieces which accident investigators would need.
The Altix V wasn't a cheap and cheerful "peoples" camera, it was a high-grade, if fairly basic, 35mm. This one, with the Tessar lens, was a top market model, but by 1970 it was at least 15 or 16 years old and had been superseded by later models of Altix, so why were the military using an outdated and obsolete camera?
Lastly, and very curious, you say that the shutter blades are completely dismounted. Do you mean they are missing or just disconnected?
The fall could possibly account for their being disconnected, but to remove them would mean taking the front of the shutter off the camera body. I assume the shutter is either a Prontor SVS or the Vebur copy of this. I wonder if, possibly, the finder found the shutter not working and decided to have a go at repairing it? If I remember rightly, on these behind-the-lens Prontors with the unlinked cocking lever there are only four screws to remove to get to the shutter blades. Easy to remove them, but not so easy to put them back!
I have this model but not a sexy naked version like this!
I now have the next best thing an Altix lV
Here's my story strange but true. I was walking through the park hoping to see the ducklings when i heard a metallic rustle in the bushes just by the pond. I walked over to the bush and as I got there I was sure I heard a small trapdoor close. A few feathers lay on the ground next to the door. There was evidence that ducks had walked through the soft earth but the footprints suddenly disappeared about where I heard the noise. I got on my knee and scrabbled around in the dirt trying to open the trapdoor. I became aware of a figure behind me. My mouth went dry and my heart started to beat quickly. Who was it? Had he seen anything. I turned round and looked up at the uniformed figure. I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry.
"Is this your camera mate?" the park keeper asked. He held out a shiny metallic object that looked like a camera. "I'm looking for a duck" I told him lamely as I stood up. My knees were covered in mud. "your friends are here for you" he told me as he handed me the strange camera. I spotted two large men in white coats behind him, the back of the yellow van was open.
Anyone could fake this, but mine has the holes at the front filled in - but reversible, rear plate spray painted - again reversible (paint remover will not touch the camera black but will remove quite easily the silver paint). The camera itself is in good overall condition but with a temperamental shutter.
The leather peeled off ok but the glue underneath was like concrete and was impervious to water, turps, caustic soda and naptha. Paint stripper removed it in minutes.
Just a bit of fun but lovely to look at.
Last Edit: May 1, 2014 9:37:11 GMT -5 by philbirch