The F-21 is a famous Soviet-made
photo camera for concealed use; a spy camera in simple words. This model was
in production at KMZ plant from 1951 to mid-1990’s. This camera was designed
and made with its purpose in mind – it is very small, light, can shoot the entire
roll of film from one fill wind of its spring-loaded motor. Picture quality
was, of course, very important as well, so the F-21 features a very sharp, high-resolution
lens and a reasonably large negative size. The frame is 18×24 mm, taken on a
21 mm film. So technically, using the 35 mm terms, the F-21 is a half-frame
There were many attachments for the
F-21, all intended to conceal it in different ways. There are belt buckles,
coat buttons, purse and bag adapters. There are ordinary 35 mm cameras and umbrellas
that could accommodate the small F-21. Some accessories, like the button, were
made in small quantities, some – in single units.
The F-21, as its name suggests, uses
unperforated 21 mm film. This film is not readily available in stores, but can
be easily cut from any 35 film using a 21 mm slitter, either self-made or ordered
from some submini stores. The camera was meant to use a 60 cm long film, which
would hold up to 20 frames. This limitation was determined decades ago by the
thickness of the film; modern films are thinner and the F-21 cassette can hold
longer strips of film.
The cassette has to be loaded with
film in the dark, but can be placed in the camera in daylight. It is made in
the same was the dual cylinder Leitz and Zeiss cassttes were made – it opens
inside the camera when the bottom locks are turned to “locked” position.
The standard lens is OF-28T, 28/2.8,
coated. There are 4 shutter speeds – B, 1/10, 1/30, 1/100.
(settings from 2.8 to 16)
at 5 m.
depth-of-field is 2.44 m – Infinity
At f/16 depth-of-field is 1.27 m – Infinity.
1/10, 1/30, 1/100
= 77x55x40 mm (3″x2.2″x1.6″)
gram or 6.3 oz
to 55? C or -4 to 131? F
The camera is used, clean, and fully
functional. The serial number on the front is filed off – this was a standard
KGB procedure. Serial numbers for secret items were also secret. Perhaps the
reason for this was that the serial number would give away production quantity
of the item, and THAT was a real secret!
This is a great chance to own a piece
of the Cold War history. The F-21 is very hard to find now. This is the last
one we have in stock and they have not arrived in 3 years.
Included in the set:
- F-21 Camera Body
- OF-28T Lens
- Film Cassette