There is no better description of what the ETIUD (student in Russian) camera stands for, represents and is, than “bare basics”. Bought by my parents in 1982 as a gift to their precious son who was learning basic photography skills at the school’s lab. It wasn’t so used as they thought I would, mainly because the lab switched from 120 roll film to 35mm right about then, so no 120 developing was any more available for students.
Really basic functions, plastic all over, with just the tiniest fraction of metal bits here and there, the Etiud camera was mass-produced by the BeLomo factory in Belarus (the then SSR Belarus), from 1969 to 1984. Plastic lens is an f11, focusing from about 3.8 meters to infinity. Shutter speeds wise, just B and 1/60, with a range of apertures of 11, 16, 22. You have to agree that this is as basic as it gets. Looks and behaves almost like a toy camera, but it is not a toy, trust me. My images taken with it, little as I have used it, looked much better than expected.
Plastic viewfinder, no frame lines, and obviously, no parallax. Shutter release in the shape of a lever, shutter itself being of the leaf type. To insert the film one would need to take off the back plate, which can be done by pushing onto the light grey part of the camera. This is spring loaded, so by pushing it releases the catch of the backplate and this can be taken off the camera. Insert the film and push the backplate into the light grey section, it will snap shut. Pretty simple mechanism, with the minimum of materials and work in producing these.
There is a cold shoe, but no flash sync socket, which I find strange, because without one such feature, the cold shoe is useless. That said, I have seen a few examples with a sync socket installed, and by the looks of these, they were put there after production by some ingenious repairman.
Being a 6×9 format, it gives you only 6 frames on a 120 film, but that is its charm I guess. Think before taking that photo, sort of thing. I have heard somewhere that it can be used to shoot 35mm film; how would that work, no idea. Probably one of these days I’ll just take it out of cabinet and have a close look on this.
These shots were taken with Etiud camera discussed here, on Orwo NP27 medium format film.