120 Film Box Camera

Shkolnik (A Student or a Pupil in English) is an original Soviet camera, which was manufactured in 1962-1969 by the BELOMO plant in Belorussia. It is a simple box-type camera; it uses 120 film, frame size - 6x6. Its telescopic viewfinder has a magnification of .45x and its elements are made of plastic. The two element glass lens has a focal length of 75mm and is fixed focus; all objects from 3.5 meters to infinity come out sharp.

The lens has three aperture settings - 8, 11 and 16. The shutter has only two speeds, B and 1/60 (marked M). All the controls are on the shutter body; the camera even has a cable release socket. This camera was very cheap and any child could afford it. Yet I remember seeing these cameras collecting dust on store shelves - nobody wanted them. The 35 mm format was becoming increasingly popular and the beginners would prefer to use a Smena. I've never seen a single person using Shkolnik, though I am sure some kids did. Considering its class, the camera is relatively well made. It is very easy to load and use - indeed, only one shutter speed, three aperture settings and no focusing! And you get 12 sharp 6x6 negatives. Reportedly, there were 500,000 Shkolnik cameras made, but it is not easy to find these days even in the former USSR - it was not something people cared to preserve.