Note: as far as I'm concerned, this page has for the greater part been made obsolete by the logo page at zenit.istra.ru.
One of the consequences of the way the Soviet Union was structured is that factories were seen as integral parts of the state rather than as independent economic units. Factories therefore never profiled themselves, and always remained hidden behind the massive facade of trade firms and state export. Their products were given generic names like Zorki or Zenit, and the only way to connect the end products with their manufacturers was to look at their logos. They were the last glints of independence of otherwise generic factories.
On this page a collection of the more common logos, at least the ones I was able to lay my hands on. I drafted all of these myself, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't copy them without my consent. If you have any additions, you can always contact me.
Many thanks to Kevin Kalsbeek for sending logos, providing information, and writing parts of this page. Thanks also to David Tomlinson of the RCCC for indirectly providing some of the examples I used for drafting.
KMZ (Krasnogorskiy Mechanicheskiy Zavod, or the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant), lately also "Krasnogorsky Zavod JSC", is the big boy among the Soviet camera manufacturers. It was the largest in the Soviet Union and created such product lines like the Zorkis, Zenits, Horizons and Moskvas. Learn more about KMZ here.
KMZ's logo is a stylized Dove prism with a light ray passing through. In Krasnogorsk it was nicknamed the "tombstone". The logo is found on almost all KMZ products. The first version has no light ray, and was used on the FED-Zorki until around 1950. The second version was used for thirty years thereafter and is the most common. The third seems to have been adopted in the late 1970's, and is still in use. Dove prisms are named after the optician who invented them; not after the shape of the light ray, as I used to think. (Compare the "gull wing".)
LOMO is short for Leningradskoye Optiko-Mechanicheshkoye Obyedinenie, or the Leningrad Optical-Mechanial Union. The factory was apparently founded from the old GOMZ works in 1962. The production facility is based in the former city of Leningrad, now known as St Petersburg, and was probably the Soviet Union's second largest civil-optical plant. LOMO created a lot of archetypical and interesting cameras over the years. LOMOgraphy was a welcome break to LOMO in the Russian depression of the mid-1990's. Nowadays LOMO seems to have left all camera production behind (with perhaps the exception of the LC-A), and is focusing on scientific and industrial grade optics.
LOMO has various logos, the most common of which is the one depicted on the right. It looks like it says "OMO", but the upside-down V is actually a Cyrillic L. Some versions of the logo have a ball on top of the L's point, and some an entire ship.
GOMZ is what LOMO was called before it changed its name in 1962. GOMZ stands for State Optical-mechanical Plant. The logo above appears on almost all GOMZ cameras, like the early Lubitel-2, the Sport, the Reporter, etc.
FED is a camera manufacturer based in Kharkov, Ukraine. The plant is best known for its many Leica copies, although FED was actually a machine-building plant in the largest sense of the word. (The product catalog on their website still illustrates that).
FED had a very flexible logo policy: although almost all cameras are stamped on the back with the small "swirl logo" shown above, the typography on the cameras themselves (particularly on the FED-1) has enormous variations.
Arsenal, based in Kiev in the Ukraine, is known best for cloning some pretty good cameras: Hasselblads, Contaxes, Nikons and Pentacon Sixes. Most of them weren't copied directly and were simplified for production behind the Iron Curtain, but some (the Contax clones in particular) were pretty decent. Arsenal also created one of the most original of all cameras: the Kiev-10. Of all Soviet camera manufacturers, Arsenal also has the largest cult following, given their product complement of cheap yet usable medium format equipment.
The top logo is the plain version that was used in the Soviet era and engraved on all Arsenal cameras; the bottom one was found on the site below.
Page on the Kiev Chamber of Commerce and Industry exhibition site (with Arsenal's e-mail address)
MMZ: Minsk Mechanical Factory. Founded in 1957, MMZ was located in Minsk, Belarus, approximately 450 miles SW of Moscow. Initial production was optical glass and the Smena-2 camera. In 1971, MMZ became BelOMO.
BelOMO: Belorussian Optical and Mechanical Association. Formed in 1971 by the merger of MMZ and the Vilejka Factory, and apparently Peleng. BelOMO continued to produce cameras and lenses, cine cameras, accessories, projectors, etc. The plants may continue to use their original logos on the products produced in each plant of the association.
Vilejka Factory, or officially OM RUP "ZENIT". In Soviet times it was known as "Vileiskiy Zavod <Zenit>". Founded in early 1969/70 in Vilejka, approximately 50 miles NW of Minsk, as a joint venture by MMZ and KMZ to produce Zenit cameras. The Vilejka Zenits were apparently intended primarily for home consumption, and earned a poor reputation for quality. Vilejka, has produced the following Zenit models: E, TTL, ET, 11, 15, under slightly different designations. Vilejka is apparently still producing Zenits, i.e. Zenit 130.
ZKB: Peleng Company: Russian name "Rogachevskiy zavod 'Diaproektor'" ("Rogachev plant Diaprojector"). Located in Rogachev, Belarus, Peleng was the lens and possibly optical glass manufacturing facility for BelOMO. It is not known when Peleng became an independent entity. Peleng continues to make camera lenses, cine projectors, magnifiers, and other optical instruments.
This is Voigtländer's old and revered factory logo; resurrected recently on the Bessa series.
LZOS (Лыткаринский завод Оптического Стекла) is based in Lytkarino, 100 kilometers north of Moscow. It was a KMZ satellite plant: it was included in KMZ's PO (production union). LZOS stands for Lytkarino Optical Glass Factory, and that is what they're most famous for: for manufacturing various lenses for KMZ cameras.
Vologda Optical-Mechanical Factory. Located in Vologda, approximately 250 miles NE of Moscow. Manufactures photographic accessories, such as lenses. Logo has been seen by author on 37mm Mir-1B and 200mm Jupiter-21M lenses. This factory is currently in business, and show lenses on their site, but it is not clear as to whether these are current production, or new/old stock. Current production is largely military.
The logo with the bow and arrow is older.
Sverdlovsk is a large factory of exposure meters based in the Ural town of Sverdlovsk. Not much more is known... Its logo is this owl.
VOOMP: Federation of Optical-Mechanical Factories (alternatively: Union of Optical-Mechanical Enterprises). This plant appears to be the original LOMO plant which was renamed VOOMP, but it is unclear when exactly this occurred. There is an alternative logo found on the VOOMP Leica II copy. This "factory" appears to have been an association camera and optical manufacturing facilities, but was also very important for the VOOMP Opytnyi Zavod: VOOMP experimental factory, which apparently was a very important optical and camera development plant from the Soviet planned economy viewpoint.
Rostov "The Great": Rostov Optical and Mechanical Factory (ROMZ). Rostov "The Great" is located about 125 miles NE of Moscow, and is an old religious center, hence the sylized "onion domes" over a lens of the logo. The Rostov logo is usually seen on 35 and 85mm accessory finders for FED and Zorki cameras and their bakelite boxes. Rostov is a military production center, and I have seen this logo on night vision equipment, so it appears this plant is still producing equipment.
ZOMZ: Industrial Amalgamation Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Factory. Zagorsk (now known as Sergeiev Posad) is located about 45 miles NE of Moscow, and is famous for its monasteries. The plant has produced many accessory lenses for 35mm RF and SLR cameras, and appears to have been associated with KMZ. Current status unknown.
ZOMZ's current binoculars show that they still use the logo on the right, and that the factory's trade name is "Kronos". However, the binoculars also have a large "ZOMZ" name plate on the front, so maybe Kronos is only the name of their binocular division.
Valdai: Valdai Optical-Mechanical Factory Valdai (may be currently known as Valdayskaya) is located about 250 miles NW of Moscow. Very little is known of this plant, but it has been a prolific producer of lenses for KMZ, and Zenit BelOMO. The SLR lenses bear the Helios name, and this plant has also produced many accessory lenses for RF cameras. For many years, this plant confused collectors, who dubbed it "Shishkebab Factory". Current status unknown. My thanks to Marc James Small, and Oscar Fricke.
KOMZ: Kazan Optical-Mechanical Factory. Kazan is located about 435 miles due East of Moscow, in what was, or is, the Autonomous Republic of Tatars. Kazan has manufactured a wide variety of 35mm RF and SLR accessory lenses, in addition to slide projectors, underwater camera housings, laboratory equipment, civil and military binoculars, and aerial cameras and lenses. Current status unknown.
KOMZ now sign their binoculars with the factory alias "Baigish".
This quality rosette sometimes appears on newer Soviet cameras, like the Horizon-202, LOMO 135VS, etc. I don't know what it's supposed to guarantee. Apparently it was a standardized logo, since it also appeared on other Soviet products like calculators.
The M.O.S.C.O.W. has an excellent explanation of what the quality rosette is about.
Technointorg, also known as Tento or Vneshtorgizdat, is some kind of Moscow-based export organisation. Oddly, their logo is also found on the export-version Sverdlovsk-4...
This is Mashpriborintorg's logo. (Incomplete; the original also has white lettering in the rosette that was a bit hard to draft). Mashpriborintorg was a trade firm that exported lots of Soviet technical equipment. Its logo is sometimes found on booklets and quality control stickers. More on Mashy later!
Mashpriborintorg's future website (E-mail to this domain already works.)
This logo is found on the Zorki-Yura, a Zorki-1 commemorating the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin in 1961. According to sources at KMZ, the Zorki-Yura was actually printed by KMZ in 1961 in an extremely limited edition, but as you may know the market has been totally spoilt by the many fakes. This is what the logo looks like.
This logo (which isn't complete; the original also has some Cyrillic calligraphy that was a bit hard to draft) appeared on a batch of 1967 Zorki-4's to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution.
This logo is found on a lot of cameras from around 1980, and is meant to commemorate the 1980 olympics in Moscow, Russia. For more information see the dedicated Moscow '80 page.
The logo is a stylized version of the Spasskaya Tower in Moscow, the main tower of the Kremlin.
I did this logo of the Soviet newspaper Pravda just for fun ;)