BelOMO Vintage Camera Brand
BelOMO Brand Overview
|Founded:||1971 — Minsk, USSR|
|(modern day Belarus)|
BelOMO Brand History
BelOMO is a Soviet/Belarusian brand founded in 1971 in the modern day Belarusian capital of Minsk. The name BelOMO (БелОМО) is short for Belorusskoye Optiko-Mekhanicheskoye Obyedineniye (Белорусское оптико-механическое объединение or “Belarusian Optical and Mechanical Association”) and was formed to oversee the production of several state-owned factories in the area, namely the Minsk Mechanical Factory (MMZ) and the nearby Vilejka Factory, also known as Vileiskiy Zavod Zenit.
Through its factories, BelOMO has produced a wide range of optical products including various military optics and, of course, cameras. The BelOMO brand is perhaps best known for its 35mm camera lenses like the Industar-69 and 35mm half-frame cameras, namely the Chaika series as well as the plastic Agat 18 and 18K which is still popular among the Lomography community.
During its existence, BelOMO have received numerous awards including the Order of the Red Banner of Labour which was one of the highest non-military awards in the Soviet Union. In addition, over 200 individual employees have been awarded various medals and orders including three Heroes of Labour.
After ceasing camera production, BelOMO entered a joint venture with Carl Zeiss AG to produce high-precision optics for microscopes. Today, BelOMO manufactures a huge variety of different products ranging from optics like camera lenses, rifle sights, night vision goggles, and binoculars to odd things like juicers, gas meters, and entire greenhouses.
Check eBay to see what’s available.
McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg, WI, USA: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 92.
“Information About Company,” BelOMO-MMZ, http://www.belomo.by/en/about/info
“Product Catalogue,” BelOMO-MMZ, http://www.belomo.by/en/catalog