If you want to delve into some really fascinating camera history, we recommend researching the various lines of Soviet cameras. It will easily eat up an evening... or several weeks of your time. Take this Kiev for example. While some think that Soviet cameras are simply rip-offs of German cameras, the Kiev line was closer to a legal replica than a plagiarized version. That is because the Soviet Union claimed the production lines of the Contax II and III cameras from Germany as part of their war reparations following WWII. After the U.S. shuttled off what parts of Zeiss Ikon they could to West Germany, the SMAD (Soviet Military Administration of Germany) required Carl Zeiss Jena to restart camera production and supply the Soviet Union with personnel, supplies and full production lines. These lines would eventually be established within the company Zavod Arsenal in Kiev, Ukraine. By some accounts, with the training of Zeiss personnel, the early Kiev cameras were of comparably high production value to their Contax counterparts. In fact, early Kiev cameras used parts manufactured in East Germany by Zeiss. As time wore on though, the Soviet Union placed greater emphasis on higher production volume over quality assembling and as original staff that had been trained by Zeiss workers retired, the cameras saw a decline in quality. All that is to say that Kiev rangefinders are better cameras than many think they are, and at the very least have a much more fascinating history than many realize.⠀
And this is just a brief and partial summary of the Kiev camera. If you take the time, read up on the rest of this camera's history. Or look up how the FED cameras got their name. Or read up on the KMZ factory which produced the well-known Zorki line (as well as the Horizont panoramic cameras). There is a lot to delve into with this topic!