My name is Roman Yarovitcyn, a photojournalist from Nizhny Novgorod in Russia. I’m the editor of the photo department at the regional office of the Kommersant publishing house. This summer marks 30 years since I became a professional photojournalist. Today I’m only using only pro-level digital gear, such as Canon EOS-1D series SLR and L-series lenses. Daily shooting is very hard test for camera. But I remember times when professional equipment was not available for me.
It’s not a secret that in the days of the USSR, pro photojournalists didn’t use Soviet-made gear to take newspaper pictures. They used Nikon F, Nikon F2 and Nikon FM SLRs, which were bought by the government for propaganda. Before the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow, the newest Nikon F3 gear was bought for TASS and APN agencies and for several state newspapers.
But this was the media jet-set in the Soviet Union. Only around one in every thousand Soviet photographers had access to the Japanese cameras. All the others used domestic cameras, such as Zenit SLRs. I was one of them, when I became a staff news photographer at small city newspaper in 1991.
All my gear was one or two (I don’t remember clearly) Zenit-Es, and several lenses I acquired after working at a factory lab. One Zenit was inherited from my father. Despite the humble gear, my work was successful, and I finally got images of enough quality, when covered several important events. The summer of 1994 was the last using these Zenits; my newspaper bought me a Pentax K1000. I never returned to Zenit-E, because this camera was almost unusable for news shooting.