MKA & OSTCAM History

This was a letter originally written to Patrick Steele, who then passed it on to I'll try to find out who the original author was, but in the meantime, enjoy a bit of history. --Adam Frey

Hello Strange collector.

A few quick notes to update your site:

MKA sold its product line to Matthew's Studio Equipment Group in the 1990's and Matthews later filed for bankruptcy. MKA never went under but moved on. The company later became a rental house and custom optic manufacturer who's client list included well known filmmakers, specialized manufacturers, and even some government subcontractors.

OSTCAM: was the research group (company within a company) that designed the cameras for Moskinap in Moscow Russia. In the Early 1990's MKA funded the development of a series of cameras with Ostcam in order to create new camera systems. To put things into proper perspective the members of Ostcam, while very qualified engineers, had not actually made any new cameras for many years. The KONVAS 1M, and 2M were then renamed the 7M and 8M by the Factory in order to show the communist authorities that they had "new" product lines, when in fact they were the same camera.

I once witnessed the Director of Moskinap lean over a drunken camera technician and plead with him to finish building "just a few cameras, so we can have something to sell." Moskinap had originally some 8000 employees in 1992, cut to 2000 in 1993-4, cut to 500 in 1995 and the factory converted into a series of stores shortly thereafter.

After pumping hundreds of thousands into OSTCAM including securing several deals to make custom equipment for various companies including General Camera (Panavision NY), the Russians couldn't quite get a grasp of timely delivery, and quality control issues, and MKA severed its relations with the company.

Kinor 35H
Kinor 35H
As an amusing side note. The KINOR 35H uses a slip clutch design that was patented by MOVIECAM and became the basis of their SuperAmerica. MKA had negotiated with Moskinap for 6 months to be the dealer and distributor for their equipment in the USA in 1993 only to be told that a secret "side deal" was concluded with Geggory Mirand of Florida and that he was appointed the official "dealer". In point of fact Geggory never really did anything with Moskinap, however he was sued by MOVIECAM over the slip clutches because he was the dealer and not MKA! Mirand got the legal battle while MKA did the real sales. Mirand had outsmarted himself!

I have fond memories of Moscow, but no desire to go back. In total approximately 3000 cameras were sold by MKA in the mid 1990's most having been made by ZENIT a company that had better quality control than Moskinap, and manufactured the Krasnogorsk-3 camera. Strangely enough this would have made MKA the largest new motion picture camera dealer in the world for the 1990's. The products that were introduced have found their way into many major motion pictures and will continue to do so for many years. I hope they continue to perform for the next generation of filmmakers.