|image by CAMARAS DE COLORES (Image rights)|
More than 100.000 of the Great Wall SZ-1 rangefinder cameras with spring motor film advance were made from 1969 to 1977 by the Beijing Camera Factory. The camera had a coated f=45mm 1:2.8 lens, focusable from 0.9m to infinity aided by the coupled rangefinder. The rangefinder's split image was superimposed to the viewfinder image. Its PC flash synchronized shutter allowed speeds from 1/30 to 1/300 sec. plus B mode. The first two digits of the body's serial number indicate the year of production. After some use the cameras needed a lot of awfully complicated repair and maintenance. Thus the model was replaced in 1979 by the sturdier Great Wall SZ-2. The SZ-1 itself was preceded by a dozen hand-made similar cameras under the name Beijing SZ-1 which were decorated with political slogans like Long Life To Chairman Mao. The government didn't allow to produce further cameras under the name Beijing to avoid conflicts with the proud Shanghai camera makers. The camera construction was derived from a design of Ricoh.