Zenit: someone use them?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Antigen, May 6, 2016.

  1. AgX

    AgX Member

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    As they needed western currency, the term "at a loss" is not apt. They did not loss but gained.

    Problem could arise though when the business was done as barter. Then one typically could end up with a business partner who had no connections to the photomarket and then rather dumped the cameras, what spoiled their rating. That could be called a loss indeed.
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Of which we never read here at Apug.

    Let alone the Almaz cameras...
     
  3. LAG

    LAG Member
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    Excuse me

    For many years I had the pleasure to possess and use a Zenit-E - model Moskva 80 - & Industar-50-2 50 mm, I still have the lens (and others universal M-42 & M-39). Now only remains my Zenit ET (5B) & Helios 58 mm (44-3) ...

    Zenit ET.jpg
     
  4. flavio81

    flavio81 Member
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    Yes, but the Almaz cameras were very very low production numbers and were made at a loss, if i read correctly.
     
  5. dosilverhalide

    dosilverhalide Member

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    Nothing new with Zenit, but there is a Kiev 19 in the mail at the moment.
     
  6. zanxion72

    zanxion72 Member
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    Almaz were of low quality. The only good about them was the Nikon F mount. They were prone to all kinds of faults. They pop out on ebay now and then, but it is very hard to find a working one (if the seller claims that it used to work or anything like that, it is a dead one 100% for sure).
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Are there typical problems with the Almaz?

    That series (the name says it already) was designed to become the most advanced 35mm SLR of the USSR and was intented for use by photo-journalists.
     
  8. Harry Stevens

    Harry Stevens Member

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    Bought a new Zenith EM in August 1979 and just yesterday put another film through it and intend to put a roll of HP 5 through it next , it as worked 100% from the day I took it out the box in 1979. It's like people forget all those faulty/broken high priced Leica/Nikon ect threads that we see over the years.

    Also a lot of love for the Zorkie 4/4k range finder as well, love to get some Leica owners to pick which camera took which picture (gun to the head involved), there would be a lot of dead Leica owners at the end of the day.

    All my opinion of course and I love you all.:smile:
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  9. tezzasmall

    tezzasmall Member
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    A Zenith was my first SLR camera, bought when I was about 14 or 15 (so about 40 years ago). I was helping out a pro doing weddings at the weekends at this time, so I was fairly confident with a variety of cameras and flashes by then - I just couldn't afford them on my part time jobs savings...

    Anyway, someone I knew told me that a friend was getting wed at the weekend and they had no one taking pics and asked if I would take a few for them. "No probs!" I said.

    So on the day, down to the registry office I went, only to be told on entering that the service had already started. I was pointed towards a door and I crept in. At the signing of the book I went forward and started snapping away. Despite a few odd looks saying, "So who are you then?" it wasn't until the names were read out loud that I realised that I had been sent into the wrong room!

    So, out I crept and went into the correct one. I took some pics of the couple inside along with some outside. I took their names and address and wished them well.

    About ten days later the photos arrived in the post and about half were no good at all. Something had gone wrong with the shutter (which I later got repaired at almost the cost of a new camera) and only parts of a frame had exposed, with the rest coming out as a solid dark area. But would you believe it, the first set of pics on the roll of the 'wrong' wedding were fine!

    Nothing I could do but go and apologise to the couple and give them the few prints that came out. (Imagine that today in the "I'll sue you!" type of world we live in.

    At the address I had been given, I knocked on the front door, to be told that the couple had done a flit owing a few months rent and the lady I knew said the woman had not been coming in to work since and as it turned out, was never heard of again.

    It didn't put me off weddings in later life and that was the only one that has ever gone wrong. But it gives me jelly wobbles when I hear people offering to do weddings either on the cheap or with no experience or worse still with no back up insurance in case something / anything goes wrong. I ALWAYS have liability insurance AND backup equipment just in case...

    As for the Zenith camera, I later 'upgraded' to a Practica camera, which I used for about four months on a working / holidaying summer in America, where dozens of films were put through it with not a single problem. Until very recently it was used by my partner for astrophotography. It now lays in a draw waiting for an airing.

    Memories eh?!?

    Terry S
     
  10. foc

    foc Member

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    A few years ago I sent my Zorki 4 and Fed 4B to Roger Lean in the Uk for a CLA. I got talking to Roger on the phone and he explained that he had been a camera service engineer with Technical & Optical Equipment in London who were a Soviet camera importer for UK and Republic of Ireland back in the day. He explained that every Zenit, Zorki and Fed was checked and if necessary repaired BEFORE they were released to the cameras shops. This explains why all UK distributed cameras lasted the test of time.
    Here is a piece on TOE http://cameras.alfredklomp.com/toe/

    In other markets around the world I don't think the cameras received that much care and attention and was part of the reason Zenit got a bad name.

    Anyway my 1984 Zenit 11 is still working perfectly, the meter no so good. As for the Zorki 4 and Fed4B, since Roger serviced them , they are like new and will definitely outlast me.
     
  11. Harry Stevens

    Harry Stevens Member

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    I still have all the papers and box ect for my 79 Zenith EM at the ex wifes house and it came with it's T.O.E passport, I got it home new in 79 heard on the radio that there was a fire at a local factory so took it out the box and rushed off to take some pictures with the only film I had at the time a 24 colour roll from Trueprint.Never even read the manual before I used it but I had a Zorki 4K which I regrettably sold a few weeks before.
     
  12. SilverShutter

    SilverShutter Member
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    I do love my Zenit TTL. Despite being a brick, and the meter working a bit funky (I should adjust it one of these days...), it's a great camera, fully manual, and with a very appealing Soviet look to it overall. The good thing about it being fully manual is that when I get a great picture with it its all due to me, no help whatsoever from any computer, which makes me even prouder if that makes any sense.
    Some people talk about Zenits like they were no match against Nikons, Canons or Olympus, but they never were intended to be. These were just cheap tough soviet cameras, which still work 40 years after due to being that simple.
    Also, a great lens the Helios 44...
     
  13. shoe

    shoe Member

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    Seriously , Are there actually photographers than do Not have a Zenit !!
     
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  15. Huss

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    I bought a 12SD w Helios lens, new, off ebay. Just waiting for the slow boat from China I mean Russia to deliver it.
    I was undecided between this and the 122K before I realized I wanted my Zenit to look and feel like a little chunk of iron, not plastic.
    Really excited waiting for this to show up! It will be a nice contrast to my F6...

    FYI the Lomography shop is now sold out of all their Zenit cameras.
     
  16. 4season

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    They seem to restock new 122Ks, 412LSes and KM Pluses periodically.
     
  17. Huss

    Huss Member
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    It showed up. Can't wait to try it out!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Soeren

    Soeren Member
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    Yep, I don't and never had. They may have been interesting back I'm the day for political, economic or some weird artistic reason today where almost every other analog camera comes at so low cost I don't see any reason to lust after a Zenit.
     
  19. Huss

    Huss Member
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    1/ Buying a new old stock, never used 35mm SLR w/ lens for $40. There is still a thrill to getting something that you are the first one to use. The next cheapest new 35mm SLR is the plastic Vivitar/Nikon FM10 for $600.
    2/ The unique Soviet era style and construction.
    3/ Fun
    4/ See #3
     
  20. blockend

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    I've never subscribed to the common claim that Zenits are reliable. They may not be the worst camera for reliability, and I'm prepared to accept they're easily fixed by someone who knows what they're doing, but the owners I knew had problems with their Zenits. My guess is like most FSU cameras the older models are better, and by the late 70s and 80s they were put together by people on quotas who didn't give a damn. Soviet lenses were generally much better than their camera bodies.

    That said, they're an antidote to everything photography represents today, but if you want clunky heavy metal a Nikkormat will still be firing when a Zenit is landfill.
     
  21. polka

    polka Member

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    A long time ago, I borrowed a Zenit E with its Helios44 58mm/2 lens from a friend in order to test it. Concerning the sharpness of the lens, the results were fair, but when I printed the images I was very upset by their framing : it seemed to me that on the negs there was a lot more than what I had seen on the groundglass ; and indeed, the user manual mentionned that the size of the image in the viewfinder was actually 28x19mm instead of 24x36mm. So instead of my 58mm lens I was so to say framing my pictures with a 75mm lens onto a so to say APS format :sick:.

    Of course generally, the size of the framing in the viewfinders is a little smaller than the actual 24x36 taking window, but never so much !

    However, given the fact that the lens was fair, when I bought some years after in a garage sale a Pentax Spotmatic body (for 25$), I did not hesitate to add a beautiful Helios44 (for 5$ more :smile: ).

    Paul
     
  22. Soeren

    Soeren Member
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    Ok well maybe for some the price and political :wink: reason still holds :smile: but from a photography focused user point of view I find the reliability, usability and price of almost anything else superior making those better choices. I do acknowledge though that the fun factor of odd and bizarre photo equipment for experienced users can be significant
     
  23. Huss

    Huss Member
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    Would it be my first choice? No
    Would it be my second choice? No
    Would it be my third choice? No

    But I have lots of other cameras and this is all about fun and the challenge to produce interesting work w different gear. If the rationality is enjoyment, then it succeeds.
     
  24. Huss

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    My Nikkormats feel like svelte little beasties compared to the Zenit! In ways I prefer them to the Nikon Fs that I have.
     
  25. Huss

    Huss Member
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    The owner's manual of the Zenit says NOT to advance the film in one long stroke, but to make multiple short strokes. Anyone know why?
     
  26. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Ease of use. That is the idea of such ratchet mechanism.
     
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