Zenit: someone use them?

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

  1. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    When checking out a Zenit I found the shutter curtains to be slow when pointing the camera down to the ground.
    Mind you, I don't take photographs of the ground very often. :wondering:
     
  2. Fin

    Fin Member

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    An update, I did end up buying one. Well 2 actually.

    The first 12XP came with a 44-2 lens and was described as perfect and fully working off of eBay. The seller obviously missed the faulty meter and jamming shutter when he listed it, but the lens was good. As it was £20, I asked for a partial refund, seller argued and I ended up keeping it. I might have a go at fixing it at some point. (Although as as side note, I've returned more eBay items than I've kept in the last 6 months, thanks mostly to utter moron sellers)

    The second 12XP body was (and still is) fully working and cost a massive £12. Initially, I thought the shutter speeds were all off, so videoed the shutter and checked in a video editor and they seemed OK. I also thought that something had gone wrong with the overexpose LED as it recently went very dim in the finder. New batteries sorted that out!

    To use? It's pretty cool actually. Quite slow, clunky and limiting, but also a bit of a fun challenge to use. The mighty selection of 5 (yes! 5) shutter speeds (plus B) and quite-crap TTL meter make me appreciate my F2s a bit more. The shutter has a good solid thu-chunk sound though! I've bought a 3rd cable release to use with it, first had a puncture (an air bulb one), second didn't quite extend enough to press the internal mechanism.

    I've run at least 4 films through it, and they have all come out well. The next film may well be a roll of Agfa CT Precisa, so, exposing a film that costs almost as much as the camera!
     
  3. Bud Hamblen

    Bud Hamblen Subscriber

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    Cambridge Camera Exchange imported the Zenit TTL as their Cambron TTL years ago. I don't think Zenit had a reliable US distributor.
     
  4. nusproizvodjac

    nusproizvodjac Member

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    @Fin My Zenit has seized up completely, l can't advance the lever anymore, and the cog on the advancing lever is stripped of its teeth. I'm planning on getting a parts camera, probably an ET, and swap out the cog, and l'm gonna try cleaning and lubricating the advance mechanism. They are very simple to work on, almost like disassembling rifle! If you need any help, feel free to pm me. :smile:

    I used to shoot it in a sort of a 'shutter priority', l'd set it at about 1/60th, take the metering and adjust the aperture. Sure, the camera it's slow, but shooting this way is faster than constantly fiddling with the settings. I used to joke that Zenit has 5 forward and one Bulb gear. :D
     
  5. SilverShutter

    SilverShutter Member

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    Keep telling to myself I have to fix the goddamn light leaks, one of these days...
    In any case the 1/30th speed of the TTL stopped working, its bulb now. So i have two bulbs. Could bother opening it up but then again looking at the disaster I created when trying to unjam a Praktica I'd rather leave it as it is.
     
  6. chuck3565

    chuck3565 Member

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    I ruined 3 of the jammed L series cameras before becoming proficient enough to reliably repair them. I was going to give up but tried one more time. You might have similar results. Chuck
     
  7. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    Well,

    I must be a glutton for punishment and enjoy the challenge.:smile:

    Having recently been enjoying using a Zenit B I've now gone and bought another Zenit TTL.
    I would have gone for a 12XP, but prefer the old match needle meter of the TTL.

    The Zenit B has surprisingly been the centre of attraction a couple of times whilst out with it..
    A couple have stopped and asked about the Zenit, one commenting that it looks like a real :errm: camera and how solid it looks.

    My wife just thinks I'm mad carrying these big lumps around with me.
     
  8. Huss

    Huss Member

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    I have a TTL and a 12 SD - which I think is the same as the XP. The SD has a brighter viewfinder and is better sealed - you don't see reflections of the inside of the pentaprism like you can on the TTL! It also is a bit nicer made and has a 'modern' film back opening.
    One thing that is worse is that mine has really sharp edges to the hot shoe which can cause injury! It also has a heavier shutter button than the TTL, not sure if that is due to tolerance differences, use, age etc.
     
  9. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    I like the TTL as it has a match needle.

    I don't suppose you see so many Zenits over your way?

    There's many available in the UK. The ones I have were originally supplied by T.O.E. the UK importers and distributors who apparently checked all Zenits prior to sale.

    Most of the Zenits are cheap to pick up in the UK, but for some reason the Zenit 122 seems to be pricey, not sure why. I've never had one, but have read they suffer from light leaks.

    I find Zenits nice to use, reliable with a good mechanical feel to them, despite what other people think :smile:

    Although I like budget Prakticas I'm starting to prefer the Zenits now.
     
  10. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Prakticas have resonant, clangy shutters and for that reason alone I prefer the mechanical Zenits. That said unless you're using one for fun, nostalgia or you have some nice screw lenses, a Nikkormat, Spotmatic or SRT is a more civilised camera. I appreciate that may be missing the point of using one, but if I'm carrying heavy metal I like the solidity that goes with it. There's a reason a Nikkormat cost five times the price of a Zenit in their day.
     
  11. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    I've quite a few M42 auto and preset lenses ranging from 23mm-135mm, hence the reason I like screw mount cameras and I'm currently enjoying the nostalgic challenge!.
    I use two bodies so that I can have B&W and colour films with me, but the weight of them!
    I do have a couple of Nikons (DSLR), but only two lenses, so at the moment I'm an M42 man.
     
  12. blockend

    blockend Member

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    There was a period not too long ago when M42 lenses were cheaper than their bayonet brethren, but they're on par nowadays, especially since videographers discovered their charms. If I was a screw lens fan I'd have to get myself a Chinon Memotron, the only automated camera that took any M42 glass. My first camera was a Chinon CX, the only model I could afford that was a step up from Zenit and Praktica, so I have fond memories of the marque. It never let me down and is not unlike the Canon FTb in form factor and handling.

    The very first film I shot, processed and printed was on a Zenit E and the images stand up with any camera I subsequently owned. It got me hooked on photography but not on Zenits!
     
  13. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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  15. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Good tip re. bait bands, they come in for all kinds of jobs, not just attaching pellets. The Chinon CEII Memotron is the one to look for: https://kosmofoto.com/2013/05/chinon-memotron-review/
     
  16. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    Another angler?
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    But part of the price difference was the valuta situation.
    A great deal of west-german consumer goods (typically without knowledge of the consumers) was manufactured in the GDR. (Not in the USSR though...)
     
  18. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Guilty.
     
  19. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Ok, let's say a third of the price. The charms of a Zenit aren't lost on me in 2018, but given the choice of a Nikkormat, Canon FTb, Minolta SRT, Pentax Spotmatic or pretty much any other 35mm SLR camera between 1974 and digital year zero, the Zenit would have been my distant second choice.

    When non-professional SLRs cost £200-£250 a Zenit was around £50. That means the Zenit was responsible for a lot of interesting photographs from people who couldn't afford better, or had insufficient interest in cameras for their own sake. As cameras bear scant relationship to the quality of the photographs taken on them, and they were numerically greater among the young and non-gear heads (in the UK at least), it would be churlish not to acknowledge the Zenit's part in delivering four decades of photographs that may not have been taken without them. They captured the past, and that's something modern cameras cannot do at any price.
     
  20. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    I had a Zenit enlarger back in '76.

    Not sure what lens I used, but it allowed me to produce nice 10x8 prints ,which won a couple of camera course competitions using a humble Praktica and 50mm Pentacon lens.
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    ive never had or seen a zenit, had a zorki 4 once, it was nice.
    growing up we had a zenith but that was a tv set with a tuning fork remote that looked like a dodge dart.
     
  22. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I remember those, they folded into their own suitcase. The arrangement looked a little shaky so I went for the Czech Meopta for a few pounds more, also in 1976. I bought another one a few years ago and it was as good as I remembered, even after the Beseler, Durst and De Vere I owned in between. Most evenings were spent in a blacked out window alcove of my bedroom listening to John Peel, printing shots from my Chinon CX. Happy days indeed.

    I assumed you were a sea trout fan.
     
  23. foc

    foc Member

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    That brings back the memories, my first enlarger.
    Zenit enlarger.jpg
    I bought it in 1977 for IR£35, trade price, as I had just got a job in photo retail. The whole thing could be dismantled and it fitted into the case which acted as the baseboard. The case was a bright green. The lens was ok once it was stopped down at least 2 stops. Unfortunately I sold it a year later to buy a durst enlarger (I sold it for IR£45) but I wish I still had it now all these years later.
     
  24. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Had a similar experience. I do not even go online to ebay. Once burned ...
     
  25. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    Sea trout, brownies and grayling,also do a bit of sea fishing and coarse fishing for carp, bream, tench etc. Not much coarse in west Wales apart from stocked lakes, although there is one not far from me where carp on the fly is allowed, which keeps my eye in.
     
  26. Sewin

    Sewin Member

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    I remember the Meopta. Durst was "the" enlarger to have way back then, nice and angular, expensive though.

    I never did colour, couldn't afford the gear, being just married with a little 2 bed house, I too spent my time in the blacked out second bedroom.
    The Gnome Photographic factory was in Cardiff, I can still remember it well and how big it was.
     
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