25. mai 2015

FSU cameras, Zorki

Zorki-1d in it's leather case
A legendary Soviet camera, the Zorki.

This 35mm camera was a further development from the Fed, which, again, was a copy of the Leica II during the 30's. Read more on wikipedia :)

Another good source on Zorki and other cameras is sovietcams.com and be sure to check out the Fed and Zorki survival site AND also the very informative ZORKIKAT (how not to destroy your Fed and Zorki )

I bought mine quite cheaply from eBay, from ua-artprojectcom. The camera came with the collapsible Industar-22 50mm f3.5, in the original leather case and had been CLA'd and tested by the seller.

The camera cost $75

The cosmetic condition was very nice indeed, a little wear here and there, but over-all a very nice looking gadget of a camera.
Very solid too, all metal (even the "leatherette" is metal ^^), quite heavy and sturdy.

I have a Zorki 1d, I think it was made in 1950-56, but you can never be sure with the Zorkis, due to variances in production lines, serial-no policies (first numbers not necessarily indicating production year), and serial-number deliveries etc, basically it's a real mess and a crap-shoot, so it's made "some time during the 50's".....probably....!

There are subtle variances in design that can help classify the models, but even here, you may find yourself with a Zorki with various parts, belonging to no specific class...so..yeah! :)

I wanted the latest first revision, with the original copied Leica speeds (the final version of the 1, the "1E" has the familiar modern shutter-speeds on it). This one has the original, weird shutter-speed steps. ^^


Shutter-speed selector, shutter release, film-winding mechanism and the release knob, to prepare for film rewind.
The speeds are close enough to the speeds I am familiar with anyway (1/15s, 1/30s, 1/60s, 1/125s, 1/250s etc) and film is lenient, so it's definitely not a big deal.

No, it definitely does NOT have a light-meter (are you mental? =D )

Here's a few more shots of my particular camera which shows the lens and camera from various angles.

Original cover for the lens, it has a little bump on it, but looks very nice and finish off the camera

The knob closest to the camera is pulled up and then you screw it to wind the film back.
Do NOT forget to set the rewind release knob to "B" before you do, or you may snap off your film!


Back-view with serial-number showing. Rangefinder focusing window to the left, composition-window to the right.


Sweet looking Zorki


Bottom loading camera. You unscrew the knob on the right and lift off the bottom lid to load and unload film.

And the original?

The original Leica II....the resemblance is just.....just...oh you cheeky Russkies! =)
Photo shamefully borrowed from http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Leitz/Leica-II-%28Mod-D%29-%28chrome%29.html


In the hand and in use

The camera is quite small, it fits very easily in my hand, although my hands are of the larger kind. :)
There are no luxury-items like a strap or mounts for straps, carry in your hand or in the leather-casing.

Not a very large camera, thin too.


My camera doesn't like the cold very much. I've experienced shutter-lag/sticky shutter when out and about in a very comfortable -4 degrees during winter, so I suppose it is best used as a summer-camera. :)

Very important: You need to set the shutter speed _after_ you've wound up the shutter _only_, or else you can and will mess up the camera and possibly break the whole thing, rendering it useless.
When you've fired off a shot, the shutter-speed selector winds back and ends on some gibberish value, the true shutter-speed value can only be observed when the shutter is cocked.

It is by no means a quiet camera, it snaps pretty bossy and surprisingly loud each time you take a photo, adding to the cheap feel. :)

The rangefinder is surprisingly easy to use for such an old camera. You use the left most window (rangefinder-window) to focus and then the right window to compose your shot. (usually I just use the rangefinder-window for everything, as it is quicker, especially for people).

The Industar-22 lens I have is also very quick to focus with, smooth and well built and looks really cool with it's collapsible design. To use, you pull out the lens and twist 1/4 of a round, so it doesn't fall back on itself when you press the front towards the camera.

The aperture-adjustment ring on mine is a little flimsy (feels that it isn't quite engaged), but it does work very well, so I suppose it's by design or whatever :)

Loading the camera is done in the old Leica way, from the bottom. You also need to cut the film-leader, so that the thinnest part of the leader, is extended to about the same length as the camera.

Be careful so you don't leave any jaggies when cutting the leader, as this may jam and be stuck inside your camera, and make sure you round off your cut _between_ the holes in the film edge..

What about the results?

A lot of talk, but how are the results from this camera?

I haven't shot miles of film with the camera yet, but I am very impressed with the Industar-22

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm, Kodak Tri-X, HC-110 B 6 minutes
Quite close-up, shot with Tri-X, wide open.

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4


The portrait shots are incidentally developed using the monobath I was talking about in my last blog-entry, Acros still looks quite lovely in that developer I must say.

The sharpness of this lens at F4 is pretty impressive, especially close up, the proof is in the pudding in the portrait shots, they were all shot a measly 1/2 stop below wide open!
Heck, it's even sharper than my silver Jupiter-8, which is a Sonnar copied design, but I may have a dud there (bought from a seller in Moscow).

I have a black Jupiter-8 too, for my Zorki-4K (looks just like the lens and camera in the picture on that link, more on that in a later blog) which was also bought from ua-artprojectcom, which is better. :)

The camera is FUN and it does indeed produce lovely results, the standard Industar-22 is really a good performer on my camera.

ua-artprojectcom really did a great job with their CLA, I can really recommend him, everything I've bought from him is top notch.

Not bad at all for $75 ^_^

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