ZENIT-C – cute Soviet SLR camera from 1958!
MADE IN USSR!
Arguably the cutest SLR ever! Very small, hardly bigger then a rangefinder of the same era!
The camera is essentially a Zorki (Leica II (D) copy) with a rangefinder replaced with a reflex housing. The film loads from the bottom, as in screwmount Leicas. It has all the Zorki specifications. The camera is very compact and handles nicely.
The idea of including a reflex mechanism in a body originally designed as a rangefinder is more than original. With the exception of the Swiss ALPA reflex in 1942, the major players in the photo industry will wait for the end of the fifties before proposing cameras following this concept. The dimensions of the body are maintained, with the exception of the prism and the mirror chamber, of course. The lens on this is an Industar-22 “Zorki” shortened by the factory, from 1951 (source: “The authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras” by J.L.Princelle, 2nd edition, 2004).
The C stands for S which is Synchronized for flash. In comparison to later SLR’s it is a small camera. In fact it is not bigger than the Zorki C, which is a Zorki 1 with flash sync. The engineers at KMZ added a reflexcage to the rangefinder turning it into an SLR. In fact this happened once before. Back in 1937 (other sources reffer to 1939) a Russian company called VOOMP-GOI created the FS-2. Which was a rangefinder with an external reflexcage. KMZ engineers went a step further. They intergrated the reflexcage with the camera and created Zenit.
Like its rangefinder brother the Zorki C it is a bottomloader. It even has a 39 mm mount. Due to the fact that the reflexcage takes up more room in the camera there’s a problem. The normal LTM 39 mm lenses will mount but you can’t focus with them. KMZ called their mount ZM39 instead of LTM39. Zenit Mount 39 mm instead of Leica Thread Mount 39 mm
Camera(s/n 58128183) is in good condition.
Camera has some signs of normal use, like the some loss of paint on body but mechanically is very good!
Industar-50(s/n 5850662) lens is clean and clear, no fungus or alike; front lens has few micro scratches from wiping / some internal dust particle which will not affect the image quality.
Mechanically is very good, with smooth focusing, no oil on blades.
Camera is fully functional, after CLA, ready for action!
Frame size: 24×36.
Lens: Industar-50 3.5/50.
Shutter: 1/25s, 1/50s, 1/100s, 1/250s, 1/500s + B.
Comes with take up spool & lens cap only.
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