TsO 100M Soviet slide film on a Zenit ET Introduction Some friends were generous enough to provide me with an odd-ball film -- which turned out to be very late Soviet ISO 100 slide film (E-6). After posting here earlier on the film (link), Kozma Prutkoff and Simon Crofts especially were able to give me all the information that could be gleaned from the box itself, which was all in Russian. I debated, but finally decided that rather than use one of my Kiev, FED, or Zorki cameras, the ideal shooter for a late Soviet film would be a late Soviet SLR, namely the Zenit ET. What follows is the my version of Ten Days that Shook the Camera World-- the story of the red-August camera revolution. Since many people may not be terribly familiar with the Zenit, I'll take up the camera first. THE CAMERA The Zenit was a KMZ SLR camera initially made in Krasnogorsk after 1952. There was also later production by belOMO in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, now Belarus. KMZ also made the Zorki Leica copy and the Zeiss folder copy Moskva and Agfa copy Iskra. In fact, the Zenit is develops out of a Zorki with a built in prism instead of a rangefinder (just as the Contax S and the Nikon F grow out of the Contax RF) and was originally offered in M39 mount. Some of the earliest models were even bottom loading. Another legacy of the Zorki/Leica body is a rewind system that is very obscure to non-adepts -- the collar of the shutter button has a ring that has to be pushed down with the fingernail after the shutter button is rotated and locked down. Only then is the spindle able to rotate backward. Probably because of the limitations of the Zorki style body, the pentaprism of the early models was small and perhaps showed the least percentage of the actual scene of any SLR - not much more than 66%! (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenit_(camera)). In some Turtledove alternate-history novel something parallel to the Zenit might have had a part in the alternate history of Leitz itself. The model I have is the later Zenit ET (ЗЕНИТ ET) which has the M42x1 mount common to many of the later Zenits (there were also Pentax K mounts). It's a "rare" camera, only some 3,000,000 are supposed to have been made (source: http://www.rus-camera.com/camera.php?page=zenit&camera=zenitet), as opposed to 8,000,000 of the Zenit E camera. It has an all black finish and is quite heavy. I think not from lead weights like my plastic TIME camera, but from genuine tank-like construction. The area around the lens mount does look like it has been filed into shape by a junior high school shop class, but if you don't look too closely, it's nice enough looking and feels good in the hand. It also has an uncoupled selenium meter. Mine seems to work, but I found it difficult to reconcile the readings with my Gossen meter, so I just used the external meter. There is a needle in a window on the top of the camera, and film speed and readings are taken by twisting rings around the rewind. The camera has no automatic diaphragm mechanism at all. Its excellent Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 lens (née Zeiss Biotar 58mm f/2) is a preset lens. The preset works a little differently than usual in that the lens is set to the desired aperture, and then to open up the lens to its full f/2 for focus, etc., the preset ring is twisted so that its red dot is on the chosen f/stop. When you are ready to shoot, the red dot is set at f/2 and the aperture stops down to whatever the setting is, say f/22. Although this seems mad at first, if you just proceed and don't think about it, it works just fine in shooting. It has a cloth focal-plane shutter with speeds of B, 30(X), 60, 125, 250, and 500. It also has a hot shoe which looks fairly crude, but has a little plastic cover for it. It's a strange mixture of crude and refined. The parts that need to work do so, but the non-essentials are made as cheaply as possible. Reminds one of the Western intelligence assessments of Soviet military equipment.