Zenit E question (film advance problem)

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Ian Rance, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. OK, here is a question from a colleague concerning his Zenit E.

    From what I gather, it is a 1970 example with a selenium meter, and
    it has not had a lot of use as he has been using an APS compact

    Now for the problem. After about 10 to 12 frames on a 36 exposure
    film the cocking (wind-on) lever jams at the halfway point. He has
    not attempted to force it on beyond this point.
    If any user of the Zenit E has come across this problem, please can
    you give me any pointers as to what was the cause (I get the feeling
    that he is going to bring it in to work for me to repair)?

    Thank you for any help.

    Ian, UK
  2. Hello, Ian. Hope all is well with you. The Zenit E is very straightforward, and I can only imagine there is some problem in the gear train of this one causing the problem you've described. I'm thinking a gear in the train is loose, possibly? Maybe causing it to become cocked at an angle as the strain of winding more film occurs? Or maybe one has worn against its shaft to the point it gets pulled into the mesh and chokes the action? Normally this camera doesn't see enough heavy use for that, however. Tom Tiger has a nice site dealing with several Zenit repairs. You can see it at:


    Two other things I've noticed on the E (and variants of it)...(1) the tractor wheel has a tendency to be disabled by the rewind button or switch. When this occurs, the camera will be unable to advance film, even though the winding lever moves freely. If you study the clutch wheel/shutter release/tractor wheel assembly, you'll know instantly why this is a problem. (2) the E and all similar models had a serious flaw that produces a horrible light leak at the left side of the pentaprism. Here, take a look:


    First frame--you can see a line present as you look at the right hand side of the little meter needle window. Second frame--top off, and you can see what that little line was. It was a gash between the pentaprism and the camera body, originally covered by some cheap foam. The lens is off, and I'm holding a light green postal form in front of the lens opening to reflect back up through the gash. In use, ambient light will enter the meter needle window and run straight down that slit into the chamber, ruining each and every picture. In the final frame, I've sealed it. If you need a seal kit containing what you need to seal this (or any other camera), as little as $6 will send you one. To see it, please go to E-Bay, search "by seller" and enter my ID...Interslice. Good luck.

  3. Hello Jon,

    Thanks for the really helpful reply - I feel much more confident now.

    I have just spoken with my colleague and he will bring the camera in for me to fix. I mentioned about the light leak problem you spoke of, and I could see by his face that he had been affected by this. He said that no matter how carefully he handled the camera he often got a sticker from the developer saying ?light admitted into camera? - so I think you might just have a sale!


  4. Sounds good, Ian. If you discover you have a broken gear or need any gear train parts, I've kept a box of them over the years. Just let me know.


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