Zorki Questions

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by peter_de_waal, May 7, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I am curious about Russian rangefinder's. I already have a Zenit 3M with an Industar-50, which I appreciate for it's solidity and reliability.
    On that basis I've started with a nice Zorki 6 and Industar-50. It should arrive in a week or so. I have a black Jupiter-12 and I'm also thinking about getting one of the larger Zorki 3's or 4's with the full speed range of 1-1/1000 sec.
    There are comments online suggesting that the Zorki 3M/3C/4/4K viewfinder actually shows a larger field than 50mm. Can anybody estimate how close to a 35mm/63 degree field-of-view the Zorki 3's/4's are?
    I've also read that the Zorki 3M/3C/4/4K body is 143mm long, with heights from bottom cover to top deck of 80mm for the 3M and 90mm for the 3C/4/4K - not including knobs/levers. Is that correct?
    Also, does anybody have the correct weights for the Zorki 3M, 3C, 4 and 4K bodies?
    Finally, would anybody know what the weights of the following lenses are?
    * I-22 collapsible 50mm f/3.5
    * I-26M 50mm f/2.8
    * J-8 50mm f/2.0 (alloy)
    * Jupiter-11 135mm f/4.0 (alloy)
    Thanks in advance!
  2. I really have only one Zorki, and it is reconstituted as a phoney Leica.So I can't answer your questions on the fine points of those.
    I do, however, recommend that you not overlook the FEDs, which I have several of. They are very nice cameras, sort of what you would expect if the production of Leicas were handed over to an arsenal. (which is exactly what happened). The Soviet 'Leicas' in general are amazing examples of how a hand-craft camera could be mass produced by industrial methods.
    I also, even more highly, recommend the various Kiev cameras. The 35mm ones, IMHO, are the pick. They are in essentials a Zeiss prewar Contax, which is not too surprising given that the whole factory was moved from Dresden to Kiev, along with many workers at the end of WWII.
    Of course, the Kievs have the Contax mount, not the M39, but the same stable of lenses was made in the USSR in both mounts and yet others, besides. Many of these lenses were originally Zeiss in design, and the late Soviet copies can show the advantages of advances in technology (such as coatings).
    I am curious, why the concern with dimensions and weights? I've got some of the lenses in Contax/Kiev mounts, but of course, the weights would vary with the mount, I think.
  3. With your eye close to the VF the Zorki 4K will be very close to 35mm, but as you move back your eye it will quickly fall away. I've heard that people with glasses complain that the view was smaller then 50mm.
  4. Guys, thanks for the prompt replies!
    My main motivation is ill-health. I have a heart condition (double valve-replacement) which means I just can't lug the kinds of "system weights" I once did. I used Nikon F's for decades. There is a price to be paid for dragging around a 1.5Kg camera/lens plus additional lenses/flash/monopod/etc long-term. That, plus family responsibilities with our 3 yr-old daughter means my days as a photographic pack-horse are over.
    One person on p.net commented that the experience of using the Zorki 4 was akin to using a Leica M5 in terms of mass and size. One figure bandied about is 705g for the Zorki 4K. An M5 is only 700g!
    I just want to make sure it will be worth my while buying another camera. I like that the Zorki 6 is the same length as a Leica III, 135mm.
    JDM - I tried Contax's, great cameras, but I prefer Leica's.
    Rick - interesting about the Zorki 4 eyepoint problem. I wear glasses. Perhaps it's not such a big deal having a 1.1x finder?
  5. Peter, the best thing will be to get a finder for the J-12. A turret finder will cover 35mm and other lengths besides.
  6. A turret finder would be additional weight. There is also a lighter 35mm-only view finder attachment available on Ebay from Ukrainian & Russian dealers. The built-in view finder in the Zorki 4, 4K is quite good and presents a large view too, as Rick said, above. The Industar 26M 50mm weighs 108gms in my electronic scale. The Jupiter 8 had the same shell construction as the I-26M in the early aluminum series with the lobe. It may weigh slightly more due to the two additional elements of glass; it is a 6 element, said to be a Sonnar design.
    Zorki 3 is very elegantly finished. But is very expensive, now. Zorki 4 is the best made. But do bear in mind that the Zorki 4s made from 1963 onwards have only screen printed lettering and markings on the timing dial. They are often faded. The ones made from 1957 through 62 have engraved lettering and markings. You can tell the year by looking at the number displayed on the back of the camera. The first two numbers indicate the year of manufacture. Good luck with your buying. sp
  7. Good luck with your recovery.
  8. JDM, I would agree that the Soviet's did an amazing job of mass-producing a hand-built camera with both their Leica and Contax clones. I just find the later FED's a bit large for my tastes. I also like their Lada cars, having had a few 2105's over the years. Once you sorted out the timing chain system (replace the plastic slide-tensioner with a sprung ball-bearing sprocket) and modify the carb (back to 1970's FIAT spec) they are amazingly reliable. Just remember: it's normal for the oil pressure light to come on at idle!
    Mukul, my J-12 came with the black plastic finder, plus a clip-on mask for 135mm. I've also seen (but don't have) an 85mm clip-on mask for the Russian 35 finder.
    I have a rather large and heavy chrome Leitz SBLOO 3.5cm finder. Of the two, I find it easier to use the Russian version!
    When I got my 35mm Russian finder the rear element was in backwards and the edge blacking was patchy. After cleaning, new edge-blacking and correct reassembly it's clear and sharp - clear and sharp as the Leitz SBLOO and easier to use with glasses on. Of course you don't get the whole suspended framelines/seeing outside the edge of the frame thing Leitz does so well.
    I would like to try the Russian turret finder. People say it's better than the IMARECT, in that it shows the area outside the framelines. ???
    Subbarayan, if the I-26-M is 108g, and the I-61L/D is about 130g, perhaps the J-8 is also around 130g?
    I am intrugued by your comment that "the Zorki 4 is the best made." How do you mean, machining tolerences, assembly quality, materials?
    The Zorki 4 was manufactured for a long time. Apart from the cosmetics with screen-printed decals etc, are the later Z-4's just as good?
    (and what does the body weigh???)
    Thanks. Peter
  9. The SBLOO is a fine finder. It has bright lines and indication for parallax, unlike (I think) the 35mm finder from the USSR. Some like the KMZ turret finder because it does not give smaller images for longer focal lengths. I have found the VIOOH/IMARECT to be more accurate in every way.
    If speeds slower than 1/25 sec. are not vital, you should consider the FED-2. It is small, its range-finder is more accurate than those of other models, it has a well deserved reputation for sturdiness.
  10. Both Zorki 4 &4K .. 143mm long and 77mm from bottom cover to top deck
    Z-4 .. + 5mm for tripod mount/locks on bottom and + 8mm to top of speed dial
    Z-4K .. + 5mm for tripod mount/locks on bottom and + 10m to top of shutter release button
    Zorki-4 .. 603gm (1963)
    Zorki-4K .. 568gm (1974) & 577gm (1976)
    * I-22 collapsible 50mm f/3.5 .. 104gm (1952) & 107gm (1955)
    * I-26M 50mm f/2.8 .. 111gm (1956)
    * J-8 50mm f/2.0 (alloy) .. 125gm (1958) & (1963)
    * Jupiter-11 135mm f/4.0 (alloy) .. 269gm (1962)
    as measured on my electronic scales
    (Zorki-3M expected in a week or so.)
  11. I will blaspheme here, forgive me ...
    Have you considered the less "ancient" Nikon FM2n @ body weight of 540gm or the Olympus OM2n @ 520gm? Build quality and accessory options are great. Both are fun to use manual beasts. Both are diminutive in size, within the constaints of an slr. Either is my choice for my 61 yr old carcass to walk around with on "film" days. (Back in 2010, I fell and smashed 2 vertebrate, so I sort of appreciate the need to shed baggage.)
    My apolgies to the "classics".
  12. I am intrigued by your comment that "the Zorki 4 is the best made." How do you mean, machining tolerences, assembly quality, materials?​
    Zorki 3 is very elegant. It has a separate mechanism for slow exposures, operated by knob in front, much like the Leica's. I have observed from some friends' cameras that the slow exposures are often a problem. The 3M integrated the slow exposures on top in the same knob as the regular exposures. However, the 3 and 3M did not last very long. Zorki 3c was similar to the 4 but had no delay timer. The 4 incorporated all that. It had a long production and sales run from 1956 to 1973 or so. According to Maizenberg even in this the slower exposures could give problems. He assessed that the MIR was the best of the series. It had all the features of the 4 except the slower exposures. Therefore, "the most durable..." according to Maizenberg.
    The 4K introduced the lever wind. It has a return spring to snap back the lever. The lever wind is noisy much like a rachet. It also snaps back very hard. So the KMZ engineers introduced a rubber stopper to take the impact. It looks elegant. But it is an after-thought in design and reminds me of a door bang. The lever wind is adapted from that of the Zenith. And repairing is difficult when you have to open the top to meddle with the RF or the Timer gear. The Knob wind of the Zorki 4 is very convenient that way. In the 4K they also introduced a fixed take up spool making dis-assembly a bit more difficult. [Though, the fixed spool won't fall off, unlike the earlier removable ones.]
    These are my observation from a DIY consumer point of view. I have not bought any Zorki 4 models after 1962, though I do have a couple of 4K models made in the 70s. I hope this helps. sp
  13. Mukul, that's interesting about you getting better accuracy with Leitz turret finders. Is that still the case with a Leitz IMARECT on a Russian body? The Russian 35 plastic finder is just plain glass, parallax correction happens in the software...
    I considered the FED-2, but thought the Zorki-6 might be better due to it's reputedly brighter finder, swing-door loading and wind-lever. However I have read that the FED-2 is only 587g with an I-26M, as compared to the Zorki-6 at 650g with the I-50. (apparently)
    Geoff, thank you so very much!
    Therefore a Zorki 4 + J-8 = 603+125 = 728g. That's an acceptable load, but still almost 3 ounces heavier than the Zorki-6 plus I-50. An older small flash with 2 lithium AA batteries goes a long way towards fixing the lack of slow speeds for negligible weight.
    That J-11 is incredibly light for a 135. In L39 mount I currently I have a 1938 black-paint 13.5/4.5 Hektor in okay condition and a chrome Canon 135/3.5 that's like new, but weighs 565g. Has anybody compared the performance of either the f/3.5 Canon or f/4.5 Hektor to the J-11?
    I will probably have to buy a J-11 anyway, as a 135mm Western lens may be out of register on a Zorki body, due to the Zorki/FED being based on the Contax back-focus standard:
    p.s. Rob - thank you for your kind thoughts, but my heart operation was actually 14 years ago now. I'm very lucky to have had such a good outcome from what was radical surgery at the time (Ross Procedure). It was a bit like aging 10 years overnight! I had to slow down a lot after it, but my general health has been good.
    Jim, sorry to hear about your fall. I hope you have managed to recover well from it. My partner is a social worker at the largest hospital in the country, falls are serious stuff. And thanks for the info on the Nikon FM and OM series, but I have an abiding curiosity about these little Russian cameras and really I just want to use RF's these days.
  14. Well, I really like my FED-2, not least because it is covered in red - a truly "red FED", but although I generally prefer Contax/Kiev/Nikon RF* to Leica/FED/Canon RFs, I do find shooting (I mean loading film, at least) with the FED-2 to be fun, a word I never associated with the Leica III model I once had to use in the field.
    The later FEDs are monsters. Sort of analogous to what happened to the early 2-seater Thunderbird. For all that, I confess a sneaking admiration for them, all the same.
    For discussion of the need to wind on before resetting shutter speeds on the early Leica clones see http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00WTuS
    *I guess, that like fishes, there are the bottom feeders and the others (back feeders?)
  15. For me the best camera (being a Zorki 4 or not) is the working one. Due to age, most of these cameras needs repair and it is where the trouble starts. A very few would hesitate to pay $200 to fix a leica II; I am not sure the same people would spend such money for a FED/Zorki/Kiev (you name it).
    Bottom line: finding a russian camera working like it should is somewhat tricky unless you plan to add a real CLA (not a Ronsonol flush - no expert required, I can do it myself) to the budget.
  16. I've bought a half-dozen old Russkis (speaking loosely, some are Ukrainian). All of them worked right out the twine and brown paper parcels they were shipped to me in.
    I would perhaps be more afraid of ones that were "like new" since they might well be that way because they never worked. ?
  17. Peter, your weight estimates for the FED-2 and Zorki-6 are very close.
    I have the KMZ turret finder, which stands 44mm high and is 40mm wide and weighs in at 82gm, so has an influence on the balance and feel of the camera.
    You may consider a new Japanese made Helios Viewfinder which stands only 31mm high by 26mm wide and weighs only 15gm. It has 35, 85 and 135 framelines and sits unobtrusively on the Zorki-6. I found mine on the big auction site.
    I think you will enjoy your Zorki-6, as I do.
  18. For Peter: I use an IMARECT on a Kiev 4a as well as a Leica IIIf. The parallax correction seems to work equally well on both cameras. Since I only use it with 35mm lenses, though, the correction isn't that crucial.
  19. Peter,
    The weight:
    Z-1+ I-50 collapsible 1lb 2.4 oz
    z-3+ J-8 old style white 1 lb 7.2 oz
    z-3m 1 lb 7.2 oz
    z-3s 1lb 9.2 oz
    z-4 + J-3 1lb 9.6oz
    z-4k + J-8 1 lb 9.2 oz
    z-5 = I-50 collapsible 1 lb 5.2 oz
    zarja + I-26 1 lb 4.2oz
    smena 8m 9.2 oz
    Smena actually beats them all. It is a nice little camera with very charismatic picture.
    FED-2+ FED collapsible 1 lb 5.2 oz
    mir+ I-50 non collapsible 1 lb 8.6 oz

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