Zenit 5

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The Zenit 5 is the World's first 35 mm SLR camera with a built-in electric motor and rechargeable batteries, made by KMZ between 1964 and '68.[1] It is similar to the manually operated Zenit 4 and Zenit 6, with bayonet-fitting interchangeable lenses and leaf shutter behind the lens, giving speeds 1 - 1/500 second, plus 'B'. The selenium light meter is coupled to the aperture and shutter speed controls with the meter needle displayed in the viewfinder. The shutter and aperture settings are interlinked, so that once the correct aperture setting is set by the left hand knob, the shutter speed can be changed with the aperture setting being automatically adjusted.

In addition to the features of the Zenit 4, the camera has a built-in electric motor film advance, powered by 4 built-in rechargeable batteries. It also has a manual advance knob (so that working examples of the camera can still be used, though Nathan Dayton states that the battery and/or motor of many are unusable.[2]

At least one fully working camera with a working electric motor powered by inbuilt rechargeable batteries together with an original charger is known to be owned by a collector in the UK.

A version of the camera was made in 1965 as the Zenit 5K for the Soyuz space programme, designed for photographing through the spacecraft window. It does not have reflex viewfinder; only a frame finder. Neither does this camera have manual film advance backup. It has a V-3K 50mm f/2.8 lens. It only has shutter speeds from 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500 second.[3]


  1. McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p553.
  2. Zenit cameras page, archived at the Internet Archive in 2021, formerly at Communist Cameras by Nathan Dayton.
  3. Zenit 5K Soyuz space program camera (camera serial no.7 and lens serial no.8), sold at the 44th Leitz Photographica Auction, in June 2024.