Zenit 16

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The Zenit 16 is a 35mm SLR camera made by KMZ from 1974-76.[1] It represents a number of 'firsts' for KMZ:

  • the first KMZ camera with electronic exposure control
  • the first with TTL metering, and meter information (two lamps) in the viewfinder
  • the first with an all-plastic body

The camera has an M42 lens mount, and the standard lens is a Helios-44M 58mm f/2. It has a vertical-travel shutter with speeds 1/15-1/1000 second, plus 'B'. The shutter release button is on the back of the body: a version of the camera (the Zenit 16M), which has the release on the top, was made specifically for a Zenit Photosniper model, the FS-4.[1] It has an instant-return mirror, and automatic stop-down as part of the shutter release (so that viewfinding is at full aperture).

The focusing screen has simple focusing aids; a microprism spot in the centre, with a matte ring around this.

The meter indicator lamps appear below the image frame in the viewfinder. They are an 'up' arrow, indicating too high an exposure setting, and a 'down' arrow (too low). At correct exposure, both indicators are lit.

The camera requires three RC-53 1.25V mercury batteries.

The Zenit 16 was preceded by the Zenit 15 and Zenit 15M (or 'Zenit 15 Semi-Automat'), development models, neither of which was produced for sale. The Zenit 15 is a similar camera but does not have a meter. The 15M is the model on which TTL metering was introduced. The camera was developed further in models referred to in the notes at Zenitcamera.com as the Zenit 17, Zenit 18 and Zenit 19, with aperture-priority AE. None of these development models was produced for sale, and the notes make it clear that the Zenit 18 and Zenit 19 that were later produced are different designs.[1]

The notes at Zenitcamera.com state that the Zenit 16 was not considered very successful, being both noisy and unreliable; they mention in particular that the camera has no film-transport measuring roller (in order to allow a more symmetrical design), leading to unreliable frame-spacing.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zenit 16 camera series (in Russian), at Zenitcamera.com, being archive material from KMZ.