|Zenit-B with Helios-44 58 mm f/2|
image by Arty Smokes (Image rights)
The Zenit-B is one of the Zenit series of 35 mm SLR cameras, made by the Russian maker KMZ between 1968 and 78. Sometimes marked ЗЕНИТ-B (where B is the Cyrillic equivalent to the roman V), the Zenit-B is an all-mechanical camera. It is very similar to the Zenit E, which was made before it, but lacks the E's light meter. Both cameras are developments of the Kristall and Zenit 3M, and retain several of those cameras features, including the unusual shutter release mounted in the hub of the winding lever. The winding lever itself is restyled, and the camera body much squarer than the older models.
More importantly, the B and E have a new 42 mm lens mount (almost always: Nathan Dayton states that a few of each were made with the old 39 mm mount). The 'B' and 'E' also have instant-return mirrors. Neither camera has an automatic diaphragm; the lens must be stopped down manually after focusing. The camera may be found with either a 50mm f/3.5 Industar-50 (Cyrillic: Индустар), with fully-manual aperture control, or a 58mm f/2 Helios (Гелиос) 44М-4 lens with pre-set aperture; the latter has the advantage that the lens can be stopped down without taking the camera from the eye (the lens has two aperture controls; one sets the aperture to a specific f-stop, and the second closes the diaphragm to any set aperture). There are no prismatic focusing aids; just a plain ground-glass screen.
Like the earlier Zenits, the camera has a focal plane shutter with speeds 1/30-1/500 s, plus 'B'. The shutter is synchronised for flash, with a PC socket on the front of the top housing, and the synchronisation delay can be set for bulb or electronic flash with a small lever mounted under the shutter-speed dial. Unlike earlier cameras, there is a flash shoe on top of the prism.
The film is rewound with a simple knob on the left of the top plate; the rewind release is the button in front of the speed dial, easily mistaken for a shutter release. Other features include a self-timer on the front of the body; self-timer exposures are activated with the self-timer's own button, not the normal shutter release. There is a tripod bush (at one end of the base plate, not in the centre).
Most examples have a chrome-finished top housing, but all-black cameras also exist. The camera was sold with a two-part black leather case. The Zenit-B was also sold under various other brand names, including Kalimar, Revueflex and Prinzflex 500.
|Zenit-B with Industar-50-2 50 mm f/3.5|
image by phillisca (Image rights)