Zenit ET

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Zenit ET is a 35mm film SLR camera manufactured by Vileiskiy Zavod Zenit, (Vileiskiy Plant Zenit), [1], near Minsk, former USSR, produced between 1982-1993 with quantity 3.000.000. Зенит = Zenit means Zenith that is the point in the sky that appears directly above the observer in astronomy or may mean the highest point.

Zenit ET belongs to the long running series of Zenit cameras. Small numbers of early Zenits was produced by KMZ, in 1981-82

Zenit ETs also exist without aperture automation. They offered various finish materials and colours like silver, black, bronze. This camera is an attempt to modernize the Zenit EM. Initially it looked just like an EM with new lettering, with new designs on the dials.

The cameras produced in Vileiskiy Plant Zenit of MMZ-BeLomo are a complete remake of earlier Zenit ET. The shape and features remain the same, but material that camera was made is different. It mostly made from plastic and lite alloy. Not only external parts like top and bottom cowers made from plastic, but many internal gears, levers, and pulleys are made from plastic also. But the camera works very smooth, quieter then metal counterpart and the most peculiar feature on this model is the first multi coated lens in mass production.

There were 3 types Zenit ET (KMZ) and 6 types with 11 sub-types of the Zenit ET (MMZ-BeLomo) [2] [3] [4] [5]



This data belongs to the Zenit ET type 5d. All of the other models are same as this but with some minor modifications and different finish colors and one of them w/o the lightmeter.

  • Lens: MC Helios-44M-6 58mm f/2, automatic diaphragm, filter thread 52mm
    • Other standard lens is Helios-44 58mm f/2 with manual diaphragm
    • Helios was written with Latin letters
    • Zenit and Valdai logos are on the lens
    • Mount: M42 screw mount
    • Aperture: f/2 - f/16, setting dial and ring on the lens
    • Focus range: 0.5-10m, +inf.
  • Focusing: Fresnel matte glass screen
  • Shutter: Horizontally-travelling, cloth focal-plane shutter, speeds 1/30 - 1/500 +B,
  • Shutter cocking lever: also winds the film, short stroke
  • Shutter release: on the top plate w/ cable release socket, and a lock mechanism by half pressing you can see the DOF
  • Frame counter: coupled with the winding knob, advance type, manual setting
  • Viewfinder Framing: of the 24x36mm area on the resulting negative, the actual area seen through the viewfinder is only 20x28mm
  • Viewfinder: eye-level SLR pentaprism
  • Exposure meter: uncoupled Selenium cell lightmeter
  • Metering: match the needles type, window beside the re-wind lever
    • Setting: by a complex dial under the re-wind lever with ASA, speed and aperture setting dials
  • Self timer: activates by a small knob above the lever
  • Flash PC socket: on front of the top plate, X sync.1/30, marked 30-X on the speed dial
  • Back cover: hinged, opens by lifting the small lever on the left side of the cover
  • Body: Plastic bronze coloured top and bottom finish, some parts are also plastic, weight:
  • Engravings on the bottom plate: Made in USSR and the Vilejka factory logo
  • Others: Hot-shoe; Strap lugs; Tripod socket 1/4 inch
  • Serial no. stamped inside the back cover, the first two digits show the production year


  1. A Soviet times plant for producing Zenit cameras for MMZ of BelOMO
  2. According to Alexander Komarov Fotoua. You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site
  3. There is another classification by Aidas Pikiotas at Sovietcams
  4. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  5. Discussion of camera clasifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin at USSR Photo Forum


In English

  • Princelle, Jean Loup (2004), The Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras ('Made in USSR'), Le Reve Edition. ISBN 2952252106; or the earlier edition: Hove Foto Books, 2nd edition, 1995. 200 pages. ISBN 1874031630. Paperback.

In Russian


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