Zorki 1

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Zorki-1 is a 35mm rangefinder camera with M39 screw mount interchangeable lenses manufactured by the KMZ plant in Krasnogorsk, Moscow, USSR, between 1948-56. The first two digits of the serial number will tell you what year it was made. Зоркий = Zorki, means Sharp Sighted. Zorki cameras have their roots in the FED line of Leica copies. During WW2, the Soviet camera factory FED was evacuated to escape advancing German troops. After the war FED had troubles getting the FED rangefinder camera brand, (a copy of the pre-war German Leica 35mm camera), back into production. Because KMZ plant had escaped destruction, that company started making the FED camera under a joint FED-Zorki logo in 1948. When FED got back in operation, KMZ continued to produce the rangefinder cameras under the Zorki trademark (intended for export) and made some design changes.

The Zorki-1 was the first Zorki branded body produced at the KMZ factory. Some later models have "Zorki" engraved in Cyrillic and in Latin; these are for export and are often referred to as "Zorki-Zorki" bodies on assorted Soviet-camera mailing lists.

Body types

There are 5 different body types [1] or 12 types and 7 sub-types of Zorki-1 [2] [3] [4]

  • Type 1a: a direct descendant of the Fed-Zorki.
  • Type 1b: a different collar around the shutter release, allowing for a threaded cable.
  • Type 1c: molded body parts and can be identified by black trims just below the top plate and above the bottom plate.
  • Type 1d: the black trim extends to envelop the lens mount.
  • Type 1e: newer shutter speeds of 1/50s and 1/25s, instead of the 1/60s, 1/40s, 1/30s, and 1/20s found in previous types.

Specifications

  • Lenses: Zorki-1 offered with various lenses:
  • Shutter: Horizontal-travel, cloth focal plane shutter, speeds: 1/20 - 1/500, + 'Z'[6] ('Z' is 'B' shutter, and is marked B on cameras after 1955: 'Z' perhaps refers to 'Zeit' - 'time' in German).
  • Rangefinder has a separate window, on the back left side of the top plate, yellow rangefinder images, very small
  • Viewfinder: Simple reverse telescope finder, window on the right of the rangefinder window
  • Frame counter: Decreasing type, manual reset, beneath the cocking knob,
  • Bottom film loading like old Leicas, bottom plate opens by a pop-up lever on it. Take up spool is a special removable type
    • Engravings around the opening ring: ЗAКР - ОTKP (Zakr - Otkr = Close - Open). ОTKP is an abbreviation for ОТКРЫТЫЙ
  • Others: Cold-shoe; Tripod socket: 3/8 inch
  • Body: Metal; Weight: around 520g

Gallery

All cameras in the photos have Industar-22 50mm f/3.5 lenses.


Notes

  1. According to Aidas Pikiotas Sovietcams
  2. According to Alexander Komarov at Fotoua. You can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site
  3. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  4. Discussion of camera classifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin at USSR Photo Forum
  5. More common lens is Industar-22 50mm f/3.5 lens, looks like the Leitz Elmar, but was actually a copy of the Zeiss Tessar
  6. As with other Soviet-era rangefinders, Zorki's shutter speed selector rotates when the shutter is released, and should not be changed until after the shutter has been cocked. If you change the shutter speed without cocking the shutter first, the setting pin can be broken when you advance the film.

Bibliography

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

Links

Zorki cameras
FED-Zorki | 1 | S | 2 | 2-C (S) | 3 | 3M | 3S | 4 | 4K | Mir | 5 | 6 | 10/11 | 12 | 35M

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