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Lomopedia: Zorki 1

A popular Soviet-era 35mm rangefinder camera, the original Zorki was manufactured by KMZ between 1948 to 1956. Read on if you want to know more about this highly collectible Soviet beauty!

Simply and officially called the Zorki, this 35mm rangefinder camera was produced by the KMZ factory in Moscow between 1948 to 1956. Many people — especially auctioneers, camera sellers, and writers — refer to this camera today as “Zorki 1” to identify it as the first model. The name Зоркий (Zorkiy) means “sharp sighted.”

Photo via LeitzMuseum.org

The Zorki series was based on the FED series of pre-war Leica copies. After the FED factory was evacuated during the World War II, the Soviet camera maker had trouble getting its FED rangefinder line back into production. The KMZ plant, meanwhile, was not destroyed, and it began manufacturing the FED cameras under the FED-Zorki brand in 1948. KMZ continued to make its own line of rangefinder cameras under the Zorki brand after FED resumed its operations.

Technical Specifications:

  • Lens: Zorki-1 offered with various lenses:
    Industar-22 (3.5/50mm); Industar-50 (3.5/50mm),
    ZK 50/2, ZK 50/1.5, Jupiter-8 (2/52mm)
  • Lens Mount: M39 screwmount
  • Shutter: Leica-derived horizontal traverse focal plane cloth shutter, speeds: 1/20 – 1/500, +Z. The shutter is identical in design to the shutter used in Leica II cameras.
  • Viewfinder: Simple reverse telescope finder, window on the right of the rangefinder window
  • Frame counter: Additive type, rotates 360-1 degrees. Reset manually by turning the frame counter beneath the cocking knob to Zero position, using the “nipples” on the counter disc. The counter disc must be turned CLOCKWISE only.
  • Film Loading: Bottom film loading like old Leicas, bottom plate opens by a key tab. 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” accessory clip for viewfinders or exposure meters; Tripod socket: 3/8 inch. A bushing adapter must be used to allow the camera to be used on tripods with the now common 1/4 thread.
  • Body: Metal; Weight: around 520g.
  • No flash sync socket, no self timer.
  • No strap lugs on the camera body. The ‘ever-ready’ leather case must be used to ‘strap’ the camera.
  • Note: 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.

All information for this article were sourced from Camerapedia and CameraManuals.org.

written by plasticpopsicle

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