Outlasting equally remarkable cameras such as the Leica M3 in the 1950’s, this Russian classic is the most successful in the Zorki family.
Like most Soviet cameras post-WWII, the first batch of Zorkis were copies of – you guessed it – the prestigious Leica screw-mount cameras. They were created by the KMZ – Krasnogorski Mekhanicheskii Zavod – a mechanical factory in Moscow. Interestingly, the Zorki is actually a modified version of the FED camera (which was also patterned after the Leica!); KMZ produced some of the FEDs in 1948 to make up for the slow production of the FED factory. The following year they decided to make a redesign and thus, the Zorki was born.
The Zorki-4 emerged in 1954. With its ‘Leica-like’ finish, it retained the best qualities of the previous models – variable flash sync delay, and shutter speeds in one dial. Among those who battled it out when the Zorki 4 came out were Leica M3, Nikon S2, and Canon VT, and even fellow Zorkis (S and 2S models). But the Zorki 4 survived the race, running a successful production of 17 years – making it the most popular among the Zorki family. It has proven its worth as an inexpensive alternative to the Leica. The shutter makes a somewhat distracting ‘Snap’ sound, which can be inconvenient if you’re shooting candidly. But hey, that’s easy to overlook, considering that it uses the ‘Jupiter-8’ lens, which is famous for the high-contrast, color, and sharpness that it yields!
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