Zorki 5: A Russian Monster


This little monster will tear up your film and spit out amazing images, so load it up and take it out of it’s cage for a snack!

image from photo.net

The Zorki 5 (type 1, 1958) is really a fun little camera. With it’s Industar-22 collapsing lens, it folds up nice and small and can fit in your pocket. The rangefinder focusing allows for quick shots and it is fully manual, with F-stops 3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, and 16 along with shutter speeds of B, 25, 50, 100, 250, and 500. There is no built in light meter sadly.

I must admit i really love this camera. It’s such an adventure to use and to get used to really. On top of the film winder there’s a film speed reminder, written in GOST which is useless to us, and the film reminder turns, but doesn’t actually do anything. On the side of that is the diopter lever. This will adjust the focus through the viewfinder so you don’t scrape your glasses on the oddly jagged viewfinder window. Right under this we have 2 PC sync areas. One for a bulb flash and one for an electronic flash. This is because the Zorki 5 has a cold shoe.

Moving across the top, we have the shutter speed dial next. This has to be lifted then turned, AFTER COCKING THE SHUTTER WITH THE LEVER! Failure to cock the shutter before adjusting film speed can break something and your camera will not work. Directly to the right is a metal “nipple” with is your film release. And finally to the right of that is a sort of 3-in-one apparatus. It’s the strangely loose cocking arm, Shutter release, and questionable film counter. I say questionable because I know the film counter really wants to work, It’s just never been taught how to count. It starts out strong, going from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 then for some reason skipping to 12, staying on 12 for four or so shots, then moving to 13. Finally ending around 30 on my roll of film (with 24 exposures in total)

I suppose part of the reason I love this cool little Russian monster is the reason I call it a monster. I guess this is the “cons” section of the review but as much as they are cons, they are also reasons I love this camera.

First, this thing eats film. It literally crunches, munches, and spits out bits and pieces o your favorite film. Because of the age of any Zorki 5, the internal components are iffy at best (unless you’ve gotten it checked out by a pro, but wheres the fun in that?) and some will pull while others stick. Second, this camera is loud. Loud and heavy. While it can fit in your pocket, you best be wearing suspenders. Third, While it has a B setting, and a place for a cable release that actually fits regular cable releases, the tripod socket is not meant for a standard tripod, rendering it mostly useless. Finally, I’m not sure if it’s a common problem, but the focusing in my Zorki is very off, and the hole to adjust it is about the width of a human hair, and the screw inside, I suspect, is a triangle. Good luck finding that screwdriver.

While the Zorki 5 has some shortcomings, It’s a great, fun camera, plus it’s compatible with a wide variety of M39 mount lenses that are also widely available. You can check out other Zorki and Russian cameras in Lomography's Online Shop!

written by nicknameuser on 2009-12-09 #gear #russian #review #zorki #vintage #compact


  1. stouf
    stouf ·

    8D funny film counter ! And nice practical explications!

  2. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    A Zorki 5 is one of the best of Russian cameras, but to work, you must load it like a Fedka or Zorki 1 (like an early Leica - Google it). Then get it CLA'ed by Fedka.com or Camera Max. This will get it cleaned and adjusted, so the focus is fixed. That Industar 22 is a very good lens. This will make it rather wonderful. It will cost about US$70 plus postage.

  3. robotmonkey1996
    robotmonkey1996 ·

    Nipple. hehehe.8===>

More Interesting Articles