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Helios lens

Zenit-S SLR camera of the golden era Photos.

The second SLR camera produced by KMZ was produced in the period from 1955 to 61 inclusive. The main difference between Zenit-S and the first Zenith is the presence of a synchrocontact for the flash, where the letter "C" in the name of the camera indicates this. The camera is built on the basis of the Zorkiy-S rangefinder camera, the same analogy for Zenit (I) - Zorkiy (I). Moreover, some ideas in the construction of the SLR camera were taken from the Germans, the Vizir-Prism-Mirror was made with an eye on the Contax-S (D)

Despite the fact that Zenith and Zenit-S are similar, the kinematics of the mirror and shutter mechanisms are different. Another interesting point, some Zenith-Cs for export were marked as Zenith-C 2, since the trademark Zenith (an electronics company) was already registered in America and there could be legal proceedings, the name of the Soviet camera was shortened to Zenit.


  • Blinking mirror
  • Film type 135 (36 x 24 mm) 35mm.
  • The viewfinder displays 67% of the frame.
  • Shutter - 500-250-100-50-25- "B" - "D".
  • Multiple exposure.
  • Contact for Flash sync.
  • Lens mount - threaded m39.
  • The working distance is 45.2 mm.
  • Standard lens - Industar-50.

Design and ergonomics:

The stereotype that a large-heavy camera is good for amateurs, only when you pull a bag with a couple of kilograms, you begin to understand the price of each extra gram. Zenit and Zenit-S are a classic example of a compact SLR camera, its dimensions do not significantly exceed the dimensions of rangefinder counterparts (example in the photo above) and, what is important, high performance has not been lost (taking into account the years of production).

 If you do not take into account the mechanism of the mirror, Zenit-V is similar in performance characteristics to Zenit-S.

Thanks to the smooth contours of the hull, Zenit-S fits in your hands like a glove. The camera does not have the usual cocking trigger; instead, a simple tape measure is cocked with a slight smooth effort. The frame counter is also located on it - it is not entirely accurate, at any time it can be set to any position or involuntarily knock down the report. The shutter button is very soft and has a small stroke, under it there is a lock for unlocking the film rewind. Ideally, the shutter button should be positioned a little closer to the front of the Zenit-C, so that the index finger does not bend unnecessarily (by analogy with the Nikon F2).

The very same body of Zenith and Zorky poured under pressure, the technology was rolled back and refined. Zenit-S has fewer stiffening ribs in relation to the previous camera, the bodies are interchangeable.

In comparison with the previous Zenith, the shutter speed head has been redesigned, thanks to the introduction of design changes to the shutter, the shutter speed can be set both before and after the shutter is cocked. You cannot change the shutter speed with one finger, the shutter speed head must be pulled up and then rotated to the desired value. The first Zenit had a shutter with a static shutter speed setting, and Zenit-S already had a differential delay unit for the second curtain - which radically positively distinguishes the Zenit-S shutter from the first Zenith. This feature allows multiple exposure, although with certain difficulties: cocked the shutter, press the shutter release button, and then, to take the second frame, cocking the shutter speed head counterclockwise until it clicks (thus the film is not rewound and the mirror will be in the working position), after which it will be possible to focus and take a second shot by pressing the shutter button.

The mechanism of the mirror was reworked, changes were made to the drive for tensioning the mirror - a nylon thread brings the mirror into working position. Like its predecessor, the Zenit-S mirror does not automatically return to the sighting position until the shutter is cocked, the mirror closes the viewfinder frame and focusing on the viewfinder is not possible. On the other hand, the photographer always knows when his shutter is cocked.

The connection of the camera to the lens is carried out by means of the M39 thread, again similar to the rangefinder cameras Zorky and Fed, but only with a huge difference in working lengths. The actual working distance for Zenith SLR cameras with m39 thread is 45.2 mm, for rangefinder cameras - 28.8 mm. That is, the operation of lenses (Jupiter-8 Jupiter-3 Jupiter-12) intended for Zorky and FED at Zenith is completely impossible, only as a macro lens at very small distances up to 25 mm (approximately).

On the bottom cover (the bottom of the camera) there is a 3/8 "threaded mount for a tripod, located on the right side and not in the center, due to the fact that the shutter button is above it. And at the moment you press the button, the tripod will not play and will not move, this the legacy of Lieca-2.

On the other side of the lid there is a lock, it opens the compartment for loading the film, Zenith inherited a narrow opening from the same Lieca-2. The process is complicated and dreary - only with a 100% rollback of the technology of casting the body under pressure, it was possible to divide the body into two parts, which ensured a more convenient installation of the film into the camera, in Zenit-3M (and Crystal) this problem has already been solved by a hinged hinged lid.

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