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Zorkiy-11 camera review

Zorkiy-11 is a representative of a small but independent family of Zorkiy cameras with automatic exposure control.The family includes three models - Zorky-10, Zorky-11 and Zorky-12.

I already have reviews of the tenth and twelfth models, now it is the turn of the eleventh.

Zorky-10 and Zorky-11 were released simultaneously in 1964. Together, these are the first Soviet cameras with a fully automatic exposure control mode.

True, this is not a purely Soviet development. According to the information available on the Web, these devices are fairly close replicas of the Japanese Ricoh Auto 35 camera.

The differences between Zorky-10 and 11 are that the first of them is a rangefinder camera, and the second, a scale camera, is a simplified model.

And, apparently, the presence of two models in the line - rangefinder and scale - is also spied on by Ricoh Auto.

Treat it whatever you want, I traditionally find nothing wrong with copying successful technical solutions. The main thing is to develop them on your own, and not to lag behind forever.

For the Soviet photographic industry in 1964, a camera with automatic exposure control was cool.

On the resource there is a photo of the prototype Zorky-11 (and there is also Zorky-10). The prototypes are, of course, very similar to the foreign original.

The devices went into the series with a slightly different design and additionally with a synchronizer socket.

I didn't hold the Ricoh in my hands, but I will assume that the shape of the Zorky's trigger is still more convenient.

Zorky-10 was produced until 1977, but Zorky-11 was turned down much earlier - in 1968.

Why this happened, now hardly anyone can say reliably.

I will make a guess (not relying on any documents).

Electronics in the USSR has always been an expensive pleasure. An automatic camera could not be cheap. Therefore, Zorkiy-10 was quite expensive and, let's say, a fashion device, since he did not shine with his performance characteristics.

The website of Georgy Abramov indicates that the retail price of Zorky-10 in 1976 was 100 rubles. And on the historical site of KMZ, the price of Zorky-4K with a Jupiter-8 2/50 lens in 1977 is indicated as 49.5 rubles.

Oh how. Compare the price and compare the functionality. Sharp-4K wins everyone, except for the lack of automation. And it costs half as much.

The hero of the review, Zorky-11, although he was a scaler, hardly made him much cheaper. The rangefinder assembly does not cost so much that the price drops significantly.

Therefore, there was simply no niche on the market for Zorky-11. If the user was ready to pay that kind of money for the device, then he wanted to get the most of everything. If the user wanted to save money, then the first thing he did not do was the rangefinder, but the automation.

In 1967, Zorky-11 was turned off, and in the same year Zorky-12 came out. This is a very interesting compact camera for the Rapid film standard. I have a review of it - I recommend it.

I believe that the replacement of the eleventh model by the twelfth in the lineup was an attempt to breathe life into the logic of the Soviet image camera. Zorky-12 - the camera is also automatic, also scaled, but very compact, prettier and similar to the film standard with simplified charging.

Zorky-12 in 1967 is something like a fashionable gadget, an accessory.

True, in the USSR, consumers appreciated functionality and reliability more than image, therefore, Zorky-12 did not fly either. In 1968 it was turned off as well.

Further, until 1977, Zorky-10 was produced alone.

It, in turn, was curtailed, possibly due to the release of the FED-Mikron-2 camera in 1978. This, of course, is a rather superficial hypothesis. But devices from the same segment and FED are more modern.

By the way, since 1978, the KMZ has stopped the production of whatever Zorkikhs.

Such a modification stands apart with, for some reason, two screws on both side walls. This is a very rare option.

Most often, the differences come down to the spelling of the name - in Cyrillic or Latin. Also, export consignments could be called ZENIT JUNIOR.

Here, by the way, is a good example of how an enterprise has mastered the laws of marketing. Back in 1962, the company is going to abandon the name "Zenith", and at the end of the 60s already uses this brand to the place and out of place.

Today we have in our review a copy of Zorky-11 in good condition, numbered 6502059, i.e. 1965 release. We will consider it.

Zorkiy-11 camera
Zorky-11 was produced at the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant (KMZ) from 1964 to 1967. About 60 thousand copies were produced.

Lens Industar-63 2.8 / 45, non-removable.

Zorky-11 is a software machine. The shutter is central, it also serves as a diaphragm.

Depending on the illumination of the subject of shooting, the automatics beat off the exposure pairs from 1/250 + f22 to 1/30 + f2.8. It is impossible to change the shutter speed - aperture combination.

There is, however, an excerpt by V.

The measurement is carried out with a selenium photocell. It also generates energy for the operation of the metering circuit. Despite the automation, the device does not need batteries.

The device is equipped with a cold flash bracket and a wired sync terminal. A self-timer is also available.

My copy weighs 667 grams.

Control elements:

The Zorky-11 body is a weighty aluminum parallelepiped. Brick. Front - light metal, back - black painted metal. All surfaces are smooth. No corrugation, no leatherette pasting - none of this.

The lines are simple, chopped. The design is super minimalistic.

Contrary to tradition, Zorky-11 has the most controls from below!

There are located (from left to right):

- cocking trigger;
- arched window of the frame counter;
- shutter off button when rewinding;
- 3/8 "tripod socket;
- lifting head of rewinding.

Yes, the cocking trigger is located at the bottom. And yes - he's on the left.

But that is not all.

For cocking the shutter and transporting the film, the trigger must not be pulled back and to the side, but forward and to the side. To the left, of course.

The back is absolutely nothing. The even and smooth black metallic field has only one flaw. This is the eyepiece of the viewfinder.

The camera's viewfinder is relatively good. Gives a fairly large and light picture.

In sight:
- glowing framing frames with parallax compensation;
- the arrow of the galvanometer, by which it is possible to control the operation of the automation;
- on the right - one of three stylized distance symbols (portrait, full-length portrait, landscape)

The characters are large and change when you turn the focus ring.

Those. Although the device is scaled, the focus can be set as if without looking up from the viewfinder. In general, for the 60s, such an interaction in the viewfinder was supposed to be fascinating.

There is nothing on the top panel either. Only the "cold" scale for flashes looms alone.

In front, in addition to the lens, on the left is the viewfinder window

On the right is the large shutter button and the sync terminal below it.

The shutter button is large and has a very large vertical travel.

The lens is shifted to the right and therefore there is little room for a grip. I would say catastrophically little.

The situation is aggravated by the location of the shutter button. The index finger, lying on the key, practically does not participate in holding the device. The rest of the fingers, taking into account the reserve of space for the travel of the shutter release, are very cramped and slippery on a smooth surface.

If you connect the sync contact, then you simply cannot hold the device with your right hand (after all, the flash, moreover, will add weight).

And the left one, let me remind you, should cock the hammer. In general, the ergonomics are really awful, and all this is compounded by the unusual and inconvenient location of the main controls.

A lot of things have been taken out on the lens.

The farthest ribbed ring on the lens is used to set the film sensitivity. The window with the sensitivity values according to the GOST standard is at the top, and according to the DIN standard it is duplicated at the bottom.

Focusing is carried out by the ring closest to the body. The ring travel is very small - no more than 50 degrees. In the position of 3 meters, the ring is fixed.

There are also several levers on the lens on the right, allowing you to:
- switch the camera to automatic mode or set the aperture in manual mode (the shutter speed will always be 1/30);
- turn on shutter speed B (with a separate leash);
- cock the self-timer.

The diaphragm switching is placed somewhere almost down and the numbers of the relative aperture are plotted on the scale so tightly that the leash covers almost the entire scale. It can be seen that manual control of the diaphragm was assumed to be a nominal function.

The work of the automation can be more or less controlled. A vertical arrow moves along the bottom of the viewfinder. It changes its position depending on the level of illumination of the scene being filmed. The more light, the more the arrow will be to the right.
Even in the viewfinder, several zones are indicated, according to the position of the arrow in which you can understand the situation with the exposure.

A red horizontal stripe is placed at the bottom left. If the arrow is on it, there is not enough light. In the arsenal of the device there is no required combination of shutter speed and aperture. Or change the film or use the flash.

To the right, already on top, are two triangles.

If the arrow is between the red stripe and the left triangle, the shutter speed will be from 1/30 to 1/100. Between triangles - from 1/100 to 1/200. If the arrow is to the right of the right triangle, the shutter speed will be shorter than 1/200.

By moving the switch from the A mark to any aperture, we get this same aperture and shutter speed of 1/30. In this case, it is supposed to use a flash.

Shutter speed B is available only in manual exposure control mode and is activated by a separate lever. He is in the photo. If the aperture switch is set to automatic mode, shutter speed B will be disabled and the lever will snap back.

The self-timer is activated by moving this lever to position V. The self-timer can be cocked only when the shutter is cocked.

To open the device, you need to pull down the small L-shaped bracket at the bottom of the right end of the device.

The back cover is hinged to the left. The film in the device moves from right to left.

Camera Attitude:

Automatic Vigilant - devices are unusual and thus interesting. For the 60s, they were technical marvels, of course.

The atypical and, frankly, uncomfortable design was more than offset by the WOW effect of others. The device is fashionable.

It's like a solid gold TV. They don't watch him - they show him.

But what bothered me once again was the quality of materials during manufacture. I already wrote about this in the article about Sharp-10. And here it is again.

I also have positive reviews on this site, but I either have catastrophically unlucky luck or something is still not right here.

This copy of Zorky-11 shows that it was kept decently. However, open rust spots are visible in the film sensitivity windows.

The paint on the bottom panel is covered in small swells.

The materials used for the manufacture are poor. My pre-war devices look safer!

But we are dealing with an expensive flagship device. And this is weird.

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