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Zorkiy-3S camera review

Zorkiy-3S is the flagship model of rangefinder cameras from KMZ as of 1955.

The letter "C" in the title indicates that the camera has flash sync.

This option was massively and strictly synchronous (pun intended) was added to Soviet cameras exactly in 1955. This is described in detail in the Zorkiy-S review and I will not repeat myself here. Look, the material is interesting.

Here it is - the trinity of rangefinders with synchronization. Zorky-S, Zorky-2C and, of course, Zorky-3C are the hero of the review.


Technically, Zorky-3C is an upgrade of the previous model, Zorky-3M, to which a synchronizer was added. The synchronizer, and even with an adjustable flash ignition advance, is apparently a large unit and the designers had to change the shape of the top cover of the device quite a lot.


The right side of the body has become more massive, higher. The exposure head moved from the “step” to the “roof”, which increased the overall height of the apparatus.


I met the opinion that the design was flawed. For me, that Zorkiy-3M, that Zorkiy-3C - both look rather funny and interesting than beautiful.

Zorky-3C was produced for a short time, only in 1955-56. After 1956, all rangefinder models without synchronization were turned off at KMZ. Zorky-3C was also turned off, or rather, once again modernized, namely, they added a self-timer to it. And it’s somehow strange. The younger Zirkiy-2C has a self-timer, but the flagship does not.

After adding a self-timer to Zorky-3C, we got Zorky-4. But that is another story.


In 1955-56 Zorkiy-3C was one of the most functional Soviet cameras. Although, competitors did not doze, of course.


The closest competitor in class for Zorky-3C was Kiev-IIA. A device with very similar functionality, which was released in the same 1955.

Moreover, Kiev-IIA additionally had a self-timer, which Zorky-3C was deprived of.

But, Kiev-IIIA also had a built-in exposure meter.

LOMO in 1956 released its own Leningrad. It was an even higher class apparatus.

And finally, Zorky-3S also competed with a DSLR from the same KMZ - with Zenit-S.

Due to the short release, Zorky-3C does not have so many options within the lineup.


The earliest prototypes had a different style of caption. I think this is a very rare option.


But, on the contrary, the late version of 1956. Photo from the book "1200 cameras from the USSR". The front panel has no decorative frames around the viewfinder and rangefinder.

It is interesting that the first Zorky-4 (see my photo above) of the year before the 60th had such frames. It was only later that the surface around the viewfinder and rangefinder became smooth. And here we see Zorky-3C, which was produced no later than 1956, but already without frames.

I think this is also a very rare option.

The mass models Zorkiy-3C are not particularly rare and now they can be found without any problems.

In the review, a copy of 1956 is in excellent condition under the number 5632815.
Zorkiy-3C camera
Zorky-3S was produced at KMZ from 1955 to 1956. The volume of production is about 45 thousand pieces.

Rangefinder device

The viewfinder is aligned with the rangefinder, the eyepiece magnification is 1.15 ×. There is a diopter adjustment.

Rangefinder base 38 mm.


Standard lens Jupiter-8 2/50.

Lens mount - M39 × 1 thread. The working distance is 28 mm.

The shutter is made of fabric, focal-plane with a horizontal movement. Beats out an extended set of shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and V.

There is a wired flash sync. Sync speed - 1/25. The pre-ignition time of the flashes can be adjusted for electronic or disposable lamps of different types.

There is no self-timer.

3/8 '' tripod socket.

The weight of my copy without the lens is 590 grams.

Control elements:


At the top of the front panel are the viewfinder (large left) and rangefinder (smaller and closer to the center of the camera) windows.

Still to the right is the round wired synchronizer socket.


Behind - only the eyepiece of the viewfinder.

The Zorky-3C viewfinder is excellent, like that of the entire 3-series. The picture is very large. There is a diopter adjustment. The rangefinder spot is quite large and the details in it are quite distinguishable.

Below is a tripod socket for the old 3/8 "size and it is strictly along the axis of the lens.


Along the edges, two locks for a removable back cover. To remove the cover, you need to lift the staples on the locks and turn them. Next, the lid needs to be pushed down a little, and it will separate.

The staples will not fold in the open position. So you can always understand whether the locks are open or not.


Above Zorky-3C from left to right are:
- lifting head of rewind with a diopter adjustment lever at the base;
- bracket for photo accessories;
- a shutter speed control head and a flash ignition advance time control ring at the base;
- the shutter release button, around which the rotary bushing allows you to disable the shutter for rewinding or keep the button pressed to work out the D shutter speed;
- frame transport head, interlocked with a shutter cocking and a frame counter at the top.

Exposure control is classic for Soviet rangefinders with a large number of exposure options. To select any of the shutter speeds, just raise the crown, turn it to the desired value and lower it.

You can change the shutter speed only when the shutter is cocked!
The crown does not rotate between B and 1 second. When a shutter speed of 1/25 or slower is selected, the head moves with resistance and is fixed at a higher position.



When the shutter is cocked, the shutter speed rotates and it is possible to understand which shutter speed is selected only if the shutter is cocked.

The flash ignition advance time is changed by turning the ribbed ring under the shutter speed head. The lead options are from 0 to 25 milliseconds. Lead 0 should be set for electronic flashes.

The release button has a short and relatively hard stroke, in my copy.

Camera attitude

I have already described a lot of such devices and Zorky-3C does not cause any special sensations to me. Just a very good machine. The flagship in its lineup.

Source fotoussr.ru
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