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Helios lens

Camera Zenit-AM2 review

To be honest, I did not plan to buy Zenit-AM2 for the collection. The reason is simple, this device is almost no different from its predecessor - Zenit-AM.

Actually, I didn't buy Zenit-AM2, it was unexpectedly presented to me.
I give a little history of the entire AM line in the review to the Zenit-AM device.

Actually, Zenit-AM2 is a simplified modification of Zenit-AM. The second model lacks the electronic self-timer. There are no other differences.



These photos show that in the place of the start button for the countdown and in the place of the signal lamp at Zenit-AM2 there are plastic plugs.

The device is not rare, they were released even more than AM models, 27 thousand copies. against 11 thousand


The variety of options Zenit-AM2 does not differ. There are 2 known design options. In earlier versions, the inscription is similar to the AM model, only with an additional two.


In the later ones, the inscriptions began to be made in italics and in the Latin alphabet with the expectation of export.
In the review, a copy of 1993 numbered 93001434. The condition can be considered excellent, with the exception of the lost leatherette lining on the battery compartment.

Zenit-AM2 camera
Zenit-AM2 was produced at the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant (KMZ) from 1992 to 1997. The device is already purely Russian.

The total production was ~ 27 thousand pieces.

Standard lens - MC Helios-44K-4 2/58 or MC Helios-77K-4 1.8 / 50.

Lens mount - bayonet K. Focal distance - 45.5 mm. Blinking aperture and exposure metering at open aperture are supported.

Shutter - focal, electronically controlled, with vertical movement of metal slats.

Shutter speeds change automatically in aperture priority mode from 1 to 1/1000. Manual exposure B

Sync speed 1/125.

The shutter can beat 2 mechanical non-volatile exposures - B and 1/125.

The camera is equipped with hot and wired sync contacts.

There is a socket for connecting an external power supply.

Viewfinder image field size - 23 × 35 mm (95% frame coverage)

Focusing screen type - Fresnel lens with micro-raster, matte ring and Doden wedges.

The weight of my copy without the lens is 509 grams.

Control elements:

Inside the device there is a metal chassis, but the outer covers of the case are all plastic. Soft pasting is present in traditional locations.


The design doesn't cause rejection, but the plastic looks cheap, of course.


To the left of the lens, on the beveled edge of the mirror shaft, there are two sockets. The top one is for synchronizing the flash with a wire, the bottom one is for connecting an external power supply.
The battery compartment door is clearly visible on the right side of the front panel. To open the compartment, you need to press the small button on the bottom of the door. The door opens to the lens.

The device has an improved power supply and therefore can work both with traditional RC-53 and their analogs, and with more available now 6V batteries,

For more information on replacing Soviet batteries, see here.

There are two keys at the bottom of the mirror shaft. The top is the bayonet lock catch. The lower one is a diaphragm repeater.

The repeater is pushed back and down.


There is a rectangular viewfinder eye on the back.

The Zenit-AM2 has an excellent viewfinder. The picture is large and very bright. Wedges are available.

In the upper right part there are 3 LEDs responsible for the exposure metering indication.
The exposure meter turns on when you half-press the shutter button.

If the top red LED (triangle pointing down) is on, the light is excessive and the camera needs a shutter speed faster than 1/1000.

If the lower red LED (triangle pointing up) is on, there is not enough light and the device needs a shutter speed longer than 1 s.

If the middle green LED is on, the unit is ready to shoot. But at the same time, if the LED is on continuously, then the shutter speed will be in the range from 1/30 to 1/1000 and you can shoot handheld.

And if the green LED is blinking, then the shutter speed is expected from 1 s to 1/30 and it is better to set the camera on a tripod.

Visually, everything is very decent and clear, but the criticism remains the same with the Zenith-Avtomat still.

First, the knowledge that the shutter speed is 1/30 and shorter is not enough, because 1/30 is too long a shutter speed to shoot with a standard lens with a 58 mm lens without blur.

Secondly, the difference between the shutter speeds of 1 s and 1/30 s is still very large. The device can then be mounted on a tripod, but the world around us is also moving.
Well, etc.


On the bottom panel we have a 1/4 inch tripod socket and a shutter release button when rewinding the film.


On the top panel, from left to right, are located:

- a rewind head with a folding tape measure inserted into the block for entering the film sensitivity and exposure compensation value;
- "hot" bracket for flashes;
- selector of operating modes of automation with a release button in the center;
- shutter cocking lever and frame advance;
- a small window of the frame counter.


The choice of sensitivity and exposure compensation are, in fact, the same thing on the Zenit-AM2.

Entering the sensitivity, it is necessary to move the window in a circle, in which the sensitivity numbers are visible, using a small leash, and the same movement moves the correction scale. After that, it is necessary to set the required correction value by rotating the head by the external knurling. Zero, for example.
Corrections up to +/- 2 stops are available in 1/3 increments.

Exposure compensation is, in fact, the only way to interfere with the operation of automation.


The Zenit-AM2 descent works quite quietly and does not give a strong push.

The shutter button is well located, the travel is short and very soft.
The operating mode selector has 4 positions:
- A - this is an automatic mode, the main one;
- X - flash sync mode, shutter speed will be 1/125;
- B - hand exposure mode, the shutter will be open while the button is pressed;
- L - this is the lock of the shutter release button so that accidental pressing does not drain the batteries.

Without power, the shutter will operate in B and X positions. This is very good because for example, when working with a flash, the device is 100% functional even without batteries.


Zenit-AM2 opens in a classic way. Pull up the rewind knob.

Camera Attitude:

Zenit-AM2 is a good device, like the entire Zenit-Avtomat line. It is a pity that in the USSR, very often the subsequent models of cameras were not improved, but just simplified versions of the previous ones.

Source fotoussr.ru
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