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Helios lens


The first KMZ SLR camera with a unique ergonomic computer-based design. And the third camera in the junior Zenith line "12" (12sd, 122) was supposed to be a replacement for Zenit-122. Although they were produced in parallel for several years, this is due to a large fleet of threaded optics, which could not be said about bayonet optics. The camera uses the K-optics bayonet mount - Pentax.


  • SLR amateur camera.
  • Bayonet mount optics "K" - Pentax.
  • The focal plane shutter operates at speeds of 500-250-125-60-30X-15-8 and "B".
  • The viewfinder displays 67% of the frame.
  • Doden wedges, microrast, matte field in the field of view.
  • Standard lenses MS Zenitar-K or MS Helios-44K-4.
  • TTL - metering.
  • Self-timer.

Ergonomics and design:

The unique, sleek design is reminiscent of the Ugly Duckling. The absence of sharp corners does not fit in any way with the serious image of Zenith SLR cameras of the USSR era, a plastic soap dish. But in terms of ergonomics, Zenit-212K can give odds to many modern digital SLRs.

Thanks to the smooth lines, the camera and hands form a single whole. We must pay tribute to the designers - the case is thought out almost perfectly. This is no longer a classic black brick.

On the other hand, the body consists of plastic panels mounted on a metal frame. The fit of the panels is rough, in some places the gaps exceed 1mm. The plastic is not of high quality and sometimes crunches. The crunch may be due to poorly tightened panel screws. Drawing an analogy with the metal Zenith-12sD, we can conclude that the 212K has lost its unprecedented reliability and unpretentiousness at all.

I can't help but mention the shutter button. It is still associated with aperture jump and TTL metering. But it has become softer thanks to a different principle of operation of the aperture jumper on the bayonet optics "K". On threaded optics, we clamp the diaphragm drive by bringing the pusher to the clamped position and close the diaphragm. On the bayonet, it is different, by pressing the release button, we release the diaphragm drive and it then opens on its own. This option uses less energy. What is the reason for the softer move.

The focal plane shutter has undergone changes. Added as many as two !! excerpts 15 and 8. Spoiled. Now a series of excerpts looks like this 500-250-125-60-30X-15-8- "B" - "D". Otherwise, this site is very reliable and its capabilities for amateur purposes will be sufficient.

The Zenit-212K viewfinder is taken from the predecessor Zenit-122 without any changes. They cover the area of the frame by 67%; in the field of view, Doden wedges, microraster and matte field.

Viewfinder Zenit-12sD

Viewfinder Zenit-212K

Viewfinder Zenit-Automatic

Bayonet mount optics type "K" Pentax. The use in a budget mirror device did not justify itself and the next Zenit-312 had a threaded mount. This is due to the shortage and high cost of bayonet optics.

Zenit-212k - Pentax K bayonet

At a time when the offer of new threaded optics was great, moreover, the secondary market could offer M42 optics for every taste. The adapter from the mount to the M42 thread was supposed to have a positive effect on sales, but with it lenses with a diaphragm drive lost the ability to blink.


Zenit-212K is an amateur intermediate camera. Build quality, fit is mediocre. It is extremely rare on the secondary market, hence the interest is manifested in collectible rather than photographic. They also appreciate the rare standard MS Zenitar-K (2) 50 / 2.0 lens. One of the advantages is the ergonomic body of the camera. Of the special drawbacks of the camera, I would like to emphasize its low reliability.

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