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Helios lens

Zenit-12 XS DSLR review.

A small-format SLR camera made by the Belarusian Vileika, in fact, is an analogue of Zenit-122 and Zenit-12 SD (XP), but in a more modest design.The name Zenit 12XS is derived from Zenit-12XP (SD). The exact years of production are not known, presumably 1992-1994. Version 12XS is a development of the Belarusian Zenit-15M project.

The line of Zenit-15M Zenit-12XS Zenit-12Pro Zenit-21XS and Zenit-122 (Vileika) is based on the submitted documentation from KMZ to Belomo "Zenit-12sD". At the moment BelOMO (more correct than BelOM) has no right to produce or sell cameras, lenses and other photographic equipment bearing the Zenit and Zenit brands.


  • Mirrored camera.
  • Film type 135.
  • Mirror of constant sight.
  • The viewfinder displays 64% of the frame.
  • The focusing screen has a micro-raster, a Fresnel lens.
  • Focal-plane shutter, 1000-500-250-125-60-30x- "B" - "D".
  • Self-timer.
  • Jumping aperture mechanism.
  • Threaded mount for M42 optics.
  • Standard lens MC Helios-44M-6 MC Helios-44M-5.

Ergonomics and design:

Zenit-12XS has an external resemblance to Zenit-122, it seemed and ease of use should be at least similar. But no, the cocking trigger of the 12XS is tight, as is the release button. There is an ergonomic protrusion under the right hand on the front panel, while on the back cover, like the 122, there is none.

The camera body is a supporting aluminum frame, lined with plastic. The plastic is soft and cheap to the touch, as for example the cocking trigger often breaks off to the metal part. The shutter speed and film sensitivity are frankly not credible, even though they are made of aluminum.

After a deeper study of the housing design, mirror drive and other elements, many facts suggest that in many respects Zenit-12XS is unified with Zenit-ET of Belarusian production during perestroika. Moreover, TTL metering and placement of the electronic unit and two light-receiving elements differs from Zenit-12sD.

First, the cdS light-receiving elements of the in-camera TTL light metering system are not located opposite each other, like in Zenit-12sD (XP), the right element is noticeably lower than the left one - it is impossible to arrange them in one row without constructive changes.

Secondly, the LED indication is located on top of the viewfinder, and not on the side like in the 12sD. Again, it is structurally easier to integrate LEDs between the prism and the focusing screen.

The Zenit-12XS viewfinder displays 64% of the frame, it is exactly the same as that of the Zenit-ET, focusing is carried out using a micro-raster and a Fresnel lens. Only thanks to a good magnification of the prism, focusing is more or less comfortable. We were pleasantly surprised by the prism attachment and its color, they removed the malicious plate and the foam rubber that became limp over time, the prism was painted black.

The curtain-slit shutter has undergone changes, although purely advertising, added 1000 shutter speed and that's it. Hurray comrades, Hurray. The total row is 1000-500-250-125-60-30x- "B" - "D". Was it worth waiting so long ?! For personal feelings 1000 exposure at best 750.


Zenit-12XS is Zenit-ET, which has TTL metering implemented. The quality of the product is obscene, like the plastic itself - very cheap. Even conventionally, the language does not turn to equate this Zenith with the products of the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant, Zenit-122 is more pleasant and reliable to use.

The ZENIT-12XS is a somewhat rare camera, in higher demand than the same 12cD and 122.
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