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Helios lens

Review of a reflex film camera Zenit-12SD

Zenit 12SD is a mass Soviet small format single-lens reflex camera. Produced in 1983 - 1988. at the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant. In total, about 1 million copies were made. The export name of the camera Zenit-12xr. The camera was equipped with one of the standard lenses Helios-44M, Helios-44M-4, MC Helios-44M-4.

Became a continuation of the popular Zenit-TTL model with a light meter that measures the illumination through the lens. The main improvement in comparison with its predecessor is that instead of a dial gauge for the exposure meter, the device uses an LED. The viewfinder has become lighter than its predecessor by changing the location of the photoresistors and their number. Zenit-12sd has a semi-automatic exposure setting - when the shutter release button is partially pressed, the diaphragm closes to the selected value and the exposure meter shows the degree of illumination.

The layout of the settings elements remained standard for most of the popular Zenith cameras. On the right is the cocking trigger with a plastic finger rest. At the factory, the trigger describes a large arc of about 200 degrees. There is a frame counter scale on the cocking trigger dial. The release button is linked to the film rewind knob.

The shutter speed dial is "non-rotating" (does not rotate when the shutter is cocked). To set the shutter speed, simply turn the knob to a certain value. The flash mount shoe already has a sync pin.

To the left of the pentaprism, under the film rewind head, there is a disc for setting the film sensitivity. The scale has values according to the new standard: GOST / ISO 25-50-100-200-400, you can also choose intermediate values between the plotted ones, which are indicated by dots. The entered value of the sensitivity is taken into account by the exposure meter when determining the correct exposure.

Zenit-12sd has a coupled exposure meter. That is, three exposure parameters (sensitivity-shutter speed-aperture), which are set by the corresponding controls on the camera, directly affect its readings. It is necessary to read the readings of the exposure meter at the moment of half-pressing the shutter release button. The diaphragm closes to the selected value, the measuring device turns on and the LEDs light up depending on the illumination of the object. If the upper LED is shining, there will be too much light, there will be overexposure, if the lower one is not enough light, underexposure. If the exposure meter shows the wrong exposure, then you need to change one of the parameters - shutter speed or aperture and read the value again. When both LEDs are blinking, the correct exposure is set.

The immense popularity of the Zenith, I think, is due to the presence of a built-in exposure meter, which provides an opportunity for an objective assessment of the illumination of the subject. Photoresistors Zenit-12sd do not fade over time like selenium elements used in previous models with an unpaired exposure meter. Exposure meter batteries 2 pcs SC-32, can be replaced with an analog - SR43.

In the center of the knob for setting the film sensitivity, there is a knob for rewinding the film, coupled with the lock for opening the back cover. It also secures the feed spool against lateral displacement. To rewind the film, flip the folding lever and turn it clockwise, winding the film onto the spool.

Focusing in Zenit-12sd is carried out by a focusing screen with a Fresnel lens, a matte ring and a microrastrum. Although the viewfinder still displays 67% of the frame. Zenit-12sd has the same traditional ascetic set of exposures: V-30-60-125-250-500. The shutter speeds are worked out with a traditional fabric curtain shutter.

The undoubted advantage of the camera, like many Zenits, is the high-aperture lens Helios-44M, which allows you to get good shots with a clear subject and blurry elements in the background if you shoot at a fully open aperture. It also has the original swirling bokeh that can be seen in full frame and slightly truncated on cropped digital cameras. The disadvantage is that the lens is afraid of backlight.

Examples of photos:


The Zenit-12SD camera, like its predecessor Zenit-TTL, has an ascetic set of shutter speeds, an advanced TTL exposure meter. The exposure meter and and the jumping aperture allow the photographer to quickly and easily set the desired exposure. The camera allows you to take good pictures thanks to the bright lens. It can be useful for the first steps in creative photography.

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