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Zorkiy-S camera review and instructions

In 1955-56, the Soviet photographic industry experienced the massive introduction of sync contacts into new cameras.

The leader in the number of new products and manufacturability of solutions is KMZ.

In 1955, at the KMZ, the synchronizer was received simultaneously (!!!) by all models of cameras for a narrow film produced by that time at the enterprise. So, Zorky-S, Zorky-2S, Zorky-3S, and even Zenit-S appeared.

As it is not difficult to guess, the letter "C" in the name was indicated for the presence of a synchrocontact.

It is interesting that the previous models without synchrocontact - continue to be produced in parallel for some time - a year or two. Therefore, in 1955-56, the range of KMZ products for narrow film consisted of nine models of cameras. Seven Vigilant and two Zeniths.

Let's not forget that in 1955, Moscow-4 also came out - also with a wired synchrocontact.

Other businesses did not lag behind.

In the same 1955 Smena-2 and Lyubitel-2 came out - both with synchrocontact, and in 1956 - Leningrad, of course, also with him.

Synchronization with flash appeared on FED also in 1956 after the upgrade of the second model.

Like this - a lot at once. It is felt that there was a single plan for the development of the photo industry. And they adhered to it, as they say.

Why did I call KMZ the leader in terms of manufacturability?

All new devices from KMZ had a synchronizer with an adjustable flash ignition advance time.

LOMO implemented this option a little later - in 1956 in Leningrad. Smena-2 and Lyubitel-2 (and Moscow-4 from KMZ) did not have advance adjustments, but they have central gates. Here the situation is slightly different.

On the FED-2 with a curtain shutter, the synchrocontact appeared in 1956 without any adjustment.

Let us now understand a little about the relevance of sync contacts in general at that time and in the adjustment of the lead in particular.

First, did users in principle have the ability to use flash before sync contact appeared?

Of course it was.

How was the synchronization carried out?

Manually - at exposure V.

Hereinafter, these are my technical assumptions. Who has real data on the use of outbreaks during the periods described, please share.

But I will continue.

There are 3 factors on flash calculators - sensitivity, aperture and distance. The shutter speed is not taken into account (although they are all synchronized on the central shutters). Simply, it was assumed that the exposure that the film receives outside of the flash time is negligible.

Therefore, we hold down the shutter release button at shutter speed B and activate the flash. Something like this.

What outbreaks were common in the USSR? Interested in the 50s, but we will start from the period before the Second World War - from the end of the 30s.

Well, first of all, I don't think outbreaks were widespread at all.

Although photography in the Soviet Union was a fairly widespread hobby (remember pre-war children's cameras), and the issue of photo sensitivity was very acute, it still seems to me that not everyone could afford a flash.

Second, it is likely that magnesium flares still dominated. Photo from

In the 30s, disposable flash lamps were already massively produced abroad. Inside such a lamp is aluminum or magnesium foil in an oxygen atmosphere. There is also a filament coated with a highly flammable compound.

When current is passed through the contacts of the lamp, the thread is heated, the composition ignites and ignites the foil. Foil, burning in an oxygen atmosphere, gives a bright flash.

The general principle is similar to magnesium flares, but the combustion products (smoke, sparks, odor) - everything remains in the glass flask and does not get out.

I think that imported lamps were scarce and expensive in the USSR. These could only be used by professionals from institutions.

I have several similar lamps (imported, unfortunately, and more modern) and there is no lamp for them.

The Soviet version of the luminaire for disposable lamps also existed. It was called FO-1v. Both photos are from the network.

When this outbreak appeared - I do not know, but a number of sources indicate 40-50 years.

Therefore, it is quite possible that before the Second World War in the USSR there were no own flashes with disposable lamps - only imported ones.

Okay, let's move to the 50s.

The first Soviet electronic flashlight Molniya EV-1 of the MELZ plant appeared in 1955. Coincidence? I don't think.

Several more models followed.
1957 - Kharkiv Luch-57
1959 - Tallinn NormaFIL-1

Here are the specifications of the Lightning EV-1:
  • - Power supply: 300V from the battery pack 330- ЭВМЦГ-1000
  • - Synchronization: PC-contact
  • - Guide number (125 units of GOST): 28
  • - Angle of radiation -50 degrees, readiness time 5-10 s
  • - The number of pulses from the biscuit battery: from 1000 to 1500
  • - Light pulse duration - 1 \ 2000 s
  • - plafond diameter - 145 mm
  • - handle diameter - 53 mm
  • -height - 230 mm
  • - weight: 0.7 kg; weight with battery: 2 kg

What did the USSR photographers use for lighting before the mass production of Soviet electronic flashes, i.e. the whole late forties - early 50s?

Again, I think that amateur flashes were still used quite rarely.

Abroad, electronic flash units were produced in large quantities from 1945-46. But in addition to the understandable difficulties with the purchase of imported and expensive equipment, the user was also faced with the banal inconvenience of use.

I quote a little from this site. In 1956 the film "Case No. 306" produced by Mosfilm was released on the screens of the country. When this movie was filmed, electronic flashlights had not yet been released in the USSR. So a flash hit the Soviet screen, very similar to the GDR Blaupunkt Reporter. Its technology was borrowed from West Germans (this is a Mannesmann Multiblitz Press flash). In the film, the actors were filmed with a non-working flash. This product weighed 4.76 kg, and with an external power supply - almost 8 kg, so the actress was sorry, and she was filmed only with the upper half of the product, without heavy batteries.

Like this. Flash. Eight kilograms.

In general, until the mid-late 50s, Soviet amateur photographers did not have electronic flashes.

What happened? The magnesium powder has most likely left the scene. Well, like, it's dangerous after all.

Probably, it was then that the system with FO-1v disposable lamps became relatively common.

By the way, you don't need high voltage batteries to light a disposable lamp. If you paid attention, the battery for Lightning EV-1 gives 300 volts (!!!) This is both weight, and price, and risk, probably.

I do not know, can such a battery kill with an electric current?

To ignite a disposable lamp, 4-5 volts are enough, and the battery is placed in the handle.

How did the flashes synchronize before the mid-50s?

In the photo from FO-1v above, several models of external synchronizers are visible.

Only now it seems to me that a similar synchronizer from KMZ was produced after all - already in the 60s. Although, I have no reliable data on this score. The information in the sources is very scarce.

And in the illustration (probably from the instructions) - the complete external synchronizer is not shown.

According to the passport, such a synchronizer with disposable flashes ensures correct operation with shutter speeds not shorter than 1/25 and, in any case, requires individual adjustment.

Therefore, it seems to me that it was often still synchronized manually on V.

Finally, in the mid-50s, impulse flares appeared.

For example, Luch-57 already fully implied installation in a bracket for camera attachments.

I will not argue, but I will assume that the first Lightning EV-1 was nominally attached only to the bracket.

In general, progress was made, and since 1955, Soviet devices have acquired synchronizers.

Synchronizers without advance control were designed only for electronic impulse flashes. It is clear that in 1955, and even at Smena-2, this was only a groundwork for such a solid future. Although, the plan for the strategic development of the industry was carried out, of course, clearly.

But there were still very few electronic flashes. Disposable lamps were still in use for a long time. For them, the lead adjustment is needed.

Let me explain a little what it is. First, using the curtain shutter as an example.

I think many people know that when working out short exposures, the second curtain begins to close the frame window earlier than the first - it has finished moving and opened it completely.

In fact, a gap between the curtains "passes" in front of the frame window. This is done because the speed of movement of the curtains is technologically limited and the first curtain simply does not have time to open the window in the time allotted for a very short shutter speed. Those. the curtain simply moves longer than the shutter speed.

Therefore, the duration of short exposures is set by the width of the gap between the moving curtains.

The “burning” time of the impulse flash is very short. The duration of the light pulse for Molniya EV-1 is 1 \ 2000 s. This is the shortest of all the excerpts at the time.

If the flash fires at the moment the gap between the shutters passes through the frame, then only some part of the frame will be exposed.

Therefore, the concept of "sync speed" appears - this is the shortest shutter speed at which the second curtain starts moving only at the moment when the first one has already fully opened the window. Those. at this exposure there is a moment when the frame window is fully open.

It is at this very moment that the flash should go off. Not earlier, not later. This moment lasts, of course, less time than the sync delay itself. The response time must be guessed very accurately.

Responsible for the exact response time - the synchronizer.

The central shutters open fully at any shutter speed, but the flash should still fire exactly at the moment of full opening.

With one-shot flashes, everything is a bit simpler and more complicated at the same time.

Easier - because the lamp burns out, of course, quickly, but still its burning time is much longer than that of a pulsed flash.

More difficult - that's why. If an electronic flash fires conditionally instantly, then a disposable lamp takes time for its contents to flare up in full force.

Those. you need to set fire to such a lamp a little earlier than the frame window is fully open.

The time required to rupture was different for different lamps. It was indicated on the packaging. The synchronizer on the camera made it possible to set the pre-ignition of the lamp exactly at this specific time.

For example, for Zorkiy-S, you can set the lead time from 5 to 25 milliseconds. Lead 0 is used for impulse flashes.

Let's summarize.

The appearance of synchronizers in Soviet cameras from 1955-56 did not mean that a fundamental possibility of using flashes appeared. There was such an opportunity before. Although, of course, it has become more convenient.

Soviet-made electronic flashes, which can be synchronized without anticipation, appeared at exactly the same time. But it took some time to fill the market, and the prices, like everything new and complex, were solid.

Therefore, devices with a simpler synchronizer were able to implement this functionality - only apparently much later. And I think they did not particularly strive to buy the latest electronic flash for the budget Smena-2.

The new line of KMZ devices with adjustable synchronizers, on the one hand, was designed, among other things, for outdated lamp flashes, on the other hand, it made it possible to use the existing flash units comfortably, correctly and without alignment.

Well, and considering that flashes of the late 50s are now a GREAT rarity, unlike cameras, I still assume that the use of flashes was not an everyday thing back then.

By the way, the external synchronizer at KMZ was produced exactly until 1966, at least. Until that time, the enterprise, so to speak, supported the operation of cameras without synchrocontact.

The ability to adjust the lead time, i.e. to use a variety of disposable flash lamps - it was preserved on Leningrad devices - until 1968, and Zorky-4, at least until 1967 (I have it and I can be sure), and possibly until 1973 (production was discontinued).

But, at the same time, starting with the Kristall apparatus (1962) and further - to Zenit-3M, Zenit-E, Zenit-EM, i.e. until 1985 - on these devices there was a simplified possibility of advance adjustment, from only two positions - for impulse flashes and for one-time flashes.

So, I wonder why such a simplification was introduced? Have disposable bulbs been standardized for burn-in time, or left an unclaimed option as a check-mark?

I think the second. If disposable lamps were actively used in the 60s and 70s, there would be much more of them now. Light fixtures, at least.

On the Zorkih, on the Zorky-5 (from 1958), Zorky-6, and Zorky-4K (up to 1978) models, the synchronizer setting was also simplified.

Something like this, and we return to Sharp-S.

Over the years, there have been several modifications of this camera, but a detailed story about them, as always, is beyond the scope of this article.

I will briefly dwell only on the main differences between honey modifications.

First, there are three options for engraving the top panel. In the review - the second option, and the earlier and later ones are in the photo

Secondly, in very early modifications, the knurling on the heads was vertical. A later and more widespread version is vertical-horizontal knurling (like the device in the review). ... There were cases with heads with different knurling on the same device.

Thirdly, on the occasion of the 1957 World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow, a limited edition of Zorkikh-S was released in specially designed boxes and with such an engraving on the back wall.

And, finally, fourthly, the body of the devices could be covered with both traditional volcanic and leatherette. Moreover, in some (rather rare) cases, the leatherette could be colored. In this photo, he is green.

I will show Zeleny Zorkiy-S later in the format of a short photo-review.

Zorkiy-S was produced for a short time. Already in 1958, it was turned in favor of Zorky-2C, which was distinguished by the presence of a self-timer. By 1961, all rangefinder devices with the letter C were discontinued. The line was unified in the Zorky-4 camera, which combined all the advantages of the previous variations.

Now Zorkiy-S is not uncommon, if we are not talking about some specific option. Early, festival and color versions are, of course, much less common, because collectors actively hunt for them.

Today we are examining an instance of Zorky-S in excellent condition, 1956 with the number 56066613.

Zorkiy-S camera
Zorky-S was produced at KMZ from 1955 to 1958. The volume of the issue was about 472 thousand copies.

The standard lens is a folding Industar-22 3.5 / 50.

The viewfinder is not aligned with the rangefinder.

Rangefinder base 38 mm.

Optics mount type - M39 × 1 thread. Focal length 28.8 mm.

The shutter is a curtain, made of cloth, it beats out the shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, V.

If you press the shutter release button and turn the rewind lever at a shutter speed of B, you get a long shutter speed D.

The camera is equipped with a sync contact with an adjustable flash pre-ignition time. Self-timer - no.

3/8 '' tripod socket.

The weight of my copy with a standard lens is 542 grams.

Control elements:

If the addition of a self-timer in the Zorky-2 model almost did not change the appearance of the device, well, except for the appearance of a lever, one of the most noticeable ones, then the synchro-contact transformed the device much more.

Zorkiy-S has become substantially taller. The shape of the upper body part has changed dramatically. Apparently, a synchronizer with an adjustable lead is a rather large unit.

Also, in comparison with the first Vigilant, the shutter speed head has changed. In Zorky-S, it has a fixed central part, i.e. shutter speeds can be changed both when the shutter is cocked, and when the shutter is released.

Instead of a shutter release lever when rewinding, the device received a rotary sleeve around the release button.

These changes are similar to Zorky-2, released a year earlier.

In front, in addition to the lens, three windows are visible.

In the center - rectangular - this is the viewfinder. On the sides are round - rangefinder. Rangefinder base 38 mm.

Yes, Zorky-S's viewfinder is still not aligned with the rangefinder. To take a picture, you need to do something like this: Looking through the viewfinder - select the desired distance to compose the frame. Looking through the rangefinder - focus on the desired object. Looking through the viewfinder again - finally position the frame boundaries in accordance with the composition.

Those. often it was necessary to put the eye several times to the viewfinder, then to the rangefinder.

Behind, respectively, two eyes.

The right one is from the viewfinder. The viewfinder of the first Zorky-S gives a small (x0.44 magnification), but quite bright and clear picture.

The left one is from the rangefinder. The picture in the rangefinder is round, has a real scale and a rather narrow field of view. The picture in the rangefinder does not give an idea of ​​the frame boundaries.

The image in the rangefinder is slightly tinted blue. The central area, in which, in fact, two images are superimposed, is lighter and slightly yellow.

In general, the rangefinder is quite comfortable to use.

The main controls are concentrated on the top bar.

From left to right are located:
- lifting head of rewinding;
- "cold" bracket for flashes;
- shutter speed head and lead time regulator under it;
- shutter release button with shutter disconnect sleeve and long exposure enable;
- head of shutter cocking and frame transport with frame counter.

The shutter speeds vary as is typical for this type of apparatus. To change the shutter speed, the head must be pulled up, turned until the required shutter speed is aligned with the dot in the central part of the head, and lowered.

When the shutter is cocked, the head rotates, but the dot always indicates the set shutter speed, this is convenient.

You can change the shutter speed both before and after the shutter is cocked.

The bottom of the unit has a bottom cover lock (left) and an old 3/8 inch tripod socket (right).

To charge the film, you need to open the lock and remove the bottom panel. On the left, it is fixed with a lock, and on the right, it is put on a pin on the side of the device.

Camera Attitude:

Zorkiy-S is a fairly typical camera for its time. Looking at it, I have more questions about the prevalence of outbreaks in general in the USSR in the second half of the 50s.

It seems that these devices were still very rare. If someone can share their own experience or other reliable information, please write in the comments

Lenses from many Soviet cameras, including this one, can be used with digital cameras. To do this, you need an adapter.

Attention! With a DSLR, the rangefinder lens will only work in macro mode. Full use is possible on a mirrorless.

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