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Camera Zorkiy-3C review

Zorkiy-3S is the flagship model of rangefinder cameras from KMZ as of 1955.

The letter "C" in the name indicates that the camera has flash synchronization.

This option was massively and strictly synchronously (pun intended) added to Soviet cameras exactly in 1955. This is written in detail in the review of Zorkiy-S and I will not repeat here. Look, the material is interesting.

Here it is - a trinity of rangefinders with synchronization. Zorkiy-S, Zorkiy-2S and, of course, Zorkiy-3S - the hero of the review.

Technically, the Zorkiy-3S is a modernization of the previous Zorkiy-3M model, to which a synchronizer was added. The synchronizer, and even with adjustable flash ignition advance, is apparently a large assembly, and the designers had to change the shape of the top cover of the device quite a lot.

The right side of the body has become more massive, higher. The shutter speed head moved from the “step” to the “roof”, which increased the overall height of the device.

I met the opinion that the design was spoiled. For me, that Zorkiy-3M, that Zorkiy-3S - both look rather funny and interesting than beautiful.

Zorkiy-3S was produced for a short time, only in 1955-56. After 1956, all rangefinder models without synchronization were turned off at KMZ. Zorkiy-3C was also turned down, more precisely, it was modernized once again, namely, they added a self-timer to it. And that is somehow strange. The younger Zirkiy-2S has a self-timer, but the flagship does not.

After adding the self-timer to Zorkiy-3C, Zorkiy-4 turned out. But that is another story.

In 1955-56 Zorkiy-3S was one of the most functional Soviet cameras. Although, the competitors were not asleep, of course.

The closest competitor in class for Zorkiy-3C was Kyiv-IIA. An apparatus with very similar functionality, which was released in the same 1955. Photo from

Moreover, Kyiv-IIA additionally had a self-timer, which Zorkiy-3C was deprived of.

But, Kyiv-IIIA also had a built-in exposure meter.

LOMO in 1956 released its Leningrad. It was an even higher class device.

And finally, Zorkiy-3S also competed with a DSLR from the same KMZ - with Zenit-S.

Due to the short release, the Zorkiy-3S does not have many options within the lineup.

The earliest prototypes had a different style of title lettering. Photo from I think this is a very rare option.

But, on the contrary, the late version of 1956. Photo from the book "1200 cameras from the USSR". There are no decorative frames around the viewfinder and rangefinder on the front panel.

It is interesting here that the first Zorkiy-4 (see my photo above) before the 60th year had such frames. And only later the surface around the viewfinder and rangefinder became smooth. And here we see the Zorkiy-3S, which was produced no later than 1956, but already without frames.

I think this is also very rare.

The mass-produced Zorkiy-3S models are not particularly rare, and now they can be found without any problems.

In the review, a copy of 1956 in excellent condition with the number 5632815.

Camera Zorkiy-3S
Zorkiy-3S was produced at KMZ from 1955 to 1956. The volume of production is about 45 thousand pieces.

Rangefinder apparatus

The viewfinder is combined with a rangefinder, the eyepiece magnification is 1.15×. There is a diopter adjustment.

Rangefinder base 38 mm.

Regular lens Jupiter-8 2/50.

Lens mount - M39 × 1 thread. Working length - 28 mm.

The shutter is made of cloth, curtain-slit with a horizontal stroke. Beats an extended set of shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and V.

There is a wired flash sync. Synchronization speed - 1/25. It is possible to adjust the ignition timing of flashes with the expectation of electronic or disposable lamps of different types.

There is no self-timer.

3/8" tripod socket.

The weight of my copy without a lens is 590 grams.


At the top of the front panel are the viewfinder windows (large on the left), and the rangefinder (smaller and closer to the center of the camera).

Even more to the right is a round socket for a wired synchronizer.

Behind - only the eyepiece of the viewfinder.

The Zorkogo-3C viewfinder is excellent, like the entire 3rd series. The picture is very large. There is a diopter adjustment. The rangefinder spot is quite large and the details in it are quite distinguishable.

Below is a tripod socket for the old 3/8 inch size and it is strictly along the axis of the lens.

Along the edges, two locks of a removable back cover. To remove the cover, you need to lift the brackets on the locks and turn them. Next, the lid needs to be pushed down a little, and it will separate.

In the open position, the staples will not fold. So you can always understand whether the locks are open or not.

From the top of the Zorkoy-3C from left to right are:
— rewind lifting head with diopter adjustment lever at the base;
- bracket for photo accessories;
- exposure control head and ring for controlling the flash ignition lead time at the base;
- the shutter button, around which the rotary sleeve allows you to turn off the shutter for rewind or keep the button pressed to work out the shutter speed D;
- a frame transportation head interlocked with a shutter cocking and a frame counter at the top.

Exposure control is classic for Soviet rangefinders with a large number of exposure options. To select any of the shutter speeds, just raise the crown, turn to the desired value and lower.

You can change shutter speeds only when the shutter is cocked!

In the interval between B and 1 second, the crown does not turn. When choosing a shutter speed of 1/25 and longer, the head moves with resistance and is fixed in a higher position.

When the shutter is cocked, the shutter speed head rotates and it is possible to understand which shutter speed is selected only if the shutter is cocked.

The flash ignition lead time is changed by turning the ribbed ring under the shutter speed head. Preemption options are available from 0 to 25 milliseconds. Lead 0 should be set for electronic flashes.

The shutter button has a short and relatively hard, in my copy, move.

Attitude towards the camera

I have already described quite a few similar devices, and Zorkiy-3S does not cause any special sensations in me. Just a really good machine. Flagship in its line.

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