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Camera Zorkiy-4 review

Zorkiy-4 is an apparatus that cannot be overlooked in any way.

Zorkiy-4 is a landmark camera. I would say that it is the fourth model that stands at the junction between the post-war KMZ rangefinders and the entire later model range. Divides, so to speak, the story into two parts.

The model range of post-war (from 1947 to, conditionally, 1957) KMZ rangefinders is quite numerous, although all this diversity is a bit arbitrary, because. is based on variations of a small list of functions.

It all started with a fundamental division into a) descendants of Leica II (Zorkiy from 1947) and b) descendants of Leica IIIa (Zorkiy-3 from 1951).

True, Zorkiy-3 is to a greater extent an independent apparatus, but in this case it is not the point. The only important thing for us now is that two rulers were immediately formed at a level simpler and more difficult.

Further, these two lines largely lived and developed in parallel. You can conditionally call them as:
- Devices with an uncombined rangefinder and without slow shutter speeds
- Devices with a combined rangefinder and long exposures.

There are more differences, but here I am simplifying. For details, you can refer to my reviews, which are already available for each of the models I mention here.

Further, the lineup branches due to the presence / absence of only two functions - the self-timer and the wired sync contact.

Again, the described period of time is a decade and there were more changes in the models, of course. But I take only the main ones with the so-called. consumer.

So, variations of two functions. Moreover, the company tried to create just the same maximum number of these variations.

I don't know what the logic is behind this. It is possible that KMZ empirically groped for the vector of development of the industry. Perhaps, by dosing the functionality, they tried to satisfy the specific needs of users, but not to overestimate the price of the product. That's unknown.

Although there was definitely some idea, because. to support the simultaneous release of so many models is a story for the enterprise and is not easy and not cheap.

The appearance of Zorkiy-3M on the basis of Zorkiy-3 is already pure evolution, not diversity.

The place in the table where Zorkiy-2 is located, in a higher level line, is empty. Such a model was not created.

Well, the place of the apparatus in which "all inclusive" was taken by Zorkiy-4. Review hero.

Technically, the Zorkiy-4 is a modification of the Zorkiy-3C after the addition of the self-timer.

With its release (1956), the production of all Zorki without synchronization and Zorki-3S ceased. Part of the younger line was still supported for some time, perhaps for the availability of budget models on the shelves. Or perhaps they used up the accumulated stock of components for younger models.

Nevertheless, time passes and an uncombined rangefinder is completely out of the question. In 1958, the Zorkiy-S was discontinued, and in 1960, the Zorkiy-2S.
From that moment on, Zorkiy-4 remains one of the last generation of devices.

However, this does not prevent him from living happily in parallel with the new concepts of rangefinders. Purely mechanical and electronic. Most of which Zorkiy-4 successfully survived ...

In 1972, Zorkiy-4 was replaced by Zorkiy-4K. His review is one of the first on my site. Not much has changed.

Zorkiy-4K was taken out of production in 1980, outliving all the "comrades in the shop" and for the last couple of years remaining the last and only rangefinder produced at KMZ.

Thus, Zorkiy-4 not only separates the first post-war generations of Krasnogorsk rangefinders, the best of which he absorbed, but from the next.

At the same time, the Zorkiy-3 - Zorkiy-4 - Zorkiy-4K line is a kind of vector that permeates the entire history of independently developed KMZ rangefinder cameras from beginning to end. Almost 30 years.

That's it.

Zorkiy-4 was produced for a long time - from 1956 to 1973. About 17 years old.

During this period, the appearance of the device has undergone some changes. In the following, I will focus only on the most notable of them. This article does not aim to reproduce all modifications of the Zorkiy-4, which are distinguished by collectors.

The review is a fairly early model of 1957 release. The start of production, I recall, was in 1956.

In general, my copy has all the earliest features, except for one - the earliest knurling on the heads was vertical, like on the Zorkiy-3C. Photo from

In the numbers of devices, the first two digits mean the year, therefore, it is not difficult to determine which generation the camera belongs to.

At first, the bodies of the apparatus were covered with black vulcanite, which was standard for those years. They switched to leatherette in the 60s. Although provides a rare copy of 1957, released for the VI World Festival of Youth and Students. The so-called "Festival". This copy is covered with green leatherette. Photo from

On some 1957 examples, the word "Festival" was engraved on the back of the top of the case.

Early releases of Zorkiy-4 had the old set of shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and B. Exactly the same on the copy in the review. In 1959, the set of shutter speeds was changed to the modern version: 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and B.
Even in the early Zorkiy-4, the front windows of the rangefinder and viewfinder are surrounded by decorative frames. And there are 4 screws on the corners of the accessory bracket.

Since 1960, all this has disappeared. The photo on the right shows a 1967 copy.

Further. At first, the name of the device and, most importantly, the shutter speed scale on the head chase were engraved and the engraving was already filled with paint.

From the 67th, approximately, the shutter speed scale began to be applied by silk-screen printing. It's basically a stencil painting. From that moment on, the scale began to wear out catastrophically quickly from finger friction. This is a very significant disadvantage of later modifications of Zorkiy-4.

In 1959, under its own name Mir, a simplified version of Zorkiy-4 was released. But that is another story. I have a relevant review.

Of course, one cannot fail to mention the anniversary issues of Zorkiy-4.

In 1967, the USSR celebrated 50 revolutions. Many photo companies released limited editions of cameras with holiday stamps or stickers for this occasion. KMZ and Zorkiy-4 are no exception, of course.

Interestingly, there are several types of stamps on Zorkiy-4. This is rather atypical. It would be interesting to know why this happened.

This is the most common stamp. It is large and bi-coloured. It is located on the upper plane of the housing to the left of the accessory bracket. Devices with holiday stamps were produced only for 1 or maybe 2 years, so they are a priori less common than others. Nevertheless, the offer of devices with such stamps is not uncommon.

Such a stamp is much less common. It is red, smaller and placed on the back of the upper part of the body to the right of the viewfinder eyepiece.

Perhaps at first a smaller stamp appeared, but then it was decided that the event deserved a brighter sign? Fortunately, there is a place on the case.

Even significantly rarer is such a stamp. Geometrically, it is similar to the previous one and is located in the same place, but it is made not in red, but in dark blue paint. I don’t have this and I didn’t find an image with proper color reproduction. Here it looks black. Photo from

Throughout the production period, the styles of the inscription with the name of the device changed. There were export versions with the name in Latin. I will not dwell on them in detail.

I will only point out this, apparently, a curious option. The name is in Latin, but the capital letter, it seems, is still in Cyrillic. It's hard to say what that would mean. Photo from

In the latest releases of Zorkiy-4, the front viewfinder window has become slightly smaller. Visually, it is almost imperceptible.

Everything with the historical part.

Zorkiy-4 is never a problem to find now. Circulation 1.7 million copies. it's a lot. It is clear that some specific options may be very rare, but mass modifications are always offered in stock.

Today in the review is a copy in very good condition of 1957 with the number 5720692.

Camera Zorkiy-4
Zorkiy-4 was produced at KMZ from 1956 to 1973. The output volume is about 1.7 million 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 or Industar-50 3.5/50.

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

The shutter is made of cloth, curtain-slit with a horizontal stroke. In this instance, the shutter beats a set of shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and B.

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.

The device has a self-timer.

3/8" tripod socket.

The weight of my copy without a lens is 612 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.

To the right of the lens, there is now a lever and a self-timer button.

Behind - only the eyepiece of the viewfinder.

The Zorkogo-4 viewfinder is excellent. 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 Zorkoy-4, from left to right, are:
— lifting rewind head with a 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

Of course, Zorki-4 should be in every photo collection. The historical role of the device is undeniable and it is not difficult to get a good copy.

If not for a collection, but for shooting on film, then Zorkiy-4 is also a great option. It is functional and reliable enough to keep up and realize all your creative ideas.

Lenses from many Soviet cameras, including this one, can be used with digital cameras. For this you will need an adapter. The cheapest adapters are sold on Aliexpress. The table will help you choose an adapter for your system.

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

Some lenses have important specifics. That's all for me.

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