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Zorkiy-4 camera review

Zorkiy-4 is a device that cannot be ignored in any way.

Zorky-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 all the later model range. Divides, so to speak, history into two parts.

The lineup of post-war (from 1947 to, conditionally, 1957) rangefinders KMZ is quite numerous, although all this variety is a little arbitrary, since is based on variations of a small list of functions.

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

True, Zorky-3 is already a largely independent apparatus, but in this case it is not the point. For us now, it is only important that two rulers were formed at once at a simpler and more complex level.

Further, these two lines to a significant extent lived and developed in parallel. You can conditionally call them as:
- Apparatus with an unmatched rangefinder and without long exposures
- 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 on each of the models I mentioned here.

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

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

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

I don't know what the logic is behind this. Probably, Kovrov Mechanical Plant was empirically groping for the vector of the industry development. Perhaps, by dosing the functionality, they tried to satisfy the specific needs of users, but not to inflate the price of the product. Here is unknown.

Although there was definitely some idea, tk. Maintaining the simultaneous release of so many models is a difficult and expensive story for an enterprise.

Be that as it may, for devices with an unmatched rangefinder and without long exposures, you can draw such a logically complete plate:

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

The place in the table where Zorky-2 is located in the higher-level ruler is empty. They did not create such a model.

Well, and the place of the apparatus in which "all inclusive" was taken was Zorky-4. Hero of the review.

Technically, Zorky-4 is a modification of Zorky-3C after adding a self-timer.

With its release (1956), the production of all Zorkih without synchronization and Zorkiy-3C was discontinued. Part of the younger line was still supported for some time, possibly for the availability of budget models on the shelves. Or perhaps they were spending the accumulated stocks of components for junior models.

Nevertheless, time goes by and an uncombined rangefinder is already in no way at all. In 1958, Zorky-S was discontinued, and in 1960 - Zorkiy-2C.
From that moment on, Zorky-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 rangefinder devices. Purely mechanical and with electronics. Most of which Zorky-4 survived safely ...

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

Zorky-4K was discontinued in 1980, having outlived all the "comrades in the shop" and for the last couple of years remained the last and only rangefinder produced at KMZ.

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

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

That's it.

Zorky-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. Further, I will focus only on the most noticeable of them. This article does not intend to reproduce all of the Zorky-4 modifications that collectors give out.

This review is a fairly early 1957 model. Let me remind you that the start of production was in 1956.

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

In the numbers of the 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 vehicles were covered with black volcanite as standard for those years. They switched to leatherette in the 60s. Although on there is a rare copy of 1957, released for the VI World Festival of Youth and Students. The so-called "Festival". This piece is covered with green leatherette. Photo from

On some 1957 copies, the word "Festival" was engraved on the back of the upper case.

Early releases of Zorky-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 V. This is exactly what is 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 Zorky-4, the front rangefinder and viewfinder windows are surrounded by decorative frames. And there are 4 screws in the corners of the accessory bracket.

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

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

From about 67 years on, the exposure scale began to be applied by silk-screen printing. This is essentially a stencil painting. From that moment on, the scale began to wear off catastrophically quickly from rubbing with your fingers. This is a very significant disadvantage of the later modifications of the Zorky-4.

In 1959, a simplified version of Zorky-4 was published under its own name Mir. But this is a separate story. I have a relevant review.

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

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

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

The most common stamp is this. It is large, two-colored. Located on the top of the cabinet to the left of the accessory bracket. Devices with holiday stamps have been produced for only 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 housing part to the right of the viewfinder eyepiece.

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

Such a stamp is even more rare. 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 do not have this and I did not find an image with the proper color rendition. Here he looks like black.

There is another photo of such a stamp on the website. But there is also expressed the lack of confidence in the authenticity.

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

I will only indicate 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, this is almost imperceptible.

Everything is with the historical part.

Zorky-4 is now never a problem to find. The circulation is 1.7 million copies. that's a lot. It is clear that some specific options can be met very rarely, but mass modifications are always offered in the range.

Today we have a very good 1957 copy with the reference number 5720692.

Zorkiy-4 camera
Zorky-4 was produced at KMZ from 1956 to 1973. The volume of production is about 1.7 million pieces.

Rangefinder device

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

Rangefinder base 38 mm.

Standard lens Jupiter-8 2/50 or Industar-50 3.5 / 50.

Lens mount - M39 × 1 thread. The working distance is 28 mm.

The shutter is made of cloth, focal plane with a horizontal movement. 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 V.

There is a wired flash sync. Sync speed - 1/25. The pre-ignition time of the flashes can be adjusted for electronic or disposable lamps of different types.

The device has a self-timer.

3/8 '' tripod socket.

The weight of my copy without the lens is 612 grams.

Control elements:

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

Still to the right is the round wired synchronizer socket.

There is now a lever and a self-timer button to the right of the lens.

Behind - only the eyepiece of the viewfinder.

The Zorky-4 viewfinder is excellent. The picture is very large. There is a diopter adjustment. The rangefinder spot is quite large and the details are well distinguishable.

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

Along the edges, two locks for 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.

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

Above Zorky-4 from left to right are:
- lifting head of rewind with a diopter adjustment lever at the base;
- bracket for photo accessories;
- a shutter speed control head and a flash ignition advance time control ring at the base;
- the shutter release button, around which the rotary sleeve allows you to turn off the shutter for rewinding or keep the button pressed to work out the D shutter speed;
- frame transport 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 it to the desired value and lower it.

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

The crown does not rotate between B and 1 second. When a shutter speed of 1/25 or slower is selected, the head moves with resistance and is fixed at a higher position.

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

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

The release button has a short and relatively hard stroke, in my copy.

Camera attitude

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

If not for a collection, but for filming, then Zorky-4 is also an excellent option. It's functional and robust enough to keep it running and fulfill all your creative ideas.

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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