The Camera Site

KMZ, Krasnogorski Mekhanicheskii Zavod KMZ, - Mechanical Engineering Factory of Krasnogorsk

Zorki 4

Zorki 4

This one as all my Russian rangefinder cameras I have bought in Estonia. During a Soviet collapse Estonian people fought for freedom and achieved an indipendence after decades of occupation. Hundreds of thousands Finns rushed to Estonia to buy cheap booze and cheap cameras etc. Me among the others. Sorry to say, but sometimes I felt like a thief.

The Russian word "Zorki" means "Sharp-sighted". The "Zorki" camera was an exact copy of the "FED" whose production started before WW II. The FED camera in turn, was a copy of the famous Leica II camera.
The first batches of the Zorki were engraved "FED 1948 Zorkf. The earliest ones were marked "FED" only, with the famous KMZ (Krasnogorsk Optical and Mechanical Factory) logo without an arrow. These were supplied with "Industar 22" 3.5/50 or "Industar 50" 3.5/50 lenses. However, some of the cameras were fitted with other lenses. The Zorki camera has a shutter speed range of 1/20, 1/30, 1/40, 1/60, 1/100, 1/200, and 1/500, as well as B (or Z). Some cameras made in 1948 had an additional 1/1000 top speed. The shutter release was modernized in 1950 to accommodate a threaded cable release. After 1952, camera body shells were made by die casting. In the early 50s, a small number of Zorki cameras were fitted with additional slow shutter speeds. In 1955, a new shutter step progression was introduced — 1/25 to 1/500 sec. Unlike the FED, Zorki cameras had always been manufactured with the true 28.8 lens register. A total of 835502 Zorki cameras were produced.


Zorki 4 is a KMZ copy or at least a modification of the Leica II. It was manufactured since 1954 to 1973. It is a nice looking camera which is capable to take extremely good pictures.

Zorki is not the "Lonely Wolf", Leica copys were manufactured all over the world after WW II when the German proprietary and patents were cancelled. In this case the manufacturing quality and the finishing is a way of Leicas but value for a price is definitely higher.

Soviet made Leica copy lenses has (if you find a good one) an optical performance similar to the originals. Only the mechanical finish of the body falls behind.

  • Picture size: 24 x 36mm
  • Lens: LTM Jupiter-8 (KMZ copy of Zeiss Sonnar) 1:2 / 50mm / Jupiter-3 1:1,5 / 50mm
  • Filter size: 40.5mm threaded, 42mm slip-on
  • Viewfinder: coupled rangefinder
  • Shutter double cloth curtain speeds B, 1s-1/1000
  • Weight: 726g with Jupiter-8
  • Diopter correction lever
  • Self-timer
  • Accessory shoe and PC sync connection

Mir (Peace) 1951-1971

Mir is a cut down version of Zorki 4. Shutter speeds are limited between 1/30 - 1/500 and B. (Zorki 4 , 1sec - 1/1000 sec +B) Otherwise Mir has same features than Zorki. It is even considered as more reliable and easier to use.This Mir has Jupiter-12 2,8/ 35mm wide angle lens.
Somehow the Mir has a more reliable feeling ?? It is definitely my favourite of these three cameras.

Zorki 4K

Zorki 4K

Manufactured from 1972 to 1977 the last RF made by KMZ. It looked good felt good and worked well in the hand.Main difference to Zorki 4 is, 4K has a film winding lever instead of the knob. I only wish, that they had spent some more time and effort on perfecting the reliability and a design of the slow speed shutter mechanism. It has the same weakness as other Zorki (and also FED) focal plane shutter cameras. Great care must always be taken when setting slow shutter speeds otherwise damage will occur and you must absolutely remember to cock the shutter before you set the shutter speed. If you don´t do this it may cause severe damage to the shutter mechanism.
The photographic results are almost as good as any Leica. In fact the camera is very similar to a Leica III. The manufacturing standards are not as high as on Leica but if you can put up with this, Zorki will give you a great value for you money

Jupiter 12,

A copy of the pre-World War II Zeiss Biogon 35mm lens. The rear element of the lens is bigger, than the front lens. There is a real need for the rear lens cap.

Jupiter 12 Jupiter Mushroom

Jupiter 3

A copy of Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5. Or is it ? Some years ago I found from an old Soviet web page these construction schemes which claims that those lenses are not of exactly equal optical construction.

Jupiter 3

Jupiter 3b

LTM Jupiter-3Jupiter Zeiss SonnarSonnar


Jupiter 9, 2/85mm lens

The glass is slightly radioactive and it has a propensity to get yellow, whic this one has really done. You don't need a yellow filter with B&W film.


Btw. Why it seems to be impossible to get a close-up-picture of this lens with an ordinary camera. Strange foggy negatives ?? Active

With Digital Camera everything is OK?? ;-)

©2004 Reijo Lauro