Fans of vintage gear are always happy when they find an old film camera in flawless condition. But what about finding hundreds of them? There’s a stash of brand new Soviet cameras in a Kazakh warehouse, and photographer Andrey Khludeyev told a story about it.
From vintage golden rings to lifelike animals, hidden cameras come in many interesting shapes, sizes and purposes. But in a recently sold collection of Russian spy cameras at Aston’s Auctioneers in the UK, one of them caught my eye. It’s a spy camera disguised as – a camera. Sometimes works best to hide things in the most obvious places, and this is a perfect example.
After more than ten years, Russian camera manufacturer Zenit is back in business. They have announced a comeback in 2018, with a new full frame mirrorless digital camera. The brand started producing 35mm film cameras in 1952, and in the 1960s and 1970s, they were exported to 74 countries. The last camera was Zenit KM Plus. It was produced in 2005, after which the factory ceased.
But now it seems we can expect Zenit’s return, with modern features of a full frame digital mirrorless camera, but recognizable Zenit’s design.
The Zenit E is one of the Soviet Union’s most enduring photographic legacies. Designed in the mid-1960s, it was produced on an eye-watering scale. Millions and millions – as many as 12 million, some believe – were produced in Soviet factories until the middle of the 1980s, by which time it’s rough and ready charms were decidedly old hat.
I reviewed the Zenit E in the early days of my own blog – it was one of the SLR cameras I’d burned a bunch of rolls through. The Zenit E’s a pretty uninspiring camera if you look at the specifications – a handful of shutter speeds, chunky, clunky lines, an uncoupled selenium meter and screw mount lenses.
It turns out, though, that the Zenit E’s unsophisticated, uncluttered CV makes it a pretty decent sunny weather camera…
Russian manufacturer KMZ has a long history in the photographic world, having produced cameras, lenses and enlargers under the Zenit brand since 1952.
Having been relatively quiet for a number of years, they’re now making a big comeback with the announcement of three very interesting new manual focus lenses; 85mm f/1.2, 50mm f/1.2 and 50mm f/0.95.
The lens is available in Canon mount with an adapter, Nikon (built-in mount), Pentax and Yashica screw-mounts, Praktica SLRs, Soviet Zenit SLRs and any other cameras using the M42 mount.
The lens is known as a copy of the Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 75mm f/1.5, but costs just a fraction of the price.