Thursday, July 26, 2012


The Zorki 4 was made in the USSR from 1956 to 1973. So it was being made from the time I was born almost until the time that I graduated from high school.  And while I enjoyed reading Maxim Gorky during those years I never heard of a Zorki until just a few years ago.

The Zorki 4 in the picture was made in 1969, one year after the Beatles released "Back in the USSR".  Because of the western lettering it was an export model.  The camera came to me in good shape.  About the only problem was with some loosening of the covering in a couple of places.

You may notice a self-timer lever being prominent on the front of the camera.  That reminds me of warning I have heard about not using the self-timer on one of these old cameras until you are sure that everything else related to the shutter works well.   And even then it may not be a good idea. Anyway supposedly a lot of people can't resist setting off the self-timer right away and end up with a jammed shutter.  

Like the FED 2 that I talked about last week the Zorki 4 is another Leica II copy. Unlike the Leica II the Zorki has the rangefinder and the viewfinder in one window.  And the rangefinder in the Zorki 4 is large and bright enough to be useful even in low light.  Like the FED 2 the Zorki has a diopter correction lever beneath the film rewind knob.  The shutter speeds are B, 1 - 1000.  And if you don't remember anything else about this type of camera, remember never to change the shutter speed until the shutter is cocked.  The lens on my Zorki 4 is a Jupiter 8 50mm f/2.  I believe this is the standard lens for the Zorki 4.  The Jupiter 8 is a copy of the Zeiss Sonnar.  In case you don't know the Soviets got a lot of plans and equipment from Zeiss as a part of war repartitions. 

Of the four Soviet era cameras that I have the Zorki 4 made the best first impressions.  For me at least it fit well in my hands and had just the right amount of weight.  Still so far it has worked out that I haven't spent enough time with the Zorki 4 so that I feel I have truly tested it.  It seems like when I pick up the Zorki it inspires weather that is not comfortable for photography.  The latest example is while after enjoying a few days of more moderate temperatures with the FED 2, the heat wave vigorously reasserted itself when I picked up the Zorki 4. Also for some reason I seem more prone to mishaps with film when I have been using the Zorki 4.  And while the weather and the film mishaps are not the fault of the Zorki, the result is a fairly sparse Zorki 4 gallery. Still I do see enough in the pictures that once fair weather returns I plan to spend more time using the Zorki 4.  Hopefully my Zorki 4 is not some mysterious cold war artifact, intended to inflict permanent heat and drought on Central Illinois, that I have inadvertently activated.  

Seems like the heat has inspired me to take a lot of pictures of little wagons lately.  Zorki 4 Gallery

Some more info about the Zorki 4:
Zorki 4 at Matt's Classic Cameras
Zorki 4 Owner's Manual 
A listing of the many Zorki 4 models.