I am always curious to try out various models of Russian cameras. I find myself interested in just how bad a camera can get, and if I can get a decent result out it. When I started to be interested in photography, mid 80’s, the vast majority of available cameras in Romania were Russian, with …
Rangefinders (Changeable Lens)
Rangefinder (changeable lens) camera reviews – the rangefinder cameras reviewed here allow the photographer to change the lens on the front of the camera. With this comes a series of different lens mounts. The most notable being Leica Thread (/Screw) Mount (LTM/LSM), Leica M-Mount, Nikon S Mount and Contax rangefinder mount. The latter comes in two varieties, internal (for 50mm lenses) and external (for other focal lengths). Sound complicated? It isn’t really.
If you are unaware of the concept of a rangefinder, you can find out more about them in this article: What is a Rangefinder Camera, and is one right for you?
As with all the content on this website, if you find something of interest, you can find more similar products by clicking on the tags you will find at the bottom of the reviews.
I’ve written before about the British camera industry. I’ve done a review of a medium format SLR from a company called ‘Aeronautical General Instruments’ (AGI). AGI were based in Purley Way, Croydon. They produced AGILux cameras and lenses there. AGI claimed to produce everything in the one factory, even constructing their own lenses and shutters.
Back in 2005 I had just started getting back into shooting Film and had bought a Minolta Dynax 5 to accompany my Konica Minolta 7D DSLR.
What I then wanted was a Leica – almost everyone starts off wanting a Leica, very much like when one starts of being interested in Wrist watches wanting a Rolex. I never did get one though – I was on Amazon’s website and when I typed “Rangefinder camera” an advert for an open box Contax G2 with 45mm Carl Zeiss Planar lens came up for an expensive £550. I had never heard of Contax and had no idea what a G2 was but after a short read on the Web I took a punt and received it in a couple of days.
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” – Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer.
This quote from Russia’s most famous writer was commonly used by my grandfather, who sadly passed away recently. For a long time, I was not aware of its meaning, until the Zorki 4K, a Former Soviet Union (FSU) rangefinder, found its way into my hands. Quickly I realized that the beautiful Leica II duplicate polarizes the community quite a bit. People seem to either love or hate it. The more I was getting into the camera and the more effort I spent, this famous saying came back to my mind. Despite the camera frustrating me to no end at the beginning, I remained patient and got rewarded with true beauty. This article is about why I love the Zorki 4K and why you all should probably give FSU cameras a fair chance.
What makes a camera treasured? Often, it was owned by a family member. Or it may simply become an invaluable part of a photographer’s arsenal. This beautiful, tank-like, Canon VI-T rangefinder was neither. In fact I almost sold it for parts on “the ‘Bay.” But quickly decided not to.
A Flawed Beauty
I paid just $5 for it at a garage sale around 30 years ago. It looked beautiful, and the left-handed Trigger Winder in its base plate (extended in the photo) still seemed to work