The Zarya is a fairly simple camera that was produced by the FED factory in Kharkov from 1959 to 1961. It is very interesting that Zarya is one of the few Soviet cameras that do not have a rangefinder or mirror device but have the ability to change lenses.

soviet cameras
ussr cameras

In fact, the Zarya camera is a simplified version of the FED 2. Simplification was achieved by removing the rangefinder from the camera. How expensive the rangefinder was and whether production was significantly cheaper without it is a mystery to us

The Zarya camera was equipped with an Industar-26M 2.8/50 lens and had an M39 threaded mount. As we have said repeatedly, Industar-26 is a fairly good lens, not much inferior to the newer Industar-61 2,8/50 (according to other sources, 2.8/52).

soviet camera
zarya camera

The lens gives a fairly sharp image and good contrast. Of course, we must understand that, like all Soviet lenses, quality depends on the specific model. You can find both a perfect lens that meets the highest world standards and a terrible specimen giving very bad and blurry images.

The camera was equipped with exactly the same shutter as in FED 2 and has shutter speeds of 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/50, 1/25 and B. A not very large set of shutter speeds, but quite sufficient for more or less comfortable photography.

zarya soviet camera
fed zarya

Like FED 2, the Zarya camera is made of a metal body and is sheathed with vulcanite. This design style is inherited from Leica cameras, copies of which were the first FED cameras.

The body is very comfortable, and it is very nice to hold it in your hands. All controls are in place, and the process of photographing with the Zarya is very pleasant.

fed zarya ussr
zarya soviet cameras

As mentioned above, the camera does not have a mirror or rangefinder mechanism, so focusing is done using the distance scale on the lens. But to simplify the task, you can use a third-party rangefinder, mounting it on a cold shoe above the viewfinder.

zarya industar

The shutter cocking and film advancing knob is very convenient, and clearly inspired by Kiev rangefinder cameras. The shutter release button is very soft and comfortable. It has a thread for the shutter release cable, which greatly simplifies the task of photographing in the dark.

So what is the Zarya camera?

This is a very interesting and stylish camera, which is an unusual monument to the Soviet photography industry. Being one of the early Soviet devices, this camera has a fairly good quality. The Zarya camera can be not only an interesting instance in the collection but also a good tool in the hands of a photographer.

But of course, in addition to the Industar lenses, the camera can be equipped with an even better lens, for example, Jupiter 8 2/50, which is one of the best Soviet lenses. This lens gives you stunning shots with a very nice vintage effect.

zarya jupiter 8 lens
Zarya, Jupiter 8, Ilford HP5 Plus 400
zarya jupiter 8
Zarya, Jupiter 8, Ilford HP5 Plus 400
zarya photos
Zarya, Jupiter 8, Ilford HP5 Plus 400


  1. I just bought a Zarya through ebay, as well as a Fed 2, because I love shooting film and developing it too. I really like your reviews, given that they are well written and easy to read and the photo examples that you include is truly a great idea. Thank you for doing this, for us film cameras junkies.

    1. Thank you so much too.
      The FED 2 is a good camera, we wish you to enjoy the use of this beautiful camera.

  2. I am an Old School photographer that has been shooting and developing film since 1968 that has recently discovered the Old Soviet cameras and have recently bought three through Ebay, my Zarya has arrived first and now I await the other three. I am looking forward to properly cleaning my cameras and going outdoor to test a film roll during this COVID-19 stay home orders in effect; I can walk with my face mask on and shoot picture.

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