Zenit-19 is a Soviet 35mm film SLR camera with semi-automatic exposure control, produced at the KMZ plant from 1979 to 1987.
The main feature of the Zenit-19 is the presence of a lamellar shutter with shutter speeds from 1 sec. to 1/1000 sec. This shutter is designed in such a way that shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/500 are worked out electronically, and 1/1000 second is worked out purely mechanically.
- Type: 35mm SLR camera
- Manufacturer: BelOMO plant
- Production period: from 1979 to 1987
- Format: 24x36cm on 135 film
- Lens mount: m42 thread mount
- Lens: Helios-44m f2.0/58
- Viewfinder image field size: 22.8×34.2mm
- Shutter: focal-plane shutter with speeds from 1 sec/ to 1/1000 sec.
- Viewfinder: SLR with non-removable pentaprism
- Lighmeter: built-in TTL light meter
- Flash synchronisation: sync socket “X”, sync speeds from 1/125 s and longer
- Selftimer: mechanical
- Weight: 950 grams
Zenit-19 replaced the Zenit-16 camera, which was considered unreliable and too expensive. Zenit-19 was a much more reliable and advanced device.
In the Soviet market of photo equipment, Zenit-19 competed (if it can be called competition) with Kiev-19, which was the most advanced and high-quality camera of those years.
The Zenit-19 camera was equipped with a Zenitar-M f1.7/50 or Helios-44M f2.0/58 lens. The Zenitar-M lens is a very good example of Soviet photographic equipment. The lens has very decent sharpness and excellent bokeh. The Helios-44M lens is almost as good as the Zenitar-M, having an aperture ratio of 2.0 versus 1.7 and slightly less sharpness in the center.
The Zenit-19 has a standard M42 mount, which means you can use a very large array of lenses with this camera. For example, such legendary Soviet manual lenses as Mir-1B, Helios-44-2, Jupiter-37A have an M42 mount, and can be used on this camera without any adapters.
As mentioned above, Zenit-19 has a shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/1000 sec. Unlike the shutters of Zenit-7 or Zenit-16 cameras, this shutter is much more reliable. The only disadvantage of this shutter is that it does not work without batteries, and the right batteries are quite difficult to find in our time.
In the viewfinder, you can see 90% of the future frame, which is much better than this figure for most other Zenits of those years. A large coverage helps to simplify the process of framing and composing, which of course is an indisputable advantage of this camera.
The body of the camera is made of plastic, which allows this bulky device to be lighter. Despite all its square shape, the Zenit-19 is quite comfortable to hold in your hands. The controls are in the usual places, and you can easily find where the knobs and dials you need are located.
The camera is assembled quite well, which is another plus, because in our time it is quite difficult to find a Soviet film camera of the last century in decent condition.
What can be said about the Zenit-19 camera?
In fact, this is one of the most advanced cameras produced in the Soviet Union. The camera has everything you need for comfortable photography. In addition, the Zenit-19 camera is spared most of the shortcomings of other Zenits.
In combination with a relatively low price, a standard Zenitar-M lens and the ability to attach lenses with an M42 mount to the camera, makes this device one of the best Soviet film cameras you can buy nowadays.