Zenit-4 is a high-quality, automated, small-format, SLR camera with a frame format of 24×36 produced at the KMZ plant from 1964-1968.
Zenit-4 was absolutely innovative and very different from everything that was produced by the KMZ plant before. The Zenit-4 camera was the basic model, on the basis of which the Zenit-5 and Zenit-6 cameras were also produced.
- Type: 35mm SLR camera
- Manufacturer: KMZ plant
- Production period: 1964-1968
- Format: 24x36cm on 135 film
- Lens mount: C mount
- Lens: Vega-3 f2.8/50
- Viewfinder image field size: 23.2×35.6mm
- Shutter: focal-plane shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 sec.
- Viewfinder: SLR with removable pentaprism
- Lighmeter: built-in selenium light meter
- Flash synchronisation: sync socket “X” at any speed
- Selftimer: mechanical
- Weight: 1000 grams
The Zenit-4 camera was in fact the first SLR camera produced at the KMZ plant with a built-in exposure meter, for the first time in the USSR, interfaced with controls and supporting semi-automatic exposure control.
The Zenit-4 camera was inspired by the German Voigtlander Bessamatic camera. Unlike previous and most subsequent Zenit cameras, this model used a leaf shutter, which at the time of camera production was considered the most promising. The fact is that curtain shutters at that time approached the maximum of their capabilities, and there was an opinion that they could not be further improved.
The central shutter of the Zenit-4 camera beats shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, V. For Soviet camera of those years is a very good set of shutter speeds, which will be sufficient for most scenes and films. Thanks to the leaf shutter, flash synchronization is possible at any shutter speed.
This soviet film camera was equipped with a Vega-3C f2.8/50 lens. The lens gives a strong soft effect at open aperture values, but when the aperture is closed, the sharpness increases noticeably. Vega-3C does not have any advantages over other, more common lenses made in the Soviet Union, but at the same time it is not a completely garbage lens.
Since the Zenit-4 is a leaf shutter camera, most of the controls are located around the lens, just like on the Hasselblad or older large format cameras.
Another advantage of this camera is that 90% of the real frame is visible in the viewfinder field of view. For a modern photographer, this may seem something normal, or even insufficient, but we recall that in the field of view of most Zenits (for example of Zenit-E), only 65% of the future frame can be seen.
This Soviet SLR is equipped with a detachable pentaprism, which means you can remove the pentaprism and install a waist level viewfinder.
Zenit-4 is quite an interesting device from the point of view of history, but this camera will be of little interest to modern film photography lovers.
The fact is that it is quite difficult to find this camera in our time at an affordable price. At the same time, this camera does not have any significant advantages over the more common Soviet cameras, which, other things being equal, provide a much higher quality of photographs.