Zenit-C is a Soviet 35mm SLR camera developed at KMZ (Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant) and manufactured from 1955 to 1961.

zenit-c camera

Zenit-c is an improved version of the original Zenit camera. The very first model, the aforementioned Zenit (which did not have any additional letters or numbers in the name), was very much loved by customers. It was a high-quality (especially by Soviet standards) SLR camera with everything necessary for good shooting.

Zenit-C Specifications

  • Type: 35mm SLR camera
  • Manufacturer: KMZ plant
  • Production period: from 1955 to 1961
  • Format: 24x36cm on 135 film
  • Lens mount: m39 thread mount
  • Lens: Industar-50 f3.5/50
  • Viewfinder image field size: 20×28mm
  • Shutter: focal-plane shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/500 sec.
  • Viewfinder: SLR with non-removable pentaprism
  • Lighmeter: none
  • Flash synchronisation: sync socket “X”, sync speeds from 1/20
  • Selftimer: none
  • Weight: 630 grams

And of course, at the KMZ plant, they wanted to improve the successful model. In the new model, the mechanism for lowering the mirror was improved and a synchronization port with a flash was added.

As before, the camera is made of high-quality metal with vulcanite covering. And as before, the camera was equipped with a shutter inherited from Zorki with shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, and B.

zenit-c camera website

This is a fairly good series of shutter speeds for the mid-50s, but at the same time, most German and Japanese cameras had shutter speeds from 1 to 1/1000 seconds. But we must say that this set of shutter speeds is enough for most tasks facing the photographer.

The Zenit-C camera was equipped with an Industar-50 3.5/50 lens, which was an improved version of the Industar-22 3.5/50 lens. This is a very good lens that has been released by millions of copies.

zenit-c soviet camera
zenit-c helios 44

Since Industar-50 3,5/50 was designed based on the Tessar scheme, it has a fairly strong sharpness and nice image quality. But besides this lens, you can equip your Zenit-C with many other amazing lenses made for SLR cameras with M39 thread.

zenit slr
zenit camera model

Since this is an SLR camera, it has a mirror mechanism of a rather interesting and unusual design. Only 65% of the future photograph is visible in the viewfinder. This is due to the fact that inside the camera it was impossible to install a large mirror or large ground glass.

But at the same time, the viewfinder is very large, clean, and bright, unlike most of the latest Zenit models. Thanks to the good quality of the ground glass, it is very easy to focus.

zenit camera lenses

Zenit-C is one of the best Soviet SLR cameras, along with the original Zenit. Of course, the camera has some features that may seem like flaws to many. 

Firstly, the camera needs to be loaded from the bottom, as in the first Leica and FED cameras. Secondly, the image appears in the viewfinder only after cocking the shutter. The camera does not have a built-in exposure meter. The camera has a film advance knob as in the first Leica cameras, instead of a more modern lever.

zenit camera models
soviet slr

But are all these features cons? The team of Coloringpages.org believes that not at all. You can get used to all these features very quickly, and all the advantages of the camera far outweigh all the inconveniences.

A huge number of lenses, such as Helios 40, Helios 44, Jupiter 9, Mir 1, and others, combined with this camera give great creative freedom to any photographer who loves film photography.

helios 44
zenit analog camera


Zenit-C is a very compact and stylish camera. It is very comfortable in the hands, and the process of photographing is a real pleasure. Zenit-C is not only one of the best Soviet SLR cameras but in general one of the best cameras created in the USSR.


zenit-c photos
Zenit-C, Helios 44 f2/58, Kodak Portra 400
zenit photographs
Zenit-C, Helios-44 f2/58, Kodak Portra 400
zenit-c photographs
Zenit-C, Helios-44 f2/58, Kodak Portra 400
zenit-c photo
Zenit-C, Helios-44 f2/58, Kodak Portra 400
Zenit-C photos
Helios-44 f2.0/58, Fomapan 400
zenit photos
Zenit-C, Helios-44 f2/58, Kodak Portra 400
zenit photo
Zenit-C, Helios-44 f2/58, Kodak Portra 400

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