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Zorki 1 type C (KMZ), 35mm rangefinder camera, c1951

The Zorki started out as a copy of the Russian FED as a means to resolve difficulties re-starting production post WW2, starting in 1947. Initially the Zorki was produced under FED supervision and there was little difference between them but over time the KMZ produced Zorkis took on their own character and diverged from their FED origins. The camera is, like the FED-1, essentially a copy of a 1934 Leica II, but with some manufacturing differences, mainly aimed at making the camera a mass produced item. Our example is a type C, the most commonly found, and was introduced in 1951. Cosmetically similar to both the FED and Leica, but it has advanced internally. The shutter assembly housing is now a die cast unit (previously it was a steel stamped and folded box), requiring fewer operations to make, producing a dimensionally consistent and more rigid assembly. The outer shell incorporated a ridge that served to make the covering less of an issue and provide a register for the top housing to mate to, further simplifying production. As for camera functionality, nothing had changed from it's 1934 Leica inspiration, shutter speeds remain the same and the lens is the same specification. The Zorki 1 remained in production until 1956, by which time KMZ were producing a bewildering array of derivatives, Zorki 2, 3, C, 2C, 3, 3M and 3C. All these fell by the wayside when the Zorki 4 arrived in 1956.

This example was kindly donated after rescue in Kyiv, Ukraine, in August 2019 and was essentially sound. It was given a deep clean and some fungus removed from between the back and front lens groups. Fortunately it had been caught in time and not caused any lasting damage.

Zorki 1 (KMZ) Camera

Body No. 267489
Shutter, Cloth focal plane, B, 20, 30, 40, 60, 100, 200 and 500th
Lens, Industar-50. 5cm f/3.5
Condition, 5F

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