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Farther from Leica… nearer to Zenit

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Lo! Back to Zenitology! This is the last Leica-2-like Zorki, the Zorki 2. It is a somewhat rare camera today, as not too many were made. They’re more collector items than shooters as they don’t offer anything that a regular Zorki or FED can’t do, besides the self timer, which is a feature I have yet to use in a camera. The Zorki 2 is not an o9k camera.

At the time the Zorki 2 hit the market (or its commie counterpart, whatever it is), the Alpa Reflex and the Contax S, the first practical SLR cameras, saw light. They were simple models that exploited the technology of the first 35mm SLR camera, the Exakta, implemented it on more convenient rangefinder-based bodies, and gave them a feature that today we give for granted on an SLR: the pentaprism finder. The first usable SLRs were born. Yes, I’m saying that the Exaktas were a disaster and completely unusable, get over it.

The inherent superiority of the SLRs for taking pictures was becoming more and more an accepted fact, and as technical problems of the 35mm SLR were being solved, it became clear that the pentaprism-based SLR was the future of photography. It was late forties.

The Russians noticed. Hell, everyone but Leica noticed. As the Soviets wanted to give their people state-of-the-art tech in all fields (at least that’s what their propaganda said), they saw the necessity of developing an SLR for the masses.

As strange as it may sound, the Zenit and the Zorki 2 were, essentially, the same camera. The Zorki 2 is to the Zenit what the Nikon SP is to the Nikon F, what the Contax II is to the Contax S. A rangefinder body with potential for enlightening into an SLR.

Now it’s the perfect time for our subliminal ad here: buy cameras from me. You almost didn’t notice.

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