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Zorki 1

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Note: There is no Zorki officially called the "Zorki-1".  The first Zorki model, and its variants, patterned after the Leica II were simply called "Zorki".   The "1" is a recent addition, likely by writers and auction sellers who wanted to identify the camera specifically as the first model.The first Zorki model to be identified with a number was the "Zorki-2", a modified Zorki with a new rewind switch mechanism and self-timer added.

Zorki 1 is a 35mm rangefinder camera with M39screwmount interchangeable lens manufactured by KMZ plant in Krasnogorsk, Moscov, USSR, between 1948-56. Зоркий = Zorkiy, means "Sharp Sighted". Zorki cameras have their roots in the FED line of Leica copies. During World War II, the Ukrainian camera factory FED was evacuated west to escape advancing German troops. After the war the FED factory had troubles getting the FED camera (the first ever Leica copy) back into production. Because KMZ plant had escaped destruction, that company started making the FED camera under a joint FED-Zorki logo in 1948. When FED got back in operation, KMZ continued to produce the rangefinder cameras under the Zorki trademark (some intended for export) and made some design changes.

The Zorki 1 was the first Zorki-branded body produced at the KMZ factory. Some later models have "Zorki" engraved in Cyrillic and in Latin; these are for export and are often referred to as "Zorki-Zorki" bodies on assorted Soviet-camera mailing lists.


  • Lens: Zorki-1 offered with various lenses:
    • Industar-22 (3.5/50mm) (= ИНДУСТАР) [2]
    • Industar-50 (3.5/50mm),
    • ZK 50/2, ZK 50/1.5,
    • Jupiter-8 (2/52mm) (= ЮПИТЕР)
  • Focusing: Coincident rangefinder focusing. Rangefinder coupled to the lens's focusing action.. Focusing tab locks on infinity on Industar-22 and Industar-50 collapsible lenses. Note that in many Industar-22 lenses, the focusing tab locks PAST infinity. This position must never be used for calibrating the rangefinder, or else, focusing inaccuracy will take place. With such lenses any infinity calibration must be done with the lens set to its true (not necessarily locked) infinity position.
  • Calibration of the rangefinder requires adjustment at both 1 metre and infinity positions. This is unique with Zorki and FED cameras- adjusting only the infinity value will not automatically assure correct rangefinder synchronisation at minimum and close focusing distances.
  • Shutter: Leica-derived horizontal traverse focal plane cloth shutter, speeds: 1/20 - 1/500, +Z. The shutter is identical in design to the shutter used in Leica II cameras.
  • The Z in German, means Zeit = "Time", following the traditional German style for marking manually timed exposures. Z was replaced with "B" after 1955 or so.
  • Rangefinder has a separate window, on the back left side of the top plate, yellow rangefinder images, very small view.
  • Viewfinder: Simple reverse telescope finder, window on the right of the rangefinder window
  • Frame counter: Additive type, rotates 360-1 degrees. Reset manually by turning the frame counter beneath the cocking knob to Zero position, using the "nipples" on the counter disc. The counter disc must be turned CLOCKWISE only.
  • Bottom film loading like old Leicas, bottom plate opens by a key tab. Take up spool is a special removable type.
    • Engravings around the opening ring: ЗAКР - ОTKP (Zakr - Otkr = Close - Open). 
  • Others: "Cold-shoe" accessory clip for viewfinders or exposure meters; Tripod socket: 3/8 inch. A bushing adapter must be used to allow the camera to be used on tripods with the now common 1/4 thread.
  • The shutter button on most Zorki is already threaded for cable releases. However the early Zorki may be found with non-threaded shutter buttons, and will need a threaded cup (similar to the one used by Leica, some Nikon and Yashica cameras) to allow cable connection.
  • Body: Metal; Weight: around 520g.
  • No flash sync socket, no self timer.
  • No strap lugs on the camera body. The 'ever-ready' leather case must be used to 'strap' the camera.
  • As with other Soviet-era rangefinders, Zorki's shutter speed selector rotates when the shutter is released, and should not be changed until after the shutter has been cocked. If you change the shutter speed without cocking the shutter first, the setting pin can be broken when you advance the film.

All cameras in the photos have Industar-22 50mm f/3.5 lenses.

Body typesEdit

There are 5 different body types [4] or 23 types and sub-types (variations) of Zorki-1 [5] [6] [7] [8]

  • Type 1a is a direct descendant of the Fed-Zorki.
  • Type 1b has a different collar around the shutter release, allowing for a threaded cable.
  • Type 1c has moulded body parts and can be identified by black trims just below the top plate and above the bottom plate.
  • In Type 1d, the black trim extends to envelop the lens mount.
  • Type 1e has newer shutter speeds of 1/50s and 1/25s, instead of the 1/60s, 1/40s, 1/30s, and 1/20s found in previous types.


  1. According to Fotoua by Alexandr KomarovYou can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site.
  2. More common lens is Industar-22 50mm f/3.5 lens, looks like the Leitz Elmar, but was actually a copy of the Zeiss Tessar
  3. According to Fotoua by Alexandr KomarovYou can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site.
  4. according to Sovietcams
  5. According to Fotoua by Alexandr KomarovYou can also find serial numbers for dating of the cameras in this site.
  6. There are usefull books about cameras of former USSR and have classifications also.
  7. Pages from the the book of former USSR cameras by Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin
  8. Discussion about clasifications in the books of Princelle and Suglob, Shaternik, Kochergin in USSR Photo Forum

Bibliography Edit

In English

  • Princelle, Jean Loup - Made In USSR - The Authentic Guide To Russian And Soviet Cameras, Le Reve Edition, 2004 (ISBN 2952252106 (ISBN13: 9782952252102) Paperback

In Russian

Links Edit

Zorki cameras
FED-Zorki | 1 | S | 2 | 2-S | 3 | 3M | 3S | 4 | 4K | Mir | 5 | 6 | 10 | 11 |35M

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