The Russian Zenit (Зенит) camera brand is coming back to life

The Russian state corporation Rostec is planning to bring back to life the Zenit camera brand. Here is the Google translated news flash:

State Corporation "Rostec" intends to revive the brand "Zenith" cameras

"Rostec" plans to revive the brand of camera "Zenit". On Monday at a press breakfast in Moscow, said the director of "Rostec" Communications and Strategic Studies Vasily Brovko. "This is a very high demand product, we want to make it a luxury device, by analogy with the Leica», - noted Brovko. In "Rostec" includes Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant, which in Soviet times produced the most popular cameras in the USSR "Zenith".

More on Zenit cameras from Wikipedia:

Zenit (Russian: Зени́т) is a Russian (and formerly Soviet) camera brand manufactured by KMZ in the town of Krasnogorsk near Moscow since 1952 and by BelOMO in Belarus since the 1970s. The Zenit trademark is associated with 35 mm SLR cameras. Among related brands are Zorki for 35 mm rangefinder cameras, Moskva (Moscow) and Iskra for medium-format folding cameras and Horizon for panoramic cameras. In the 1960s and 1970s, they were exported by Mashpriborintorg to 74 countries.[1]

The name is sometimes spelled Zenith in English, such as the manuals published by the UK Zenit-importer TOE.[2] However, TOE's imported camera bodies as from 1963 retained the "Zenit" badges. The early Zorki-based models before that time were labelled "Zenith" in a handwritten style of script.

Zenit cameras are available dirt cheap on eBay.


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  • ZZ

    But why??

    • Spy Black

      Nostalgic marketing. In Russia, camera finds you…

    • Mistral75


      Even Russian people are attracted by the sirens of capitalism :).

  • foto2021

    What a comedian! Zenit was a byword for atrocious quality control. If you were lucky enough to get a good sample (camera or lens) it could serve you well. But you were far more likely to get a lemon, a camera that would break or a lens that was woefully misaligned and was incapable of producing a competent image.

    These are the memories that Zenit users will carry with them. The new owners need to work extremely hard, and quickly, to establish a reputation for quality – and keep it that way. Otherwise, any relaunch will be a disaster.

    • Spy Black

      Relax. Someone has to excel at making crappy cameras…

      • fanboy fagz

        hes right to an extent. maybe he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. . never excellent gear. but then again, the price wasnt high. so thats ok. the zenitar 16mm fisheye is decent if stopped down a bit. I used a few times from my friend. decent inexpensive lens. but limiting

    • Ievgen Nedrygailov

      A bad workman always blames his tools.

      • foto2021

        In that case, the makers of Zenit should invest in retraining their bad workmen. If the problem remains, they should then invest in better tools.

    • AntonyShepherd

      The first SLR I had was a Zenit EM, back in the day. I never had a problem with it, apart from the ache in my shoulder after carrying that thing about all day!
      They were a cheap and affordable gateway into photography for people who couldn’t afford anything better!

  • Jeffry De Meyer

    Rebranded Sony crap

    • Ethan

      Did Sony do something wrong to you? Kick your dog or anything?

    • MdB

      Like Nikon, Pentax, Ricoh, Phase One, DXO, Panasonic, Samsung, Apple, Olympus, Canon, Leica and Hasselblad.

      • Jeffry De Meyer

        I’m expecting a glue job again

  • MonkeySpanner

    Hmmmmm. Mechanical medium format rangefinder? Like leica, only MF. Like the mamiya 7, only digital.

  • WillWeaverRVA

    Are they going to steal the Pentax K mount again?

    • foto2021

      They stole the Pentax K mount? I knew they stole the Nikon F mount, but this is getting ridiculous.

      • Мороз

        Nikon F mount was on Kiev cameras

    • Mistral75

      K mount has been in the public domain since day one. Asahi Optical wanted to reiterate the success of M42 mount and make it the universal bayonet mount.

  • Sergey

    Мы здесь в России уже устали от подобных заявлений, то на луну полетим, то Ё-мобиль построим, то Зенит возродим… Не смешите моих Ротеннбергов и Чубайсов)

    • Ievgen Nedrygailov

      Maybe it isn’t so bad idea to learn a bit of English before sharing your impressions here (or at least discover the beauty of the google translate). Isn’t it?

      • Sergey

        This comment has been specifically placed in Russian

        • Eric Calabros

          So we just read an insider note 🙂

      • Dima135

        “We are here in Russia are tired of such statements, then fly to the moon, then we construct the “E-mobil” (Unrealized hybrid car project), then Zenith revive … do not make laugh my Rotennberg and Chubais (Untranslatable joke appealing to the realities of the bureaucracy and corruption in Russian business)”

    • Nikolay Samara


    • Denis


    • Denis

      Вот что пишет на форуме в Красногорске человек, работавший на заводе: Шваба (часть ростеха) это рекетир, сидящий на шее у заводов, входящих в холдинг. Они ничего не производят, только знай себе командуют, требуют отчета и деньги отбирают. А для того , чтобы заводы особо не своевольничали, помимо полностью обшвабленных советов директоров, в предприятия засылаются на нехилые зарплаты доверенные “смотрители”. Вот такая оптико-механика.

  • Mech Im.Im.

    really bring back some old memories. Crude as they were, there is no denying that they can do the job just as well and with some character thrown in. I still got some of their old lens , its about time to dust them off and have a go I guess

  • Ievgen Nedrygailov

    Actually it would be very nice to bring it back to life. But I bet nothing will be done in this direction.

  • duott

    I wrote a post recently describing exactly that: how it would be great if somebody bought the Zenit brand and brought them back to life as modern digital cameras – and here it is!
    Unfortunately, this is Rostech, so this will probably end up as a carve-up of the government money. Some overpriced product may eventually see the light of day, everybody gets a pat on the back and that’s the end of the story – same as other overhyped projects such as Yo-Mobile or Yotaphone.

  • Denis

    It fake. The camera plant was destroyed and sold in 2005.

  • Wally Brooks

    Da? Neyt?


    Possibly one from ebay for my camera collection.

  • bertwert

    K mount or M42 or…

  • And Yugo is bringing back the Adobe.

    In Russia, picture take you!

  • Denis
  • jar_jar_

    Is Zenit really gone right now though? I can still buy new Zenit cameras at Lomography, and from what I can find about Lomography’s new resurrection of the Jupiter 3, it’s built at a Zenit factory (along with the Petzval lenses).

    • No idea, maybe this is the old factory that somebody purchased a while back?

  • Dima135

    Это может быть чем-то от хассельблада “лунар”, до очень плохой лейки в виде зеркалки.. И не понятно кто это будет покупать ? Лейка торгует чем-то что напоминает обрезаную по технологиям и функционалу sony A7, только в 6 раз дороже и выдержанную в бочке с крепкими понтами и историей. Но блин – имеют право как бы ! Они раскрутили малый формат, они произвели такие чудеса как М3, которую поди сейчас на ибей найди дешевле 600 долларов. С этим брендом связана половина имён известных фотографов 20го века – особенно стритщиков и путешественников. Понт лейки так же обоснован, как и их вклад… А что зенит ? Чем они обосновывать свой понт будут ? свою претензию на “luxury” ? 8мью миллионами “Ешек”, без прыгалки, с дохлыми селенами, обрезаными видоискателями и кривыми шторками, которые сейчас идут на барахолке как задняя крышка к гелиосу ?

  • bord81

    “A luxury device, by analogy with the Leica” sounds ridiculous. Making lenses and accessories like Rokinon, Yongnuo, etc. for major camera systems would make much more sense. But who cares about business there anyway?

  • Van Nav

    Rodenstock it’s one of the top brands in the photographic equipment world.

    Qioptiq owns LINOS and LINOS owns Rodenstock

    Qipptiq also supply military equipment:

    Development of photographic equipment has been always related with development of military equipment.

    If they (Rostec-Kalashnikov) made that:

    You can be sure that they can build a luxury and reliable rangefinder camera.

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