Like a Leica
For the past few months I’ve kept an extra camera slung over my shoulder alongside my go-to kit. It’s a Zorki 4K; a Russian rangefinder that I stumbled across in a vintage store at a price that made it good value as a bookend, let alone a functioning camera. The Zorki 4K is a soviet-era copy of the Leica II produced by the KMZ factory (Krasnogorsk Mekanicheski Zavod, which translates as “Krasnogorst Mechanical Factory”), and even takes Leica L-mount lenses although it comes with the acclaimed Jupiter-8 50mm f/2 lens (a Zeiss-Sonnar clone). It was introduced in 1973 as a successor to the Zorki 4 which had been produced since 1956 (featuring improvements such as a modern film advance lever rather than a knurled metal knob), and was widely exported to the west until production ceased in 1978. The camera is fully manual and has no light meter, so I’ve been making a best guess every time I’ve used it over this past spring. As was to be expected, a few of the frames from that first roll of film were slightly over-exposed although I think that might partially be down to it being quite difficult to accurately set the shutter speed on my camera (you have to lift a small knob, twist it to match the desired shutter speed and let it fall into place, which mine doesn’t always do particularly convincingly), however I’m pleased with the sharpness of the photographs that I did expose correctly. Below you’ll find a selection of the best of those photographs from the first film through my Russian-rip-off-rangefinder. I hope that you like them.